Tantalizing as... must have been

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sleepymarmot

Senior Member
Italy - Italian
Hi everybody, I've found a very strange construction.


Tantalizing as cake hot from the oven must have been for Anna and Joanne on strict diet, it also trained their willpower.

I've thought that maybe it's a case of subversion of word order. Is it?
Maybe the correct order could be:

It must have been tantalizing as cake hot from the oven for Anna and Joanne on strict diet, it also trained their willpower.

Is it common? Or maybe I didn't misanderstand.

Marmot
 
  • poncedeleon

    Member
    uk, english
    Yes, you're quite right. This kind of word order inversion is fairly common in written English. It is a way of creating an opposition without using the word "although". So the exact meaning is:

    Although cake hot from the oven must have been tantalizing for Anna and Joanne on a strict diet, it also trained their willpower.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    This kind of construction is fairly common, although I have to say this is a poorly written example, which comes out sounding wrong (even if it is not).

    Your re-written version is not quite right, however: there is no "it": "cake" is the object here and by adding "it" you have added a non-existent second object to which cake is being compared. (As well as changing the meaning it also makes the final clause independent, so the comma would need to be a semicolon.)

    The cake is the thing that "must have been tantalizing" as well as training their will-power:

    "Cake hot from the oven must have been tantalizing [...], but it also trained their willpower"
     

    sleepymarmot

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Thank you very much Matching Mole for underlining my mystake with the double subject "it". It was a construction that I didn't know.
    Marmot
     

    Rana_pipiens

    Senior Member
    USA / English
    There's an understood as at the beginning of the sentence: "As tantalizing as cake hot from the oven must have been ..." Another way of phrasing the sentence would be, "However tantalizing cake hot from the oven must have been for Anna and Joanne on a strict diet,..."
     
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