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(c) Make me do such things, make me like those other men, doing the work they do, breathing the air they breathe, developing the point of view they have developed, and you have destroyed the difference, destroyed me, destroyed the thing you love. (London)


(Syn. If you make me do such things...)

(d) Walk among the magnificent residences, the splendid equipages, the gilded shops, restaurants, resorts of all kinds; scent the flowers, the silks, the wines; drink of the laughter springing from the soul of luxurious content, of the glances which gleam like light from defiant spears: feel the quality of the smiles which cut like glistening swords and of strides born of place, and you shall know of what is the atmosphere of the high and mighty. (Dreiser) (Syn. If you walk...; if you drink of the laughter...;

if you feel the quality of the smiles... you shall know...)

Deep grammar analysis will always show the difference between the patterns given above.

In (a) and (b) the verb-forms of the Imperative Mood function as stylistic alternatives of the Oblique Mood;

in (c) and (d) the verb-forms of the Imperative Mood are used as stylistic alternatives of the Indicative Mood.

As can be seen from the above examples, the use of the Imperative Mood in such transpositions can imply conditional, causal or resultative meaning. Similarly in Russian and Ukrainian:

Да будь я и негром преклонных годов, и то без унынья и лени я русский бы выучил только за то, что им разговаривал Ленин. (Маяковский)

Скинь з нього окуляри, кинь дві розбійницькі іскри в очі — та й матимеш готовий образ дяка-пиворіза. (Стельмах)

Clauses of Result

Clauses of result or consequence will also exemplify the synsemantic character of syntactic structures. Their formal arrangement is characterised by two patterns:

  1. clauses included by the conjunction that correlated with the pronoun such or the pronoun so in the main clause;

  2. clauses included by phrasal connective so that.

Her misery was so terrible that she pinned on her hat, put on her jacket and walked out of the flat like a person in a dream. (Mansfield)

He did not however neglect to leave certain matters to future considerations, which had necessitated further visits, so that the little back room had become quite accustomed to his spare not unsolid but unobtrusive figure... (Galsworthy)

Variation in the lexico-grammatical organisation of such clauses is generally associated with variation in their meaning.

Instances are not few, for instance, when a clause of result is suggestive of the degree or the state of things indicated by the main clause. The moaning of such clauses is always made clear by contextual indication.

Examples of such clauses of result are:

The moon had passed behind the oak-tree now, endowing it with uncanny life, so that it seemed watching him the oak-tree his boy had been so fond of climbing, out of which he had once fallen and hurt himself, and hadn't cried! (Galsworthy)


When he told her that he would take care of her so that nothing evil should befall, she believed him fully. (Dreiser)

Structural synonyms of sub-clauses of result presented by infinitival phrases may be illustrated by such patterns as:

It was too wonderful to be anything but a delirium. (London)

{Syn. It was so wonderful that it could be anything but a delirium).

A woodpecker's constant tap was the only sound, for the rain was not heavy enough for leaf-dripping to have started. (Galsworthy)

(Syn. ... the rain was not so heavy that ...).

Then, just when they were old enough to go to school, her husband's sister came to stop with them to help things along... (Mansfield)

(Syn. Then, just when they were so old that they could go to school,..).

Clauses of Purpose

The grammatical organisation of sub-clauses of purpose does not take long to explain.

What merits consideration here is the syntactic organisation of the constituents of the complex sentence and the verb-forms in the structure of predication.

Clauses expressing purpose are known to be introduced by the conjunction that or lest and by the phrase in order that.

That has, perhaps, no rivals among connectives. It is well known to have a particularly wide range of structural meanings, but no ambiguity arises in actual usage. As always in language, the context will remove in each case all the other significations, as potentially implicit in that which in subordination may do the duty of a relative pronoun and a conjunction.

Purpose clauses introduced by that may be illustrated by the following examples:

... she had softly moved her chair into its present place: partly as it seemed from an instinctive consciousness that he desired to avoid observation: and partly that she might, unseen by him, give some vent to the natural feelings she had hitherto suppressed. (Dickens)

And lest the sun should break this charm too eagerly, there moved between him and the ground a mist like that which waits upon the moon on summer nights... (Dickens)

Infinitival phrases implying purpose relations are commonplace. Familiar examples are:

This action has been brought by the plaintiff to recover from the defendant the sum of three hundred and fifty pounds, alleged by the plaintiff to have been fixed by this correspondence... (Galsworthy)

She made a movement to cross into the traffic.

Clauses of Concession

Sub-clauses of concession with all their grammatical complexity and variety of syntactic patterning as well as their synsemantic character will engage our attention next. The component grammatical meanings in sentence-patterns of this kind are often not so clear-cut as it might be suggested.


It is very important to distinguish between the following types of concessive sub-clauses:

a) clauses giving the information about the circumstances despite or against which what is said in the principal clause is carried out:

Though she did not know it, she had a feeling in him of proprietary right. (London)

I always understood you did so as a form of expiation, even though you had asked Dinny to marry you. (Galsworthy)

b) clauses which give some additional information associated with the content of the principal clause, the idea of concession in such patterns is somewhat weakened.

He mopped his forehead dry and glanced about him with a controlled face, though in the eyes there was an expression such as wild animals betray when they fear the trap. (London)

c) clauses with overlapping relationship. In patterns of this type there is a suggestion of the secondary adversative meaning:

He extracted great happiness from squelching her, and she squelched easily these days, though it had been different in the first years of their married life. (London)

Complex sentences of this kind are on the borderline between subordination and coordination; though might be easily replaced by the adversative conjunction but.

d) inserted and parenthetical concessive clauses are more or less independent syntactic units and are generally set off by a comma, colon or semi-colon, e. g.:

Shannon was not a financier, neither was Steger. They had to believe in away, though they doubted it, partly particularly Shannon. (Dreiser)

... but being a Forsyte, though not yet quite eight years old, he made no mention of the thing at the moment dearest to his heart... (Galsworthy)

The conjunction though may introduce independent sentences.

I've got a father; I kept him by alive during the war, so he's bound to keep me now. Though, of course, there's the question whether he ought to be allowed to hang on to his property. (Galsworthy)

It will be observed, in passing, that concessive relations are, in point of fact, logically associated with causal and resultative meaning, the latter being to some extent inseparably present in any sub-clause of this type.

The implication of pure concession is fairly prominent in prepositive sub-clauses included by although, though (often intensified by nevertheless in the principal clause).

Although he was dealing privately for Edward Butler as an agent, and with the same plan in mind, and although he had never met either Mollemhauer or Simpson, he nevertheless felt that in so far as the manipulation of the city loan was concerned he was acting for them. (Dreiser)

Clauses of concession introduced by though and even though have much in common with sub-clauses introduced by if and even if.

The more cautious members of Chicago society, even if they did not


attend, then, would hear, and then would come ultimate comment and decision. (Dreiser)

If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends. (Brontë)

Intensity of concessive meaning is generally produced by putting the nominal parts or the adverbial adjunct at the head of the sentence.

Young though she will always seem to me, she is...

Similarly, in sentence-patterns with the conjunction as:

Taking his glass from the table, he held it away from him to scrutinise the colour; thirsty as he was, it was not likely that he was going to drink thrush. (Galsworthy)

Crafty and cruel as his face was at the best of times, though it was a sufficiently fair face as to form and regularity of feature, it was at its worst when he set forth on this errand. (Dickens)

Harmless as this speech appeared to be, it acted on the traveller's distrust, like oil on fire. (Dickens)

Much as I admire the film, I'll not go to see it again.

Note. The conjunction though may stand at the end of a simple sentence, following another simple sentence, closely connected in sense. In such end-position though will be synonymous with nevertheless, nonetheless, all the same, e. g.:

He did not tell me where he had been, but I knew though (= but I knew all the same).

In sentences introduced by the conjunction as there is sometimes a fairly prominent suggestion of causal relations.

Uncommunicative as he was, some time elapsed before I had an opportunity of changing his mind. (Brontë)

Concessive clauses may be introduced by the phrasal conjunction for all that:

And Jon could not help knowing too, that she was still deeply in love with him for all that they had been married two years. (Galsworthy)

A special type of complex sentences is presented by patterns with concessive sub-clauses suggestive of the secondary alternative meaning. Here belong clauses introduced by however, whoever, whatever, whenever, wherever and such phrasal conjunctions as no matter what, no matter how.

Examples are:

"I doubt if Wilfred will go before the Committee", said Michael, gloomily. "Fleur confirmed him".

"Of course he won't, Michael".

"Then what will happen?"

"Almost certainly he'll be expelled under rule whatever it is. (Galsworthy)

The public would never hear his name, no matter how big the case was. (Carter)

No matter what the others may say, I shall have my own way.

The secondary alternative meaning in clauses of this kind is so prominent that some grammarians are inclined to identify them as a special type of subordination. Such is, for instance, Jespersen's point of view


in Essentials of English Grammar where these clauses are classified as "clauses of indifference"1.

Mention must also be made of reduced sub-clauses of concession that 'are not infrequent both in informal spoken English and literary prose.

Their abode, though poor and miserable, was not so utterly wretched as in the days when only good Mrs. Brown inhabited it. (Dickens)

His wife, whatever her conduct, had clear eyes and an almost depressing amount of common sense. (Galsworthy)

...His case was different from that of the ordinary Englishman as chalk from cheese. But whatever his case, he was not a man to live with. (Galsworthy)

Concessive relations overlapping with alternative meaning find their linguistic expression in syntactic patterns with functional transpositions of the Imperative Mood forms, e. g.:

Say what you may (might) I shall have my own way.

Try what you will (would) there is no helping here.

Say what one will, to take the love of a man like Cowperwood away from a woman like Aileen was to leave her high and dry on land, as a fish out of its native element... (Dreiser)

Economise as he would, the earnings from hack-work did not balance expenses. (London)

Attention must also be drawn to the use of verb-forms in concessive sub-clauses, which naturally vary depending on the context. The Indicative Mood is fairly common in all types of clauses implying concession, Present and Past tense-forms, in particular. The Subjunctive Mood is common in complex sentences with hypothetical concession.

Concessive clauses may be included by the conjunction while which in such patterns comes to function parallel with though (although).

While he was yet in unspeakable agonies, the dwarf renewed their conversation. (Dickens)

Concessive relations may also be expressed by such patterns with verbless predicatives as:

How could you behave like that, and your mother present there? (→ though your mother was present there).

Moist as was his brow, tremble as did his hand once after the nameless fright, he was still flushed with fumes of liquor. (Dreiser)

Intensity and emphasis can also be produced by inversion in such patterns as:

Wait as he did, however, Carrie did not come. (Dreiser)

Clauses of Manner and Comparison

Sub-clauses of manner and comparison characterise the action of the principal clause by comparing it to some other action. Patterns of this sort are synsemantic in their value. Sometimes the implication of

1 See: O. Jespersen. Essentials of English Grammar. London, 1933, p. 372.


comparison seems quite prominent, in other cases the clause is clearly one of manner.

The meaning of comparison makes itself quite evident in cases like the following:

You can lead men, I am sure, and there is no reason why you should not succeed at anything you set your hand to, just as you have succeeded in grammar. (London)

It followed inevitably upon the work, as the night follows upon the day. (London)

She was not exactly as daring as she seemed, but she loved to give that impression. (Dreiser)

In patterns like She did it as best as she could the implication of comparison is hardly felt at all.

The conjunction as has a wide and varied range of structural meanings. It is often used to introduce sub-clauses of time and cause, and it is only the context that makes the necessary meaning clear.

Further examples of sub-clauses of comparison are:

His father's face, dusky red, twitching as if he were going to cry, and words baking out that seemed rent from him by some spasm in his soul. (Galsworthy)

And all that passed seemed to pass as though his own power of thinking or doing had gone to sleep. (Galsworthy)


A word must be said about the synsemantic character of various types of hypotaxis which in many cases have mixed or overlapping meaning. In some of these instances there is only a suggestion of the secondary meaning, in others it is fairly prominent.

The complexity of sub-clauses, their synsemantic character and overlapping relations observed in various patterns of subordination bear immediate relevance to such questions as the lexico-grammatical organisation of the sentence, implicit predication and the potential valency of connectives introducing sub-clauses.

Overlapping relationship in adverbial clauses merits special consideration. Instances are not few when clauses introduced by subordinative connectives and clauses to which they are joined seem to be equal in their functional level.

It is always important to remember that not all the general potential meaning of a given category will be relevant in each occurrence. A distinction that is relevant to one occurrence of the pattern can sometimes have no bearing at all on another use. Examples to illustrate the statement are numerous. Thus, for instance, a conditional element can be suggestive of the secondary causal meaning e. g.:

"If that's what the President wants," said Garlock, "well, of course, I have no objection". (Baily)

..."And real reason, Mr. President?"


"Yes, damn it I need to plan some strategy and if I'm going to do it, I need to think for a change". (Baily)

"What shall I make my check for?" pursued Monsieur Profond. "Five hundred" said Soames shortly; "but I don't want you to take it if you don't care for it more than that". (Galsworthy)

A good example to illustrate overlapping relations of condition and cause will be found in Bain's Higher English Grammar, from the fable, where the ant says to the grasshopper, "It you sang in summer, dance in winter". The conjunction if has here the force of a reason, the condition being a realised fact. If you sang = since you sang or as you sang.

Causal relations are fairly prominent when the condition under which the action is performed precedes the action which results from it.

  1. If you have already made such arrangements I cannot interfere.

  2. If he'd had the brass to stay in England after committing such a bare-faced forgery, he would have the brass to come here again and see what more he could get. (Galsworthy)

  3. The thing I did not like was not being able to see her two whole weeks, but if it was for her good I was prepared to put up with that. (Curme)

  1. It was a mistake she was making,... but if she was determined on it, what could he do about it? (Curme)

  2. If you are not in love, of course there's no more to be said.(Galsworthy)

It is of interest to note that composite sentences with overlapping relations cf condition and cause are generally characterised by the indicative modality of the sub-clause. Predication in the principal clause can be of different modal force (indicative, oblique or imperative).

If Soames had faith, it was in what he called" English common sense"or the power to have things, if not one way then another. (Galsworthy)

And here are a few typical examples of sentence patterns with sub-clauses of condition used to intensify the relations of cause:

And if Brian even felt distrust for that sympathetic organisation it was only because all big names seemed like devil's threats to hold his soul in thrall. (Sillitoe)

In other cases if-clauses have a prominent suggestion of the meaning of concession, e. g.:

She would hold Tara, if she had to break the back of every person of it. (Mitchell)

If Old Jolyon saw, he took no notice. (Galsworthy)

They had come at a good bat up the slope and were a little out of breath: if they had anything to say they did not say it, but marched in the early awkwardness of breakfasted morning under the songs of the larks. (Galsworthy)

If Bosinney was conscious of her trouble, he made no sign. (Galsworthy)

A conditional sub-clause introduced by the conjunction if is sometimes suggestive of adversative relations, e. g.:

The senior senator from California was not a particularly striking figure, but he successfully conveyed the impression of being a man who expected to dominate a gathering and usually did. If he was a bit heavy across the midriff, that gave him a certain advantage over men of less ample bulk. If his


gestures were a trifle broad, his voice a shade too strong for ordinary conversation, these characteristics seemed appropriate enough in a man more used to being listened to than listening. (Baily)


Observations on the contextual use of various sentence-patterns furnish numerous examples of re-interpretation of syntactic structures by which we mean stylistic transpositions resulting in neutralisation of primary grammatical meaning. The asymmetric dualism of the linguistic sign1 appears to be natural and is fairly common at different levels of language.

The linguistic mechanism, prosodic features in particular, work naturally in many ways to prevent ambiguity in such patterns of grammatical structure.

Expressive re-evaluation of sentences can be connected with shifts of their syntactic content.

Such is the use of the so-called pseudo-subclauses of comparison, time and condition which in transposition function as independent units of communication. A few typical examples are:

As if I ever told him about it!

Syn. I never told him about it.

Higgins: As if I ever stop thinking about the girl and her confounded vowels and consonants. (Shaw)

Cf. syn. I never stop thinking...

Cf. "Я не писал Вам писем..." "Ну-да", хохотала девица. "Как-буд-то я не знаю Вашего почерка". (Чехов)

"As if it wasn't trouble enough hatching the eggs", said the Pigeon, "but I must be on the lookout for serpents night and day." (Garroll)

"Me, indeed!"cried the Mouse who was trembling down to the end of his tail.

"As if I would talk on such a subject!" (Carroll)

Examples of pseudo-subclauses of condition functioning as independent units are:

"Well, if you aren't a wonder," Drouet was saying, complacently, squeezing Carrie's arm. "You are the dandiest little girl on earth." (Dreiser)

If there isn't Captain Donnithorne a-coming into the yard! (Eliot) — here the direct and the indirect negations cancel each other, the result being positive (he is coming).

A special case of functional re-evaluation of sub-clauses of condition will be found in "wish-sentences":

That wasn't what he had meant to say. If only he knew more, if only he could make others feel that vision, make them understand how they were duped into hatred under the guise of loyalty and duty. (Aldington)

If only Fleur and he had met on some desert island without a past and Nature for their house! (Galsworthy)

1 See: S. Karcevsky. Dualisme asymétrique du signe linguistique. TCLP. Prague, 1929.


In sentence-patterns of this type the idea of the principal clause seems to be suppressed, but they occur so often that at last we hardly think of what is left out, the remaining part becomes a regular idiomatic expression which we must recognise as a complete sentence, an independent unit of communication.

Even without any continuation the if-clause is taken at more than its face-value and becomes to speaker or hearer alike, a complete expression of wish.

Like in some other types of sentence-patterning such contextual variations are not specifically English and may be traced in many languages.

Compare analogous developments in Russian and Ukrainian:

Ax, кабы зимою цветы расцветали!

Как бы мы любили, да не разлюбляли. (А. Толстой)

Ой, якби зимою квіти розквітали!

Sub-clauses of time are syntactically re-evaluated in patterns like the following:

Oh, when she plays!

Problems of Implicit Predication

Formal subordinative relations in composite sentences are sometimes weakened and the second part of the sentence comes to function as an optional element, not necessarily needed to complete the meaning of the first.

Such borderline cases between subordination and coordination will be found, for instance, in syntactic structures with if-clauses which give rather some additional information about the event involved than the condition under which the action is performed. A few typical examples are:

She was pretty, too, if my recollection of her face and person are correct.

In upper and middle classes we're doing it all the time and blinking the moral side, if there is one. (Galsworthy)

That's still the American who counts, especially if you lump in the Dutch and Scandinavians stock Americans like this fellow Hallorsen. (Galsworthy)

If she made a mistake she has paid for it, if ever a woman did. (Doyle)

Related to this are syntactic structures with implicit predication.

The absence of the direct logical relationship between the explicit parts of the composite sentence can suggest the omission of a certain predicative unit in its surface structure. The formal organisation of such a sentence does not reflect the actual syntactic relations of its parts.

In spoken English and literary prose such compression in sentence-structure is fairly common.

A few typical examples are:

..."It's just a crazy old thing," she said. ' I just slip it on sometimes when I don't care what I look like."

"But it looks wonderful on you, if you know what I mean," pursued Mrs. McKee.

"If Chaster could only get you in that pose I think he could make something of it". (Fitzgerald)


...James and the other eight children of "Superior Dosset", of whom there are still five alive, may be said to have represented Victorian England, with its principles of trade and individualism at five per cent and your money back if you know what that means. (Galsworthy)

...And if it is any satisfaction to you, we are not formally engaged. (Galsworthy)

The predicative unit to which the if-clause would be logically attached is not formally expressed and remains in deep-sense structure:

"...And if it is any satisfaction to you, I can tell you that we are not formally engaged."

Linguistic studies of recent times have made it obvious that the interdependence of the clauses in parataxis is not absolute.

The logical connection of the co-ordinated clauses makes it clear that apparently independent clauses are often not absolutely independent, and one of them implicitly stands in some grammatical relation to the other.

Take, for instance, clauses co-ordinated by the disjunctive or in such composite sentences as:

  • ...Are those yours, Mary?

  • I don't wear such things... Stop or I'll tell the missis on you. Out half the night. (Joyce) (Stop, if you don't, I'll tell...)

..."Go out. Leave this house, or I'll do you an injury". That fellow to talk of injuries! (Galsworthy) Leave this house! If you don't I'll...)

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