1

... like people in cooking school lose fingers and stuff trying to catch knives.

Here is the context https://youtu.be/HkKRWOMMSs8?t=479

Could the sentence be interpreted as

... like people in cooking school lose fingers and stuff while trying to catch knives.

?

1
  • Yes, that is what is meant. Apr 30 '20 at 12:50
1

Yes it could. 'When' would also be a valid alternative.

Both 'when' and 'while' can be omitted only if it is clear who or what the modifying phrase refers to.

In your sentence, 'while' or 'when' is omitted since "trying to catch knives" can be attributed to "people in cooking school". However, this relies somewhat on common sense, since syntactically it could be argued that it is the "stuff" that is trying to catch knives.

This answer presents the perils of omitting 'while' where context (or lack thereof) doesn't allow for easy understanding of the meaning.

3
  • If it was "when", should it be "... like people in cooking school lose fingers and stuff when they try to catch knives" or "... like people in cooking school lose fingers and stuff when they are trying to catch knives"?
    – Sam
    May 2 '20 at 8:24
  • 1
    Both of those options work, and as I mentioned, so does 'when trying'.
    – JMB
    May 2 '20 at 12:32
  • Thank you for the answer. Also, the thread you mentioned is very helpful.
    – Sam
    May 4 '20 at 11:52

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