Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Feb 11, 2018.
Yes, complete sentences will usually make the meaning clear.
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No, that gets the meaning actually wrong.
He is not referring to himself as an American like other Americans, but as a particular kind of American different from other kinds of Americans.
Those two specify some, not all, Americans. "Americans, like me" refers to them all, and the author being among them all.
Also, it's possible those two would be inaccurate - that the essay intends to describe the kind of American the author is directly, and not via their take on things.
It's invented to pair with the word "subordinate", hence the quotes.
Commas are often used to set off subordinate clauses, but headlines lack the space for the rest of the sentence - the part the subordinate clause, if that's what it is, is subordinate to. I just used "sub ordinate" to refer to that missing context, the source of the muddle. Sorry about that.
That was the default read in an NYT essay.
There is a possibility (yet another reading) that he is not American but is talking about Americans who are like him. But that would be unlikely - an odd read, and a headline writer's mistake - in the NYT letter's page.
A slightly worse (in my opinion) ambiguity - there's no clear default read between all Americans (he's one of them) and only some Americans (the ones who resemble him somehow). Judgment call; ymmv.
I think that was the point
i beleive the debatable specificity is "whom".
While it may be arguementative it actuates the definition beyond doubt.
"Americans whom like me" (they like me)
"Americans like me" (they are like me)
Technically because you are talking about a group, the 'whom' is not as correct by some interpretations.
Media Love ambiguity in headlines when it sells more clicks
Separate names with a comma.