• Cats... 1.

    From Ardith Hinton@1:153/716 to Denis, Ivan, Roy, Alexander on Fri Mar 2 18:00:57 2018
    Recently Alexander Koryagin wrote in a message to Roy Witt:

    I wonder what the cats are thinking, when during washing

    suddenly freeze and a few seconds looking into nothingness?

    And the answer is, obviously: What the pain in the neck is
    ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^^^
    stooping like this!

    BTW, Ivan... good use of colloquial metaphor! I interpret this as a
    figure of speech which can also be read quite literally, thus making it a "live
    metaphor" and reminding your audience how it came to be. After alI these years
    I still have the notes I hastily scribbled when a certain teacher remarked e.g.
    that the French say "put that in your pocket & your moustache also" whereas I'd
    say "put that in your pipe & smoke it". AFAIC it is amusing in both languages,
    perhaps because I hear it as a cheerfully irreverent [esp. Brit.] way of saying
    "think about it". I understand why folks from Russia enjoy such trivia as much
    as I do. I'd say "what a pain", however, in this context. "What a" is another
    idiomatic expression which people often use without conscious analysis.... :-)

    The best I can figure is that part before the first comma.

    It follows the subject + predicate pattern we're accustomed to...

    I wonder
    cats are thinking

    ... but the next clause is incomplete. The addition of "they", which Alexander
    suggested, is enough to fix the problem of the missing subject. Now we have

    they freeze.

    So far, so good. I see another word missing, though. (Hang in there, Denis...
    we're nearly done!) "Looking" is a participle. It can't be used as a verb all
    by itself. There are various ways in which one might solve this problem, but I
    think Alexander's idea of using the present tense of "[to] look" would probably
    be the quickest & easiest for those who are not native speakers of English. My
    initial thoughts involved adding a word or two. On second thoughts, however, I
    realized other folks might expect me to be able to parse my own examples. :-))

    I believe the correct version is this:

    Yes!!! What you're doing is paraphrasing what somebody else said...
    i.e. expressing your understanding of what he meant in your own words. You can
    thus model correct usage whilst giving him an opening to explain, if necessary,
    how your perception(s) could use a bit of fine-tuning.

    Give yourself two or three gold stars. ;-)

    --- timEd/386 1.10.y2k+
    * Origin: Wits' End, Vancouver CANADA (1:153/716)