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Re: Earth/earth

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 15, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Earth/earth posted by R. Berg on April 14, 2005

: : : Hi
: : : I have a question...as I couldn't find the answer in any grammar book...

: : : Why is in this sentence used "as saying"?

: : : The story quoted Ranier Kuhne of the University of Dortmund in Germany as saying:"Plato wrote....

: : : and why is there a difference in capitalising of the word : e/Earth

: : : ...some consisting of Earth and the others of water...
: : : and
: : : ...there were violent earthquakes and in a single day and night all sank into the earth and the island of Atlantis in like manner dissapeared into the depths of the sea...

: : : thank you very very much for your answer!

: : "As saying" is another way of saying "Kuhne said." Earth with a capital letter refers to the planet Earth. Lowercase "earth" to the dirt.

: "...some consisting of Earth and the others of water..." This is wrong. It should have said "consisting of earth..."

(Smokey comments:)As R. Berg notes, we cannot have Earth, which capitalized is a planet, used with uncapitalized (that is, lower-cased) water, which is a substance found on Earth the planet. Uncapitalized earth is also found on Earth the planet, of course, a distinction noted by ESC. The mistake which she has noted is a mistake not so much of either style or grammar, but of meaning (semantics). The use of capital letters, however, is a matter of style but not grammar, and is governed by conventional rules, rules agreed on to avoid confusion. One rule is that proper nouns are capitalized, but not common nouns. Most people capitalize the names of months, January, February, and so on. Some people treat the seasons as proper nouns and capitalize them, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Others do not. In English, the days of the week are usually capitalized, Monday, Tuesday, and so on. But in other languages that is often not the case. Some words, including Earth/earth, can be both proper nouns and common nouns, with different meanings, as noted by ESC.
Why does the author say, "The story quotes Rainer Kuehne as saying . . . ," rather than simply "Rainer Kuehne said ..."? Because the sentence is about the story, not about Kuehne, and not about Plato. What the whole paragraph is about we don't know, not having the paragraph in from of us.
How about the use of "as" here? "As" has many uses. In the first sentence of my post it is a conjunction. But in Sanja's quotation it is used to define or qualify one aspect of R. K. He may have said many things, but here he is saying something about Plato. I would give further examples of this sometimes confusing usage, but I've used up my time-and then some. SS