to say nothing of ...

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Simin93

Senior Member
Persian-Iran
Hi there
Could please tell what is the meaning of underlined part? I think it says: we don't what to say how much farm tools affect population growth, it increased 50% at the same time increased 50 %, so it increased the the number of work force on the lands. Is it correct?:confused:

Productivity in agriculture was also improved by capital investments, first of all in irrigation. From 1400 to 1900 the total of irrigated land seems to have increased almost three times. There was also a gain in farm tools, draft animals, and fertilizer, to say nothing of the population growth itself, which increased half again as fast as cultivated land area and so increased the ratio of human hands available per unit of land.

Reference: Sample of TOEFL Exam

Thank you in advance
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "To say nothing of" is a set phrase and a "figure of speech" called "apophasis" (also called paralipsis). It is used for effect when speaking: the speaker draws attention to something by saying that he is not mentioning it.

    "to say nothing of ..." usually has the meaning of "and, impressively, also..."

    There was also a gain in farm tools, [...], to say nothing of the population growth itself, = There was also a gain in farm tools, [...], and, impressively, also the population growth itself,

    It is also common as "not to mention": "My opponent is a thief, not to mention, drunk!" -> here, although the speaker says that he will not mention that his opponent is drunk - the speaker has actually said it.
     
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    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    Yes. It's similar to the phrase "Needless to say", which is followed by saying whatever it's needless to say. In effect both expressions mean "But I'm going to say it anyway".:D
     

    Simin93

    Senior Member
    Persian-Iran
    Thank you, PaulQ. Could you please tell me the rest of what I understand of the underlined part is correct? or no?
    it increased 50% at the same time increased 50 %, so it increased the the number of work force on the lands
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    There was also a gain in farm tools, draft animals, and fertilizer, to say nothing of the population growth itself, which increased half again as fast as cultivated land area and so increased the ratio of human hands available per unit of land.
    There was a gain in tools, draft animals and fertilisers. There was also an increase in population, which grew one and a half times as fast as (150%, or half again as fast as) cultivated land area. This increased the number of workers available for each unit of land.
     

    learnthenteach

    New Member
    Persian
    "To say nothing of" is a set phrase and a "figure of speech" called "apophasis".
    I don't know if I am supposed to open a new thread for these kind of questions or not. So, If you enlighten me on this, I will be grateful.
    Would you please explain these apophases can be used interchangeably in the same structure? I mean I know how to use let alone/not to mention/never mind/much less, but how about to say nothing of or not to speak of?
    I know there are subtle nuances of meaning in each one of them, maybe it's not the time for me to ask now.
    However, what I'm asking is like: can we say "I don't want to buy that book, to say nothing of/not to speak of read it"? (maybe this example is not the best one, but my question is if possible to use them with bear infinitives.) That would be very thoughtful of you if you provide a better example of such usage.
    Best regards.
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Would you please explain these apophases can be used interchangeably in the same structure?
    I know there are subtle nuances of meaning in each one of them, maybe it's not the time for me to ask now.
    Hmm... You seem to be asking if there is a difference and then asking us to ignore the difference...

    Because to say nothing of or not to speak of end in "of" what follows must be a nominal of some sort.
     

    learnthenteach

    New Member
    Persian
    NO,no. My question was: I quote myself 'can we say "I don't want to buy that book, to say nothing of/not to speak of read it"? (maybe this example is not the best one, but my question is if possible to use them with bear infinitives.) That would be very thoughtful of you if you provide a better example of such usage.'

    Once I thought we have to use gerund with not to mention, but then I found out we can use infinitives, adverbs or adjective too because of parallel construction rule. That's why I want to make sure if this can be applied to "not to speak of/to say nothing of".
     
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    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    It would be unnatural to use either of those phrases in your sentence : we would usually use either “never mind” or “let alone” in such a context. It is also very odd to use buy and read in this way because it suggests that there are books which you are happy to buy but not to read.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    to say nothing of
    I can't think of an example that uses a bare infinitive, or even a to-infinitive. I think the preposition requires a noun or its equivalent.

    Your proposal involves a lot of extra work for us, not to mention/to say nothing of the expense.
    Your proposal involves our working overtime, not to mention/to say nothing of your being put to various other expenses.


     

    learnthenteach

    New Member
    Persian
    What do they function as? What part of speech are they (let alone/never mind/ ..../to say nothing of)? I guess it depends on the context.

    It seems they are like conjunctions of sorts, like than in "I would rather go than stay". However, it is hard for me to think the whole to say nothing of/not to speak of part as a conjunction (or never mind/let alone/not to mention ...).
     
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