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I wrote the following sentence

However much I know this is not the right way to approach a girl, especially when you just met her, knowing nothing about her and she knowing nothing about you for that matter.

I believe this sentence is correct, but again when I scrutinize this sentence with an editor's eye, I thing there is some problem lying with "she", marked in bold in the quoted sentence.

Another question - Is my use of "for that matter" correct?

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    This doesn’t really seem like a sentence to me. The word “she” is correct (“she” is the subject of the clause “she . . . you”), but as its written the sentence leaves me expecting a statement to contrast with everything you’ve written after “however”. – Tyler James Young May 14 '14 at 15:43
  • That's a perfectly valid sentence. I actually love it. Using two gerund clauses as adverbs. It's beautiful prose. – Michael Brown May 14 '14 at 19:52
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In your example, the sentence in question does not appear to be a complete thought.

However much I know this is not the right way to approach a girl, (especially when you just met her -- knowing nothing about her and she knowing nothing about you for that matter,) ...

The 'knowing nothing about her and she knowing nothing about you for that matter' is a continuation of the parenthetical thought 'especially when you just met her.' The 'However much I know...' phrase begs for completion. For instance:

However much I know this is not the right way to approach a girl, (parenthetical thought here,) I just had to walk up to her and tell her I would marry her one day.

As an alternative to this rather long and complex sentence structure, might I suggest the following:

However much I know this is not the right way to approach a girl, having just met her, knowing nothing about her and she nothing about me, I snuck up behind her and licked her neck.

HTH

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  • It appears the speaker is giving advice to a listener hence the change in person. – Michael Brown May 14 '14 at 23:28
  • @MikeBrown - Reasonable explanation, I've fixed the answer to reflect it. Thanks! – MrWonderful May 15 '14 at 2:29
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    Maybe put a comma after however much I know? That probably fixes the tension created, but it changes the meaning of the sentence... – jimsug May 15 '14 at 2:35
  • @jimsug - I agree. That's why I assumed the sentence was incomplete as written. – MrWonderful May 15 '14 at 2:56
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This is how I would like to rephrase your sentence with similar words :

No matter how much I know about this , it is not the right way to approach a girl , especially since you just met her , knowing nothing about her and vice versa.

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    Neither colons nor commas are preceded by spaces in English. – Tyler James Young May 14 '14 at 15:20
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    As with most things, the “rules” are really conventions that rule by way of widespread agreement. You may have even noticed the local version of this agreement, which is currently featured in the Community Bulletin near the top of the right sidebar. We are especially sensitive to these conventions in this community, as one of our presumed goals is to guide learners of English to write and speak in ways that will garner them the most acceptance among current speakers. – Tyler James Young May 14 '14 at 15:32
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    By your own account, your personal opinion/sensibilities surrounding spacing has resulted in many people attempting to correct you. While this may be a war you are willing to wage, it conflicts with guidelines that English learners should probably follow (and may already struggle with), as well as our intention to present a consistent aesthetic. I am sincerely sympathetic to your desire to question and reform conventions to suit modern needs, but I don’t think this is the place. Regardless, your posts will inevitably be “corrected” by well-meaning community members who see them as ELL errors. – Tyler James Young May 14 '14 at 15:40
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    @Invoker Actually, there are several. Think of it as 'different coding standards for different languages.' This site: garbl.home.comcast.net/~garbl/stylemanual could be used as your 'coding standards' document and this page: englishclub.com/writing/punctuation-comma.htm as a guide for the 'comma-spacing' case in question. HTH – MrWonderful May 14 '14 at 15:41
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    Oh well.. since you emphasize it so much I think its time to change for the best, but arghhh this habit of mine will take some time to be rectified. Anyways, thanks for the enlightenment! – Invoker May 14 '14 at 15:43
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It's not a good sentence because it lacks an independent clause. Neither "However much I know this is not the right way to approach a girl" nor "Especially when you just met her, knowing nothing about her and she knowing nothing about you for that matter" is a complete sentence on its own. Additionally, the phrase "knowing nothing about her and she knowing nothing about you" is not parallel. You should say "you knowing nothing about her and she knowing nothing about you." The phrase "for that matter" is unnecessary.

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Truthfully, I think you have constructed a beautiful sentence. The use of the two gerund clauses as adverbs flow very nicely.

Let's deconstruct

However much I know this is not the right way to approach a girl

this is your main clause. In and of itself, it forms a complete thought.

, especially when you just met her,

This is adverbial to your main clause (this is not the right way, especially when you just met her)

knowing nothing about her and she knowing nothing about you for that matter.

And this is the coup de grace... knowing nothing about her and she knowing nothing about you

Those are gerunds used as adverb and they flow perfectly. This is a very advanced sentence structure that many native speakers don't master. There is nothing wrong grammatically with your sentence. I wish there were more writers with your skill.

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  • I was under the impression that the main clause was incomplete. If there were a comma after 'know,' it seems that it would be a complete sentence, but otherwise it seems to be lacking a predicate for the 'however much I know.' – MrWonderful May 14 '14 at 22:19
  • However much I know X cannot stand as an independent clause - it's headed by a subordinator, however. – StoneyB on hiatus May 14 '14 at 23:25
  • However much I know, this is not the right way to approach a girl. That's a complete sentence – Michael Brown May 14 '14 at 23:26
  • The comma is optional – Michael Brown May 14 '14 at 23:27
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    @MikeBrown - I can understand how one might do that. Without the optional comma after 'know,' the sentence is ambiguous. – MrWonderful May 15 '14 at 3:03

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