Discussion:
His meeting
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Paul Carmichael
2017-10-12 13:28:18 UTC
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I just wrote "prior to his meeting with the patient" meaning "before he meets with the
patient", but then realised that it might be read as "before the meeting with the patient
takes place".

How would you all interpret it? Does it matter?

I wouldn't refer to a medical appointment as a meeting.
--
Paul.

https://paulc.es/
https://asetrad.org
Richard Tobin
2017-10-12 13:48:17 UTC
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Post by Paul Carmichael
I just wrote "prior to his meeting with the patient" meaning "before
he meets with the patient", but then realised that it might be read
as "before the meeting with the patient takes place".
How would you all interpret it? Does it matter?
It's one of those ambiguities that doesn't matter because it means the
same thing. But why didn't you just say "before he meets [with] the
patient"?

-- Richard
Tony Cooper
2017-10-12 15:28:12 UTC
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On Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:28:18 +0200, Paul Carmichael
Post by Paul Carmichael
I just wrote "prior to his meeting with the patient" meaning "before he meets with the
patient", but then realised that it might be read as "before the meeting with the patient
takes place".
How would you all interpret it? Does it matter?
I wouldn't refer to a medical appointment as a meeting.
In the US, most of us have "appointments" with our doctors. I have
one this afternoon at 2:45, but I will probably be seen by the doctor
between 3:00 and 3:15.

The above refers to planned visits. If we go to a clinic or to the
Emergency room, we are seen in order of arrival or in order of the
seriousness of the problem.

If "Doc Martin" and other TV shows set in the UK represent the way
things are done in the UK, doctor visits are in order of arrival or in
order of seriousness of the problem.
--
Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
Peter Duncanson [BrE]
2017-10-12 17:40:28 UTC
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On Thu, 12 Oct 2017 11:28:12 -0400, Tony Cooper
Post by Tony Cooper
On Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:28:18 +0200, Paul Carmichael
Post by Paul Carmichael
I just wrote "prior to his meeting with the patient" meaning "before he meets with the
patient", but then realised that it might be read as "before the meeting with the patient
takes place".
How would you all interpret it? Does it matter?
I wouldn't refer to a medical appointment as a meeting.
In the US, most of us have "appointments" with our doctors. I have
one this afternoon at 2:45, but I will probably be seen by the doctor
between 3:00 and 3:15.
The above refers to planned visits. If we go to a clinic or to the
Emergency room, we are seen in order of arrival or in order of the
seriousness of the problem.
If "Doc Martin" and other TV shows set in the UK represent the way
things are done in the UK, doctor visits are in order of arrival or in
order of seriousness of the problem.
That is not necessarily typical. The doctor I use is one of a group of
five. Appointments are needed to see a doctor. Routine appointments are
booked a few days in advance. If someone has an urgent need a doctor
will see them the same day. Just once I've seen a patient walk in off
the street without an appointment. He was obviously unwell. One of the
receptionists seemed to recognise him and leapt up from behind the desk
and ran to help him. A couple of other staff joined her. He was taken
into a nurse's room. Some minutes later an ambulance arrived and took
him away. I didn't notice whether a doctor was involved.
That is the only instance I know of of someone walking in to that place
for urgent medical help without an appointment.

As the website says: "Consultations are by appointment and can be booked
over the telephone or in person at reception". That refers to
consultations with doctors. There are one or more nurses. For most
services by nurses an appointment is not needed.
--
Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.usage.english)
Cheryl
2017-10-12 16:09:30 UTC
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Post by Paul Carmichael
I just wrote "prior to his meeting with the patient" meaning "before he
meets with the patient", but then realised that it might be read as
"before the meeting with the patient takes place".
How would you all interpret it? Does it matter?
I wouldn't refer to a medical appointment as a meeting.
I wouldn't normally, but the way you said it sounds fine. I think it
would be the normal way to talk of it from the doctor's point of view -
say, a team is discussing a particular case, and they decide how to
proceed prior to the doctor meeting with the patient. Perhaps the doctor
will tell his secretary to set up an appointment; perhaps he will go
down the hall and meet with the patient in the hospital room. Here (and
I expect elsewhere) the patient or a relative can call a family meeting
with the doctor, social worker, nurse, physio, whoever might have
something to contribute. They're called "meetings" even though they
occur at an agreed-on time.
--
Cheryl
Mark Brader
2017-10-12 21:56:15 UTC
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Post by Paul Carmichael
I just wrote "prior to his meeting with the patient" meaning "before
he meets with the patient", but then realised that it might be read
as "before the meeting with the patient takes place".
How would you all interpret it?
Yes, it's ambiguous. To remove the ambiguity, change "his" to "him"
or, if context allows, delete the word altogether.
Post by Paul Carmichael
Does it matter?
Maybe not. Can't tell without further context.
Post by Paul Carmichael
I wouldn't refer to a medical appointment as a meeting.
Neither would I. If it's supposed to be about a medical appointment,
I'd make it "prior to seeing the patient". Unless it means a first
appointment and the important part is that they didn't know each other
before -- then I'd make it "prior to meeting the patient".
--
Mark Brader, Toronto | A driver I know is getting uncomfortably close to
***@vex.net | earning the nickname "Crash". --Lee Ayrton

My text in this article is in the public domain.
Peter Moylan
2017-10-12 22:47:47 UTC
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Post by Paul Carmichael
I just wrote "prior to his meeting with the patient" meaning "before he
meets with the patient", but then realised that it might be read as
"before the meeting with the patient takes place".
How would you all interpret it? Does it matter?
I agree with Richard that it's one of those ambiguities that doesn't
matter. The end result is the same.

The ambiguity would not exist in AusE, by the way. The presence or
absence of "with" would show which meaning was intended. For the first
meaning, we would say "prior to his meeting the patient".
Post by Paul Carmichael
I wouldn't refer to a medical appointment as a meeting.
Neither would I; but a doctor seeing a hospital patient is usually done
without an appointment, as part of the doctor's round. When I read
Paul's sentence, my mind supplied a picture of the doctor having a
discussion with other staff to get the background of the case, or to
discuss treatment options, before the doctor went to see the patient.
--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Richard Tobin
2017-10-12 22:56:14 UTC
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Post by Peter Moylan
Post by Paul Carmichael
I just wrote "prior to his meeting with the patient" meaning "before he
meets with the patient", but then realised that it might be read as
"before the meeting with the patient takes place".
How would you all interpret it? Does it matter?
I agree with Richard that it's one of those ambiguities that doesn't
matter. The end result is the same.
The ambiguity would not exist in AusE, by the way. The presence or
absence of "with" would show which meaning was intended. For the first
meaning, we would say "prior to his meeting the patient".
That would traditionally be true in British English as well.

-- Richard
Stefan Ram
2017-10-12 23:37:32 UTC
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Post by Richard Tobin
Post by Peter Moylan
The ambiguity would not exist in AusE, by the way. The presence or
absence of "with" would show which meaning was intended. For the first
meaning, we would say "prior to his meeting the patient".
That would traditionally be true in British English as well.
Older texts contain a lot of such constructions.

"meeting" + object

[ engagement made of his meeting some of the gentlem] -- Austen - Pride ...
[ her lover, or that her meeting him could cause dis] -- Eliot - The ...
[at all ­ and as for his meeting them in another pla] -- Butler - Ernest ...
[e her an Account of her meeting Adams with him on t] -- Fielding - The ...
[e very last time of its meeting her eye, unadorned ] -- Austen - Emma ...
[ght be no chance of her meeting you, and having a v] -- Hardy - The ...
[hat do you think of her meeting Eldon alone in the ] -- Gissing - Demos ...
[ife consequent upon her meeting Ernest and getting ] -- Butler - Ernest ...
[om the Gentleman of his meeting a wonderful Beauty ] -- Fielding - The ...
[ore when I think of his meeting Ezra." She was sile] -- Eliot - Daniel ...
[t consequences upon his meeting Hayston, under the ] -- Scott - The ...
[tering assurance of his meeting her again. If I fai] -- Smollett - The ...
[the place. One held its meeting at the Swan and Hor] -- Irving - The ...

(for contrast) "meeting with"

[ he had known since his meeting with his father, an] -- Radcliffe - The ...
[ of Miss Mathews on her meeting with Booth, and som] -- Fielding - Amelia ...
[ the Evening before his meeting with Jones ; and co] -- Fielding - The ...
[On the first day of his meeting with Mrs. Baske, he] -- Gissing - The ...
[Protestations, that his meeting with Sophia that Ev] -- Fielding - The ...
[al rupture ­ before her meeting with Jeffrey Aspern] -- James - The ...
[at two o'clock, and her meeting with Eustacia was h] -- Hardy - The ...
[ave heard all about her meeting with that villain J] -- Thackeray - The ...
[d never told her of his meeting with Jemima; so it ] -- Gaskell - Ruth ...
[eferred casually to his meeting with Mr. Denyer tha] -- Gissing - The ...
[fter the details of his meeting with M. Stanislas K] -- James - The ...
[he first minutes of her meeting with Grandcourt: th] -- Eliot - Daniel ...
[he first time after her meeting with the distracted] -- Conrad - Nostromo ...
[mises; and when, in her meeting with him afterwards] -- Eliot - Middlemarch ...
[motions, upon which his meeting with his uncle had ] -- Scott - Quentin ...
[nnot help recalling his meeting with M'liss in the ] -- Harte, Bret - M'Liss
y***@gmail.com
2017-10-16 01:03:59 UTC
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You can meet with someone without "having a meeting." So they don't mean the same thing.

The ambiguity arises from the fact that the "-ing" form of a verb can be either a gerund (a noun) or a present participle (a verbal). Technically, the the gerund, like any noun, would take a personal pronoun ("his"), and a participle would take the accusative form of the pronoun ("him"), since the subject of non-finite verbs and verbals is in the accusative case (just as in Latin).
Paul Carmichael
2017-10-18 10:35:14 UTC
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Post by y***@gmail.com
would take the accusative form of the pronoun ("him"), since the subject of non-finite verbs and verbals is in the
accusative case (just as in Latin).
Are you sure? If he is doing the meeting, he is the subject, no?
--
Paul.

https://paulc.es/
https://asetrad.org
Peter T. Daniels
2017-10-18 12:59:20 UTC
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Post by Paul Carmichael
Post by y***@gmail.com
would take the accusative form of the pronoun ("him"), since the subject of non-finite verbs and verbals is in the
accusative case (just as in Latin).
Are you sure? If he is doing the meeting, he is the subject, no?
Unfortunately no example was offered of what "yanbahd43" was talking about, so
the statement as it stands is inconclusive.

Though she might like to know that English isn't usually said to have an
"accusative" case in its pronouns, but an "objective" case (alongside a
"subjective" and a "possessive").
Jerry Friedman
2017-10-18 17:08:48 UTC
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Post by Paul Carmichael
Post by y***@gmail.com
would take the accusative form of the pronoun ("him"), since the subject of non-finite verbs and verbals is in the
accusative case (just as in Latin).
Are you sure? If he is doing the meeting, he is the subject, no?
Yes (up to disagreements about terminology), but in English the subject
of infinitives is in the objective case (up to disagreements about
terminology).

I want /him/ to meet you.

For /her/ to meet you today would be difficult.

I saw /them/ meet you.

It's not true, though, that the subjects of all English non-finite
verbs are in that case.

/She/ having met you already, no introduction is needed.
--
Jerry Friedman
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