James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher

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"James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher" é uma frase na língua inglesa usada como exemplo para frisar a importância da pontuação. Apesar de gramaticalmente correta, a ausência de pontos, vírgulas, ponto-e-vírgulas e aspas torna o significado desta construção ambíguo.[1] [2] [3] [4]

A frase situa três personagens: dois alunos e um professor. Um dos alunos, John, usa o termo "had" em uma oração, enquanto o outro, James, vale-se de "had had", que seria um termo mais apropriado para a sentença em questão. O feito de John gera um maior apreço por parte do professor.

Se escrita com a correta pontuação e conforme seu sentido original, a frase ficaria:
"James, while John had had "had", had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher"
Se, ainda de acordo com esse sentido, a frase fosse traduzida para o português, ficaria:
"James, enquanto John tinha usado "had", usara "had had"; "had had" teria causado uma melhor impressão no professor"

Referências

  1. Magonet, Jonathan (2004). A rabbi reads the Bible 2nd ed. SCM-Canterbury Press [S.l.] p. 19. ISBN 978-0-334-02952-6. Consultado em 2009-04-30. «You may remember an old classroom test in English language. What punctuation marks do you have to add to this sentence so as to make sense of it?» 
  2. Dundes, Alan; Pagter, Carl R. (1987). When you're up to your ass in alligators: more urban folklore from the paperwork empire Illustrated ed. Wayne State University Press [S.l.] p. 135. ISBN 0-8143-1867-3. Consultado em 2009-04-30. «The object of this and similar tests is to make sense of a series of words by figuring out the correct intonation pattern.» 
  3. Hudson, Grover (1999). Essential introductory linguistics Wiley-Blackwell [S.l.] p. 372. ISBN 0-631-20304-4. Consultado em 2009-04-30. «Writing is secondary to speech, in history and in the fact that speech and not writing is fundamental to the human species.» 
  4. van de Velde, Roger G. (1992). Text and thinking: on some roles of thinking in text interpretation Illustrated ed. Walter de Gruyter [S.l.] p. 43. ISBN 3-11-013250-8. Consultado em 2009-04-30. «In scanning across lines, readers also make use of the information parts carried along with the punctuation markes: a period, a dash, a colon, a semicolon or a comma may signal different degrees of integration/separation between the groupings.» 

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