English as a Second Language/Please have a look


QUESTION: "Cannibals kill, skin, cook, and eat humans as what butchers do to poultry."
In your previous answer, you said it's "not making sense".

But another expert, Shannon Cole, thinks otherwise, see  http://www.allexperts.com/user.cgi?m=6&catID=1815&expID=120034&qID=5054260

Can you explain why it's not making sense?

ANSWER: Matthew,

I think it's an excellent idea that you have asked other experts on this page the same question. Perhaps you can also ask for a third or a fourth option. I am not sure how many other ESL experts are here, but I am sure they will all be willing to help clarify this important matter for you.

As far as why it's not making sense to me ... it simply doesn't make sense. I have actually asked a bunch of other people to give me their opinion on this (native and non-native speakers) and almost everyone agreed with me - they were unable to understand what you were trying to say. The one person who "got" the meaning said it was an awkward sentence, one that she wouldn't consider using. She also question the correctness of the sentence.

First of all "what" has no place in this sentence in my opinion; also "butchers do to poultry" has no "equivalent" so to say in the first part of the sentence.

I am sorry to tell you that I have run out of options in trying to clarify this issue for you.

Looking forward to more of your questions.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Please have a look at http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20131120221147AAPTDm3
All five respondents can understand it, although two deem the analogy between cannibals and butchers improper.
You may ask your "bunch of other people" to leave a message on the page. Do you think no consensus can be reached?


I can not ask the people I inquired about your sentence to leave messages on your yahoo question and answer page - it would be unprofessional of me, not to mention it would be beyond the purpose of this website.

Also, you have asked me for an opinion, and I have shared with you my point of view. I honestly don't know if you can reach a consensus given than I am not sharing the opinion of the people who answered your question on yahoo.

The only one answer you have received on yahoo that I'd agree with is this:

"Cannibals kill, skin, cook, and eat humans just as butchers would poultry."

With this in mind, I apologize to you in advance but this is one follow up too many and I'd like to consider this topic closed as far as I am concerned.

Feel free to ask me other questions in the future, but as far as the eliptic constructions are concerned I have pretty much no other resources to share with you and no other answers aside from those I have already provided you with. I can only suggest one more thing - which I think you have already done: ask the other experts on this page about their take on this topic.


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Amy Baker


I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.


I'm a certified ESL teacher with 12 years of experience teaching K-12 and adults.

BSc MEd TESL post grad program for k-12 TESL post grad program for adult ed

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