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, earlier than had been planned by British prime minister Harold Wilson (where is the subject) Options
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, December 3, 2018 5:36:04 AM

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Location: Ḩāḑírah, Hadramawt, Yemen
Hi Everyone!

What part of speech is 'earlier than'?
If 'it' was not the subject of the noun clause 'has been planned by British prime minister Harold Wilson', then where is the subject of the noun clause underlined.

In July, a British infantry battalion, led by Lt. Col. Colin Mitchell of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, entered the Crater and managed to occupy the entire district overnight with no casualties. Nevertheless, deadly guerrilla attacks soon resumed, with the British leaving Aden by the end of November 1967, earlier than had been planned by British prime minister Harold Wilson and without an agreement on the succeeding governance.



Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
thar
Posted: Monday, December 3, 2018 6:29:18 AM

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The phrases describe how or when they left.
eg
They left early.
They left quickly.
They left on the 3rd of December

Here:
They left earlier than had been planned
[A leaving date had been planned. They left before that date.]

They left without an agreement.
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, December 3, 2018 7:03:42 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/27/2011
Posts: 2,969
Neurons: 11,054
Location: Ḩāḑírah, Hadramawt, Yemen
thar wrote:
The phrases describe how or when they left.
eg
They left early.
They left quickly.
They left on the 3rd of December

Here:
They left earlier than had been planned
[A leaving date had been planned. They left before that date.]

They left without an agreement.


Thanks a lot, Thar,

But when a reader tries to parse the sentence, s/he will be stumped by where the subject of 'earlier than had been planned by British prime minister Harold Wilson and without an agreement on the succeeding governance.'
I always think there must be a concrete/abstract subject of a clause.

Whoever doesn't own what he promises to those who do not deserve must not promise it.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, December 3, 2018 9:25:10 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
It is not a clause - "earlier than had been planned by British prime minister Harold Wilson" is a phrase based on the adverb "earlier".

A clause must have a subject and a predicate including a finite verb. This has no subject and no finite verb. It is a phrase.

"Had been planned" is a participle phrase - you can either choose to say it is based on 'had' or you can decide to say it is based on the past passive form "been planned".

There are several modifying phrases for the simple root sentence - all acting as adverbs.

Main sentence - "deadly guerrilla attacks soon resumed"
Adverb - "nevertheless"
Adverbial phrase - with the British leaving Aden by the end of November 1967
Adverbial phrase - earlier than had been planned by British prime minister Harold Wilson
Adverbial phrase - without an agreement on the succeeding governance



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Y111
Posted: Monday, December 3, 2018 9:56:54 AM
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Location: Kurgan, Kurgan, Russia
The subject is probably 'it', but it is omitted.
... earlier than (it) had been planned.
'it' meaning 'the British leaving Aden'.
Audiendus
Posted: Monday, December 3, 2018 10:26:55 AM
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Location: London, England, United Kingdom
Y111 wrote:
The subject is probably 'it', but it is omitted.
... earlier than (it) had been planned.
'it' meaning 'the British leaving Aden'.

Yes. Compare such phrases as "as follows", "as was often done", "more closely than is normal" etc, where the subject of the clause is likewise omitted.
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