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Meaning of "Gather" and "Rarely" The two sentences below are excerpts from a book review. The work, which has no full stop, tells a story of an ordinary civil engineer. I'm unsure of my interpretation between the square brackets. 1 "And yet he(the engineer) is still concerned with scale and accuracy, mapping and surveying so that the grid of reason and progress could be laid across the earth, [gathering its wilderness into towns and villages] by way of bridges and roads and water schemes and power lines." 2 "These serial commas are the mark of the novel, whether its narrator considers his work-[a topic that is all too rarely covered in 20th- and 21st-century fiction]-or his love for his wife and their grown son and daughter." (Though the main clause seems confusing, please note that this book's feature is the absence of a full stop.)As to the former, I interpreted the section as "assembling and arranging orderly earth's wilderness into the towns...", namely the world of man (to lay the grid of reason and progress.) As to the latter, although it seems improbable, I interpreted it as "fictional work of the these two centuries has seldom dealt with the theme that the narrator who considers his work." You can read the original article here: Thank you for reading this to the end. Perhaps you would explain it.
Sep 9, 2017 11:56 PM
Answers · 4
I will start with #2 since that is easier. "Rarely" is an adverb that means seldom, not often, or not frequently. #2 is a bit harder to explain because the use of "gather" is somewhat poetic and is not how most English speakers would use the word. "Gather" means to bring together, collect, or meet. In this passage, the author is saying that By adding roads and bridges, the engineers are bringing together or connecting the wilderness to become towns and villages. It is metaphorical, and you would never use the word like this in normal conversation. I hope that helps!
September 10, 2017
I agree with Heidi. It sounds very poetic and it's a little awkward even for a native speaker to explain. Simply, it is "coming together" or "connecting". If you google "gathering material" you can see a picture of pulling something together. It's kind of the same idea. Rarely means not very often or infrequently. Example: I rarely get the chance to see her because she lives so far away. Great questions! That was fun. :)
September 10, 2017
Language Skills
English, Japanese
Learning Language