and could build itself

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ironman2012

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

There is a sort of subterranean chaos, sometimes bursting through the crust of civilization; and something in the individual heart rejoices at that eruption, feels that at last the moment has come to break through its own crust, and could build itself, as well as the world, on some different plan.

(This comes from War vs. Order by George Stantayana (1869-1952). I don't find a link on the Internet.)

I'm not sure if I parse the second part correctly: something ... rejoices..., feels ..., and could build itself ...
Both "rejoices" and “feels” are simple present, but "could build" instead of "builds" is used. I'm not sure.

Thanks in advance!
 
  • kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In this context, the modal verb 'could' indicates a softer kind of the modal verb 'can' and indicates that something is possible to happen according to standard grammars.
     
    Last edited:

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Sorry, I was inattentive. Punctuation directly indicates that the subject is the word 'something' in the 'second part' of the sentence.
     
    Last edited:

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Something is the subject of feels
    moment
    is the subject of could

    Something {...} feels that {...} the moment has come {...} and could build itself{...} on some different plan.
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Something {...} feels that {...} the moment has come {...} and could build itself{...} on some different plan.
    The original text is: something {...} rejoices at that eruption, feels that {...} the moment has come {...}, and could build itself, ...

    1. The subject of "feels" should be "something", so is an "and" needed grammatically before "feels" to connect it and "rejoices"? That is, "something rejoices at..., and feels that..", rather than "something rejoices at..., feels that..".

    2. Does "itself" refer to "moment"?
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I just learned from another post (in #4) that the original text (which I could't access) should be "...and something in the individual heart rejoices at that eruption, feels that at last the moment has come to break through its own crust, and could build itself, as well as the world, on some different plan.

    Sorry about the confusion. But I still have some questions:

    and something in the individual heart rejoices at that eruption, feels that at last the moment has come to break through its own crust, and build itself, as well as the world, on some different plan.

    1. Is it "something" that "break" and "build"?

    2. Do "its" and "itself" refer to "something"?

    3. The subject of "feels" should be "something", so is an "and" needed grammatically before "feels" to connect it and "rejoices"? That is, "something rejoices at..., and feels that..", rather than "something rejoices at..., feels that..".
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The question that you asked demonstrates again the reasons why many years ago schools, for example in the UK, refused to teach such educational section as 'parsing sentences.' If one ignored theoretical scientific reasons, in practice, the school teachers of that age did not know how to justify the various options for the possible syntactic structure of the sentence being analyzed while using the school knowledge taught that time, although, and of nowdays too. The question you asked is one of those that are difficult to answer, relying only on the so called 'grammar of the syntax.'
    In this case, to solve the problem posed by your question, you can resort to the so called 'enumeration of possible options' , which is often a method for more complex tasks of analyzing the syntactic structure. Open any sufficiently complete dictionary of the meanings of the word 'moment' , and you can make sure that the grammatical clauses of the type ' moment has come to break through its own crust, and (could) build(s) itself' is simply impossible from the standpoint of ordinary common sense with the word in the literature 'for the common reading' in practice.
    Such conclusion seems to be a sufficient prove that the only possible subject of the second 'part' of the sentence is the word 'something'.
     

    ironman2012

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you, but do you think an "and" is needed grammatically before "feels" to connect it and "rejoices"? That is, "something rejoices at..., and feels that..", rather than "something rejoices at..., feels that..".
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    This is a so called compound-complex declarative sentence.
    To form any compound sentence we ought to check the separate components of such sentence (some independent clauses) up on the possibility to be a compound sentence. Such test holds good here in the second part of the whole sentence. To form a compound sentence, one can use inter alia commas, semicolons and coordinating conjunctions. So, we can use a coordinating conjunction 'and' to form a compound sentence, which is the second part of the whole sentence actually. That is why the answer to your question is yes, it seems that the coordinating conjunction 'and' is used in grammatically correct manner in the sentence. The punctuation is of the AmE style.
     
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