0

What does 'human and financial alike' modify in this passage?

human and financial are adjective, so I can infer that an omitted noun is costs, but I am not sure.

The old maxim “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is unfortunate. Adopt this mind­set, and you will be dead sooner and the quality of that (shorter) life will be worse. The elastic band of sleep deprivation can stretch only so far before it snaps. Sadly, human beings are in fact the only species that will deliberately deprive themselves of sleep without legitimate gain. Every component of wellness, and countless seams of societal fabric, are being eroded by our costly state of sleep neglect: human and financial alike. So much so that the World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared a sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialized nations. It is no coincidence that countries where sleep time has declined most dramatically over the past century, such as the US, the UK, Japan, and South Korea, and several in Western Europe, are also those suffering the greatest increase in rates of physical diseases and mental disorders.

Source: Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams By Matthew Walker

-1

The words "human" and "financial" modify the word "cost" in this sentence:

our costly state of sleep neglect: human and financial alike.

Essentially it is saying that sleep neglect has both a human cost and a financial cost. Sleep neglect could lead to some financial cost or loss; but also have a detrimental effect on a person, perhaps on their health.

This is using the wider definition of the word "cost"; namely the effort, loss, or sacrifice necessary to achieve or obtain something.

| improve this answer | |
2

Cost is not a noun present in that sentence, nor anywhere in that quote. The nouns or noun phrases that it might seem to be are:

  • "every component of wellness"
  • "wellness"
  • "countless seams of societal fabric"
  • "societal fabric"
  • "sleep neglect

Phrased like that, it should be the (or a) subject of the principal verb, eroded. Thus, it should be wellness/"every component of wellness", or "societal fabric"/"countless seams of societal fabric", or potentially both. Really, the meaning is sufficiently wooly that it doesn't matter which - it is saying that both human and financial 'components' and/or 'seams' are being eroded by sleep neglect.

| improve this answer | |
  • tl;dr - the paragraph quoted by the OP is a hot mess. – fred2 Mar 29 '19 at 2:12
0

Every component of wellness, and countless seams of societal fabric, are being eroded by our costly state of sleep neglect: human and financial alike.

I'd be inclined to say that "human and financial alike" is post-modifying "our costly state of sleep neglect". It's sleep neglect that is costly in both human and financial terms.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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