carrying out various duties for the sovereign as assigned to

Lighe

Senior Member
ITALIAN
Hello friends!

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeoman

Abstract: "..Most of these, including the Yeomen of the Guard, had the duty of protecting the sovereign and other dignitaries as a bodyguard, and carrying out various duties for the sovereign as assigned to his office."


Just about the phrase "..as assigned to his office.."

What is "assigned" linked to? Is it linked to "Most of these" ? or to "various duties"?

Thanks a lot in advance!
 
  • DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    You should bear in mind that the indispensable Wikipedia is written and edited by innumerable contributors, which entails varying standards of syntax and grammatical accuracy. The word "assign" has a variety of exact definitions, and this sentence could be read in either of two ways:

    "Many of these (guards) were assigned (i.e. temporarily transferred) to the sovereign's office, which then designated specific duties to them."
    or "(The guards') various duties were assigned (i.e. designated) to them by the sovereign's office." This second interpretation assumes a slight grammatical error in the original sentence.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I have to agree with DocPenfro on the unreliability of Wikipedia in use of English. It's a mishmash of contributions and edits from different people with different standards of English literacy. Even a single sentence may be the work of more than one person. Do not take it as a guide on use of English. Always remember you may be reading an erroneous text, even if it seems to make sense.

    I do not believe 'his office' means 'the sovereign's office'. This is a modern expression which rings oddly even if taken in reference to the present monarch.
    I believe 'his office' means 'the office of yeoman', referring not to an administrative building or room, but to the duty or job of the yeoman, the idea being that in addition to being a bodyguard, various other duties towards the sovereign were assigned to the yeoman.
    The question then arises 'why is it not "their" office (plural)', since the sentence starts 'Most of these [yeomen]...'?
    The probable answer to that, in my view, is that the last part of the sentence has been copy/pasted and added to the first part by someone who had in front of him or her a text explaining the duties of a yeoman (singular).
     
    Last edited:

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Hello friends!

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeoman

    Abstract: "..Most of these, including the Yeomen of the Guard, had the duty of protecting the sovereign and other dignitaries as a bodyguard, and carrying out various duties for the sovereign as assigned to his office."


    Just about the phrase "..as assigned to his office.."

    What is "assigned" linked to? Is it linked to "Most of these" ? or to "various duties"?

    Thanks a lot in advance!
    I think it means the duties, Lighe. There will be duties associated with the office which are therefore assigned to the holder of the office. I'm not going to go into the errors in the sentence, but I think that is what's meant by the part you are asking about.

    ps. this error is entertainingly and interestingly examined in this piece in the New Yorker by James Thurber called Here Lies Miss Groby, some way down the page I've linked.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top