I expounded to her what I had endeavoured, so unsuccessfully, to expound to~

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park sang joon

Senior Member
The narrator recalls his adolescence.
He is an apprentice for the lawyer Mr. Spenlow.
He fell in love with Mr. Spenlow's only daughter Dora.
His grand aunt and her distant relative Mr. Dick came to London after her going bankrupt.
Now, He works as the secretary for Doctor Strong, who lives in Highgate now, in his spare time, who was the head master of the school the protagonist went to.
He just now visited Dora's best friend Miss Mill's house and told Dora his situation
Afterwords, she was being hysterical on and off, and when Miss Mill came in.

I fondly explained to Dora that Jip should have his mutton-chop with his accustomed regularity. I drew a picture of our frugal home, made independent by my labour - sketching in the little house I had seen at Highgate, and my aunt in her room upstairs.
I then expounded to Miss Mills what I had endeavoured, so very unsuccessfully, to expound to Dora. Miss Mills replied, on general principles, that the Cottage of content was better than the Palace of cold splendour, and that where love was, all was.
[David Copperfield by Charles Dickens]
I'd like to know if "so very unsuccessfully" modifies "had endeavoured," not "to expound."
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    To reorder the words so that the phrases go together:

    what I had endeavoured to expound, so very unsuccessfully,

    "So very unsuccessfully"
    applies to the verbal phrase as a whole: "had endeavored to expound." If I were forced to choose, I would say that "unsuccessfully" applies principally to the verb "had endeavoured", but I am not certain that this distinction is useful.
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    I agree with Cagey. The sentence and its issues are not unlike this one.
    I've wanted to go to France since I was young.

    Sang Joon, you can see that 'since I was young' modifies (conceptually) the whole preceding clause. By convention, however, we can attach it as follows: I've wanted since I was young to go to France.

    We attach to 'wanted'.
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