Well, I'd argue that your specification is arguably implicit ("It's an expression whose literal meaning is the opposite of its intended meaning [and it doesn't fit the typical pattern of such expressions]") but your point is taken--people who are going to quibble about the precise logical meaning of someone's language being ought to take pains about the logical precision of their own.gmalivuk wrote:It's a shitty argument because "that literally means the opposite of the intended meaning" is overbroad. It would also deem all examples of true sarcasm incorrect. So, at the very least, whiners should specify that it's a nonsarcastic expression whose literal meaning is the opposite of its intended meaning.Judah wrote:I don't understand why your second paragraph calls the argument against it "shitty". Seems to me that it's a pretty good argument against it
All right, I'll take that point as well, but on the other hand, I think you're oversimplifying when you say that "the people who proscribe the passive might proscribe this sentence as well, because so many people who proscribe the passive don't actually understand what it is," as if the only reason to object to a sentence like the one in question is to erroneously confuse it with a sentence in the "passive voice". Rather, I'd say, both true "passive voice" sentences and the sentence in question have a similar quality, in that they reduce the primary agent in the action described by the sentence to a less-than-primary role in the sentence, and this is the quality that's being objected to, semantics about "subjects", "passive voice", and so on aside.goofy wrote:"There's something that I need to talk to you about."Judah wrote:I'm sorry if my terminology was incorrect, and I'll be happy to be informed about the proper way to refer to sentences like these. The substance of what I was trying to say stands, though: Wikipedia's definition of "passive voice", e.g., is "a grammatical construction (a "voice") in which the subject of a sentence or clause denotes the recipient of the action (the patient) rather than the performer (the agent)."
In the sentence I was referring to, the agent is "I", and "something" is one of the things that he's acting on, yet the sentence is casting "something" as the subject. Even if I was wrong to apply the term "passive voice" to this case, in essence it's an example of the same sort of the thing. The people who proscribe passive voice would surely proscribe sentences like these as well.
But something isn't the subject. The subject is there. And the subject of the embedded clause is I. Although you might be right that the people who proscribe the passive might proscribe this sentence as well, because so many people who proscribe the passive don't actually understand what it is.
As is probably evident from my last couple of posts here: although language is something I care about, and I take pains over my own, I don't have any formal education in linguistics or grammar, so I'm apt to make mistakes of terminology and I'm grateful for all the corrections. On the subject of subjects, I'm intrigued by this last thing you've taught me: in a sentence like "There is something that...", the subject is traditionally parsed as "There"? What is "there" exactly? It's hard to see how it's anything at all, let alone a subject (which one usually thinks of as the "primary" element of a sentence). Just to clarify this point, let me ask you about a slightly different sentence: "On the table lies a book, which is the book that I've been describing to you." Would you say that the subject of the foregoing sentence is "On the table"?