a peasant who is being played off the stage

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  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I would say that I've never heard the expression before -- I guess it's supposed to mean "out-acted" or "out-played." But it's unfamiliar and I wouldn't memorize it for American English purposes.

    This comes to mind, but may not be exactly what is intended in your quote:
    Perron was rather surly, a peasant who was being upstaged by a man with style
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Perron was rather surly, a peasant who is being played off the stage by a man with style
    Oh, I even did not pay attention to it:).
    So, I think the 'being' is probably a gerund in your sentence, isn't it?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd say not, VNS.

    What you have there is a present participle. That's a continuous present tense of to be (is being) + the past participle (upstaged), making a passive form.

    It shows what is being done to the peasant.

    The continuous past tense is formed by the present tense of to be (he is) + the present participle (being).
     
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    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I have never heard such an expression as "play off the stage", and it makes no sense. (This is an obviously poor attempt at translation from the Russian.) Copyright thinks it may mean "upstage"; I have my doubts. I wonder if it is from a review of a production of the play "Evita" and "off the stage" should perhaps be onstage. The sentence would then mean that the role of Peron, who was in real life a surly peasant, was played in this production by an actor with "style" (a more gracious bearing).

    That would make sense, anyway.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    We need to remember that we are not being asked, as I understand it, to comment on the phrase 'to play off the stage', but rather about the grammatical status of the word being in the sentence.

    Maybe it's too early in the morning, or late at night.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Yes, Thomas Tompion, of course, I know this grammatical construction, but I thought that 'who was being upstaged by a man with style' does not describe a particular situation (in the past), but refers to a long period of his life. So I was wrong.


    Thank all of you!
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There is a clash between he was surly and who is being - there is a sudden switch into the historic present (using the present tense to describe things in the past) which is very confusing.

    The historic present isn't a form I like much, and to use it in an adjectival clause in a sentence whose main verb is in the past is dangerous.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    We need to remember that we are not being asked, as I understand it, to comment on the phrase 'to play off the stage', but rather about the grammatical status of the word being in the sentence
    Why not:) It's very interesting to read the comments about 'to play off the stage'
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    (This is an obviously poor attempt at translation from the Russian.)
    :thumbsup:

    I think this is a junk sentence and it's better not to think about it too hard. I'm familiar with a phrase "to play off" meaning "to provide musical accompaniment for a character's exit," but that's clearly not right here. Given the huge error of was/is and the general confusion of the sentence, I don't think we should analyze it as an example of English grammar.

    Grammatically the sentence could either have a present continuous passive verb or a gerund. Since it doesn't make sense semantically, there's no way to tell (perhaps it was really written as "Perron, a peasant who is the embodiment of the action of being-played-offstage").
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Is being played is an example of the continuous present tense, passive voice. Vikniksor, are you asking the linguistic-philosophical question of whether the word being, which is always used in the formation of this tense/voice combination, is a participle, or a gerund, or a morpheme indicating verbal voice, or something else?
     
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    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    How can it be a gerund, Lucas? My imagination has baulked at the idea.
    Well, he could literally be the act of being played off the stage. He would have to be the embodiment or incarnation of an abstract action, sure. Maybe it's surrealism, or a metaphor.

    To me, that makes just as much sense as saying that he is performing the action of being played off the stage - because that doesn't make sense either.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Musicians can play people off a stage. It means to play music to accompany, in this case, the peasant's exit from the stage. Maybe the 'man with style' is a musician. In BE that would be quite a normal thing to say.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Musicians can play people off a stage. It means to play music to accompany, in this case, the peasant's exit from the stage. Maybe the 'man with style' is a musician. In BE that would be quite a normal thing to say.
    That's what I said in my post. But it still doesn't make sense as a sentence and is not properly written (the was/is thing is particularly grating). I think we should move on rather than attempt to arrive at the meaning of the sentence by a contest of intuition!
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Vikniksor, are you asking the linguistic-philosophical question of whether the word being, which is always used in the formation of this tense/voice combination, is a participle, or a gerund, or a morpheme indicating verbal voice, or something else?
    Perron was rather surly, a peasant who was being upstaged by a man with style
    I thought that if after the clause 'Perron was rather surly, a peasant' comes the clause 'who was being upstaged by a man with style', then this second clause looks a bit strange (to me) in the present continuous passive, because after the pronoun who, there shouldn't be a clause that describes a particular situation in the past (in this sentence). That's what I had in mind:)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Perron was rather surly, a peasant who was being upstaged by a man with style
    I thought that if after the clause 'Perron was rather surly, a peasant' comes the clause 'who was being upstaged by a man with style', then this second clause looks a bit strange (to me) in the present continuous passive, because after the pronoun who, there shouldn't be a clause that describes a particular situation in the past (in this sentence). That's what I had in mind:)
    You must get it out of your mind, VNS. There's absolutely nothing the matter with such a clause, particularly if the main verb is in the past: eg. She came into the room followed by a man who was eating a raw turnip:):thumbsup::tick:.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The link does not work for me, so I googled the example and received a Google translation from the Russian
    Dictionaries:
    LingvoUniversal (En-Ru)
    play off the stage


    replay ( smb. ) on stage, Tx. Perrin.
    Perron was rather Surly, a Peasant Who is Being Played off the stage by a MAN with style. - Peron was rugged bushman who could get around a person with a certain style.
    I don't think I am any wiser.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Oh, I'm sorry, I wrote: 'then this second clause looks a bit strange (to me) in the present continuous passive', but I had in mind: then this second clause looks a bit strange (to me) in the past continuous passive. (I got confused, because the sentence in the first comment contains 'is being...')
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The link does not work for me, so I googled the example and received a Google translation from the RussianI don't think I am any wiser.
    Haha! I followed the link. There was the sentence and a Russian version of it which Google says means:

    Peron was rugged bushman who could get around a person with a certain style. :D

    I think we're wasting our time trying to interpret this sentence. :)

    Regardless of that, I agree entirely with Thomas Tompion #4
     
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