Max (मैक्स)
"gentlemen having asked me" - What is the grammatical construction? I began to read in English one of my favorite children's books - Treasure Island. And at the very beginning of this book there is such a sentence : "SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted". And I don’t understand the combination of the words "having asked". Why not used "have asked"? What time is applied here or what is it a grammatical construction?
Oct 24, 2019 7:54 PM
Answers · 5
This extract is followed by the main clause "..., I take up my pen". Your extract is a huge adverbial construction without a subject or main verb. You may have seen this kind of sentence: "Having finished my dinner, I then sat down to watch TV." In this case, the subject "I" also is the subject that finished dinner. However, in your extract, the subject of the main clause ("I") is not the subject of the adverbial, which is "Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen ..." The comma after "Livesey" is unhelpful because the subjects are both "Dr Livesey" and "the rest of these gentlemen"
October 24, 2019
Thank you so much, David for your explanation. I need to always consider the whole grammar sentence. And I will definitely look up "participial phrases"!
October 24, 2019
..
October 24, 2019
The key to understanding this is in the second half of the sentence. "Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17—, and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof." Obviously it's a very long sentence, and most people don't write this way any more. But we could edit it down a lot, and a shortened version might be: "Gentlemen having asked me to write about Treasure Island, I take up my pen." The idea is "because they asked me to write, I take up my pen." Not many people write this way any more, but you do still find the phrase. Someone might say something like, "having accepted the invitation, I couldn't make other plans for the evening." From a grammar point of view, the first part of the sentence modifies the second. If you want to know more about this construction, look up "participial phrases."
October 24, 2019
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!
Max (मैक्स)
Language Skills
English, Russian, Ukrainian
Learning Language
English