EN: after having been brutally uprooted - adverb placement with compound tenses

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by chrisabe, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. chrisabe Senior Member

    français - Belgique
    Hello !
    I am often hesitating about the place of adverbs, before or after the auxiliary. What is the rule, definitely ?
    I give an example :
    "young people sank in alcoholism after having brutally been uprooted…"
    or :
    "young people sank in alcoholism after brutally having been uprooted…"
    The second attempt sounds very strange to me…
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    Ni l'un ni l'autre :

    "young people sank in alcoholism after having been brutally uprooted…"
  3. chrisabe Senior Member

    français - Belgique
    Thank you very much, Keith. What you send me means that the adverb has to be placed close what it is qualifying, it is to say : the present participle.
  4. rbenham Member

    English - Australia
    What is brutal: the uprooting or the having? ("Having" is the only present participle in sight.)

    And there is no such locution as "to sink in alcoholism". You could "sink into alcoholism", although that is not very idiomatic. Depending on what you want to say, "lapse into alcoholism" might work.

    And why even bother with "having been": what's wrong with "Young people lapsed into alcoholism after being brutally uprooted"? Even that sounds a bit weird. It makes me wonder exactly what you are trying to say.

    I only hope this is not a paid translation....
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
  5. chrisabe Senior Member

    français - Belgique
    You are right, rbenham, what is brutal is the uprooting, not the having ! But you tell that even "Young people lapsed into alcoholism after being brutally uprooted" sounds a bit weird. You wonder what I am trying to say. Young people were brutally uprooted. Dispair leaded tdhem to lapse into alcoholism. Is that clear for you ? Could you tell all this in a better way ?
    Anyway, thanks a lot !
  6. rbenham Member

    English - Australia
    It could make sense in a broader context. I just wonder what "young people" is supposed to mean. Does it mean "Some young people", does it refer to a particular pre-specified group of young people, or part if this group, or what? And the brutal uprooting, has it already been described?... I suppose I could put it this way: there is nothing wrong with the sentence as it stands, but I can't imagine any context in which it would be appropriate.

    You might, for example, want to say: "After this brutal uprooting, some of the young people lapsed into alcoholism", or "Some of the young people were brutally uprooted, and then lapsed into alcoholism", etc. There are endless possibilities, depending on what is new information in the context and what is old....

    Anyway, in answer to an earlier question, the adverb in this case can go either before or after the past participle uprooted. Note, however, that it is not always possible to put the adverb after the word modified:
    There was a very convincing explanation of why the English must be as it is in the linguistics course I did in Geneva, but I forget it.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
  7. chrisabe Senior Member

    français - Belgique
    I think the better would be to give you the whole context. Here it is :
    After awful atrocities that took place in Rwanda, we saw young black people addicting to drug and even prostituting. The same thing happened in Australia, where in the last century native young people lapsed into alcoholism after being brutally uprooted from their family and tribal community, under the pretext of saving their soul from the danger of paganism !
    What do you think about it ? I hope this stating is not schocking for an Australian, I hope you don't feel insulted !
    About the position of the adverb, you give me several forms of the same sentence. I suppose that the sense don't change from one to another. In French, when you say "il mange une pomme goulûment", the accent is put of the last word, on the adjective. He is really greedy !
    Thanks for your time and patience !
  8. rbenham Member

    English - Australia
    There are a few infelicities here, and I will suggest an improved version:
    I think you need an article with atrocities, assuming the atrocities are known information; otherwise you could shorten it to "After awful atrocities in Rwanda, ...".
    addict is not used actively.
    You can say "prostituting themselves", but not "prostituting" on its own; it's a transitive verb. You could also say "becoming prostitutes", but the version I chose above seems most idiomatic.
    "Native" has taken on a pejorative tone, and strictly includes everyone born in the country; also I have changed the word-order to make it more idiomatic.
    There is a big difference between French and English when it comes to the expressions like Ils ont perdu leur chapeau. In English we say "They lost their hats", assuming that each person lost his or her own hat. If we said "They lost their hat", it would imply (improbably) that the group of people only had one hat between them, which was jointly owned. So I changed a whole lot of words to plural.
    Finally, we don't have the convention of a space after a "double" punctuation mark (or even the concept of a "double" punctuation mark...).

    OK, with the "greedily", the form marked with an asterisk is not possible (that's what the asterisk means). There is a difference in emphasis between the two acceptable forms, but it is hard to describe. "He is greedily eating an apple" actually could mean "It is greedy of him to eat the apple" (because he has already eaten too much, or because the apples are intended for someone else), or it could just mean he is really enjoying it and eating rather quickly. With the adverb at the end, it's something a bit different. It might be most appropriate if we already knew that he was eating the apple, and it were just a matter of describing how he is eating it. I don't think it has the same emphasis at the end in English as in French.

    The people you refer to were called "the stolen generation", and the policy under which they were removed from their families is now generally regarded as abominable in Australia. There was a big public ceremony of apology and reconciliation last year following a change of government; the previous government refused to apologize. I am not so sure the policy was religiously motivated: some but my no means all of the children were put into Christian establishments; others were adopted by families who may or may not have been religious and probably sent them to state schools. It was more about "assimilation": children speaking the same language were deliberately kept apart to force them to communicate in English....
  9. chrisabe Senior Member

    français - Belgique
    Thanks a lot, dear friend, for all your fine remarks that I have read very carefully. Thanks also about what you say concerning "the stolen generation". I knew it, I have read a book about this sad affair. I want to take account of your remarks. And concerning the space before the double punctuation mark (before, not after ?), I don't totally agree with you. It's certainly the good use in English not having space between the last word and the mark, but in French you can watch it in books, there is always a space before : ; ? ! but never before , nor before . I am using the undividable space, not to run the risk that the poor lonely : or ; be cast at the following line.
    Anyway I will not forget your remark ! (or remark!) !!! I alm sorry, it is a reflex!
    If I could be of any useness for you (if it could be right to translate "d'une quelconque utilité" in this way), in French of course, don't hesitate, I am at your service.
    Once again, thanks to you, and very friendly.
  10. rbenham Member

    English - Australia
    Sorry, yes, I meant "before". It looks very odd in English. In French, if I can, I use a non-breaking space for it, for texts that need to be presented well, at least (like my mémoire, for example). A punctuation mark at the beginning of the next line does indeed look very silly.
  11. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA

    This is an interesting discussion, but because of the way our forums are organized, threads need to focus on a single, specific question - the one posed at the beginning of the thread (rule 2).

    This thread needs to be about the position of the adverb. Adding a few more sentences for context, so that we can better assess where "brutally" belongs, is fine. But we can't go into a detailed discussion of the rest of the text. If there are other points of grammar or vocabulary that merit being talked about, please open separate threads to address them.

    Thanks for your understanding! :)

  12. chrisabe Senior Member

    français - Belgique
    Yes, you are right, jann, rbenham and I trespassed the rule, got carried away with enthusiasm. Sorry !
  13. rbenham Member

    English - Australia
    Sorry, I am new here. Also, I got the impression I might have inadvertently offended chrisabe, and was keen to help him to show there were no hard feelings. In future I will use private messaging for such purposes.

    Apologies all round.

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