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  1. #1
    japanjapan is offline Member
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    Default a question about a sentence of Independence Declaration

    Dear teachers,
    Here is one sentence of Independence Declaration of United States, "it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

    I can not understand the structure of "such ...as to" here. I think maybe this is "old English" since it was written 200 years ago. If it was " ...such form that they shall seem ....", I would understand it. Am I right?

    Could you say more about the structure? Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: a question about a sentence of Independence Declaration

    Yes, it's confusing phraseology mainly because it's written in a style of Old English, but also because it's a legal document. Legal papers sound so much more official if they're convoluted and incomprehensible.

  3. #3
    dihen is offline Member
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    Default Re: a question about a sentence of Independence Declaration

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch View Post
    Yes, it's confusing phraseology mainly because it's written in a style of Old English, but also because...
    Why not "and also"? Think about how strange it would sound if you replace "... , but also because..." with "... . However, because...". And why "in a style of Old English" ?; why not "in an Old English style"?
    Last edited by dihen; 02-Dec-2006 at 16:07.

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: a question about a sentence of Independence Declaration

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen View Post
    Why not "and also"? Think about how strange it would sound if you replace "... , but also because..." with "... . However, because...". And why "in a style of Old English" ?; why not "in an Old English style"?
    Why mention 'Old English' at all? It's not. It's an old style, certainly, but Old English predates the Declaration of Independence by several centuries.

    There - I feel better now.

    b

  5. #5
    Ouisch's Avatar
    Ouisch is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: a question about a sentence of Independence Declaration

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Why mention 'Old English' at all? It's not. It's an old style, certainly, but Old English predates the Declaration of Independence by several centuries.
    There - I feel better now.
    b

    I didn't say Old English didn't predate the Declaration of Independence; of course it did. The text used was a mixture of some of the English brought over from the homeland, along with the newly emerging American style of English. I refer to it as "Old" English, since I don't think many Brits use phraseology like "we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred" these days, but timeline-wise, I guess they were actually using Early Modern English.

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: a question about a sentence of Independence Declaration

    Sorry to make a fuss, but it was the capital O that got me going.

    b

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    Default Re: a question about a sentence of Independence Declaration

    Quote Originally Posted by dihen View Post
    Why not "and also"? Think about how strange it would sound if you replace "... , but also because..." with "... . However, because...". And why "in a style of Old English" ?; why not "in an Old English style"?
    You don't say 'and also' there because 'but' is used deliberately as a contrasting preposition to the 'mainly...' clause.

    For example, "I was ill MAINLY because of the bad weather, BUT ALSO because of my poor constitution."

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    dihen is offline Member
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    Default Re: a question about a sentence of Independence Declaration

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffa View Post
    You don't say 'and also' there because 'but' is used deliberately as a contrasting preposition to the 'mainly...' clause.
    For example, "I was ill MAINLY because of the bad weather, BUT ALSO because of my poor constitution."
    Why not "I was ill MAINLY because of the bad weather, and because of my poor constitution also/as well/too." or "... and that is?/was? also because..."? And don't you know that replacing "but also" with "however" doesn't make sense? And even "however" is sometimes confusing to me, because it can sometimes mean "furthermore" or "moreover".?
    Last edited by dihen; 03-Dec-2006 at 03:32.

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