Author Topic: using one camera is...  (Read 226 times)

Offline navi

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using one camera is...
« on: December 18, 2017, 12:34:04 pm »
Which are correct:

1) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think two cameras is best.
2) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think using two cameras is best.

3) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think two cameras is the best.
4) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think using two cameras is the best.

5) We have three photos of him, but I think this one is best.
6) We have three photos of him, but I think this one is the best.

Gratefully,
Navi
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 01:03:46 pm by navi »

Mr Tasker

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2017, 09:06:42 pm »
Best question ever! You're the best!

Best I start my reply with three idiomatic uses of the word "best" to show how it has evolved to the point where it can represent a range of clauses and phrases, with the meaning being understood by the context.

That's an excellent question! Thank you very much!

It would be ideal if I continue my reply by addressing each sentence individually.

Quote
1) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think two cameras is best.

This is a correct idiomatic use of best. It means "the best option"

Quote
2) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think using two cameras is best.

This has a faint whiff of ambiguity. Are you stating a general preference or choosing among the stated alternatives?

Quote
3) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think two cameras is the best.

As I hinted at the start of this post "the best" has over time developed into a phrase, usually hyperbolic, indicating strong approval. Like Tina Turner's song "Simply the Best". This being the case, if you choose not to use the short form you have to use the full long form for this syntax, i.e.: "... I think two cameras is the best option."

Quote
4) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think using two cameras is the best.

Like the previous example, this is a little ambiguous. Does it mean "using two cameras today is the best option" or "using two cameras is always the best option", or even "using two cameras is awesome!".

Quote
5) We have three photos of him, but I think this one is best.
6) We have three photos of him, but I think this one is the best.

This is a simple case of comparing three objects, so some of the previous advice no longer applies. No.5 is OK in casual speech. No.6 is slightly preferable (to my ear) because the pronoun "this" has a clear referent and so we have a definite "one" and it's most natural to then refer to it with the definite article.

Best wishes  ;)

Offline navi

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2017, 10:22:05 pm »
Thank you very much, Mr. Tasker,

I don't think I had ever been thanked for asking a question before! You're just too kind and generous! You're the one who is doing me a favor. It is not the other way around!! I really feel obliged. What's more you really go into details and I love that.

I felt that ambiguity and it did bother me a bit. I thought maybe using 'the best' would exclude the general meaning and limit us only to the choices at hand. Apparently it is not so.

One more question. Would replacing 'best' with 'most efficient' and 'most interesting' change anything?

I don't want to be abusing your generosity, but I do want to close this case for myself.


1a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think two cameras is most efficient.
2a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think using two cameras is most efficient.

3a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think two cameras is the most efficient.
4a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think using two cameras is the most efficient.

5a) We have three photos of him, but I think this one is most interesting.
6a) We have three photos of him, but I think this one is the most interesting.

Gratefully,
Navi
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 05:39:12 am by navi »

Mr Tasker

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 09:13:37 am »
I enjoy it, but in my enthusiasm I'm forgetting my manners - it's rude to monopolize the conversation. Some of the other native English speakers and advanced students might like to answer some tasty tempting questions such as this one.

Offline navi

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 09:23:35 am »
Thank you very much, Mr. Tasker,

I don't think you're monopolizing the conversation. Anyone can join in. I think the others' silence should be interpreted as confirmation more than anything else. If they had objections to what you say, they'd voice them, especially Duncan, who is the boss around here and has been for many years. I and many others are greatly indebted to him for having started this forum.

Lydbury Grammar, which has gone through some mutations, was the first grammar forum I ever joined. It was one of the first grammar forums on the net... maybe even the very first. I clearly remember the day I joined. I couldn't believe such a wonderful thing could exist. I asked a question and sat there staring at it...

I don't think I kept it in my files. It's a pity. At the time, I didn't have files. I was basically cyber-illiterate (not that I am very good now, but I can do what I need to do).

Respectfully,
Navi.

Offline admin

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2017, 09:56:54 am »
You carry on Mr T - we are all most grateful.
Best wishes,

Duncan Baker
http://www.lydbury.co.uk

Offline Darryl

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2017, 01:12:55 pm »
I second that! (And I learn things too!)

Mr Tasker

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2017, 08:43:16 am »
1a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think two cameras is most efficient.
2a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think using two cameras is most efficient.

3a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think two cameras is the most efficient.
4a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think using two cameras is the most efficient.

5a) We have three photos of him, but I think this one is most interesting.
6a) We have three photos of him, but I think this one is the most interesting.

Looks like I'm not stepping on any toes (at least not in this post), so let's resume.

"Most" when used without an article can mean "very":

"I'm most satisfied with your exam results, Jimmy." = I'm very satisfied, not the most satisfied. So 1a and 1b suffer a bit from that connotation slight ambiguity.

For 3a and 4a I would like to see the sentence end in "choice" or "option", because although we can infer that three options have been offered, they haven't actually been explicitly given a noun, so the reader feels something is missing: the most efficient ... what? Method? Technique? Alternative? The adjective needs its noun somewhere in the sentence.

In fact the previous set suffers from this syndrome too. I was focused on the idiomatic meanings of "best" and failed to make this observation.

4a/2a, like 4/2, have a slight connotation of could imply a general preference that might be applied any time rather than right now, because of "using"

5a means "very interesting" as per above.
6a is OK because we know that what's interesting is the photo mentioned earlier in the sentence.




« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 09:41:18 pm by Mr Tasker »

Offline Bertha

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2017, 11:33:49 am »
Mr. T has answered the questions quite well. One little (or big) thing bothers me some, though. 

1a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think two cameras is most efficient.  Because this sentence has "two cameras as the subject of the second clause, the verb in that clause must be plural, too.  "but I think two cameras are best.

2a) We can use one, two or three cameras to shoot this scene, but I think using two cameras is most efficient. In this sentence, the second clause has a gerund "using" acting as the subject to the verb, so it's fine to leave it singular.  The "two cameras" are the object to the gerund, a verbal.

#3 and 4 work the same way.  #5 and 6, it's all okay because you have "one" as the subjects.
Bertha

Offline navi

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2017, 11:45:00 am »
Thank you  all so very much!

I'd like to welcome Jeni606 to this forum! It is a great place to learn and to teach.

Duncan's 'most grateful' is one of the highlights of this thread!

Mr. Tasker, I love reading your replies. You are a great teacher.

Bertha, you are great, as usual, and as sharp as ever!

Gratefully and respectfully,
Navi.



Mr Tasker

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2017, 09:20:50 pm »
Addendum:

Something was bothering me about my last reply, even while I was writing it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I've just realized that I've used the word 'connotation' incorrectly both times. I'll go back and correct it.

For clarification:

Quote from: Wikipedia
A connotation is a commonly understood cultural or emotional association that some word or phrase carries, in addition to its explicit or literal meaning, which is its denotation.

Anyone should feel free to correct me on anything questionable in my posts, both so that I can improve my own English and so that students are not inadvertently misled.

« Last Edit: December 21, 2017, 09:26:27 pm by Mr Tasker »

Mr Tasker

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2017, 09:35:35 pm »
I'd like to welcome Jeni606 to this forum! It is a great place to learn and to teach.

Jeni's an ad-bot. She can never be our friend because she's not a real girl. She has no heart *sigh*

Offline navi

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2017, 10:19:50 pm »
Thank you very much, Mr. Tasker,

How did you figure out that Jeni was an ad-bot? I didn't even know the word 'ad-bot', but I knew 'bot' and so it was not hard to figure out what 'ad-bot' meant.

Gratefully,
Navi.

Offline Bertha

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2017, 10:50:39 am »
Jeni606 has been deleted.
Bertha

Mr Tasker

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Re: using one camera is...
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2017, 12:28:48 pm »
How did you figure out that Jeni was an ad-bot?

Well, figuratively speaking.

If there's a commercial link in the signature on the first post, that's a bad sign. If the text also seems either very brief ("Nice post") or very generic - maybe cut and pasted, then it's getting pretty certain, and if the service being advertised is something disreputable, like an "Essay Writing Service" then it's case closed.