0

I was reading How to Solve It by George Polya when the sentence bellow confused me:

It may happen that a student hits upon an exceptionally bright idea and jumping all preparations blurts out with the solution.

I don't understand the function of the three words in bold, and it seems that that three words just mess up the whole sentence.

I thought I am missing something.

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Andrew, Nathan Tuggy, Varun Nair, shin Mar 4 at 4:40

  • This question does not appear to be about learning the English language within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Your cited text isn't really idiomatic (George Polya wasn't a native Anglophone, as you probably know). His jumping is a non-standard alternative to more natural terms such as by-passing, skipping, dispensing with. His use of preparations is also very "odd" here. I assume he means the simple logical (preparatory) steps that ineluctably lead to an answer or proof, as in a maths test where you might be required to show your "working out" steps rather than just an actual numerical answer. Finally, he shouldn't have included with after blurts out. – FumbleFingers Feb 27 at 17:04
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about an example of natural use of English. – FumbleFingers Feb 27 at 17:06
  • I agree with FumbleFingers that the sentence is not idiomatic English, although I only really have a problem with the with after blurts out. Jumping could be viewed as a personal slang of skipping. – Andrew Feb 27 at 17:12
  • 1
    @JeffMorrow: what do you find to be misplaced about the participial phrase? I would mark it off with commas, but otherwise find nothing at all wrong with its syntax. – Colin Fine Feb 27 at 18:36
  • 1
    @JeffMorrow. I see. I don't agree. "Jumping..." is after "and", and so is part of the predicate "blurts out [with] the solution". I don't see it as modifying the subject "student", but the predicate. – Colin Fine Feb 28 at 0:01
1

This is not idiomatic. However, if you replace jumping with its synonym[1] skipping, it becomes idiomatic. Alternatively, make it jumping over and it might not be how most native speakers would say it, but it would be understandable. This defect is not entirely surprising given that Polya was not a native English-speaker, and probably didn't even work mainly in the English language until late middle age.

What he means is that the student manages, through some stroke of inspiration, to see the solution without taking the expected steps of reasoning from the problem statement to the answer. As such, preparations isn't the best choice of word either, but his meaning is reasonably clear if you know the subject and the language well enough to figure out what he meant.


[1]: Bearing in mind that synonyms are frequently not entirely identical in meaning.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.