Parenthetical clauses (parentheses)





§ 183. A parenthetical clause (parenthesis) interrupts another sentence with which it is either not connected syntactically or is only loosely connected with separate parts of the sentence.

Parenthetical clauses are often called comment clauses, because they do not simply add to the information given in the sentence, but comment on its truth, the manner of saying it, or express the attitude of the speaker toward it. In some cases it is direct address to the listener or reader.

 

He waited (which was his normal occupation) and thought, like other citizens, of the cost of living...

(Some information is added.)

...there is, as it were, a transparent barrier between myself and strong emotions. (The figurative meaning

of the utterance is indicated.)

My parents, you know, were peasants. (Direct address to the listener.)

 

Parenthetical clauses may occur in front, mid- and end position, but the end position is mainly restricted to informal style. They are usually marked off from the rest of the sentence by commas, dashes, or parentheses (brackets) in written English and by a separate tone unit in speech.

Parenthetical clauses may be patterned like independent sentences, coordinate, main, or subordinate clauses. In all cases the mechanism of turning a sentence or clause into a parenthesis is the same - the inverting of their usual sequence or placing the parenthetical clause in an unusual position, which changes their communicative value. The embedded (включенное) structure acquires a secondary status, informing the reader of the author's opinion of the utterance, or containing some comment on the content of the embedding (включающее) sentence, or else address­ing the reader directly. The embedding structure is primary in importance and structurally independent. The following sentences may be taken as examples:

 

Although the evening was still light - we dined early - the lamps were on. (a parenthetical clause

patterned like an independent sentence)

She cooked - and she was a good cook - and marketed and chatted with the delivery boys. (a parenthetical

clause patterned like a coordinate clause)

As you put it, it sounds convincing, (a parenthetical clause patterned like an adverbial clause of manner)

Does your objection to tea (which I do frightfully want) mean that we’re unlikely to be alone? (a

parenthetical clause patterned like an attributive clause)

Mr. Ford - if this was now to be his name - walked slowly up to the counter, (a parenthetical clause

patterned like an adverbial clause of condition)

 

Parenthetical clauses may be patterned like different communicative types of sentences or clauses - statements, questions, imperative or exclamatory sentences or clauses.

 

It was - why hadn’t he noticed it before? - beginning to be an effort for her to hold her back straight, (a

parenthetical clause patterned like a why-question)

I felt - such curious shapes egoism fakes! - that they had come because of me. (a parenthetical clause

patterned like an exclamatory sentence)

 

Clauses patterned like main clauses with verbs of saying and those denoting mental activity (he thought, the author said, etc.) may have an inverted order (thought he, said the author).

 

Quite a number of parenthetical clauses are stereotyped conversation formulas, used to attract the listener’s attention or to show the reaction of the speaker (you know, you see, I see, etc.).

INDIRECT SPEECH

§ 184. Indirect speech does not reproduce the exact words of the speaker, but only reports them. The grammatical form in which the speaker's words are reported is a subordinate object clause (for statements and questions) or an infinitive object (for orders and requests) dependent on a verb of saying or a verb or expression implying the idea of saying. The most frequent verbs of saying are the verbs to say and to tell for reported statements, to ask for reported questions, to tell and to ask for reported orders and requests. The subordinate clauses are joined to their principal ones by means of conjunctions, conjunctive pronouns or adverbs, or asyndetically.

The word order in these clauses is always direct, irrespective of the communicative type of the sentence in direct speech, that is, whether it is a declarative or an interrogative sentence (imperative sentences are reported by means of an infinitive object).

 

He says he has all the proof.

He asks what you are going to do.

The chief told me to do it at once.

 

When direct speech is replaced by indirect speech, the forms of personal, possessive and reflexive pronouns may be changed or not, depending on the general sense, that is, on their actual correlation with the participants of the act of speaking and the situation described in that particular unit of speech, in the same way as in Russian.

 

I don’t know anything about him,” says the girl. «Я ничего о нем не знаю», - говорит девочка. “I can do it myself,” say I. «Я вполне могу сделать это сам», - говорю я. “What are you going to do about my picture?” she asks. «Что вы собираетесь делать с моей картиной?” - спрашивает она. The girl says that she does not know anything about him Девочка говорит, что она ничего о нем не знает. I say that I can do it myself. Я говорю, что (я) вполне могу сделать это сам. She asks what I am going to do about her picture. Она спрашивает, что я собираюсь делать с ее картиной.

 

The tense form of the predicate of the object clause with reported speech is predetermined by the general rules of sequence of tenses.

If the predicate of the object clause in which direct speech is reported is to be changed into one of the past tenses, the change may affect the use of certain adverbs and demonstrative pronouns. That is, depending on the actual correlation between the place and time of the act of speaking and those of the content of the direct speech, there may arise the necessity to replace the adverbs and demonstrative pronouns implying near reference in time or space by those denoting distant reference. In such cases the following changes take place:

 

this → that

these → those

here → there

now → then, at that time

today → that day

tonight → that night

tomorrow → the following day, (the) next day

yesterday → the day before, the previous day

ago → before

last week (month, year) → the previous week (month, year)

 

“But I am really very busy today,” said Hans. “Well, there’s no use in standing here arguing about it,” she said. Hans said that he was really very busy that day. She said that there was no use in standing there arguing about it.

 

§ 185. If the sentence in direct speech is declarative, the object clause reporting it in indirect speech is joined to the principal clause by means of the conjunction that or asyndetically. The predicate of the principal clause is usually expressed by the verbs to say or to tell; to say is used when the person to whom the direct speech is addressed is not mentioned in the sentence with indirect speech, whereas to tell is used when the person is mentioned.

 

Then she turned to Fanny: “We have been married for three years.” a) Then she turned to Fanny and said (that) they had been married for three years.  
  b) Then she turned to Fanny and told her (that) they had been married for three years.  
Looking at the doctor she said, “I don’t know what it was.” a) Looking at the doctor she said (that) she did not know what it had been.  
  b) Looking at the doctor she told him (that) she did not know what it had been.

§ 186. If the direct speech is a pronominal question, the object clause reporting it in indirect speech is joined to the principal clause by the same pronominal word (pronoun or adverb) as used in direct speech. In this case it is treated as a conjunctive word. The word order in the object clause becomes direct. The predicate of the principal clause is the verb to ask or one of its synonyms to want to know, to wonder, etc.

 

“Who is it?” she asked. “Why didn’t he come?” said she. Sheasked who it was. She wanted to know why he had not come.

 

The person to whom the direct speech is addressed is usually mentioned either in the sentence itself, or in a broader context, or else is understood from the situation. In indirect speech it is expressed in the object to the verb introducing indirect speech.

 

“Where have you come from?” she asked the boy. She began to put on her gloves. “What are you going to do?” he asked. She asked the boy where he had come from. She began to put on her gloves. He asked her what she was going to do.

 

§ 187. If the direct speech is a general question, the object clause reporting it in indirect speech is joined to the principal clause by means of the conjunctions if or whether. The word order in the object clause is direct. The predicate of the principal clause is the verb to ask or one of its synonyms.

 

“Did you tell Frank?” he asked me. “Won’t your husband forgive you?” he said after a while. He asked me if (whether) I had told Frank. After a while he asked (her) if(whether) her husband would not forgive her.

 

§ 188. If direct speech is an imperative sentence, the following changes take place when reporting it in indirect speech: the predicate of the sentence takes the form of the infinitive and becomes an object to the verb introducing indirect speech; one more object, a noun or a pronoun denoting the person to whom the order or request is addressed, is supplied. Note that this object is an obligatory component of the sentence structure. If the person to whom the order or request is addressed is not indicated in direct speech, it is to be supplied from the previous context or from the speech situation.

Orders, requests, etc., in indirect speech are introduced by the verbs of inducement to tell, to order, to ask, to beg, etc.

 

I said, “Say hello to the family for me, Mr. Hunt.” “Get me out of here, baby. Get me out of here. Please.” The tall boy did not stop. “Shut up, you fool,” cried she. One of the boys turned away. “Look me full in the face,” said the woman. I asked Mr. Hunt to say hello to the family for me. He begged me to get him out of there.   The tall boy did not stop, and she ordered him to shut up. One of the boys turned away, but the woman told him to look her full in the face.

 

If the predicate of the imperative sentence is negative, the negation not is placed before the infinitive in indirect speech.

 

“Don’t go,” said he. “Don't stop!” cried he and ran after them. He asked her not to go. He ordered them not to stop and ran after them.

 

APPENDIX I





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