can "untold" come as an adverb?

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Peloam

Member
Urdu
Hi there!

I did not see "untold" as an adverb. Generally, can it come as one? Can I use it as an adverb in the following sentence? If not, please tell me what words I can use to convey the same meaning.
God, Who possesses knowledge of all that was, and all that will be, untold, informed the angels that He will appoint a vicegerent in earth.
 
  • Peloam

    Member
    Urdu
    I disagree with you. If "untold" modifies "all", it will be an adjective that means "unrevealed", or "kept secret." It does not mean that. It means that the God "knows/possesses knowledge" untold. He was not taught or told of that knowledge. I wish you can understand my explanation.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    It means that the God "knows/possesses knowledge" untold. He was not taught or told of that knowledge.
    You have described the use of untold as an adjective, modifying "knowledge". While it is not common in English for adjectives to follow the nouns they modify, one does find this in poetic statements -- and that is what you have here.

    Here is an example of the same kind of sentence:

    He lived for years untold in that cave: Untold is here an adjective modifying "years", and not an adverb modifying "lived". Don't forget that "untold" also has the meaning of "uncounted", and by extension suggests "unmeasured".
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I believe it modifies God and can be seen as a participial adjective. Not an adverb in my view.

    PS. In fact, it is slightly confusing. Does God, untold by anyone, have all that knowledge or does he have untold knowledge :confused:
     
    Last edited:

    Peloam

    Member
    Urdu
    PS. In fact, it is slightly confusing. Does God, untold by anyone, have all that knowledge or does he have untold knowledge :confused:
    This is the point I'm trying to make. I need to say the first meaning. God untold by any one, has all that knowledge.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Then perhaps you can move "untold" closer to God somehow? :)

    And once you've done that, untold will probably qualify as a participial adjective?

    R. Quirk et al, give the following examples of participial adjectives:
    Outside the passive clause proper, agentive and instrumental by-phrases can occur after -ed participial adjectives with passive meaning (cf 3.74ff):
    I was very alarmed by the news he brought.
    The child was unwanted by its parents.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I don't think that you can easily use the word "untold" to get that meaning. It doesn't mean "without being told". If you say:
    God's knowledge is untold.
    It has two possible meanings:
    God hasn't told anyone what he knows, the knowledge is secret.
    or
    God's knowledge is vast, uncountable.
    Neither is what you mean.
     

    Peloam

    Member
    Urdu
    Ok thanks Boozer and Myridon. It looks that the meaning is not going right as Myridon said. Please help me to express what I mean correctly.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    God, Who, untold by anyone, possesses knowledge of all that was and all that will be, informed the angels that He would appoint a vicegerent on earth.

    This, as others will probably point out, is not the most efficient or elegant way of getting the message across, but I personally would understand it
     
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