'Gerad,' She said, 'is down seeing to harbor fortifications'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by park sang joon, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. park sang joon Senior Member

    Korean
    The protagonist is a royal family member of Amber.
    He is talking to his aunt.

    "Where are they all, anyway?" I asked.
    "Gerad," She said, "is down seeing to harbor fortifications, and Julian is in command of the army,~."
    ["Sign of Chaos" of The Great Book of Amber by Roger Zelazny]
    I think a present participle represents an objectㅡin order to doㅡwhen used with the verb "come/ go," that here, "is" means "has gone."
    So I was wondering if "seeing to" means "in order to see to" here.
    Thank you in advance for your help.
     
  2. Uriel-

    Uriel- Senior Member

    New Mexico, US
    American English
    Seeing to the harbor fortifications means Gerard is inspecting the fortifications and taking charge of making whatever preparations are necessary.

    Good book, by the way.

    To "see to" something is to take charge of something. Or it can be an admonishment to make sure something gets done -- "See to it that this house is clean by the time your mother gets home."
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  3. dojibear

    dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    Gerad is down at the harbor. His current activity is "seeing to" the fortifications.

    "seeing to X" is a set phrase in English, only vaguely connected with "to see". X is some sort of project (here, making the harbor fortifications 100% ready for war). "Seeing to X" means taking responsibility for X and doing (or delegating) everything needed for it: inspecting, organizing people, setting up and carrying out whatever is needed.

    There is a related phrase. This would be a command: "see that X happens". It means "make sure that X happens".
     
  4. park sang joon Senior Member

    Korean
    Thank you, Urielㅡ and dojibear, for your so very kind answer. :)
    I'd like to know the usage of the present participle hereㅡwhat it representsㅡan object, a conditional, a cause, and so forth.
    So I was wondering if you mean "in order to see" by "to see."
     
  5. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Cheshire
    English / England
    It just means "what he is currently doing", some work related to the harbor. It is vague because the person speaking probably doesn't know exactly what he does there!
     
  6. park sang joon Senior Member

    Korean
    Thank you, suzi br, for your so very kind answer. :)
    And I'm sorry for my poor English.
    I was wondering if I can replace "seeing" with "in order to see."
     
  7. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    Greece
    British English (Sussex)
    It's a phrasal verb: "to see to" (to attend to/take care of). I am seeing to some jobs in the garden today. Gerad is seeing to the fortifications...
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
  8. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    Cheshire
    English / England
    No, in fact you cannot, because it "to see to" really has nothing to so with "seeing" with your eyes .. it is a set phrase for doing something.
     
  9. park sang joon Senior Member

    Korean
    Thank you, velisarius and suzi ber, for your very helpful answer. :)
     
  10. Uriel-

    Uriel- Senior Member

    New Mexico, US
    American English
    It doesn't stand for anything, it's just part of the verb conjugation: he is seeing to the fortifications. Remove the extra word "down" and this will become clearer. It is conjugated in the present progressive because it is something he is doing right now. No, you cannot substitute the infinitive.
     
  11. park sang joon Senior Member

    Korean
    Thank you, Urel-, for your continuing support. :)
     

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