nothing was ever carried on so sly

younghon

Senior Member
Korean - Korea
I found the above explanations about Quasi-predicatives online.

Quasi-predicatives are found after passives:
nothing was ever carried on so sly.

Q: I wonder in the above sentence, what "on so sly" means. I guess it means 'slily'. I would like to get your answer.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I don't know what "quasi-predicative" means. I don't even know what a "quasi-predicate" is. The only references I found online say it is something in the grammar of some other languages, but not English.

    When I google-searched the text "nothing was ever carried on so sly", I found it: it is a quote from the novel "Sense and Sensibility", by British author Jane Austen.

    The book was published in 1811. So this phrase may be correct, in 200-year-old English.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    The phrase "carry on" means the same as "carry out": roughly it means "do". So the quote says "Nothing was ever done so slyly". It means "This was done very slyly -- more slyly than anything else has ever been done".
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I gave myself a very quick tutorial from Otto Jepperson on 'quasi predicatives', from which I conclude that this 'so sly' is not one, but an adverb. Not all adverbs end in -ly, but as doji suggests it's quite possible that 'sly' was correct in the early 19th century. 'Slyly/slily?' does sound a bit silly.

    This apparently accounts for the common US usage of adjectives as adverbs.

    (In 'He died young', 'young' might be a quasi-predicative.)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    From the OED:

    SLY (adverb)
    In a sly, skilful, or cunning manner; slyly. … Now rare or poet.


    I’d never heard of a quasi-predicative either. But in googling it I was delighted to find that there’s also something called a quasimodal! :D
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    (In 'He died young', 'young' might be a quasi-predicative.)
    Does "predicative" come from "predict" or from "predicate"?

    If the former, then "predicative" is an adjective meaning "which predicts something".

    If the latter, then "quasi-predicative" is an adjective meaning "is a quasi-predicate". So in the example sentence "He died young.", the word "young" is a quasi-predicate.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    nothing was ever carried on so sly.
    So sly remains an adjectival phrase modifying "nothing". It seems to be a reduced relative clause -> nothing was ever carried on [that was] so sly. -> nothing [that was] so sly was ever carried on.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    From the OED:

    SLY (adverb)
    In a sly, skilful, or cunning manner; slyly. … Now rare or poet.


    I’d never heard of a quasi-predicative either. But in googling it I was delighted to find that there’s also something called a quasimodal! :D
    You can tell it's an adverb - it ends in -ly :D
    Hump, what hump?!!
     
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