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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2019-01-28 10:08:20

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2270
Website

tips prevent avoiding problems

We have a number of posts, including those here , on piled up negatives that achieve an opposite effect to the one intended, or that produce puzzlement as to what is being said.

In a Fox news story about the predicted cold weather in the upper mid-west:

“Run faucets overnight,” plumber Mark Mitsdarffer told FOX32. ¶ Mitsdarffer, who said the number of calls he’s been handling this month have doubled compared to last year, said that simple tips can prevent homeowners from avoiding these problems.

From which we may conclude that complex tips might permit owners to engage the problems? That might be a desirable outcome. But so might avoiding them be.
.
Or does it mean that the simple tips can force the homeowners to face up to the problems? That also sounds desirable.
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Or does it mean that the simple tips can make it impossible for homeowners to avoid the problems, i.e. that they will make sure that the homeowners have these kinds of problems? (This is the most natural reading, for me.)
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In all of the above, we are pretty sure what the guy meant. He has undoubtedly blended such phrases as “N can help you avoid problems”, “N can prevent (your having/you from having) problems”, “N can help you deal with problems”, and so forth. But none of these is (assuming he is quoted correctly) what he actually said .
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And of course, the tips by themselves can do none of these things, it is your hearing and following the tips that is necessary in order to achieve them.
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Language is wonderful.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2019-01-28 12:42:27)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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