# Is there an english grammar rule that prohibits an

inanimate object thinking its own thoughts? I am going over this bible verse which states the following: "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith"
I am reading "the hope of righteousness" like the word "righteousness" is actually "hoping" for something. --But doesn't that violate some grammar rule? That is to say, can a "state of being" think its own thought (according to grammar I mean) ? Like I said im probably not explaining it very well, but hopefully this makes enough sense for someone to clue me in..
also, iyo, is that a completely convoluted way to read that sentence? thanks for any help

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Grammar is about how to put word types together, not individual words.

"The grass is green"

"The grass is blue"

Are both grammatically correct, even if the second sentence is false. "People can hope", and "Boxes can hope" are both grammatically correct, even if the second is false.

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Which translation are you using? If it is the King James, then it is correct English "by definition".

Edit: I just googled it and it does seem to be from the KJV, so yes it is correct English. The KJV is authoritative in the sense that Shakespeare or Jane Austen are - their "mistakes" are accepted as correct. However, I don't have a grammatical analysis at the moment as to why the sentence is correct.

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Staff Emeritus
Which translation are you using? If it is the King James, then it is correct English "by definition".

Why?

Why?

I edited my post to add an explanation.

Staff Emeritus
Do you have a source for that? Bear in mind that language changes over time so aspects of Shakespearean grammar, even if they influenced language convention, are not going to be correct English forever.

yes its pathetic fallacy, that's what I was thinking about.. yes its the king james verision (pretty sure), yes I know the sentence makes sense, but in what reading does it make sense? because to me, it seems like it could be read 4 different ways. Is there anyway someone who knows bible could just paraphrase it into plainer sentences?

Do you have a source for that? Bear in mind that language changes over time so aspects of Shakespearean grammar, even if they influenced language convention, are not going to be correct English forever.

The KJV is a source!

Staff Emeritus
If you want to know what it means ask a priest, determining the meaning of religious texts is highly subjective.

Staff Emeritus
The KJV is a source!

I meant a source that shows that language conventions invented by the translators of the KJV were incorporated into the English language. You can't just say that a version of the bible is the definition of correct English and then use it to prove the point.

what I am wondering about specifically is the "hope of righteousness" Does the writer (st paul?) mean that righteousness has hope? Or does he mean that we are waiting to receive a hope of righteousness? Two different readings of the same sentence. that's the problem im having. thanks

Staff Emeritus
Two different readings of the same sentence

Welcome to biblical interpretation. What any passage means can differ from denomination to denomination. This isn't just a religious phenomenon, any piece of literature can be interpreted multiple ways.

I meant a source that shows that language conventions invented by the translators of the KJV were incorporated into the English language. You can't just say that a version of the bible is the definition of correct English and then use it to prove the point.

No, I don't have a source. But how are you going to correct Shakespeare or Jane Austen - you may as well "correct" Beethoven. The point is that these are acknowledged as great works of English literature. Funnily though, I just googled "Jane Austen grammatical errors", and found a suggestion that she wasn't very good http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130838304 !

zoobyshoe
I am reading "the hope of righteousness" like the word "righteousness" is actually "hoping" for something.
That's probably not a correct reading. The core of the sentence is most likely, "We wait for hope."

My sense of it is that the speaker is saying, "We are waiting for the day when we can, at least, hope people will be righteous due to their faith."

However, I would try and find a more modern translation that might clarify the meaning.

I did ask a priest ..I asked on a theology forum and rather than just answering question everyone gives 10 page replies of theology about everything except my question blah blah blah.. so now Im here at physics forums

Staff Emeritus
No, I don't have a source. But how are you going to correct Shakespeare or Jane Austen - you may as well "correct" Beethoven. The point is that these are acknowledged as great works of English literature. Funnily though, I just googled "Jane Austen grammatical errors", and found a suggestion that she wasn't very good http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130838304 !

I'm not trying to correct any of them simply responding to your claim that if something is in this particular version of the bible it is correct English by definition. I assumed you'd be able to link to some well established aspect of the study of English language that showed how influential this version was over subsequent English language conventions. I've never heard such a thing and it sounds like a very outlandish statement given that English is a language that not only constantly changes through time but has different rules depending on which English speaking country you were in.

Staff Emeritus
I did ask a priest ..I asked on a theology forum and rather than just answering question everyone gives 10 page replies of theology about everything except my question blah blah blah.. so now Im here at physics forums

This is a science forum so not really a good place to get answers on religious topics. We do allow discussions of religion under strict conditions. Here are the relevant rules regarding said conversations:

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zoobyshoe
If you want to know what it means ask a priest, determining the meaning of religious texts is highly subjective.
I'm sure it's just a matter of the translation. No one speaks King James era English anymore and, I'm told, Paul didn't write very well in Greek. So, your best bet is probably to cut out the King James middle-man, get hold of the best extant ancient Greek version of Paul's Epistles, and find a scholar of ancient Greek with some specialty in the bastardized Greek spoken in the far flung provinces of the Roman Empire.

That's probably not a correct reading. The core of the sentence is most likely, "We wait for hope."

My sense of it is that the speaker is saying, "We are waiting for the day when we can, at least, hope people will be righteous due to their faith."

However, I would try and find a more modern translation that might clarify the meaning.

This explains it imo..thank you.

I'm not trying to correct any of them simply responding to your claim that if something is in this particular version of the bible it is correct English by definition. I assumed you'd be able to link to some well established aspect of the study of English language that showed how influential this version was over subsequent English language conventions. I've never heard such a thing and it sounds like a very outlandish statement given that English is a language that not only constantly changes through time but has different rules depending on which English speaking country you were in.

I think we were responding to two different conceptions of the question.

My sense was that, if one says the sentence is grammatically wrong, then one has to offer a correction. Thus knowing that the work in question is widely acknowledged as a great work of English literature, offering to correct it would be foolhardy.

OTOH, if one is asking whether the grammar of the sentence is still applicable in particular present day contexts, then basically one has not been given enough information to answer the question, since as you say what is presently considered correct differs between communities of English language users.

zoobyshoe
This explains it imo..thank you.
You're welcome, but I would really check more modern translations directly from the Greek.

Staff Emeritus
My sense was that, if one says the sentence is grammatically wrong, then one has to offer a correction. Thus knowing that the work in question is widely acknowledged as a great work of English literature, offering to correct it would be foolhardy.

One can point out a grammatical flaw without proposing that the piece should be rewritten. Otherwise agreed, though I'm not sure how well the king James is regarded as a great work of English literature (its a translation after all).

This is a science forum so not really a good place to get answers on religious topics. We do allow discussions of religion under strict conditions. Here are the relevant rules regarding said conversations:

Ryan I know this is science forum, physicsforums has saved my a more than few times in p-chem and applied math, im not new just forgot login details. The reason I prefer asking about literature (and theology) on PF is because I never get the snooty b.s. that is on dedicated literature boards and the proselytizing on theology boards. .. but I do get your point though about the rules and such

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For we through the draft wait for the hope of winning.

Homework Helper
Since it's a translation from Greek , it doesn't make much sense to try to understand it apart from the original Greek grammar.

First off, your quote is taken out of context, because the translators chopped up one piece of Greek into three separate sentences in English, and your quote is the third one. (I say "piece" rather than "sentence", because the original greek text didn't have any punctuation - but since the construction "on the one hand this, but on the other hand that" is very common in Greek, it's clear enough that your quote is the "on the other hand that" part of the original sentence.

As for the English grammar, "hope of righteousness by faith" is no different grammatically from say "hope of passing an exam". it's not the exam that is doing the hoping. and in both examples, the "hope" is about what might happen to the hoper (hopee?} in future.

@zooby,- Paul had the equivalent of a secular university education - but he dictated most of his texts for somebody else to write down, and like most people, when he gets excited talking about something, his spoken grammar tends to fall apart a bit.

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zoobyshoe
@zooby,- Paul had the equivalent of a secular university education - but he dictated most of his texts for somebody else to write down, and like most people, when he gets excited talking about something, his spoken grammar tends to fall apart a bit.
Ah, thanks. The person who told me his Greek wasn't very good said it with an air of such distain that it sounded like Paul spoke some sort of street pidgin Greek.

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Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Without getting into a theological discussion of the Holy Spirit, if there were a rule of English grammar that inanimate objects could not think its own thoughts, how could 'Tommy the Tank Engine' have been written?

Grammar only concerns itself with the correct usage of the language. Physics and metaphysics are left for other disciplines.

Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Grammar also does not preclude one from constructing grammatically correct but otherwise totally non-sensical sentences.

zoobyshoe
Grammar also does not preclude one from constructing grammatically correct but otherwise totally non-sensical sentences.

Regard the brindled security hovering like a quinine teleprompter under the paleolithic kiss of the swooning schwinn.

Gold Member
inanimate object thinking its own thoughts? I am going over this bible verse which states the following: "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith"
I am reading "the hope of righteousness" like the word "righteousness" is actually "hoping" for something. --But doesn't that violate some grammar rule? That is to say, can a "state of being" think its own thought (according to grammar I mean) ? Like I said im probably not explaining it very well, but hopefully this makes enough sense for someone to clue me in..
also, iyo, is that a completely convoluted way to read that sentence? thanks for any help

I think the author meant that they (whoever his "we" is, the congregation perhaps) hope they be righteous (living a pure life) by having faith in the Holy Spirit to guide them. Basically, the point is that living a pure life is the carrot, not the work you do for the carrot.

That's what I got from the Puritan writings in my American Lit class, anyway.

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[From: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3102#comic]

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No, I don't have a source. But how are you going to correct Shakespeare or Jane Austen - you may as well "correct" Beethoven. The point is that these are acknowledged as great works of English literature. Funnily though, I just googled "Jane Austen grammatical errors", and found a suggestion that she wasn't very good http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130838304 !

I'm not trying to correct any of them simply responding to your claim that if something is in this particular version of the bible it is correct English by definition. I assumed you'd be able to link to some well established aspect of the study of English language that showed how influential this version was over subsequent English language conventions. I've never heard such a thing and it sounds like a very outlandish statement given that English is a language that not only constantly changes through time but has different rules depending on which English speaking country you were in.

Literally, Ryan is correct. However, there is a caveat that has nothing to do with correcting great works of English literature. And in this context, atty's interpretation that the KJV is correct by definition would be closer to the truth in a practical sense - at least at the time the KJV was written.

It comes down to how do you transport a "standard" to people that need to use that standard in the everyday world.

For example, you can take a lump of something and say "This is officially one pound." Then you can lock that up in a nice dry environment where it never changes and you have an unchanging standard for a pound that all other measurements of one pound can be compared to. Except your official pound is locked up in some room in London, while what you need to measure is in Pondicherry, India.

Obviously, you need to take some other lumps of stuff, compare them to the official pound, and then transport the replicas of the official pound around the world so that the standard is available to everyone. Since tiny pieces might get nicked off by unmotivated luggage handlers, the replicas might not be perfect pounds, but they're close enough for government work. But, more importantly, the replica located in Pondicherry (or Peoria, or Plattsmouth) is, by definition, one pound in Pondicherry (or Peoria, Plattsmouth, etc).

If you're transporting a standard for grammar, your task is more difficult in some ways, but easier in others.

You could send the "official" rules of grammar via a big book to locations all over the world. You'd have the benefit that it's easier to transport a perfect replica of words than it is to transport a perfect replica of matter. You'd have the disadvantage of the shipping costs being expensive for a book one person in the town might read - only to have that person become so annoying to the other townspeople that he winds up drawn and quartered and the official book of grammar burnt in the town square.

Using the KJV of the bible as the practical standard was the perfect solution. Because of its cultural importance to the times, there was a lot of effort to make sure the translation wasn't a flawed product, whether due to bad translation or due to sloppy grammer/spelling, etc. At one time, this was the one book almost certainly to be available in any town that was sure to have nearly perfect grammar (with any mistakes being so obscure that even the experts didn't notice them at the time).

So, in practice, if you lived in Pondicherry or Peoria or Papillon, the KJV of the bible was, by definition, the rules of grammar in your town, since that was the best quality standard you had to measure everyone else's grammar by. And you didn't even have to ship it since so many people would bring their own copy with them when they moved.

But that's not really the same as the KJV of the bible being correct English grammar by definition no more than it would be to say the many replicas of the standard pound were, by definition, the one true pound every other pound was measured against - especially when language has a tendency to change over time.

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Homework Helper
I'm sure it's just a matter of the translation. No one speaks King James era English anymore and, I'm told, Paul didn't write very well in Greek. So, your best bet is probably to cut out the King James middle-man, get hold of the best extant ancient Greek version of Paul's Epistles, and find a scholar of ancient Greek with some specialty in the bastardized Greek spoken in the far flung provinces of the Roman Empire.

Since it's a translation from Greek , it doesn't make much sense to try to understand it apart from the original Greek grammar.

First off, your quote is taken out of context, because the translators chopped up one piece of Greek into three separate sentences in English, and your quote is the third one. (I say "piece" rather than "sentence", because the original greek text didn't have any punctuation - but since the construction "on the one hand this, but on the other hand that" is very common in Greek, it's clear enough that your quote is the "on the other hand that" part of the original sentence.

As for the English grammar, "hope of righteousness by faith" is no different grammatically from say "hope of passing an exam". it's not the exam that is doing the hoping. and in both examples, the "hope" is about what might happen to the hoper (hopee?} in future.

@zooby,- Paul had the equivalent of a secular university education - but he dictated most of his texts for somebody else to write down, and like most people, when he gets excited talking about something, his spoken grammar tends to fall apart a bit.

There is always a problem when translating texts from one language to another and I would imagine those problems would only be amplified when tasked to translate what was considered to be the most important document to the Christian religion. Do you make sure your translation conveys the meaning accurately, even though that may mean changing the words? Or do you faithfully translate each word regardless of whether or not those words will make sense in the translated language? Or something in between?

Obviously, at least part of the convoluted wording is due to translators being a bit intimidated and doing their best to avoid reinterpreting the bible from their own personal point of view. But at least they made sure that, however convoluted the wording might be, it was at least grammatically correct and all the words spelled correctly.