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Wu Ting
How would you explain this sentence? In the court of Norton-farmhouse, a manor farm to the north-west of the village, on the white maims, stood within these twenty years a broad-leaved elm, or wych hazel, ulmus folio latissimo scabro of Ray, which, though it had lost a considerable leading bough in the great storm in the year 1703, equal to a moderate tree, yet, when felled, contained eight loads of timber; and, being too bulky for a carriage, was sawn off at seven feet above the butt, where it measured near eight feet in the diameter. This elm I mention to show to what a bulk planted elms may attain; as this tree must certainly have been such from its situation. How would you explain this sentence: This elm I mention to show to what a bulk planted elms may attain? Would you analyze the grammatical structure of this sentence? In my opinion, “this elm” is the subject. If so, what is the predicate? PS: this extract is taken from The Natural History of Selborne. Thanks!
Jun 11, 2013 3:29 AM
Answers · 6
Actually, "I" is the subject. This sentence is inverted, so it's a little hard to make head or tail of it if English is not your first language! Mentally, you can change the structure of the first part to "This elm I mention to show..." to "I mention this elm to show." The meaning is exactly the same, but sometimes in older or more formal texts, the words are switched around. The "elm" is the object of the sentence, and the predicate is "mention." Remember "I" is the subject doing the action: mentioning. Action is being done on the object, the "elm."
June 11, 2013
"This elm I mention to show to what a bulk planted elms may attain" is written with an inverted sentence structure that is characteristic of a literary style, especially of older texts (as Megan noted). Remember, this book was written almost 250 years go, and while still recognizable and comprehensible to the modern reader, this style is not always in common usage today. In the normal English word order, and in more colloquial English, this sentence would be: "I mention this elm in order to show how big planted elm trees can get." 我所以提起這棵榆樹,是為了給你看(讓你知道)人種的榆樹,可以長得多高大、粗壯。
June 11, 2013
The planted elms attain a bulk. attain a bulk = predicate object
June 11, 2013
Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language