It's a truth universally acknowledged.

WildWest

Senior Member
Turkish
Hey,

This sentence is taken from Pride and Prejudice, one of Jane Austen's most known novels. Although it's quite clear to understand, I want to ask something.

Would it be still correct and have the same meaning if we write this sentence as below?

"It's an universally acknowledged truth"

As I know, the phrase "universally acknowledged" functions as a participle phrase in Austen's version, but I couldn't help but thinking of it. In her sentence, it was like "It's a truth (which is) universally acknowledged".


Thanks for your interests in advance.
 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese

    L'aura che tu respiri

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    The quotation is "it is ​a truth...", without contraction.
    Hildy, to explain: it's not a question of it is vs. it's. Both are correct in written English, and both are correct in spoken English. It is a question of word order. Despite what the linguists say, English is a hybrid Germanic-Latin language. 60% of our verbs are from the Latin, for instance. Therefore, English MUST be approach as a language that is sometimes Germanic, sometimes Latin-based. For instance, word order: English is NOT like Latin or Italian; you can't change word order with the same freedom that you can in Latin and Italian. Here English is more like German: the adjective comes before the noun except in special circumstances. That is why "It is a truth universally acknowledged" is not modern English. Your options are:

    1. It is a universally acknowledged truth.
    2. It is a truth that is universally acknowledged.
     

    WildWest

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Hildy, to explain: it's not a question of it is vs. it's. Both are correct in written English, and both are correct in spoken English. It is a question of word order. Despite what the linguists say, English is a hybrid Germanic-Latin language. 60% of our verbs are from the Latin, for instance. Therefore, English MUST be approach as a language that is sometimes Germanic, sometimes Latin-based. For instance, word order: English is NOT like Latin or Italian; you can't change word order with the same freedom that you can in Latin and Italian. Here English is more like German: the adjective comes before the noun except in special circumstances. That is why "It is a truth universally acknowledged" is not modern English. Your options are:

    1. It is a universally acknowledged truth.
    2. It is a truth that is universally acknowledged.

    Thanks for your reply, L'aura. Although you say it's not modern English, I think we can still find them in written English, can we? As for me, when writing, I'm usually using these kinds of word orders, without having self-confidence.

    i.e: This furniture made of wood was bought from a furniture shop.

    i.e: A bowl made of glass and full of sugar fell from the table and got broken.

    i.e: As a person free to do everything, you can leave whenever you wish***

    i:e: The man bitten by a dog was taken to the nearest hospital.

    ***This has also a specially-opened thread (Or, this has also a thread opened specially by me for its own. I don't know which one is correct to say). How about these? Forgive me if they are not related to each other at all as a grammar subject and if they should be examined independently, but I happened to ask these three.
     
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    L'aura che tu respiri

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    i.e: This furniture made of wood was bought from a furniture shop.
    We're talking about two different things. You're talking about passive voice vs. active voice. "It was bought by me" as opposed to "I bought it." I was talking about the word order of nouns and adjectives. "A beautiful house:tick:" instead of "a house beautiful:cross:". Poetically, you can say, "A house as beautiful as this I have never seen." But understand that that's a slightly poetic way of talking.

    As for your sentences:

    "This furniture made of wood was bought from a furniture shop."
    Better to say either
    "This wooden furniture was bought ..."
    or,
    "This furniture, made of (name the specific wood), was bought ..."

    i.e: A bowl made of glass and full of sugar fell from the table and got broken.
    Better: The glass bowl, full of sugar (better "filled with sugar") fell from the table and broke (I wouldn't say "got broken" here. It fell, it broke, end of story.)

    i.e: As a person free to do everything:cross: anything (or, better, "anything you wish/want"), you can leave whenever you wish/want .
    (Use wish for one, want for the other -- don't repeat it. :) )

    i:e: The man bitten by a dog was taken to the nearest hospital.
    Better to say, "The man was bitten (or got bitten) by a dog, AND (you have to add "and") was taken etc.
     

    WildWest

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    We're talking about two different things. You're talking about passive voice vs. active voice. "It was bought by me" as opposed to "I bought it." I was talking about the word order of nouns and adjectives. "A beautiful house:tick:" instead of "a house beautiful:cross:". Poetically, you can say, "A house as beautiful as this I have never seen." But understand that that's a slightly poetic way of talking.

    As for your sentences:

    "This furniture made of wood was bought from a furniture shop."
    Better to say either
    "This wooden furniture was bought ..."
    or,
    "This furniture, made of (name the specific wood), was bought ..."



    Better: The glass bowl, full of sugar (better "filled with sugar") fell from the table and broke (I wouldn't say "got broken" here. It fell, it broke, end of story.)



    (Use wish for one, want for the other -- don't repeat it. :) )



    Better to say, "The man was bitten (or got bitten) by a dog, AND (you have to add "and") was taken etc.

    I understand, but not completely. Is my way of saying totally wrong, or there's a better way of saying them variously, too, as you have just shown? Thanks for your concern, and for correcting my mistakes, by the way. While studying "Participles", I came across many sentences which were made as I did above, and honestly, felt a bit incapable to grasps its basics. Even when I felt I quite did, I have always been afraid of being misunderstood, or making sentences with no meaning.

    These below aren't the sentences that I claimed I have seen, but mine.

    i.e: The old servant, as blue-eyed as his boss, walked toward the door when he heard the door bell ringing.

    The old servant as blue-eyed as his boss walked toward the door.....

    The old servant, who is as blue-eyed as his boss, walked toward the door....

    These three examples mean the same thing as I know. And it's simply called the apposition, when we want to set off the members of a sentence with the help of a comma, or commas. (I know I'm a little bit out of the topic)

    Lastly, the other self-made examples are as follows:

    i.e: This play, which is largely admired by the auidences all over the world, will come to London next week.

    i.e: This play, largely admired by the audiences all over the world, will......

    i.e: This play largely admired by the auidences all over the world will....

    i.e: This largely admired by the auidences all over the world play will.. (by far the wrongest of them all, as it's seen)

    i.e: This largely admired play will come to London next week (Then, we lost the part "by the auidences all over the world)


    i.e: The soldier waited with a bag full of ammos hanging on his shoulder.
    i.e: The soldier, a bag full of ammos hanging on his shoulder, waited.
    i.e: The soldier who hangs a bag full of ammos on his shoulder waited
    i.e: The soldier waited with a bag filled with ammos hanging on his shoulder.

    Lastly, forgive me if I ever made a mistake while writing this. I'm a non-native. And I think these sentences look just like our very first sentence as construction.

    "It's a truth, (which is) universally acknowledged"
     
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