Alain de Botton: two halves of a complex sentence...

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everpine

Senior Member
Korean
Hey, Pals...

Recently, here in Korea is a huge following of Alain de Botton. One of my colleagues asked me to help him wrap his brain around this passage.

"Whatever one's experience of this globe and its inhabitants, however impartial one's judgement and varied one's acquaintance, it would be no surprise if the most enchanting person one had yet encountered, someone whose tastes in love and literature, religion and recreation, dirty jokes and household hygiene all lay beyond reproach, whose setbacks were capable of eliciting inexhaustible concern and pity, whose dawn halitosis was the grounds for no quiet shudder and whose view of humanity seemed neither cruel nor naive one might without presumption suggest this person to be none other than oneself."


Is this sentence correct grammatically? I mean, for the part of the sentence marked in red to be able to make sense, shouldn't it be preceded by words like "When one is asked ~~", for example? Sorry, my english is not good and I don't know if I asked the question as I intended.
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hello EP and welcome to the forum:)
    I think that technically speaking it's two sentences. I'm not at all acquainted with the work of Mr. de Botton, but I would respectfully suggest that he got a little bit carried away with this sentence and, when he got to the end of it, forgot what happened at the beginning ... or perhaps hoped that the reader would feel the same, and not notice that the two halves didn't quite connect perfectly.
    Which is what happened for me.
     

    everpine

    Senior Member
    Korean
    You are right,,,I should have asked to help me understand the sentence rather than if the sentence is correct. But, I was just wondering how I can understand the sentence correctly.

    Thanks.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Here's a shorter simpler version: If you meet someone who you find perfect in every way ~ that person is probably you.
     

    everpine

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Here's a shorter simpler version: If you meet someone who you find perfect in every way ~ that person is probably you.

    That's what I am saying. Can't he write just that simple? He seems out to make people like me miserable.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree with Pickarooney about its being bollocks.

    I also think the construction is faulty. He says 'it would be no surprise if the most enchanting person one had yet encountered, bla bla bla (several clauses in apposition with attendant relative constructions but no verb to say what this most enchanting person does, did, or has done)'. Then when the sentence has lost impetus and the reader patience, he feels the need to be more explicit - you'll find that this person is yourself. This second sentence is correct grammatically but grossly affected in style. It's the first sentence which leaves the reader in the air.

    The reason I think it's bollocks is that I know plenty of people who have low self-esteem, who don't find the most enchanting person they know to be themselves.
     
    Last edited:

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I found it more boring than bollocksy ~ by the time I got to household hygiene I was willing it to end within a couple of words. No such luck:D
     
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