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Thread: Weird sentence

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    Default Weird sentence

    By which one sees how inconsiderate those persons are, who, from the absence of its officious manifestations in the world, complain that there is not much gratitude extant; when the truth is, that there is as much of it as there is of modesty; but, both being for the most part votarists of the shade, for the most part keep out of sight.

    THE CONFIDENCE MAN - HERMAN MELVILLE

    The Confidence Man by Herman Melville: Chapter 5

    Can you explain me how you can start a sentence with "by which one"?

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    Default Re: Weird sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post
    By which one sees how inconsiderate those persons are, who, from the absence of its officious manifestations in the world, complain that there is not much gratitude extant; when the truth is, that there is as much of it as there is of modesty; but, both being for the most part votarists of the shade, for the most part keep out of sight.

    THE CONFIDENCE MAN - HERMAN MELVILLE

    The Confidence Man by Herman Melville: Chapter 5

    Can you explain me how you can start a sentence with "by which one"?
    Sure. The sentence preceding must contain the referent of "which". It means: <Previous sentence ... referent ....> By which referent, one sees how ..."
    One could argue that this should be a continuation of the previous sentence. In any case, if you look in the preceding sentence you will find the means by which one can see how inconsiderate these people are.

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    Default Re: Weird sentence

    can we therefore start a sentence with: "the consequence of which"?

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    Default Re: Weird sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by confidenceman View Post
    can we therefore start a sentence with: "the consequence of which"?
    Yes, if you take Hermann Melville as the arbiter of what current standards should be. But he's been dead for over a hundred years, and preferred styles change.
    1. "I eat too much. The consequence of which is that I am too fat, lazy, have diabetes, and spend too much of my money on food."
    2. "I eat too much. The consequence of which being that I am too fat, lazy, have diabetes, and spend too much of my money on food."

    The first example is a two full sentences; the second isn't. Melville's sentence is of the first variety.
    I wouldn't phrase it either way myself. But good authors continue to use the first type of construction. Beginners and learners should try to fit "one thought" into one sentence, as they say.

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