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Twice in one night.

(19 Posts)
cattj Sat 18-Jun-11 21:40:35

Standards are dropping. Twice on the telly tonight...

Odd one in:

"Meet the man who was electrocuted while cooking a barbecue."


"Most high voltage electrocutions are fatal."

soggybottomflancase Tue 21-Jun-11 09:25:13

I've been watching this thread, waiting for someone to reply, I'm a bit thick so you'll have to explain.
ps. did you watch the magic show or national lottery inbetween?

missorinoco Tue 21-Jun-11 09:26:43

Can you show me the error in the second one? It irritates me when I can't work them out. (I need to go back to Lynne Truss' book.)

TrinIsASadSpottyFatRhino Tue 21-Jun-11 09:30:41

doesn't electrocution mean death....

theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Jun-11 09:31:23

well I think these are pretty minor errors! Arguably a barbecue can be correctly used to refer to the meal, not just the grill itself. It's been common in the US to talk about "eating barbecue" for years. (Unless the error is something else?)

And the second one I can't see the error at all.

missorinoco Tue 21-Jun-11 09:32:52

Ah! Thanks.

theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Jun-11 09:33:35

no - electrocution doesn't necessarily mean death.

The OED definition is "death or injury caused by electric shock" (my boldening).

soggybottomflancase Tue 21-Jun-11 09:33:47

"injure or kill with electric shock" in my dictionary (look up in microsoft word)

missorinoco Tue 21-Jun-11 09:33:51

Hehe, I thought the error in the first one was while instead of whilst. Missed the electrocuted part!

TrinIsASadSpottyFatRhino Tue 21-Jun-11 09:37:01

oh ok, I dont know sorry

really shouldn't be in this topic

theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Jun-11 09:37:12

oh I see - the first one is electrocution too!

Sorry OP - you are wrong, electrocution can mean death but can equally correctly mean injury. So the examples you give are perfectly correct usage.

BiscuitNibbler Tue 21-Jun-11 09:48:53

I thought the second one was the tautology? You don't get electrocuted by low voltage, so the use of high voltage is unnecessary.

BiscuitNibbler Tue 21-Jun-11 09:50:15

Just thinking about the first one, how can you be electrocuted using a barbecue? Surely they are charcoal or gas? Or am I missing something?

theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Jun-11 09:53:00

no, it's not tautology, because to make the sentence correct, you need to specify that you are talking solely about high voltage electrocutions.

It wouldn't make sense to say "most electrocutions are fatal" because you can also have low(er) voltage electrocutions, they are just less likely to be fatal.

It's like saying "most high speed car crashes are fatal" - that's not a tautology either.

theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Jun-11 09:54:25

You can have barbecues with electric elements (like a rotisserie spit for eg). Or the barbecue itself could have been incidental - he could have been struck by lightning.

This is immaterial though - the sentence is grammatically and logically correct which is all that matters from a pedantic POV grin

soggybottomflancase Tue 21-Jun-11 09:55:43

The fella was struck by lightening whilst barbequeing.

soggybottomflancase Tue 21-Jun-11 09:56:56

So, I wasn't being thick, there isn't anything wrong with the sentences?

theyoungvisiter Tue 21-Jun-11 10:02:48

No. There's nothing wrong with either sentence.

(Before anyone asks - yes you can get electrocuted - even fatally - by low voltage. It depends on the current and lots of other factors).

soggybottomflancase Tue 21-Jun-11 10:09:34

Volts jolt, amps kill. That's what I remember anyway.

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