. . explanations and professions which it was exceedingly awkward to give . .

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shiness

Senior Member
Korean, South Korea.
How earnestly did she then wish that her former opinions had been more reasonable, her expressions more moderate! It would have spared her from explanations and professions which it was exceedingly awkward to give; but they were now necessary, and she assured him with some confusion, of her attachment to Mr. Darcy. - From P&P in Chapter 59 -


Hi.

Of the quote, the blue-coloured "it" is the cause of confusion to me.

As soon as I saw the application of it there, I began to wonder if it would be okay to remove it and still stick to the all the rules of grammar and intentions of the author.
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It would have spared her from explanations and professions which it was exceedingly awkward to give;
    What was exceedingly awkward?
    "it"
    What does it represent?
    "to give explanations and professions".

    It would have spared her from explanations and professions which was exceedingly awkward to give;
    No, you really could not omit the blue it, which refers to.
    The sentence is now ungrammatical.
     

    shiness

    Senior Member
    Korean, South Korea.
    Ok. But what if one might change, , ,

    It would have spared her from explanations and professions which were exceedingly awkward to be given;

    Will it stand good?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It would have spared her from explanations and professions which it was exceedingly awkward to give;

    It would have spared her from explanations and professions which were exceedingly awkward to be given;

    I wish you hadn't asked that question :) - because I had carefully avoided confronting it. I was going to say that the sentence would be OK without the blue it IF I changed was to were:
    It would have spared her from explanations and professions which were exceedingly awkward to give;

    That is similar to your suggestion except that you also changed "to give" to "to be given".

    I didn't suggest it because I feel that there is something significantly different about the sentence. The original is talking about explanations and professions that have not yet been given but are about to be given. In some way that I can't understand the sentence structure is making that clear.

    The apparently small change, making "explanations and professions" the subject of the red verb, rather than "to give explanations and professions", creates the sense that she knew from experience of giving these explanations and professions that they were awkward to give - which is completely wrong.

    It's as if -
    which it was exceedingly awkward to give;
    - allows for the giving to be in the immediate future.
    which were exceedingly awkward to give;
    - seems to demand that the giving had happened a number of times in the past.

    It doesn't really make sense to me - but that's the way it feels.
     
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