Original English Grammar Question
Posted 12 March 2008 - 01:36 PM
On Friday, Bobby and some of the neighborhood boys played baseball against a team from a different neighborhood. Bobby’s best friend was Karen and she really liked playing ball with the boys. And after a long and hard day playing ball Bobby fell asleep.
Very early Monday morning Karen came to Bobby’s house to get Bobby up to walk to school. Karen crawled through Bobby’s window as she had often done before and found Bobby’s bed empty. Bobby’s mother heard her and came into the room. Karen was startled and Bobby’s mother said to Karen, “You’re looking for Bobby: he is risen from sleep and already gone to school. When you see his friends tell them he’ll see them later.” So, Karen headed off to school.
Now when Bobby was risen early Monday, he spoke first with Karen, his best friend. And she told the other neighborhood boys that they’d play ball again after school. But they wouldn’t believe her until they heard it from Bobby himself.
My grammatical question regards the first sentence in the last paragraph. The way that this is structured does the “was risen early Monday” indicate when Bobby arose or when he spoke first to Karen, please explain?
Pastor Ed Cross
Posted 12 March 2008 - 02:29 PM
At any rate, I think you can see that the way the sentence is worded is unfortunately rather awkward and imprecise in English and would probably require more data to determine the exact nuance.
Posted 12 March 2008 - 04:40 PM
Doesn't the placement of the comma separate the adverbial phrase "early Monday" from "he spoke first with Karen" thus making it have apply to the preceding "was risen"?
Any scholars out there?
Posted 12 March 2008 - 05:03 PM
You are correct that the comma puts the "early Monday" with the dependent clause rather than the following independent clause. The ambiguity I was pointing out was due to the word 'when,' which could indicate contemporaneous time with the rising or subsequent time (better expressed by 'after,' but possibly expressed by 'when').
At any rate, the phrase "early Monday" is part of the dependent clause, as the comma makes plain. Now the issue is the relationship of the dependent and independent clauses.
Posted 12 March 2008 - 08:17 PM
I'm not sure what other interpretive options there are than to understand that Bobby spoke with Karen early Monday morning after he woke up.
See the attached file for how I'd diagram this.
This makes the clause "When Bobby was risen early Monday" an temporal adverbial modifier modyfing the independent clause "he spoke first with Karen."
Posted 13 March 2008 - 06:23 PM
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