"Dracula when I saw was the last movie." Why is this sentence wrong?

4

1

I have heard the following answer from native speaker.

The first time when I drove was at driving school.

So I applied that to write a sentence like this.

Dracula when I saw was the latest/last movie.

Is this sentence wrong? If yes, what is wrong and what should be modified?

Carter

Posted 2014-10-30T12:51:34.770

Reputation: 1 153

1Dracula was the latest movie that i saw. - And as a question -'Which is the latest movie that you saw?' – Leo – 2014-10-30T12:53:58.767

2The first time i drove was at the driving school. (when is not needed and 'the' is necessary) – Leo – 2014-10-30T12:55:37.833

1'The last movie I saw was Dracula' to avoid ambiguity of latest not being the recent most in the series. Also, latest has a flair of 'advanced' whereas 'last' talks about the last thing you did! – Maulik V – 2014-10-30T12:55:40.583

@Leo : Would you please modify as quit a bit little or very small? – Carter – 2014-10-30T12:56:46.503

2what do you want me to modify? could u be a bit specific ? – Leo – 2014-10-30T12:59:02.633

@Maulik V : Thanks. That's what am I say. So what do give to you ambiguity? I don't understand what is different between 'The last movie I saw was Dracula' and 'Dracula I saw was the last movie.' – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:03:04.957

@Leo : you totally modify my sentence structure. So I can't recognize what am I wrong. I just want you like Maulik V do. – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:07:06.807

@Maulik V : I have one more question. How about this? The Dracula I saw was last movie. If wrong, please let me know why. – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:10:41.997

@Leo : Which one is more strong have feeling between need and necessary.? – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:13:23.770

2@Leo, I don't agree that "the" is necessary. – Millie Smith – 2014-10-30T16:29:49.593

1@Leo: No, that "the" is awkward and you wouldn't tend to use it. c.f. "I go to school" instead of "I go to the school". – Lightness Races in Orbit – 2014-10-30T17:05:00.123

1indeed it is ! it's awkward that's why it's unnecessary – Leo – 2014-10-30T17:11:44.697

1I'd say that "the" in driving school is optional there: "at driving school" is more time-oriented, like "when I was taking driving school", whereas "at the driving school" is more place-oriented, suggesting a particular location that your driving school was at. – amalloy – 2014-10-30T19:17:50.383

I said the ambiguity of 'the last' and 'the latest'. Hope it's clear now. – Maulik V – 2014-10-31T04:44:42.173

@Maulik V : but how about this sentence ? The first driving was when I was 20 years old. – Carter – 2014-10-31T06:23:12.360

2Why make it complex? When I drove [vehicle] for the very first time, I was 20! OR I was 20, when I drove a vehicle for the very first time. – Maulik V – 2014-10-31T06:45:52.547

@Maulik V : please let me know is this right? 1.The first driving when I was young at 20 years old. 2. The first driving was when I was young at 20 years old. Which one is correct sentence? – Carter – 2014-10-31T07:07:15.570

3I'm sorry. None! Try to understand The first driving is not a good phrase in this context! You got it? – Maulik V – 2014-10-31T07:29:36.093

Let us continue this discussion in chat.

– Carter – 2014-10-31T09:22:30.280

1"My first drive happened when I was 20 years old." – J.R. – 2014-10-31T18:51:14.650

Answers

14

The two sentence are not at all written in a similar way!

The first time when I drove was at driving school.

That is built up a bit like: (some instance) when (I did something) was (at a specific place)

Now:

Dracula when I saw was the latest movie.

Is built up more like: (the object I did something with) when (I did something) was (a special kind of object)

It is possible to form a sentence the way you did, with some minor changes:

Dracula, when I saw it, was the latest movie.

This sentence is very different from your example: the main clause is "Dracula was the latest movie". This was true "when I saw it". You can move that indication of time around:

When I saw it, Dracula was the latest movie.
Dracula was the latest movie when I saw it.


If latest was not meant to be used, then your sentence needs a bit more work!

Dracula when I saw was the last movie.

If you want to say that after Dracula you did not see any other movies, this sentence makes, I'm afraid, very little sense. The easiest way to say what you mean is then:

Dracula was the last movie I saw.

There is no good way to include when in that sentence. You use when to indicate a time at which something happened - but you are not saying that at all! You are not saying anything about when you saw the movie, you only want to say it was the last one you saw.

There is absolutely no way to form a sentence that looks even a little bit like your original example sentence that would simply say "Dracula was the last movie I saw". The original sentence says when something happened, and where it happened. You are not saying when you saw the movie or where you saw the movie.

You could say:

The first time when I saw Dracula was at home.

But that says two things you never mentioned :) And it does not say it was the last movie you saw!

oerkelens

Posted 2014-10-30T12:51:34.770

Reputation: 24 925

And then Mr Oerkelens retired to the Happy Farm where life is beautiful, and nobody talks about the latest Dracula movie, and he never had to respond to another Eller ever again. :) P.S the commentary above is pure sitcom. Priceless. – Mari-Lou A – 2016-11-26T04:19:33.693

@Mari-LouA THanks for kicking this up. After two years I had all but forgotten about it, but I just spent 15 minutes laughing (and crying a bit) about these comments :) – oerkelens – 2016-11-27T11:43:12.443

Sorry, Might be I give you vogue. I want to check you what did you understand what am I said. Actually I want to say like this. My last movie is dracula when I saw. I would like give you same meaning like this " Dracula I saw was last movie" – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:27:13.867

If you can, would you please let me know again with 'last'? I think your answer was different from my intend( My intend is my last movie is dracula) . – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:32:20.090

1latest means newest, so your sentence means that when you saw the movie, it was the newest movie. – oerkelens – 2014-10-30T13:35:03.157

I got it, I did give you wrong intend against my intend. My intend is I saw draculra and the movie is last movie on me. – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:39:16.607

So if you can, would you please add your explain for me with corrected intend? – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:40:20.303

Thanks but you use original sentence like this "Dracula when I saw was the latest movie." But Why you can't use last instead latest? like this "Dracula when I saw was the last movie to me." – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:48:20.960

Can I remove 'when' in your original sentence? Dracula when I saw was the last movie – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:51:23.570

1Last and latest simply have a different meaning. :) "Dracula, when I saw IT, was the last movie I saw" is grammatically correct, but it makes no sense: every movie was the last movie you saw, at the time that you saw it. – oerkelens – 2014-10-30T13:51:50.053

2I never wrote "Dracula when I saw was the last movie", I hope. Removing when from that sentence: "Dracula I saw was the last movie" means that you noticed Dracula was the last movie. (In a line of movies??) Please try to understand how to say what you want to say first. You are now throwing words in a random order, making all kinds of sentences that mean completely different things... try to start at the basics. Just try to say what you want to say. You do not have to become a poet immediately, saying the same thing in 50 ways! – oerkelens – 2014-10-30T13:54:20.063

Have this sentence also same meaning "Dracula when I saw was the last movie"? --grammatically correct, but it makes no sense: every movie was the last movie you saw, at the time that you saw it.-- – Carter – 2014-10-30T13:57:07.853

2I'm sorry, I keep telling you correct sentences, you keep throwing incorrect ones back at me. Please, at least make an effort to look at the corrections. I added an IT to your sentence it was not for fun, it was not because I like the word, it was because it has to be there. You then take it out again and ask me if it is correct. No. If the sentence was correct without the IT I would not have added IT. Please read my last comment again. Please read it very carefully and try to understand the advice I am giving you there. – oerkelens – 2014-10-30T14:17:10.057

What does IT mean ? Is this some of abstract expression? Or just it? – Carter – 2014-10-30T15:22:13.910

1It is just it. But you seemed to be missing it whenever I added it:) – oerkelens – 2014-10-30T15:54:03.847

1I know this isn't constructive in anyway, but I just CANNOT not say : WE ARE THE KNIGHTS WHO SAY NI! – Patrice – 2014-10-30T17:05:10.940

1@oerkelens From the comments here it seems to me that they might be trying to say, "The last movie I saw was Dracula". – MiniRagnarok – 2014-10-30T20:35:48.273

1@MiniRagnarok: how is that different from: The easiest way to say what you mean is then: Dracula was the last movie I saw.? – oerkelens – 2014-10-30T20:44:08.083

So as you said, your sentence are able to separate by IT. 1.Dracula was last/latest movie when I saw. 2. Dracula was last/latest movie when I saw it. – Carter – 2014-10-31T06:39:12.703

The basically standard of separate was that where is subject. If I want to have point of view of mine then I have to use #1 , what if I want to have point of view of movie then I have to use #2 right? – Carter – 2014-10-31T06:43:12.437

Eventually, the sentence meaning is separated by IT.(point view at Me or at movie) right? – Carter – 2014-10-31T06:53:28.950

Dracula was the latest movie I saw. Is this hide 'when'? – Carter – 2014-10-31T10:13:20.967

1@user1917217: That sentence does not hide anything. If Dracula was the last movie you saw, you do not, I repeat not want to use the word when. "Dracula was the last movie I saw" is a simple, complete, totally perfect sentence, saying what you want to say. Please do not try to add more to it. The "native speaker" sentence is completely, totally different. Do not compare them. Do not try to say what you want to say in the way of the other sentence. – oerkelens – 2014-10-31T10:30:40.213

Ok let me summary again your answer. 1. "Dracula was last movie when I saw it" is means that the last movie. 2. "Dracula was last movie I saw" is means that I did not see any more movies after Dracula." Right? – Carter – 2014-10-31T10:59:31.137

If you don't mind, would you let me know the reason of you like this answers? "Please do not try to add more to it. The "native speaker" sentence is completely, totally different. Do not compare them. Do not try to say what you want to say in the way of the other sentence."? – Carter – 2014-10-31T11:01:16.917

1@user1917217 Your sentence about the movie can not be said in the same way as the "first time I drove a car"-sentence. About the summary: "Dracula was the last movie when I saw it" means nothing. It means you did not see any other movie after Dracula, at the time you watched Dracula. That is always true, but it makes no sense to say it. – oerkelens – 2014-10-31T12:26:57.197

As you said, it has different meaning about this sentence "Dracula was last movie I saw" meaning the movie was last movie. – Carter – 2014-10-31T13:04:05.503

I just want to know about above different sentences structure what to have different meaning. Why they have different meaning? – Carter – 2014-10-31T13:06:54.890

So if you can please let me know at point of view structure both of them. And if you can I want to hear reason why you tell me about "do not add and tell and compare the native speaker". If I can't do that , How can I improve my english skill? – Carter – 2014-10-31T13:08:23.063

@user1917217: I gave a simple analysis of the structure in my answer. In the "driving a car"-sentence, there is a time and a place mentioned. In your "Dracula"-sentence, there is no time and no place. That is why they are different. Trying to construct a sentence in such a way will not improve your language. If you want to form a sentence with a time and a place, you should tell us a time and a place, for example: "The first time I when saw Dracula was during my holiday". But you mention no "first time", you mention no "during my holiday". – oerkelens – 2014-10-31T14:27:53.187

4

The sentence

The first time when I drove was at driving school.

consists of the subject "the first time when I drove" (a noun phrase referring to a past event), the copula "was", and the subject complement "at driving school" (an adverbial phrase describing a time and/or a place). That is to say, it has the same overall structure as, say, the following sentences:

The box was on the table.
The party was at John's house.
My birthday was last week.

The subject "the first time when I drove" is probably best analyzed as a single unit — specifically, as an instance of the idiomatic pattern "the [ordinal] time (when) [something happens]", as in:

the second time (when) Alice rode a bicycle
the next time (when) I go to France
the last time (when) it rained here

(In all these phrases, the word "when" is optional; the choice whether to use it or not is a matter of personal preference. I would usually omit it, since I find that to sound more natural, but sometimes including it can reduce ambiguity.)


What about your sentence, then?

** Dracula when I saw was the latest/last movie.

This sentence would seem to have the same overall subject–copula–complement structure as above. However, the putative subject, "Dracula when I saw", is not a meaningful or even a syntactically valid noun phrase, so the sentence is not grammatical.

When you meant to write, as suggested by oerkelens in their answer, is presumably something like:

Dracula, when I saw it, was the latest movie.

or:

When I saw it, Dracula was the latest movie.

or even:

Dracula was the latest movie when I saw it.

In all of these sentences, the subject (of the main clause) is simply "Dracula". The dependent clause "when I saw it" is not a part of the subject here, but simply augments the entire sentence to indicate that it applies to a specific time in the past.

Note that the word "it" within this dependent clause is required, since the verb "saw" normally requires a direct object. Here, this object is the same as the subject of the main clause ("Dracula"), so we can simply refer to it using the pronoun "it". Of course, one could also write, say:

* When I saw Dracula, Dracula was the latest movie.

but such repetition sounds very awkward, and should normally be avoided.


As for whether to use "latest" or "last" here, I would use "latest", since it specifically means "newest" or "most recent", which is presumably the sense you intended here.

The problem with using "last" here is that it leaves the sentence ambiguous — it doesn't specify of which set of movies Dracula was the last one. Some plausible ways to continue the sentence, in order to make it unambiguous, might include:

...the last movie shown that day.
...the last movie I watched before going home.
...the last movie released that year.

Alas, none of those really match your (presumably) intended meaning, although the last one comes close. You could say something like:

* When I saw it, Dracula was the last movie released so far.

but, while understandable, using "last" like that (referring to a time interval that ends at the time being described) doesn't really sound correct to my ear. It would be much better to replace it with, say, "newest" or "most recent" or, indeed, "latest".

Ilmari Karonen

Posted 2014-10-30T12:51:34.770

Reputation: 1 235

Hi. I have simple questions. 1. I want to say that the movie is last movie then how to I write? "Dracula was last movie I saw" is this right? – Carter – 2014-10-31T11:15:46.097

And what if after Dracula I did not see any movie, then how can I say? 2." Dracula was last movie when I saw it" is right? – Carter – 2014-10-31T11:19:30.437

What is different between 1 and 2? Also if you can please make sentence own yours. – Carter – 2014-10-31T11:20:46.503

1

If you want to say that you did not see any other movie after Dracula, then you may say e.g. "Dracula was the last movie I saw." Here, the subject is "Dracula", and the complement is "the last movie (that) I saw", in which the relative clause "(that) I saw" augments the complement "the last movie". You do not need "when I saw it" here, since it's completely redundant here (and, in fact, it makes the sentence tautological: any movie is the last movie you saw when you just saw it).

– Ilmari Karonen – 2014-10-31T14:07:26.800

@Karanon What if the movie is latest movie then How does it make sentence? – Carter – 2014-10-31T15:29:22.080

1If you mean to say that, at the time when you saw it, Dracula was the latest movie to be released, then you could say "Dracula was the latest movie when I saw it." just like above. But honestly, I'm not even sure any more if that's actually what you mean by "latest" here. – Ilmari Karonen – 2014-10-31T15:37:21.273