the third card, the Ace, replaced, as he gambles,...

tcom

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi.
This is a sentence from music notes on Tchaikovsky.


The plot traces the gradual decline of Hermann into madness and suicide, as he seeks from the old Countess, whose death he causes, the secret of the three cards that must win, the third card, the Ace, replaced, as he gambles, by the Queen of Spades, in which he sees the face of the dead Countess.

I'm not sure what this sentence means.
(Is it so-called 'absolutely participial construction'?)Can I change it this way?

The plot traces the gradual decline of Hermann into madness and suicide, as he seeks from the old Countess, whose death he causes, the secret of the three cards that must win, but the third card, the Ace, is replaced, as he gambles, by the Queen of Spades, in which he sees the face of the dead Countess.
 
  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Personally, I would at least rewrite this into 2 sentences. I would omit your 'but', but keep your 'is'. Then I would probably rewrite it again and make a better sentence out of it.

    The plot traces the gradual decline of Hermann into madness and suicide, as he seeks from the old Countess, whose death he causes, the secret of the three cards that must win. The third card, the Ace, is replaced, as he gambles, by the Queen of Spades, in which he sees the face of the dead Countess.

    I'm not a grammarian and so don't know what the formal name for this sort of construction this is. I would call it a 'reader-unfriendly' construction. ;)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    tcom<<Moderator comment : heypresto has given you a good analysis, but I need to remind you to provde a source or any material you quote or ask about. It is a forum requirement. Thus a minimum would be naming the document where you saw this "sentence" and some information about it (adding a link can help). It may not have been copied correctly, it may have been written by a non-native speaker etc. >>
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Thank you. That whole blurb is full of immensely long setences - possibly written originally in German (the site was started by a German) and carrying over the sentence "structure"! Those require intense concentration to edit, and in this case, the translator/editor failed.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Unfortunately, the website (if you look at the German version) makes it clear that this was, in fact, written in English and then translated into German.

    Academic sentences are notoriously overcomplicated. I assume this also could've been edited down to fit in a CD booklet, causing overcrowded sentences.

    The original sentence is understandable, but ridiculously baroque. (Maybe you can only understand what it means if you already know the plot of The Queen of Spades.) The correction of adding "but" makes it much clearer already, but it should be rewritten.
     
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