Postby jiang on Fri May 15, 2015 10:35 am

Dear Prof.,

Please read the following:
Uncle Karl supposes that when the boys take their families to Ocean City for the holidays they’ll fly in Autogiros. Their mother, sitting in the middle of the front seat like Magda in the second, only with her arms on the seat-back behind the men’s shoulders, wouldn’t want the good old days back again, the steaming trains and stuffy long dresses; on the other hand she can do without Autogiros, too if she has to become a grandmother to fly in them.

My question is: What does “if she has to become a grandmother to fly in them” Mean? “Them” should refer to Autogiros. Then it doesn’t make sense to say “she can do without Autogiros, too if she has to become a grandmother to fly in Autogiros”.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.

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Re: comprehension

Postby prof on Sun May 17, 2015 11:28 pm

First of all, we had better explain what an autogiro is. It is a sort of cross between a helicopter and and aeroplane which was developed in the 1920s.

For the mother, the autogiro is a great invention. When she was young it was all steam trains and long dresses. However, times have moved on since then and she has become older. While the autogiros are good, they do not make up for being old.

She would not want to be old in a world without autogiros. But if she had a choice of not being old and there being no autogiros, or being old in a world with autogiros, she would choose to be young.

In other words she can do without autogiros if she has to be a grandmother to fly in them. (Incidentally, the comma should come after 'too' and not before it. )
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