As he entered, Ashley gave Tom a hug.

zaffy

Senior Member
Polish
"As he entered, Ashley gave Tom a hug" - I believe this sentence is correct and natural, is it? Now, I often come across statements where you place someone's name further into the sentence. Doesn't it make the sentence a bit confusing? I guess he and Tom could be two different people. In Polish it would be unacceptable and you needed to say "As Tom entered, Ashley gave him a hug". So, does it matter when I mention someone's name?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It seems a little strange to place "Ashley" immediately after 'As he entered", zaffy. As listeners or readers get accustomed to whatever story you are telling --as they grow familiar with details about the plot, the characters and the scene -- they won't be quite as dependent on your words for an understanding of what is happening.

    This is my way of telling you that loose or confusing constructions or references won't be completely destructive to your meaning if your audience has some prior knowledge of whatever you may be talking about. But they can destroy any possible comprehension if your meaning isn't clear before people know some of the important details.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    It seems a little strange to place "Ashley" immediately after 'As he entered", zaffy.
    "When he learned the exam results, Tom finally felt relieved." How about this? Is it natural? I often come across such statements where the name is mentioned in the second sentence.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    So most native speaker will say "When he learned the exam results, Tom finally felt relieved." rather than "When Tom learned the exam results, he finally felt relieved."? What might be the reason why you put names the second clause? Does the sentence still sound natural if I word the sentence with the name in the first clause?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    No. Both versions sound equally reasonable to me, zaffy. Try not to draw too many conclusions from any one remark you find in a thread, okay?

    When he finally learned the exam results, Tom..:thumbsup:
    When Tom finally learned the exam results, he... :thumbsup:
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The pronoun in such cases is in a subordinate clause:

    When he saw the mess in the room, Tom was amazed.
    After making sure he had locked the door, Tom left the house.
    (Because / although / if . . .)

    You can't put the pronoun before its antecedent in a single clause:

    :cross:He was polishing Tom's shoes.

    This is correct if it means someone else was, but not in the meaning 'Tom was polishing his shoes.' And of course this other sentence is ambiguous in English in a way you don't have in Polish, because I'm fairly sure you have a j-word meaning "his (someone else's)" and an s-word meaning "his (own)". Nevertheless, that's the normal way of saying it. It would probably be understood as "his own" unless context pointed to another person.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    "When she broke her leg, my mum went to hospital"

    And is that one equally natural? Is this kind of wording sentences common in everyday language or is it more often used in literature?
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It's perfectly normal in all situations, as is the other order also. The only difference between speech and literature is that in literature you almost certainly have introduced Tom already. In speech, you might be talking about injuries or hospitals, but only now introduce your mum. If so, mention her first: When my mum broke her leg . . .
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    And is this sentence correct and natural? Can I place 'the teacher' in the second clause?

    "Before she checked the attendance list, the teacher asked all the students to open their coursebooks."
     
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