Dressed up in white flannels I went over to his lawn.

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  • Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Dressed up" means he was wearing fancy or formal (as opposed to casual) clothes.
    "Dressed up in white flannels" is a clause that modifies (describes) "I."
    For that reason, I believe it needs a comma:
    Dressed up in white flannels, I...

    White refers to the color of his clothing, flannels to the fabric.
    I believe the clothing in question is a white flannel suit,
    similar to the one pictured here.
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    You asked in your original post for us to "explain the structure and meaning of the red part."
    I thought I did that.
    What is it exactly that you want to know about "the structure"?
    Perhaps you can tell us what you mean by "the structure."

    I read the other thread that you linked to.
    Bennymix did not "explain" the structure;
    he simply said that it was "a common structure."
    If that's what you're looking for here, I can also tell you
    that this is a common structure as well.

    EDIT: My apologies to Bennymix, who did rearrange the sentence.
    I guess this is what the OP means by explaining the structure.

    As I wrote earlier, "dressed up in white flannels" is a phrase which modifies the word "I."
    I think "the structure" is quite clear when you insert the necessary comma, like so:
    Dressed up in white flannels, I went over to his lawn.

    If it helps you to understand, you can also think of it as:
    I, dressed up in white flannels, went over to his lawn.
    I went over to his lawn dressed up in white flannels.
     
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    tesoke

    Senior Member
    USA
    Persian
    If it helps you to understand, you can also think of it as:
    I, dressed up in white flannels, went over to his lawn.
    I went over to his lawn dressed up in white flannels.
    Thank you. I was wanting you to rearrange the sentence and you did that. Although understanding these two sentences is simpler than the original sentence for me, they are not familiar for me structurally!! I mean I cannot understand the structure of these two sentences too :( Would you please explain about the structure of these two sentences more!

    I mean, I think that maybe the following course is true. What you think?
    I went over to his lawn when/while I dressed up in white flannels. => I went over to his lawn dressed up in white flannels. => Dressed up in white flannels, I went over to his lawn.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    There is a habit, common in French and other languages but less common in English, of beginning a sentence with a participle adjectival phrase. E.g. Dressed in white flannels I went over to his lawn. Born in 1992, he was educated at Oxford. Living in London, Mary often went to the theatre.

    If you do this (and I don't recommend it) you must make sure that the adjective matches the subject of the main clause. For example: Born in 1996, he was educated at Oxford is OK; but Born in 1996, his parents sent him to Oxford is wrong - it suggests that his parents were born in '96.

    The meaning of all these sentences is I was dressed in white flannels and I went over to his lawn, (etc.) nothing more nor less. That is sometimes the best way to express the idea in current English.

    (PS: to me "white flannels" suggests that he was dressed to play tennis, but I could be wrong.)
     

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Dressed up in white flannels" describes how this man looked, how he was dressed.
    It is descriptive information that, technically, could be left out of the sentence:
    ===>I went over to his lawn.

    However, the author wants to give us this additional information so we have a better picture.
    English, like many languages, has a certain flexibility in terms of where phrases can be placed.
    By putting "Dressed up in white flannels" at the beginning of the sentence, one could argue that
    that is important information. I personally prefer that positioning here and can tell you that it is
    quite common. The two other sentences I wrote basically mean the same thing but there are little
    nuances which may create a different effect.
    I went over to his lawn when/while I dressed up in white flannels.
    This doesn't really make sense.
    I will leave it to someone else with more time and patience than I have right now to explain this to you.:)

    Cross-posted with Keith.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I mean, I think that maybe the following course is true. What you think?
    I went over to his lawn when/while I dressed up in white flannels. :cross: When and while introduces a time element and there is not a time element in the original.
    I went over to his lawn dressed up in white flannels. :tick:
    Dressed up in white flannels, I went over to his lawn. -> that is the original example.

    In "Dressed up in white flannels, I went over to his lawn.", Dressed up in white flannels is an adverbial phrase qualifying "went". It is the same structure as

    "Quickly, I went over to his lawn." (Quickly is an adverb.)

    You can insert Dressed up in white flannels into the same places in the sentence as you can insert quickly.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    ... Dressed up in white flannels is an adverbial phrase qualifying "went". ...You can insert Dressed up in white flannels into the same places in the sentence as you can insert quickly.
    Sorry, Paul, I entirely disagree. The phrase dressed up in white flannels is surely an adjective describing "I", no?

    And you can't easily insert the phrase in all the same places in the sentence as you can insert quickly, can you? Do you think "I went over dressed up in white flannels to his lawn" is a normal English sentence? I don't.
     

    tesoke

    Senior Member
    USA
    Persian
    I came back after some days and your comments were so informative and finally I got it! Thank you very much.
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Sorry, Paul, I entirely disagree. The phrase dressed up in white flannels is surely an adjective describing "I", no?
    I don't quite see that. It tells you how he went, I might agree if there was the verb "to be" in the sentence.

    Do you think "I went over, dressed up in white flannels, to his lawn" is a normal English sentence? I don't.
    Commas.
    Do you think that "tall" can be used instead of dressed up in white flannels?
     
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