accusation

bg1996

Senior Member
Cantonese,Mandarin;Kwangtung/Guangdong,hk
"Clarke swung at his shadow the accusation that he was "a tabloid politician." "

I read this from a book. I can understand "Clarke swung at his shadow" and "the accusation that he was "a tabloid politician." " But I don't know why not add "because of" after shadow? And the sentence is right grammatically?
 
  • tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    There does seem to be something missing in the sentence. It does not make sense as written. If his shadow was the accusation, then there should be a comma after shadow. Did the accusation cause him to swing at his shadow? If so, then because of would fit. It still makes little sense to me.
     

    bg1996

    Senior Member
    Cantonese,Mandarin;Kwangtung/Guangdong,hk
    I copied the sentence fullly. And, "swung at" means "hit at"; Clarke swung at his shadow the accusation "that he was "a tabloid politician"" is a parity of "accusation"; then, the original sentence will be "A swung at B the accusation (that...)". I just think it's odd.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Is this literally Clarke's shadow or is his shadow another person? Either way, why did he swing at it/them? The word "swung" in terms of making an accusation sounds strange - I could see "hurled" or "threw"... The syntax seems out of whack too... something like saying:

    Clarke swung at his dog the bone that he was holding.

    Is the rest of the book written this way, BG1996?
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Clarke did not strike or hit his shadow. He threw (swung) the accusation at his shadow (the member of the opposition party whose job it was to follow what he was doing). He accused his shadow of being a tabloid politician.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The Oxford English Dictionary gives as one of the meanings of swing 'transitive to throw with force, fling, hurl'. However, the Dictionary suggests that this usage is obsolete.

    The Dictionary also indicates that swinging a cricket ball means throwing it with swing. Swing is defined as A curving deviation of a ball from a straight line of flight on delivery, occasioned by a combination of the angle of its seam and the relative smoothness of the leather each side of this. I suspect that the cricketing allusion is intended here: I suppose the accusation had something clever or devious or not quite straightforward about it.
     

    bg1996

    Senior Member
    Cantonese,Mandarin;Kwangtung/Guangdong,hk
    Teddy, then I can say: swing someone something or swing something to someone? As I can use throw like that.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Teddy, then I can say: swing someone something or swing something to someone? As I can use throw like that.
    I don't know, BG. I'm not a cricket fan: in fact your problem had me stumped until I started researching in the dictionary. I only use the very commonest cricketing metaphors, which have become cliches, and which are used when one is hardly thinking of the game at all - This area is something of a sticky wicket, This problem's stumped me, That's hit them for six. etc. http://www.dangermouse.net/cricket/metaphors.html

    Many English political commentators are, or course, great cricket fans; and when they are explaining the great game of politics they constantly use all kinds of cricketing metaphors requiring a more detailed understanding of cricket.
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    "Clarke swung at his shadow the accusation that he was "a tabloid politician." "

    I read this from a book. I can understand "Clarke swung at his shadow" and "the accusation that he was "a tabloid politician." " But I don't know why not add "because of" after shadow? And the sentence is right grammatically?
    bg, I'd suggest you don't adopt this phrase. As everyone has pointed out directly or indirectly, "swing an accusation" doesn't quite work. Especially not when you have so many better alternatives, e.g. fire an accusation, hurl an accusation, spit an accusation, etc.

    You can probably dig out some references in OED or other sources to establish that "swing an accusation" is viable, but it's not -- not really. Swing a fist, swing a bat, swing a bolo ... but don't swing an accusation. Whoever wrote that gets a thumb's up for ingenuity, and a thumb's down for bad English -- at least to my ear. And swing an accusation at his shadow? Geez, that's bad ...
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    BG, I hadn't heard swing a bolo before, and the Oxford English Dictionary identifies it as a specifically US boxing term!
    I didn't know the term. I thought I was making it up! :cool:

    Now that I've looked it up: I was referring to a bolo knife, not a bolo punch. Like swinging a machete.
     
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