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  1. #1
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    Default A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    I'm reading 'Digital Fortress' by Dan Brown now and I have come across a couple of things I can't get. Here they are:

    1. Tankado never planned to destroy the NSA databank-he just wanted us go public with TRANSLTR! Then he would give us the pass-key, so we could stop the virus.

    I can't get why the author omitted 'to' in the phrase I marked. Is it just informal or is it a special use of the structure 'want sb to do sth'?

    2. Tankado could have used his fake correspondence to convince Strathmore of just about anything.

    Here I don't understand why Brown used "about" after just.

    P.S. Actually, I have more questions but I can't find them now. If I find them I'll just add them to this thread.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    1. Tankado never planned to destroy the NSA databank-he just wanted us [to] go public with TRANSLTR! Then he would give us the pass-key, so we could stop the virus.
    It's a typo(graphical error). 'to' is required in that context.

    2. Tankado could have used his fake correspondence to convince Strathmore of just about anything.
    It's synonymous with 'almost'.

    Looking forward to your next question.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    Thank you very much indeed!

    I don't know why I didn't even think that 'just about' could mean something

    I'm glad that it's a typo. You know when I came across this odd structure I thought that there might be something wrong with it but decided to ask here anyway.

    I'm going to look for more questions in the nearest future.

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    Default Re: A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    1. "Unacceptable," Numataka hissed. "You said I would have them by the end of today!"
    "There is one loose end."
    "Is Tankado dead?"

    What does "there is one loose end" mean? I can guess from the context that it's used when you want to say that someone's died. Is this an idiom?

    2. "She eyed him askance. "This better not be some ploy to get me out of this dress."

    Is it possible not to use 'had' after a subject?

    3. "The bus's doors cranked open, but no one disembarked."

    "But as the bus doors opened, the kids crowded around to board."

    Why does Brown use "the bus'S doors in the first sentence but then just write "the bus doors"?

    4. "The line was about ten people deep, everyone pushing and shouting."
    It's the first time I've seen such a use of 'deep'. Is it common? Can you substitute 'deep' for 'long' here?

    By the way, Casiopea, have you read any of Dan Brown's books? If so, what do you think of them?
    Last edited by Flash; 04-Sep-2005 at 18:33.

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    Default Re: A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    1. "one loose end"
    => It's an idiom: there's one final thing to do or take care of.

    2. "This better not be some ploy to get me out of this dress."
    => had is not required.

    3. "The bus's doors cranked open."
    => bus's is another way of expressing the more common form bus'.

    4. "The line was about ten people deep, everyone pushing and shouting."
    => 'deep' is expressive; it describes a different perspective than the one 'long' describes. Whether it's considered 'common' or not depends on the speaker.

    By the way, Casiopea, have you read any of Dan Brown's books? If so, what do you think of them?
    Sorry. No, I haven't.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    Thanks for the answers! I've got another question about "Digital Fortress". I noticed that Brown often uses the adverb 'probably' in positions I've always considered incorrect. For example, I saw the following sentences:
    -...he probably would do something
    -...he probably was...
    I'd say -
    he was probably
    he would probably go
    What do you think?

    The reason why I asked you if you'd written any of Brown's books was because I saw a lot of people reading his books while in Canada?

    I've got another question but it's actually got nothing to do with Brown. What's the difference between 'while in Canada' and 'in Canada'? I wrote above 'while in Canada'. Is it correct? If so, what's the difference between them? I guess that while in Canada could mean : while I was in Canada. Kind of a short form, contraction, if you like.


    I've edited this post because no one has answered it in the last few days. I decided that it would be better if it was on the first page of the forum
    Last edited by Flash; 07-Sep-2005 at 20:13.

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    Default Re: A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    Unfortunately, editing doesn't place your thread on the first page as I expected. That's why I had to post another reply.

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    Default Re: A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    Sorry for the late reply, Flash.

    'probably' is a sentential adverb. It has freedom to move anywhere in the sentence:

    [1] He probably would read something.
    [2] He would probably read something.
    [3] Probably, he would read something.
    [4] He would read something, probably.

    Adverbs modify verbs, other adverbs, and adjectives. In [1] 'probably' modifies the verb phrase 'would read something'. Its position in front of 'would' makes 'would' more true, or rather expresses more of a truth;e.g, He probably would read something, wouldn't he? Yes, you're right. He "would".

    In [2] 'probably' still modifies the verb phrase 'would read something', but it's positioned in front of 'read something, so its meaning is connected more so to 'read something' than it is to 'would'; e.g., He would probably read something, or he might even watch something. That is, there's a chance he'll read and there's a chance he'll do something else.

    I didn't know people were reading Brown in Canada. By the way, although I'm Canadian, I live and work in Japan.

    What's the difference between 'while in Canada' and 'in Canada'?
    Well, given, say, the examples below, 'while' means, during (my stay):

    EX: While I was in Canada, I visited Banff National Park.
    => During my stay in Canada, I visited . . . .

    EX: While in Canada, I visited Banff National Park.
    => 'I was' is omitted

    EX: In Canada, I visited Banff National Park.
    => If it's a form of spoken English, it's telegraphic and fine. 'while' has been omitte, but the reader or listener can pick it up in context.
    => As for formal English or exam English, though, it would be deemed ungrammatical to omit 'while' in that context.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    Sorry for the late reply, Flash.
    No problem. I just thought that if I didn't refresh my post you probably would never answer it

    I didn't know people were reading Brown in Canada.
    Not everyone, though. It's quite popular everywhere in the world, I guess.

    By the way, although I'm Canadian, I live and work in Japan.
    I remember you live in Japan. I just thought you might have come back to Canada again

    Thanks for the great answers throughout the thread! I really appreciated them!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: A few questions concerning Dan Brown's book

    You're welcome, Flash.

    I was in Canada in August, but Harry Potter seemed to be the big read. ;)

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