saw that a side door was slightly ajar

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kenny4528

Senior Member
Mandarin, Taiwan
Hi, i read this bit:

Disappointed, Cynthia started off the porch when she heard the clap of a loose shutter at the side of the house. She went around to look at it and saw that a side door was slightly ajar.
I'm just wondering if there is any subtle difference in meaning compared to saw a side door slightly ajar.
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hi, I read this bit:
    Disappointed, Cynthia started off the porch when she heard the clap of a loose shutter at the side of the house. She went around to look at it and saw that a side door was slightly ajar.

    I'm just wondering if there is any subtle difference in meaning compared to saw a side door slightly ajar.
    In the first sentence Cynthia saw that a side door was slightly ajar. The focus of her attention, and ours, is on the fact that the door was ajar.

    In the second sentence Cynthia saw a side door. It was slightly ajar.
    The focus of our attention is on the door. The fact that it was slightly ajar is supplementary information.


    Have a look at a different context.
    She went into the room and saw that her friend was wearing a blue hat.
    Focus on the blue hat.
    She went into the room and saw her friend wearing a blue hat.
    Focus on the friend.

    Back to the topic sentence.
    The fact that the door was ajar is essential to the context, hence the writer's choice of the first version.
     
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