1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

His father emigrated to the United States, afraid that...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by slovac, May 1, 2013.

  1. slovac Senior Member

    Could you tell me what a bolded part means?

    His father emigrated to the United States, afraid that his sons would be drafted into the Czarist army.

    Aren't there some word left out? (probably not because it is written by natives :))

    I copied the text from the webpage http://www.usingenglish.com/comprehension/24.html.

    I miss some words there - ...,because he was afraid that...

    Thank you.
     
  2. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    You are right, it means what you guess it means - 'because he was afraid that . . . '. This is a very common construction in English.

    A grammarian will be able to explain it in more formal terms. Maybe one will be along soon . . .
     
  3. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you.
     
  4. VikNikSor

    VikNikSor Senior Member

    Russian
    is it grammatically correct also to say:
    "...to the United States, being afraid that his sons would be drafted into the Czarist army" ?
     
  5. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Grammatically correct? Well, perhaps. But it doesn't matter, since...

    Rhetorically correct? Certainly not. There's no need to emphasize the progressiveness of the feeling of fear, and why would you clog up a sentence with useless words when you're reducing a phrase for stylistic reasons?
     
  6. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 73)
    UK English
    Another word order is His father, afraid that his sons would be drafted into the Czarist army, emigrated to the United States.

    I would not write being afraid since it can sometimes sound a bit old-fashioned. It is also completely unnecessary.
     
  7. VikNikSor

    VikNikSor Senior Member

    Russian
    The point is that I don't understand afraid in this: "to the United States, afraid that his sons" (or as e2efour has suggested "His father, afraid that his sons"). If afraid would be the past participle from a verb, that were clear to me. But afraid is an adjective only, and I'd expect it would be like:
    to the United States, being / feeling afraid that his sons

    :confused:
     
  8. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    "Afraid" originally was the past participle of a verb. We just don't use that verb as a verb anymore, but we still use its past participle.
     
  9. VikNikSor

    VikNikSor Senior Member

    Russian
    Thank you:)
     
  10. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 73)
    UK English
    Adjective can often be used like this (and in adjectives I include participles). The expression "afraid that" can be replaced by for fear that (which is a little old-fashioned).

    He went to bed early, tired after his long journey.
    She locked the door, frightened that the zombies would find their way inside.
    The ship, severely damaged in the battle, started to sink.
    The hunter raised his gun for fear that the lion would charge.
    (or gun, afraid that ...)
     
  11. VikNikSor

    VikNikSor Senior Member

    Russian
    ___Thanks!
     
  12. slovac Senior Member

    Could I ask whether I can use this structure also for this example?:

    I was smiling, happy that you had come. = I was smiling, because I was happy that you had come.
     
  13. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 73)
    UK English
    You can!
     
  14. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you.
     
  15. slovac Senior Member

    Could I ask something?
    I was smiling, having won money. = I was smiling, because I had won money.

    Thank you
     
  16. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    That's how I would understand it. Perhaps it's easier to understand in a sentence like this:

    My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door, happy to see that her human had arrived safely back home.
     
  17. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you.
    Could you tell me please?

    My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door, having heard that her human arrived safely back home.
    =
    My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door, because it had heard that her human arrived safely back home.
     
  18. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Dogs can't "hear that something happened," because you can't talk to dogs ("to hear that something happened" = "to be informed that something happened, to be told about something happening").

    But...

    My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door, having heard me fumbling with my keys on the front porch.
    =
    My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door, because s/he had heard me fumbling with my keys on the front porch.

    The sentences without "because" are much more elegant.
     
  19. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you.
     
  20. slovac Senior Member

    Could I ask whether this modification is also possible to use?
    My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door, hungry.
    =
    My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door, it was hungry.

    OR
    Slovakia is a new country, created only in 1993.
    =
    Slovakia is a new country, because it was created only in 1993.
    OR
    He is celebrating, having won money.

    Must there be a conjuctor THAT for me to use this structure?

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  21. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    OK, now you have 5 more questions.

    2. is a run-on sentence (comma splice)
    4. is awkward; it's not exactly a causal "because" logic at work in that sentence so the "because" clause seems out of place. (Compare to "Slovakia can be called one of the world's newest countries, because it was only created in 1993." Now there's a because-logic and the sentence works. So does "Slovakia, created only in 1993, can be called one of the world's newest countries.")

    5. is natural
    3. is natural; you could also use "having been created" in that sentence

    1. is a case of a "dangling modifier" - it's impossible to tell from that sentence what is "hungry": is it the dog? is it "I"? is it the door? The sentence needs to be re-written so that the reader can understand what "hungry" applies to.

    Based on meaning, these phrases either feel like participial phrases (which should go as close as possible to the nouns they modify) or absolute phrases (which should go either at the beginning or the end of the sentence).
     
  22. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you.
     
  23. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    The first one says that you were hungry, not the dog. The second one almost suggests the door was hungry. :confused:
    Better to change the order:

    As soon as I opened the door, my dog came running up to me, hungry.
    As soon as I opened the door, my dog came running up to me, and it was hungry.
    As soon as I opened the door, my dog came running up to me. It was hungry.
     
  24. slovac Senior Member

    And this option: My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door,because it was hungry. = My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door, hungry.
     
  25. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Argh, slovac, you aren't paying attention. What's the problem with the sentence "My dog came running up to me as soon as I opened the door, hungry"? And what pronoun do we normally use to refer to a dog?
     
  26. slovac Senior Member

    I think if I don't know gender of the dog, I will use IT.

    it's impossible to tell from that sentence what is "hungry" - but in this case the sentence was created from this one ..., it was hungry. There was not BECAUSE
     
  27. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    And you'll be wrong. In English, dogs of unknown gender are "he"s.

    Did you see Edinburgher's explanation of the problem with "it was hungry"? The only noun in the sentence that "it" could refer to is the door.
     
  28. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you. Yes, I saw, but there was not BECAUSE in the full version, it was reason why I asked about it. I only wanted to be sure.
     
  29. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    I don't understand why you want there to be a because. The sentence "He came to the door, hungry" only tells us that he was hungry when he came to the door. It doesn't tell us that his hunger was the reason he came to the door (perhaps it was the reason, but the sentence does not say that). He would probably have come to the door even if he wasn't hungry, simply because he was happy to see you.
    You said "My dog came..." If you don't know what sex your dog is, I recommend that you find out quickly, before it's too late! :)
     
  30. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you. It was reason why I asked the next question.
     

Share This Page