at this observation of Gania's

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
"It undoubtedly has already!" observed Gania.
Varia had risen from her place and had started to go upstairs to her mother; but at this observation of Gania's she turned and gazed at him attentively.

"Who could have told her?"
The Idiot By Fyodor Dostoevsky

Author's text looks like the fragment in bold doesn't exist at all. And I can't understand neither the grammar of this fragment nor what it means. Explain it to me please.
 
  • VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Maybe that means -- "Gania looked at her while she was going upstairs" ? If so, why is the possessive case used in combination with of?
     

    compaqdrew

    Senior Member
    English - AE
    "at this observation of Gania's" is a prepositional phrase, since "at" is a preposition. In this sentence it modifies turned.

    expressing the time when an event takes place: the children go to bed at nine o'clock | his death came at a time when the movement was split. - OED
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thanks.

    1. This observation means Gania's remark ("It undoubtedly has already!"). Am I right?
    2. Yet still, what does of Gania's mean ? Why is it not at this Gania's observation or at this observation of Gania ?
     

    compaqdrew

    Senior Member
    English - AE
    This observation means Gania's remark ("It undoubtedly has already!"). :tick:

    at this Gania's observation :cross:

    "this" would I guess be a determiner here. It's sort of a gross oversimplification, but more often than not a determiner stands in for an article (e.g.the, an). Gania's observation
    does not require an article:

    the Gania's observation :cross:
    a Gania's observation :cross:

    Since an article doesn't work here (and since the handful of exceptions where a determiner doesn't stand in for an article don't apply here), a determiner cannot be used here.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "It undoubtedly has already!" observed Gania.

    Varia had risen from her place and had started to go upstairs to her mother; but at this observation of Gania's she turned and gazed at him attentively.
    Gania is evidently a man; Varia is a woman. Gania said the line you've quoted (in response to something that has been said before; we haven't been given the context, so we don't know what "it" is or what has "already" occurred). Varia had stood up and started to go upstairs when Gania said that. When he spoke, she turned around and looked at him with an air of expectancy.

    Gania is a proper name; we don't put "this" or "the" in front of names. We'd say "this question of Vik's", not "this Vik's question" or "the Vik's question".
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Thanks for the answers.
    at this observation of Gania's, this question of Vik's
    But doesn't the preposition of say that it's my question or Gania's observation ?
    Why can't I just say: "at this observation of Gania", "this question of Vik".
    Is that incorrect?
     

    EStjarn

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    To make the construction appear a little more logical, what would you say if you had to refer to yourself in that phrase instead of Gania?

    Would you say, "at this question of I" or "at this question of me"?

    If so, it is not correct.

    The correct phrasing is "at this question of mine."

    'Mine' is a possessive pronoun.

    If by chance that seems natural to you, then perhaps you find the use of the Saxon genitive in the topic phrase less puzzling.

    By the way, "at this observation of Gania" would signify that someone had observed Gania; it would not signify that Gania had made an observation (i.e., had said something).
     
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