Sunday, September 27, 2015

Quiz: Dropped Pronouns and Distancing Language

Here is a statement for analysis to one who was asked about her day, Sunday, on what she did from the time she woke up.  It is abbreviated for the quiz:  

"My day? Ok.  here goes.  8 o'clock, I got up and started breakfast. My husband and his parents came downstairs to the kitchen.  While they ate breakfast I sat down and watched  cartoons with my son.  At 9:30 got ready for Church and went to Church.  When Church was over came home.  We all drank some more coffee and got ready for apple picking."


What caused the pronouns go to missing at 9:30?

Put your answer in the comments section.  

Final Answer to come...


GetThem said...

"My day? Ok. here goes. 8 o'clock, I got up and started breakfast. My husband and his parents came downstairs to the kitchen. While they ate breakfast I sat down and watched cartoons with my son. At 9:30 got ready for Church and went to Church. When Church was over came home. We all drank some more coffee and got ready for apple picking."

1. She starts off answering a question with a question, so something is sensitive.
2. She says "8 o clock" and not "At" 8 o'clock. More sensitivity about the time. The fact that she uses an exact time is probably because of planning to be at church on time.
3. She calls them "his parents" not her inlaws. They all came together while she was already down there waiting. She may be annoyed they are not on her time schedule.
4. They all ate breakfast without her either because she already ate, or she didn't eat breakfast that morning. Need to ask questions about breakfast.
5. At 9:30 the pronouns dropped and my guess is because her hubby and his family went in separate cars or did not go to church. There was conflict about being on a schedule for church.
6. Things seemed a bit calmer after church because they are unified again and they drank coffee (social) together and are now all going apple picking together.

BallBounces said...

Dropped pronouns -- She is disassociating from the others. Either they went to church, and she didn't, or, a bit more likely because it is supposed to be what she did, she went to church and the others didn't. Something sensitive about church.

Not clear whether the boy is with her or not after the watching TV bit. He just appears during the watching TV bit -- no story of him getting up or having breakfast or going to church with them. I presume he was not drinking coffee with them.

Anonymous said...

Did she prepare lunch after church or did they stop on the way home for lunch? Are we to assume nobody had lunch after church and before apple picking time? ABB

John mcgowan said...

"My day? Ok. here goes. 8 o'clock, I got up and started breakfast. My husband and his parents came downstairs to the kitchen. While they ate breakfast I sat down and watched cartoons with my son. At 9:30 got ready for Church and went to Church. When Church was over came home. We all drank some more coffee and got ready for apple picking."

"I got up and started breakfast."

Incomplete activity. Did her husband and "his parents" take over cooking breakfast.

"My husband and his parents came downstairs to the kitchen"

No social introduction as to "his parents". This suggest a bad relationship at the time of writing or speaking. "My husband," she take ownership albeit his name is not mentioned.

"While they ate breakfast I sat down and watched cartoons with my son."

She introduces body pasture, an increase in tension. What causes this increase in tension?. Does it surround breakfast? Or something the previous night?

"At 9:30 got ready for Church and went to Church."

Did she not want to go with "his parents"?. If indeed they did go?. She says she went, although the dropped pronoun lacks commitment, but doesn't say they went.

"When Church was over came home."

Who "came home"? All of them, her on her own, who. There is also another dropped pronoun between "Over" and "home" lacking commitment. Did she not want to come home?

"We all drank some more coffee and got ready for apple picking."

Who is "we"? She says they "got ready for apple picking." But, did they go?.

Something has occurred within the relationship of herself and "his parents"

What has happened for her to show distance away from them? (No social introduction)

Juliet said...

Was her son causing problems? She only 'started' breakfast but when her husband and his parents came down she left the kitchen and went and sat (posture - tension) with her son (distancing - not 'my son and I') to watch tv' - did she she take him away from the family breakfast because he would not behave at the table or because he was normally allowed to watch tv while he ate breakfast. She didn't want to go to church, maybe because her son did not want to go to church, so she says 'over' - she couldn't wait for it to be over. Anxiety over the boy's behaviour - she's possibly not close to her in-laws, maybe a second marriage, and the prospect of keeping him quiet/occupied in church under their watchful eyes was on her mind. She relaxed after church. The anxiety was over, so much so that she was no longer thinking about her son and omits to even mention what he was doing while the adults were drinking coffee.

Is that anywhere near, I wonder?

John mcgowan said...

Juliet said..

"and sat (posture - tension) with her son (distancing - not 'my son and I') to watch tv'"

Nice pick up!

Sus said...

She begins with a question and what I think of as stalling, "Ok. Here goes." Maybe there's something in her day she doesn't want to tell about?

She started breakfast rather than saying she cooked or made breakfast. Did something interfere?

No social introduction for her husband. A bad relationship with his parents as she calls them "his parents."

She gives position (sat) which indicates tension. She is with her son at the time, but has also said "they" (husband and his parents?) are eating breakfast.

She used "with" while watching cartoons with her son, indicating distance between them.

She dropped pronouns getting reading for church and going to church, which means she doesn't commit to it.

"When church was over came home."
She dropped another pronoun here. She doesn't say she was AT church, just when church was over. I'd look if she was somewhere else.

She says they drank MORE coffee, but when was the first time? I'd check if she met someone for coffee rather than go to church.

Juliet said...

That 'more' is interesting - I think it could mean that someone made a fresh jug of coffee, and that unlike at breakfast, the adults all drank their coffee together as by then the day was getting better. What GetThem said, basically.

Thanks, John - it will be interesting to see how this turns out. :)

Juliet said...

She doesn't describe her husband's parents as her in-laws, or mention that they are her son's grandparents, so I wonder if any of them have a good relationship with each other, or with the boy. If maybe they are step-grandparents who don't much know the boy yet, so she's anxious about his behaviour. Is this too much conjecture? I don't know if, in such a short sample, one is meant to look for what isn't said, or only at what is said.

Anonymous said...

"What caused the pronouns to go missing at 9:30?"

Simply put this lady was forced to join with her in-laws (deduced but not stated)and husband for an activity. Prior to 9:30 she was doing activities by herself or with her son, whom she loves. When the time comes for a joint activity that she can't escape, she puts up a wall of distance bracing herself for whatever abuse may be hurled at her. Safety is by distance. Since she can't have it in person she has it in words when she recounts her day for the interviewer.

Sus said...

Looking at it again, the dropped pronouns could mean that she is talking about her husband and his parents going to church. Definitely she is not committing to herself going to church.

Then when they are back "we" drink more coffee. I'm not sure where the more is coming from unless she means she drank coffee as they were gone.

Anonymous said...

Between the time she started making breakfast and the time HIS parents entered the kitchen, something was brewing. She capitalized church as one would expect the Bible to be capitalized as well as God instead of a god.

Having had enough time to cool off, it seems the coffee isn't THAT bad afterall.

Juliet said...

Does her mentioning that they came down 'to the kitchen' signify anything? One would just assume they would go into the kitchen for breakfast, no need to mention it. Did she maybe not want them in the kitchen while she was preparing breakfast, so she left them to continue making breakfast - maybe not too confident of her cooking skills, or has hyper-critical in-laws or husband.

Anonymous said...

...come DOWN TO the kitchen"-signifies they were upstairs.

Anonymous said...

She went to church by herself?

Anonymous said...

I know the answer to this one.
She got the whole family ready for church, not just "I got ready for church"

John mcgowan said...

40% more theory.

Iv'e gone back and read her statement again.

Repetition and sensitivity.

Anything that is repeated is noted for sensitivity.

We repeat what is important to us.

"I got up and started breakfast. My husband and his parents came downstairs to the kitchen. While they ate breakfast I sat down and watched cartoons with my son.

Note, "breakfast" is repeated. If this is sensitive to her, why?

Was she cooking "breakfast" (started) for everyone and got fed up that they weren't all up at the same time.?
Is she fed up catering for "His parents"?
Was what she cooked (started) not to the and their liking, and they cooked something different.?
was what she "started" cooking thrown away?
Was there a row before "breakfast" or during?

Also noted is that there is sensitivities surrounding going to church in the repetition.

"At 9:30 got ready for Church and went to Church. When church was over came home".

Was she annoyed that they were late for "church" given that her "husband" and "his parents" came down after her?
Was it her herself that didn't want to go to church?
Did she want to go to church on her own?
If so why?

jen-d said...

"What caused the pronouns go to missing at 9:30?"

Person didn't want to go to church or was doing it out of obligation, as if it was a job.

Juliet said...

Maybe there had been some upset over breakfast so she only grabbed a coffee, and left them to get on with it. If her son didn't want to go to church, or was more accustomed to watching cartoons than going to church, she maybe bargained for his agreement - they'd do something which he wanted to do first, and then he'd do something which she wanted him to do - but she still wasn't sure how that might turn out. Maybe it didn't turn out too well and she ended up waiting with her son in the car outside the church while the others went in. Well, it seems odd anyone would lie about having gone to church - so did she maybe go to church, but have to leave and wait outside for the others until it was over? I was thinking of an older child, but maybe he's a toddler, and all unpredictable.

lynda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lynda said...

"My day? Ok. here goes. 8 o'clock, I got up and started breakfast. My husband and his parents came downstairs to the kitchen. While they ate breakfast I sat down and watched cartoons with my son. At 9:30 got ready for Church and went to Church. When Church was over came home. We all drank some more coffee and got ready for apple picking.

Any change in the use of pronouns is significant, and at this
point it is devoid of personal involvement. the statements are either untrue or there is no commitment to the statement and she is leaving things out of story.

1."My day? Ok, here goes- Stalling, story-telling. She seems surprised that someone actually wants to know how HER day went. She feels insignificant.

2.8 o'clock. Specific time used, shows sensitivity. She had to get up while everyone else was still cozy and sleeping? Perhaps she had to awaken early for her son. She does not mention his age, did she have a rough night with the child with no help? She states she "got up" not that she "woke up" at 8. She was already awake but just lying in bed until 8 as she did not "wake up" at 8. Could she not sleep? Was she upset?

3. She "started" breakfast but says nothing about finishing it. Nor does she address what time "My" (takes ownership) husband came down with "his" distancing, parents. There is sensitivity with the parents.

4. She did NOT eat breakfast with them, why? Because she was watching cartoons with her son. She takes ownership of her son but uses some distancing language 'with". She is upset at this point with both her husband and his parents and isolates herself and her son by not engaging with the adults(change of body position, sitting, tension) and being with her son. Since she doesn't mention what time her husband and in-laws come down, was she watching cartoons from 8-9:30 while everyone else ate? Why did her son not eat breakfast? Because she got up with him early and already fed him?

5. At 9:30, another specific time, sensitive. Use of word "church" is used 3 times, sensitive. She also does not mention "my" son, did he not go to church also? Dropped pronouns indicate that she probably went to church by herself? She doesn't say "we" went to church, "we" came home, it only becomes "we" after she arrives home alone from church and has "more" coffee with them. Indicating at one point, she neglects/omits from her summation of her day that she had coffee at one point already. When she was up with her son? At church? She has calmed down enough that when she comes home from church she switches to "we" and includes family unit.

Think mom was up thru the night with the child as he was fussy or sick. Argued with husband about him not getting up to help her and/or had argument with husband regarding his parents or about their son, or perhaps her capability of making breakfast, taking care of the boy, etc. SHe leaves the bed at 8, She drank coffee alone to get herself going. When the others come down, she abandons finishing breakfast as she is angry and does not want a conversation/confrontation with her husband, parents, or both so she sits with her son away from breakfast watching cartoons. At 9:30 she get ready for church and leaves..ALONE. She comes home from church, doesn't state the time, and is calmer has coffee as part of the family unit. Hence, the first "we" in statement.

Juliet said...

Maybe he or his parents are atheists, and her husband didn't allow the boy to go to church, or just not that day because his parents were visiting, and as she was unhappy to leave him watching cartoons while only she went to church, she wasn't much engaged and wanted to be back home the whole time. Or maybe his parents are churchgoers, whilst she, or she and her husband are not, but they just had to go along that day - I think others have already said those. Maybe she or her husband is the pastor/priest/minister and she's beset by doubts, not so committed these days, and wishes that wasn't his, her or their life - all that could cause tension - as could cartoons taking the place of the breakfast table. It seems either her mind was on other things, or she just didn't want to be at church while she was there - well, if she wasn't waiting outside. I give up - when do we know the answer?

Juliet said...

Rather than a visit, they might all be living together, and have their own way of doing things - so she gets up earlier in order to make breakfast for herself and her son, so they can be out of the kitchen by the time her in-laws come down. If it is his parents' house, the husband maybe takes more notice of his parents, and goes along with them and what they want, and that creates tension, so in her mind they become only his parents rather than her in-laws, or it may have always been that way. She and her husband may not normally go to church, but feel obliged to go along as it's what his parents want and expect. She doesn't want to go, so she can hardly stand to say that she did, and so she drops the pronoun. If she is living in someone else's home, with someone else's rules and expectations, that might be difficult.

Anonymous said...

She did not sleep with her husband the night before, as she did not mention coming downstairs herself. They had an argument, which is why she didn't eat breakfast with him or his parents. She "sat down" to watch tv with her son, because she's been on her feet a lot lately. She needs more coffee because she is exhausted and overwhelmed.

Jessica Blans said...

I haven't read the other comments so I wouldn't be influenced before committing to my analysis.

Here goes:
The pronouns dropped because, although others attended church, the subject did not. She is giving enough true information so that she believes she is honest, but by withholding certain enough (pronouns that would reveal who went), she hopes that the listeners will infer that she was a church attendee too even though she was not.

Jesica Blans

Ok -- now I'm going to look at other people's answers!

Anonymous said...

She doesn't like her life. She feels trapped.

Anonymous said...

She doesn't say when the son came downstairs or whether he ate breakfast.
9:30 she went to church alone. Or, somewhere alone.
She says "came home" and not "I came home or we came home." Going to church or whatever it was at 9:30 is sensitive.

Anonymous said...

Son is dead. His funeral was at 9:30 a.m.

horse chestnut said...

I want this dog. That is all. Please give it a belly rub on my behalf.

Buckley said...

She capitalizes Church because she wants us to think it's important to her, but she can't tell us she went. She doesn't feel well- it may be emotional but she makes them think it's physical.

Is anyone else oddly relieved she didn't brush her teeth?

Juliet said...

Or take a shower. :)

Anonymous said...

C5H11ONO said...

“My day?”
-- the question is sensitive to this person.
“OK. Here goes. 8 o’clock, I got up and started breakfast.”
--She is not telling us that she finished breakfast or even “made” breakfast. She started it.
“My husband and his parents came downstairs to the kitchen.”
--She is not telling us that they ate breakfast, only that they came downtstairs to the kitchen.
I think she was making breakfast when they came down and they started complaining or a discussion ensued, so she stopped making breakfast and left it up to them to make their own breakfast. I suspect there was an argument. She did not offer a complete introduction just that it was “her husband and his parents” I am not certain if the person she was talking to knew her husband and his parents and she didn’t need to introduce them, otherwise, she may not have a good relationship with the threesome.
“While they ate breakfast I sat down and watched cartoons with my son.”
--She did not breakfast with them. She did not say she had breakfast at all. She states body posture, which means that there was tension - “sat” down and watched cartoons with my son.
“ At 9:30 got ready for Church and went to Church.”
--She left the pronoun out here. Because this is a truthful statement you would want to ask her if she attended the church. She may have gotten reach for church, drove to church, but went somewhere else without actually attending.
“When Church was over came home.”
--“church” is a highly sensitive place for her. She used it three times in a short paragraph. If her brain knows she didn’t go to church, her mind is overflowing with “church” and she just has to keep using the word. She also found it important to say “when church was over” came home. She left out the pronoun here as well. If she didn’t go to church as she wants us to assume, then she was very aware of the time when church would be over, because she would need to come home.
“We all drank some more coffee and got ready for apple picking."
--Here “we” signifies unity and cooperation. Coffee is a social activity so it is consistent with the plural “we” when used in a statement. Now I am wondering if when she stated that she “started” making breakfast if it was coffee that she started brewing since she says they all drank some “more” coffee. This means they had had coffee together an now are having more. If there was no argument, then in her subjective dictionary starting to brew coffee is “making breakfast”.
--I suspect she was no longer in a “huff and puff” over whatever happened in the morning and was more than happy to get ready for apple picking.

C5H11ONO said...

--I’m curious, did they actually pick apples? They got ready for it, but did they actually go do it? I suspect all hell broke loose before. LOL!

Anonymous said...

What caused the pronouns to go missing? I don't want to point fingers but I heard that there was a man in a black Rubicon just staring at them. Has he been questioned?

Sorry. I'll show myself out.

Bethany said...

I didn't get to read everyone's answers yet, but I am going to say my guess is that either the parents are visiting or the husband, wife and son live with the parents for one reason or another.

But my first guess is the family is living in the parents house.

She gets up and starts making breakfast.
The husband and parents come downstairs, signifying unity.
She sits in the other room with her son, no mention of him or her eating breakfast but the parents and hubby ate what she made. She is resentful as she and her son maybe do not feel close to his parents, and maybe since the move in her husband has been closer to them than her and her child.

She got ready and went to church, not because she wanted to but more out of obligation of house rules, same as when she made breakfast, trying to help out a little.

Things settled down later as they had more coffee and got ready for Apple picking.

This is not a good relationship, she feels she and her son do not fit in with the parents as family. Her husband stays with the parents and eats, even with the tension, and leaves his wife and stepson in the other room. I say stepson bc of the distance between the grandparents and son. If they were his grandparents I am sure they would all want to eat together.

I am probably way off!! Haha!

Jessica Blans said...


Will you please post your analysis? I would like to hear your breakdown of the salient details!

Jessica Blans

Juliet said...

Maybe nobody has got it right yet. :-/ I am wondering what the times are about - why she mentioned the times she did, but not what time the church service began, as that would be the specific time she would/should have had on her mind, needing to be there by that time. Maybe she doesn't mention it because they got up too late to go, but she went anyway, late, and on her own, and for some reason doesn't want to say that they didn't all go to church.

Kellie said...

She got dressed for something, but it wasn't church. She didn't go to church.

Peter Hyatt said...

She felt very badly that they didn't go with her. She was feeling distance to begin with ("his parents" and not "my in laws") and there had been an issue about this specific church and she expected her husband to support her, or in the least, show a unified front. Hubby and his parents stayed home.

The point of the exercise is the sometimes subtle, psychological distancing that we all experience in life shows up in our language.

Ali said...

Good one. I enjoyed that ( this?). More please.

Bethany said...

Thank you for the analysis, Peter!!!
I was off, maybe not way off though haha

Juliet said...

So, is Peter witholding information there - or have some of us overdone it - just a bit? :-D

Peter Hyatt said...

No, it was this simple: an emotion impacted the pronoun.

It is a warning to walk before we run.

John mcgowan said...


Most picked up on the "incomplete social introduction" ("his parents"). Going by principles though, isn't only fare that we took into account the other language used, although the exercise was "pronouns and distancing language"


John mcgowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John mcgowan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John mcgowan said...


i noticed your name was dropped in your second reply :)

Juliet said...

So now I see why it's better to not ask a compound question. :)

John, dropping your name is distancing language +. Or an oversight. Maybe. I want a poll. :)

Juliet said...

'Name dropping' takes on a whole new meaning in statement analysis. Heh.

ali said...

I noticed a dropped preposition in the question. "What caused the pronouns (TO) go missing."

Ali said...

I take it back. The preposition was transposed. The original posted question asked:

What caused the pronouns go to missing at 9:30?

"Go to" missing. Not to go missing.

John mcgowan said...

Juliet said...

John, dropping your name is distancing language +. Or an oversight. Maybe. I want a poll.

Or maybe someone masquerading? :)

Juliet said...

Nah...really? Why would you think that? (John)

John mcgowan said...

As long time readers are aware, sometimes Heather, Peters wife, reply's to some of the posts and this is why we see his name dropped underneath. Not always i may add. :)

Juliet said...

Ah, right - that's interesting. I've read here for years, off and on, but more usually the articles rather than also all the comments - I've only been reading the comments since I began commenting,too. Well, more of the comments, more often, then. :)

Anonymous said...

I know this is old and revealed, but I want to add something. It appears a repetition to me that she describes first her husband and parents coming down, and then her going and sit. That would mean that these things are sensitive to her. I imagine her in the kitchen, she is at home, but her in-laws are there, so she feels a bit uncomfortable, knowing they soon will be coming downstairs. The movements and position is important to her. She feels tension when they come downstairs. She doesn't eat with them and tries to escape them. Her husband feels distant, she puts him in the same category with his parents. She does say "with her son", but I believe it is because of the tension that she feels that she is not relaxed on the couch or wherever she sits. The safest she feels is with her son, it is like an excuse she used to get away from the parents, it is not about bonding with her son in this case.