Stylistic Inversion

JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
This book titled "EcoJustice Education: Toward Diverse, Democratic, and Sustainable Communities" has this sentence:
On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long, which many of us now simply take for granted.
Syntactically, what is the nature of the adjective phrase in bold?
(1) Is it part of this big noun phrase?
the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long

Or
(2) Is it part of this verb phrase?
is available (to those who can pay) all year long
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    It is a relative clause adjectivally modifying produce:

    the seemingly infinite variety of produce that is available (to those who can pay) all year long

    the seemingly infinite variety of {produce that is available (to those who can pay) all year long}
    .............................................{.................................noun clause............ ................................}


    {of produce that is available (to those who can pay) all year long}
    is an adjectival phrase modifying variety.
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks, Paul.
    The thing is, though, this makes little sense to me in context:
    the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long is on the positive side of this system

    It makes more sense to me to say this:
    the seemingly infinite variety of produce is available (to those who can pay) all year long on the positive side of this system

    No?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    No. You need to quote the whole sentence:
    On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce is available (to those who can pay) all year long, which many of us now simply take for granted.

    You have two active verbs in the same clause - that's not allowed.

    The sentence is, at its simplest:
    On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce. The rest comprises modifiers.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    You need to quote the whole sentence:
    On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce is available (to those who can pay) all year long, which many of us now simply take for granted.

    You have two active verbs in the same clause - that's not allowed.
    Sorry, but I don't understand why you would put two is's in there and reject it as "not allowed" when neither of my rephrases in post #3 has two is's. Could you be kind enough to tell me why?

    The sentence is, at its simplest:
    On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce. The rest comprises modifiers.
    Yes, but only if the adjective phrase in bold is treated not as a predicative complement but as a modifier, as you did.
    So I guess the issue boils down to whether the adjective phrase in bold is a complement or a modifier.

    Your version of the simplest sentence stripped of all modifiers I think fails to convey the intended meaning in context.

    I don't think it's simply the seemingly infinite variety of produce that is on the positive side of this system. I think it's the very fact that the seemingly infinite variety of produce is available (to those who can pay) all year long that is on the positive side of this system.

    I therefore think the adjective phrase in bold is a complement -- without it, the whole meaning of the sentence changes.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Sorry, but I don't understand why you would put two is's in there
    But I have not!
    You need to read what I write:
    You have two active verbs in the same clause.

    the sentence in the book is
    On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long, which many of us now simply take for granted.

    The is's in my version are in separate clauses:
    On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce -> main clause
    that is available (to those who can pay) all year long, which many of us now simply take for granted. -> subordinate clause

    The is's in your version are

    On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce is available (to those who can pay) all year long, which many of us now simply take for granted.

    This breaks into two clauses:
    On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce -> main clause
    is available (to those who can pay) all year long, which many of us now simply take for granted. -> :confused: What is the subject of this clause?

     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    No. In my version, the verb 'is' that appears right after the prepositional phrase (on the positive side of this system) is used to combine with the adjective phrase in bold to form a verb phrase: is available (to those who can pay) all year long
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    I'm sorry Jung Kim: you have lost me completely.

    as the title is "Stylistic Inversion" perhaps it would help if you tried to "uninverted" it but keep the same 2 "is"s.

    My attempt to help may be clearer to you if you understand the sentence as
    [There is a positive side to the system and] on the positive side of this system [there] is the seemingly infinite variety of produce [that is] available (to those who can pay) all year long, which many of us now simply take for granted.

    The red is implied, the blue is optional
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    It's not like I don't follow what you're saying, Paul.
    Already in the OP, I've laid out, as one possible analysis, (1), which is along the lines of your interpretation.

    What I don't understand is why it cannot be interpreted along the lines of (2).
    I've already argued why (2) might be more plausible in context than (1) in the second half of post #5, to which I'm afraid you have yet to respond.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    On the positive side of this system is the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long, which many of us now simply take for granted.

    Imagine a stallholder at a local market

    A: How do you display the produce?
    Stallholder: On this side of the stall is seasonal fruit and on the other side of the stall is produce available all year long.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I believe that the syntactic role of available (to those who can pay) all year long in the OP or available all year long in post #10 entirely depends on context. In your example in post #10, the PP (on the other side of the stall) denotes a physical location, whereas the OP's PP (on the positive side of this system) a figurative one. So I think the contexts are apples and oranges.

    In your example, since the PP denotes a physical location, I find it natural to interpret "is" as "exist" and "produce available all year long" as a single NP. In the OP, on the other hand, since the PP denotes a figurative location, I find it rather odd to interpret "is" as "exist" and "the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long" as a single NP.
     

    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    This book titled "EcoJustice Education: Toward Diverse, Democratic, and Sustainable Communities" has this sentence:


    Syntactically, what is the nature of the adjective phrase in bold?
    (1) Is it part of this big noun phrase?
    the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long

    Or
    (2) Is it part of this verb phrase?
    is available (to those who can pay) all year long
    As PaulQ pointed out, the adjective phrase is a relative clause (a reduced relative clause, because its subject relative pronoun and auxiliary verb are omitted).

    (2) doesn't work because the "is" of your example is an auxiliary verb whose only function is to hold tense; there's no "verb phrase" involved.

    Thanks, Paul.
    The thing is, though, this makes little sense to me in context:
    the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long is on the positive side of this system

    It makes more sense to me to say this:
    the seemingly infinite variety of produce is available (to those who can pay) all year long on the positive side of this system

    No?
    Your version doesn't work; it undermines the intended meaning. In the original version, there's clearly a generic/abstract sense; none of the items mentioned are taken to be definite (i.e, "referential") in nature. Switch things around, as you've done, and "the seemingly infinite variety of produce" begins to acquire a sense of definiteness, but the overall context rejects it. That's the effect of moving things around. Word order matters, on pragmatic and semantic grounds; this isn't just about syntax.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The thing is, though, this makes little sense to me in context:
    the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long is on the positive side of this system

    It makes more sense to me to say this:
    the seemingly infinite variety of produce is available (to those who can pay) all year long is on the positive side of this system
    The thing is, though, this makes little sense to me in context:
    the seemingly infinite variety of produce available (to those who can pay) all year long is on the positive side of this system

    Rephrasing:

    the seemingly infinite variety of produce that is available all year long (to those who can pay) counts as a positive advantage of this system.

    It's acknowledged as a positive overall but the parenthetical caveat is added that not everyone can afford the stuff even when it is in the stores. So it's not an unqualified positive.

    It makes more sense to me to say this:
    the seemingly infinite variety of produce is available (to those who can pay) all year long on the positive side of this system

    Rephrasing:

    X is available on the positive side of this system.

    That makes no sense. X is not available on a side. When it's available it counts as a positive - puts it on the list of things that are considered advantages.
     
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    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Your version doesn't work; it undermines the intended meaning. In the original version, there's clearly a generic/abstract sense; none of the items mentioned are taken to be definite (i.e, "referential") in nature. Switch things around, as you've done, and "the seemingly infinite variety of produce" begins to acquire a sense of definiteness, but the overall context rejects it. That's the effect of moving things around. Word order matters, on pragmatic and semantic grounds; this isn't just about syntax.
    :thumbsup:
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Your version doesn't work; it undermines the intended meaning. In the original version, there's clearly a generic/abstract sense; none of the items mentioned are taken to be definite (i.e, "referential") in nature. Switch things around, as you've done, and "the seemingly infinite variety of produce" begins to acquire a sense of definiteness, but the overall context rejects it. That's the effect of moving things around. Word order matters, on pragmatic and semantic grounds; this isn't just about syntax.
    Are you saying that the NP (the seemingly infinite variety of produce) in the original is not definite/referential even when the definite article is used?
     

    coiffe

    Senior Member
    USA
    American English
    Paul, SevenDays and kentix are correct. Your alternative sentence is more or less gibberish.
     
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