Daily Frolic 11: Discontinuity

“This standard-of-living crisis that people keep on about.”


“Is it really that bad?”

“So they say.”

“It’s scary: I didn’t think that even professionals would suffer.”

“Actually, professionals are not doing too badly, all things considered.”

“But that’s not what they are implying.”


“The Times Educational Supplement.”

“Why? What have they written?”


“First, we could ensure that all schools employ more teachers, especially those in challenging circumstances.”

 “No, no, it’s discontinuity.”

“What are they going to discontinue?”

“Nothing, nothing: discontinuity is short for discontinuous modification.”

“What’s that when it’s at home?”

“When the phrase being modified is separated from the phrase, or clause, modifying it.”

“A-a-a-a, you mean like … when you have … when it’s … what do you mean exactly?”

“Just look at your sentence; what they should have written is this.”

First, we could ensure that all schools, especially those in challenging circumstances, employ more teachers.


“Discontinuity is actually very common, and some of it can be quite funny. It’s just that the authors don’t seem to notice; I mean when they don’t mean it to be funny.”

“They don’t notice?”

“Nope. Listen to this – from The Independent.”

“I had a water leak into the kitchen from the flat above, which required redecoration.”

 “The flat above?”

“Exactly! What you’d want to write is this.”

 I had a water leak from the flat above into the kitchen, which required redecoration.

 “This is also from The Independent; listen.”

 “Deformed foetuses have died in the womb with oversized organs.”

 “What a funny womb.”

“Isn’t it just?”

“Hmm, it should be something like this, shouldn’t it?”

Deformed foetuses with oversized organs have died in the womb.

 “Absolutely! And what do you reckon about this one – from The Sunday Times?”

 “City bonuses dodge taxman in Turkish lira.”


 City bonuses in Turkish lira dodge taxman.

 “By Jove, you got it! Wish those hacks would.”


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