But as they got closer, they heard Penny shouting

Anfisa

Senior Member
Russian
What grammatical funtion does < shouting> have? Does <as> mean <when> in this text?
They carried them back to the house. But as they got closer, they heard Penny shouting. (Simplified of The Yearling.49)
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Shouting" is a participial complement used after a verb of perception (heard).

    "As" contains elements of "when" and of "while/during the process".
     

    Vronsky

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    "As" contains elements of "when" and of "while/during the process".
    I don't quite understand, sorry. Do you think the sentence means:

    "While they were getting closer, they heard Penny shouting." (simultaneous actions)
    or
    "When (=after) they got closer, they heard Penny shouting." (sequential actions)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think that if I had to substitute "as" with another word, I would find it difficult to choose between "while" and "when" - both simultaneous in this case, with "while" meaning that "all the time they were getting closer they could hear Penny shouting", and "when" meaning that "they heard Penny shouting at the same time as they got close enough to her".

    "While" considers the whole process of getting closer, so may be more apt, but I don't think it's impossible in this sentence to think of "as" = "when" too. If you substituted "when" here, I wouldn't feel that meaning had been lost.:)
     

    Vronsky

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    If you substituted "when" here, I wouldn't feel that meaning had been lost.
    Thank you.
    That is, "But when they got closer, they heard Penny shouting." has the same meaning as the OP? Do I understand you correctly?

    If so, let's have a look at another sentence.

    When they got closer they saw Taglia's house was gutted by fire.
    (from "The Wrong House" by James D. Keating)​

    Is the meaning in this sentence the same as in the OP? I mean, "All the way they got closer they saw Taglia's house was gutted by fire." Is it a correct reading?
     
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