Friday, December 11, 2009

A Clarification on Clarify

In Standard English (StdE), the verb clarify is a transitive verb, meaning that it has the pattern ‘someone clarifies something’, or Subject-Verb-Object.

In Singapore English (SgE), however, clarify is usually intransitive, meaning it does not take an object.  We see this very clearly in the above example, taken from a letter explaining overcrowding on the trains:

We hope this clarifies, and thank Dr Lim for his feedback

In StdE, the first half of the sentence might have read: We hope this clarifies the matter.

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