wishing himself half an hour older

sunnyseason

Senior Member
japanese
Hi,
I would be very grateful if you could help me with this sentence.I have some difficulty understanding this sentence (a story from Saki, "The Unbearable Bassingtonby Saki Part 1 out of 3" CHAPTER II )

CHAPTER II
Lancelot Chetrof stood at the end of a long bare passage,restlessly consulting his watch and fervently wishing himself half an hour older with a certain painful experience already registered in the past; unfortunately it still belonged to the future, and what was still more horrible, to the immediate future. Like many boys new to a school he had cultivated an unhealthy passion for obeying rules and requirements, and his zeal in this direction had proved his undoing. In his hurry to be doing two or three estimable things at once he had omitted to study the notice-board in more than a perfunctory fashion and had thereby missed a football practice specially ordained for newly-joined boys.

What did Lancelot Chetrof wish?
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Essentially he wishes that he could skip the next half-hour (and what will happen during that time). It's not really his age that is the issue, only what he has to endure.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Sorry, I don't understand. "Wishing himself something" -- there should be a noun phrase, the object of the verb "wish". "Half an hour older" is not a noun phrase, but an adjective phrase...:confused:
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Sorry, I don't understand. "Wishing himself something" -- there should be a noun phrase, the object of the verb "wish". "Half an hour older" is not a noun phrase, but an adjective phrase...:confused:
    The object is "himself" and the condition he wishes himself to be in is "a half-hour older." You can "wish yourself thin," etc.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    The object is "himself" and the condition he wishes himself to be in is "a half-hour older." You can "wish yourself thin," etc.
    There's a pattern:
    wish somebody something
    We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
    We wish them every happiness in their new home.
    He shook my hand and wished me luck.
    Longman dictionary

    As I understand, "somebody" is the indirect object, and "something" is the direct one.

    But "wish yourself thin/10 years younger" is a different pattern, where "yourself+adjective" is the whole direct object. Is that right?
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    There's a pattern:

    Longman dictionary

    As I understand, "somebody" is the indirect object, and "something" is the direct one.

    But "wish yourself thin/10 years younger" is a different pattern, where "yourself+adjective" is the whole direct object. Is that right?
    Yes.
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    But "wish yourself thin/10 years younger" is a different pattern, where "yourself+adjective" is the whole direct object.
    In "wish yourself think/10 years younger", "yourself" is an indirect object and "thin/10 years younger" is a direct object, I think.
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    The object is "himself" and the condition he wishes himself to be in is "a half-hour older." You can "wish yourself thin," etc.
    There should be a noun phrase after "himself" in "wishing himself <Noun phrase>", how can "half an hour older" be a noun phrase? Can you enlighten me on that?

    Thanks!
     

    sunnyseason

    Senior Member
    japanese
    <wish somebody something>
    In this case, somebody is an indirect object and something is a direct object.

    <wish somebody adjective>
    In this case, somebody is an object and an adjective is a complement.

    Is my idea correct?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    There should be a noun phrase after "himself" in "wishing himself <Noun phrase>", how can "half an hour older" be a noun phrase? Can you enlighten me on that?
    The point that has been made is that "wishing himself <x>" does not require <x> to be a noun phrase. It can be a noun phrase, but it can also be an adjective phrase instead.
     

    Lun-14

    Banned
    Hindi
    The point that has been made is that "wishing himself <x>" does not require <x> to be a noun phrase. It can be a noun phrase, but it can also be an adjective phrase instead.
    Thanks, Edin. What is "half an hour older" is in wishing himself half an hour older? A noun phrase or an adjective phrase?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It's an adjective phrase, in which the central adjective is older, and the noun-phrase "half an hour" acts as an adverb modifying the adjective.
    He wished himself older. How much older? Half an hour older.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    It's like "I want you to be happy.", where you to be happy is the object of "want". "I wish myself 10 years younger" is the same but with "to be" eliminated.
     
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