dragged whole trees root wads and all along


Senior Member

Land turned liquid that fast, water yanked our feet, stole our thongs, pulled in the edges of the arroyo, dragged whole trees root wads and all along, battering rams thrust downstream, anything you left there gone, anything you meant to go back and get, history, water so high you couldn’t touch bottom, water so fast you couldn’t get out of it, water so huge the earth couldn’t take it, water. We couldn’t step back. We had to be there, to see for ourselves. Water in a place where water’s always holy. Water remaking the world.
(from: Moving Water, Tucson, by Peggy Shumaker)

In the highlighted part, I wonder if 'whole tress root wads' forms a noun phrase.
If so, could I understand it like 'a bunch of whole trees' root'?
Lack of punctuation and two plurals confuse me :(
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Understand it like this: "... dragged whole trees -- root wads and all -- along ..."

    It's just a way of emphasizing that not only was the tree you see dragged along, but even the roots below ground, i.e. the trees were completely uprooted and dragged along.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    I would say that, strictly speaking, there should be a comma either side of 'root wads and all' But this sentence is a complex and stylised one, and is already lettered with commas, so I assume it is the author's deliberate choice to omit them here, perhaps to lend the phrase a bit of drama.

    Just a guess really . . .

    Cross-posted with Copyright, with whose suggestion of dashes I agree.
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