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max0_11
Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2:03:01 AM
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Joined: 5/8/2012
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Location: Hong Kong
hey guys,

I need a bit of help here with the following sentence.

10) The dinner yesterday in the Sweet 19 restaurant with grilled seafood was a delightful occasion.

This sentence is okay from the view of functional grammar but it is not acceptable from a prescriptive perspective so would anyone can help point out what's wrong and suggest the write answer.

Thanks a bunch in advance.
excaelis
Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2:36:29 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2010
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
You mean it's ugly ? It is rather maladroit so " Yesterday's seafood dinner at Sweet 19 was delightful." Briefer, and contains all the information from the original. To break it down a little...

One has dinner 'at' not in a restaurant. There's no need to say it's a restaurant ; one rarely eats dinner at a bus stop. The dinner was seafood, not 'with seafood' ; that would imply that the bulk of the dinner was something else but that there was some fish hanging about somewhere. Just delightful ; there's no real need for ' occasion '.
mister_moon
Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 3:26:28 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 8/28/2012
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Location: United Kingdom
the seafood dinner...was delightful would emphasise that the dinner itself was delightful, ...was a delightful occasion emphasises that the whole time you spent there was delightful including not only the dinner but the company, the ambiance of the restaurant, and so on.

I think it is an interesting side-point that actually the phrases eat in a restaurant and eat at a restaurant do not really start to come into the language until the 1860's. Until the mid 1920's both phrases are used very sparsely, but in roughly equal measure. After this eat in... gains increasingly in popularity until the new century when the phrases start to come towards parity again.

However, once you say eat in [name of restaurant] you can't find it, eat at [name of restaurant] is the ONLY phrase used.
excaelis
Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 3:45:24 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/30/2010
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I might argue that given the tone of the sentence as a whole 'dinner' would include the entire event. "Thanks for a lovely dinner', for example, would seem to me a comment that includes the entirety of the occasion.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 6:52:33 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I don't know what "prescriptive grammar" rules are violated by the sentence.

It does make sense, however (to paraphrase what excaelis says) it is unwieldy and sounds 'odd'.

The thing that I see which might help (without changing the words) would be to put the adverbial 'yesterday' with the verb and the adjectival phrases with the noun.

The dinner in the Sweet 19 restaurant with grilled seafood yesterday was a delightful occasion.

However (even if this does handle the prescriptive grammar error - and I'm not certain that it does) it is still awful to my 'ear'.

"Yesterday's grilled seafood dinner at the Sweet 19 restaurant was a delightful occasion." sounds better (in case the grilling and the 'occasion' are vital to your meaning).
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