In the middle was a round table. On this <in water> stood a bouquet of flowers

park sang joon

Senior Member
The protagonist, Philip, who was born with a club foot, moved in with his uncle Mr. Carey, the Vicar of Blackstable after his mother's death.
He dropped out of King's School at Tercanbury, came to Germany to learn German.

An untidy lad let him in and took him into a drawing-room. It was filled with a large suite covered in green velvet, and in the middle was a round table. On this in water stood a bouquet of flowers tightly packed together in a paper frill like the bone of a mutton chop, and carefully spaced round it were books in leather bindings. There was a musty smell.
[Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham]
I'd like to know if "in water" modifies "stood" or "a bouquet of flowers."
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I suppose it modifies stood. "A bouquet of flowers stood in water on the table." (Where they stand.) As I see it, in and on introduce prepositional phrases. A grammar book has this: A preposition is a word used before a noun or pronoun to show its relation to another word in the sentence. It is not always easy to know which preceding word a prepositional phrase modifies. For example of flowers is a prepositional phrase that modifies bouquet, a noun.

    Perhaps another member here can shed some light.
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