The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

inversion: as vs though and because Options
zhonglc2020
Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2019 1:15:10 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 30
Neurons: 194
Hello everyone,

Some time ago,I bought a book English Sentence Patterns & Syntax by Chinese writers. Here are some sentences form it:

1. Difficult as was the work, it was finished in time.

I think the sentence is wrong.
(a)I am not sure the "as" usage. I feel it is used wrongly.
(b)I think the word order in the underlined part is incorrect.

I think the topic sentence can be reworded as:
Difficult though the work was, it was finished in time.\
Am I right?

2. Mongolia, then and now, had a harsh climate, with long, bitterly cold winters and short, hot summers. Living as they did in an inhospitable climate, the Mongols ate foods they got from their animals.

I think the bolded part may read as "Because they lived in an inhospitable climate". If it is so, why "lived" can be shifted to "living"?
What about the following shifting?
(a)They searched, but they could find nobody in the house.
----> (b)Searching the house as they did, they could find nobody.


Many many thanks.





FounDit
Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2019 6:06:15 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 11,429
Neurons: 57,718
zhonglc2020 wrote:
Hello everyone,

Some time ago,I bought a book English Sentence Patterns & Syntax by Chinese writers. Here are some sentences form it:

1. Difficult as was the work, it was finished in time.

I think the sentence is wrong.
(a)I am not sure the "as" usage. I feel it is used wrongly. Modern speakers today would more likely say, "As difficult as the work was..."
(b)I think the word order in the underlined part is incorrect. I agree. That wording sounds very awkward. It should be, "Difficult as the work was, it was finished on time."

I think the topic sentence can be reworded as:
Difficult though the work was, it was finished in time.\
Am I right?
Yes, this works as well.

2. Mongolia, then and now, had a harsh climate, with long, bitterly cold winters and short, hot summers. Living as they did in an inhospitable climate, the Mongols ate foods they got from their animals.

I think the bolded part may read as "Because they lived in an inhospitable climate". If it is so, why "lived" can be shifted to "living"?
The use of each word focuses the mind on two different time periods. "Living as they did" focuses the mind on the time in the past when they were living under those conditions. It takes you back to that time.

"Because they lived in an inhospitable climate" is looking back from the present day to a time in the past. You look at it from the point of view of today.

What about the following shifting?
(a)They searched, but they could find nobody in the house. This is fine.
----> (b)Searching the house as they did, they could find nobody. The more natural way to say this is, "Searching the house, they could find nobody". This also is fine.

This also has a time shift. "They searched..." focuses on the fact that the search is now finished and is looking back at it from the present.

"Searching the house..." focuses on the search as it it happening now in the present.



Many many thanks.







We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
zhonglc2020
Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2019 8:08:48 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 30
Neurons: 194
Great! It really helps. Thank you for your time.

One more question,

Search as they would, they could find nobody in the house.
(This sentence also comes from that book.)
Here in this sentence,"search" takes the bare form.I think it is because of "would".

Can I come to a conclusion that in sentence patterns talked above,
(a)as they did ----
can apply to verb forms such as, "searching", "search" --- when these verb forms are put in the front of that kind of sentences. And, if we refer to a present event, we can use "as they do". For example,

Searching the house as they do, they haven't found anybody.
Searching the house as they did, they didn't find anybody.
Search the house as they did, they didn't find anybody.
Search the house as they do, they will not find anybody.


(b)as they would----
can only apply to a bare form of verbs, such as "search".
Search the house as they would, they couldn't find anybody.
--and it seems, the latter half needs a modal form.

What about the sentences in both (a) and (b)?


Many many thanks again.
FounDit
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 11:40:51 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 11,429
Neurons: 57,718
zhonglc2020 wrote:
Great! It really helps. Thank you for your time.

One more question,

Search as they would, they could find nobody in the house.
(This sentence also comes from that book.)
Here in this sentence,"search" takes the bare form.I think it is because of "would".
It is a very odd sounding sentence, and one not likely to be said by a native. There is no need to say "Search as they would", and it makes little sense. The only sentence that comes close, in my opinion, is, "Search(ing) as hard/diligently as they could, they could find nobody in the house".

Can I come to a conclusion that in sentence patterns talked above,
(a)as they did ----
can apply to verb forms such as, "searching", "search" --- when these verb forms are put in the front of that kind of sentences. And, if we refer to a present event, we can use "as they do". For example,

Searching the house as they do, they haven't found anybody.
Searching the house as they did, they didn't find anybody.
Search the house as they did, they didn't find anybody.
Search the house as they do, they will not find anybody.
None of these sound natural or likely to be said by a native speaker, especially the last two, which are completely wrong. The first two could be made correct by adding a word:
Searching the house as they usually do, they haven't found anybody.
Searching the house as they normally did, they didn't find anybody.
This would indicate a pattern.

(b)as they would----
can only apply to a bare form of verbs, such as "search".
Search the house as they would, they couldn't find anybody.
--and it seems, the latter half needs a modal form.

What about the sentences in both (a) and (b)?
As I said earlier, a more natural way to say this is, "Searching the house, they could find nobody in it", or "They searched the house, but found nobody/no one in it".

There is no reason to add "as they do/did" after "Searching" unless there is a a need to show that this is a habit, or pattern, as I mention above, and would require the addition of words to indicate that pattern/habit.

Searching the house as they normally did, they didn't find anybody.


Many many thanks again.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 12:13:43 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 32,945
Neurons: 204,246
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I have heard this type of sentence - particularly with the verb "try".

Try as they would, they couldn't open the door. - me
Try as they would they could not live for more than a few months. - The Listener - Volume 67
. . .(try as they would, her "parents" couldn't teach her more than those four words) - Boy's world (1962)
. . . they could not seem to gain an advantage, try as they would. - Plateau 1981
try as they would, the physicians could not get even one dose of the drug - Hygienic Review, 1996


It's very unusual, but it means "As hard as they tried" (or in your case "no matter how hard they searched . . .").

However, it is idiom. The sequence of words can't be changed. It does not work if you change the "would" to "do" or "did"; and it doesn't work to change the main verb to a participle.

Search as they would, they couldn't find him. - No matter how hard they searched, they couldn't find him.

Search as they do, they couldn't find him.
Search as they did, they couldn't find him.
Searching as they would, they couldn't find him.
Search as they would, they couldn't find him.


*****************
A different, but again very unusual, phrasing is the first one you mentioned.
The NORMAL sentence would be:
As difficult as the work was, it was finished in time.

This is sometimes shortened to "Difficult as the work was, it was finished in time."

The VERY unusual variation is "Difficult as was the work, it was finished in time." This is very old-fashioned. I don't even know whether it was considered correct at the time (150 years ago or so, I guess). Don't use it now, it SOUNDS awkward and probably incorrect, and I'm sure you won't see it in a modern grammar.

They all mean "Even though the work was difficult, it was finished on time.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
zhonglc2020
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 12:16:22 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 30
Neurons: 194
I have learned so much!
Thank you, FounDit.
zhonglc2020
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 12:19:26 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 30
Neurons: 194
Thank you again, Drag0nspeaker.Dancing
BobShilling
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 1:30:48 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 4/1/2018
Posts: 1,171
Neurons: 6,367
Location: Beroun, Stredocesky, Czech Republic
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
I have heard this type of sentence - particularly with the verb "try".

Try as they would, they couldn't open the door. - me
Try as they would they could not live for more than a few months. - The Listener - Volume 67
. . .(try as they would, her "parents" couldn't teach her more than those four words) - Boy's world (1962)
. . . they could not seem to gain an advantage, try as they would. - Plateau 1981
try as they would, the physicians could not get even one dose of the drug - Hygienic Review, 1996



Interesting. Until you produced those sentences, I knew only 'try as they might'. 'Might' appears to be more common - Ngram.

zhonglc2020
Posted: Monday, August 12, 2019 9:59:33 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 7/7/2019
Posts: 30
Neurons: 194
Thank you, BobShilling.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 4:22:19 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 32,945
Neurons: 204,246
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
BobShilling wrote:
Interesting. Until you produced those sentences, I knew only 'try as they might'. 'Might' appears to be more common - Ngram.

Hmmm - Something happened in 1945 in the USA and 1963 in the UK.
From 1840, both "try as they might" and "try as they would" run along together - with "would" slightly more popular a lot of the time.
Then in 1945 people seem to just stop using "would" in the USA.
There's a similar pattern in the UK, but with the change coming about 1963.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Users browsing this topic
Guest


Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2008-2019 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.