Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: interesting english syntax

From:Yahya Abdal-Aziz <yahya@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 27, 2005, 13:29
Hi all,

On Mon, 26 Sep 2005, Elliott Lash wrote:
> In my American New York English, I can say the > following types of things: > > 1) Were he here, he'd be helping us out. > > 2) Had I known how bad it was, I never would have > seen it. > > 3) Come spring, the flowers will start to bloom. > > ------------------------------- > The first two have an inverted subject and verb in the > first clause, where the verb is in a past or > "subjunctive" form. It seems to mean the same as "if > he were" and "if I had known". The last sentence is > slightly different in meaning, with a "subjunctive" > form of the verb. It means something like "when spring > comes". Is there a name for these things, and is it > more common, used with more than those verbs? Is it > appropriated for any conlangs?
I can think of other auxiliary verbs in English that permit these constructions, eg 4) Could he have known of her perfidy, assuredly he would never have offered her his hand in marriage. 5) Do what she may, [do what she might,] she could not have persuaded him otherwise. 6) Go where she would, all polite society would have shunned her. Also, I note that 3) is quite similar to - 7) Be that as it may, he remained in blissful ignorance. The first clause in both examples announces a pre- condition, not necessarily of time. The usage in 3) is, of course, not restricted to seasons; for example, we might say - 8) Come dinner-time, he was ravenous, having partaken of nothing all day but a meagre breakfast of poached eggs, kippers, three kinds of sausage and toast. Deride my examples if you will, but I think them suitable exemplars of a style already obsolescent in Victorian times ...! Regards, Yahya -- No virus found in this outgoing message. Checked by AVG Anti-Virus. Version: 7.0.344 / Virus Database: 267.11.6/111 - Release Date: 23/9/05