Where are the…

…people? The square was empty, giving me the sinking feeling that the revolution will not be realised.


With this week’s opening phrase for the Two Phrase Story #41 prescribed by Dr H, I was initially feeling a little uninspired (it’s me, not you Dr H) and my creativity was stifled somewhat with the realisation that I had no clue what a ‘phrase’ meant (in the grammatical sense, not in the common English understanding). So, I kept second guessing every attempt I made. Following further consultation with Dr H, I decided to throw rules out the window and proceeded as before, in blissful ignorance. Grammar? Pff…grammar is optional in my book. It all fell together when I heard Gil Scott-Heron’s The Revolution Will Not be Televised on random play this morning- pretty apt YouTube clip I found for it too πŸ™‚

Re: grammar- okay, I really do care and it is bugging me, so if you have a good grasp of grammar and can explain it in plain English, please let me know your thoughts on what constitutes a ‘phrase’. I think I have probably added 3 more phrases to the prompt.


37 thoughts on “Revolt

  1. Well Mek, you’ve written two sentences that can stand alone. A phrase usually cannot stand alone. The only way I’ve taught it is in understanding a prepositional phrase (e.g., under the table). Still, I think we don’t need all these rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. there is the strict grammar meaning of the word phrase, which is not really necessary to apply in such situations (a group of words in a sentence that don’t form a complete thought, yet have a conceptual unity, e.g. …., hidden beneath the bed,… or …like the sun above them…). in a broader sense a phrase is some string of words that have a conceptual unity which can either stand alone (“to each his own”) or require more words to create complete sentence (thought). [to confuse matters, one can have a phrase that is composed of a number of smaller phrases.]

    Someone mentioned above you have two sentences – the trick: use a semi-colon. “…people?; the square was empty,…” Now you have two phrases in one sentence. Ta da!

    Great story any which way. The video added a really nice extra layer — for me at least: it isn’t enough to show up to a rally and cheer someone; people need to get out and gather ‘in the square’ to demand change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay proper reply. I probably timed this wrong cause now it is almost my bedtime, so that coffee I had hours ago isn’t going to help me now. Yes! I like your explanation of ‘conceptual unity’. It brings me closer to understanding and then I blink and it’s gone. I love semi-colon’s! I think I’ll have to employ them for more than just listing things; in which case this can be two phrases in the one sentence? haha

      Thank you, and so glad you saw the clip too- I thought it was great. The political process in the USA is very different to here- we don’t have those kind of rallys- are they conventions of members of the party? People don’t really revere politicians here either- I think we have a bit more of a cynical view of politicians, but still, there are sheeples who will believe whatever is put in the papers or on TV in support of the very politicians who despise them. What I have always wanted to know is- how is it that lower socio-economic groups align with conservative parties that tend to just be mouth pieces for corporations and banks? *sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It may be the kind of understanding that cannot grasped and held onto, the kind that is gone with a blink of the eye, is the understanding worth pursuing. When one gets down to it, language is a mystery, slipping through our fingers, more said in the gaps between words…grammar gives us a sense of, the illusion of, control. All we are doing is placing arbitrary and sometimes capricious rules on the desire for utterance, using language to describe and understand language.

        The rallies, of the type both Sanders and Trump have, are for just citizens to show up and get pumped. There’s a whole book worth in the delving into the dynamics of these events. In some ways they are no different than the crowds who show up for a football match or in the case of hockey, gathering to see a fight and having a hockey game break out. In other ways, they are much different than a sports crowd, for they are seeking validation for their beliefs, seeking someone to who can be a leader, seeking a solution to the problems they feel they are enduring. In some ways they are conventions in that the candidates seek to fill the seats with only those who support the candidate (as opposed to what would be referred to as a town hall meeting where those who support and don’t support, and those who are undecided, gather to meet the candidate).

        The actual national party conventions (the states have their conventions but those are almost never covered in the news) will happen this presidential year in July.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for such a considered reply. Yes- that slippery knowledge that gets away if you try to grip it, instead requiring a fine balance between holding it and letting it permeate into your thoughts and stay for a while. I am not sure if you were asking whether that understanding is worth pursuing (with a ‘?’ missing) or saying that it is the kind of understanding that is worth pursuing. I think the latter-thoughts about time, consciousness, death, whether life is an illusion fall into that realm of not really being able to form a concrete position on it. Well- I guess religion or ideology allows some people to form a rigid position on those things.

        Thanks for explaining the conventions. Reminds me of Life of Brian haha. All that does is promote group think. Whoever is elected is meant to represent the whole population and consider a range of needs to form their policy, so surrounding themselves with only their fan base is going to exclude a lot of people…

        We have an election coming up in July too- an early one, which may lead to the I think the 6th prime minister in 6 years. It is a bit of a joke really.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Erg. I hate it when one writes a long comment and just before hitting the post button, a slip of the finger causes one to lose it all. So let me just say, yes it is the latter, that you hit the nail on the head:” thoughts about time, consciousness, death, whether life is an illusion fall into that realm of not really being able to form a concrete position on it.” I would add love and our sense of self, this thing I call “I” to the list.

        Moreover, you are right on about that “religion or ideology allows some people to form a rigid position on those things.” People don’t want to have to stand on less than solid ground. They don’t want doubt and all the messiness it brings, which is why they repel from many forms of art for it does not give them that solid ground their priests and politicians and marketing companies give them. Albert Camus wrote: If life was clear, we wouldn’t need art. Art arises from our quest to approach some truth or truths about our condition, rather than providing the Truth.

        One of the great scenes regarding group think:

        Brian: Look, you’ve got it all wrong! You don’t need to follow me. You don’t need to follow anybody! You’ve got to think for yourselves! You’re all individuals!
        Crowd: [in unison] Yes! We’re all individuals!
        Brian: You’re all different!
        Crowd: [in unison] Yes, we are all different!
        Man in crowd: I’m not…
        Crowd: Shhh!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I feel your pain. That happens to me so much that for a MOOC’s course I’m doing at the moment, I write all my comments in word first before posting. Then have to cull to 1200 characters which is very painful, considering a space counts as a character. Yes, love and ‘I’ too. It is so hard to even begin to define either, although I did come across a really good definition of love in The Road Less Traveled “…the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” Not romantic, but then love usually has nothign to do with romance. I love the Camus quote! Yes- great scene from Life of Brian. I’ve really enjoyed our chats here and on the other post, thanks πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Okay, I don’t think I articulated that well about supporters of the conservative parties. I’ll try again- how is it possible that the very people who conservatives destroy with cuts to health care, welfare, job opportunities, education make up the numbers of those who vote them in? Tell people the election is all about some big scary foreign threat to your way of life or your job and blind them to what you are actually doing to. Okay; the end. Un-necessary semicolon? ;

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You articulated it well enough. It is something that has people such as myself in this country scratching our heads for quite sometime, although there are a number of variables that do help explain it. One key reason are the “single-issue” voter. Whether it gun rights or abortion or the military, they vote for the candidate and the party that is best aligned with their view on that single issue. For example, it doesn’t matter if the candidate / party is pro-corporate as long as they are also seeking to end abortion rights. Another is party loyalty. There are those who vote Democrat or Republican not only because they have always done so, but also because their parents and their grand-parents had always voted for that party.

        Usually no matter what facet looks at to explain the voting against one’s own interest, it comes down to ignorance, or more to the point a lack of a quality education. This is not a view implying that the more formal education the better, especially because our education system in this country is broken and in many ways perpetuate the views that make it possible for people to vote against their interest, to believe the lies rained down upon them by both the politicians and the corporations.

        What is not taught is critical thinking. What is not taught is how to see the nuances, to facilitate an appreciation for the nuances, the beauty of grey, preferring instead a black and white view. What is not taught is how to question, how to hold doubt while at the same time holding onto one’s convictions. One doesn’t need to go to school to learn this, especially when the schools are not only not teaching it, they are actively attempting to stomp it out of the kids. In America, more than all of the other developed countries, there exists an anti-intellectualism that flows through the body politic like a virus.

        Of course it all so more complicated than what I wrote.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agree on every point you have made. They are smart to hype up those single issues and then pull one over people like the transpacific trade agreement when no one is looking and media is not reporting on it. There was an article I read some years back on why the poor vote for the Republicans- pretty much the points you made as well as the appeal to people’s ‘morals’. Critical thinking is definitely missing in education. We are kinda talking about the same thing across two comment threads- that idea of sitting with uncertainty and being okay with it. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Mek

    A contribution to your debate on grammar!

    Extracts from a newspaper comment by Christopher Hitchins:

    “I must be one of the last people alive who had to sit for hours doing parsing and analysis of English sentences. It has never been any use to me at all, and I make my living by writing.”

    “English is not Latin, and its beautiful, flexible, living architecture is best learned by being read to, and then by reading. Yet many children are never learn to read properly and are never read to. This is what schools should be doing, not pestering the poor things with wearisome fronted adverbials and dreary trigraphs. You might as well try to explain the beauty of a goldfinch by killing it, pickling it and cutting it up on a slab – when all you need to do is see the lovely bird in flight, full of grace and truth.”

    This appeals to me. For most of my working life I was an interior designer. The designer in me sees an architectural process in creative writing. You start with an idea, you assemble all the elements, you experiment. Then if it looks good (or in the case of creative writing: sounds good) it usually is. To continue the analogy; an architectural technician would approach a project from the other end, consider the construction first and thus end up with a safe but boring result.

    Of course my opinion is based on the fact that I have a very minimal understanding of the technicalities of grammar. I scraped an O Level English, and when I was nine years old won a composition competition run by Cadburys Chocolate and received a certificate and a silver foil wrapped Easter egg. But I read a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sandy. Thankyou so much for adding to this discussion. First question that popped into my mind- was it grammar that made Hitchens lose his religion? haha.

      Seriously though- I totally agree with his words in that quote. Much of the English I have learnt has been through reading- I always had my head buried in a book as a kid. Reading is a huge part of the time I share with my son- we have so much fun (okay, I do) usually going to the library once a week or fortnight to get a stack of books. He loves stories, and now that he can express himself, it is really rewarding to see him articulating ideas or words he got from the books we read. He is just shy of 2 btw (insert emoji of proud mum!). That is a great analogy you draw between the organic process of interior design and the more structured technical discipline of architectural design to learn by reading vs. learn by rules of grammar. Was it Willy Wonka who presented you with the prize? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Way before Willy Wonka, I’m sad to say! Reading to kids is so important. More so in this technogical age. I used to read bedtime stories to my daughter and now she does the same with my grandchildren.


  4. I LOVE Robert’s answer!! The only thing that comes to mind at nearly midnight, is that a phrase is embraced/separated by commas on both ends….it’s not a complete sentence, but might be a complete thought tucked within the sentence. Times like this, I wish my brilliant high school English teacher were still alive–Now, he would have the correct answer…and you’d best be taking notes! He was so old-school, he wore bow ties–I adored him, mostly because he was the first person of serious and legitimate merit to tell me I had a ‘gift’. Somehow, I believed him–and the rest is unfinished history πŸ™‚ I have some textbooks on my shelf–if I find the “old” definition of “phrase”, I’ll be back πŸ™‚


Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s