1. ## no sooner~than?

Why does "no sooner~than" have the nuance of "right after A, B happened"? Can you analyze the structure?
I think "no sooner" means "no earlier", so A action did not happen earlier than B action, meaning "A almost happened at the same time as B", am I right?

ex)No sooner had we arrived at the station than the announcement started.

2. ## Re: no sooner~than?

I think "right after" is the correct understanding.

3. ## Re: no sooner~than?

Originally Posted by SoothingDave
I think "right after" is the correct understanding.
But can you analyze it?

4. ## Re: no sooner~than?

I thought I did. It's not a math problem, it's a figure of speech. It means one thing happened very soon after another.

You example about the train station is very good. A person arrives at the station and then hears an announcement. We know that the person arrived first. And we know that the announcement came after he arrived. The exact amount of time between the two is not known.

It depends on the person using the expression. The meaning being expressed is that the person did not have to wait any appreciable amount of time before he heard the announcement.

5. ## Re: no sooner~than?

Originally Posted by keannu
Why does "no sooner~than" have the nuance of "right after A, B happened"? Can you analyze the structure?
I think "no sooner" means "no earlier", so A action did not happen earlier than B action, meaning "A almost happened at the same time as B", am I right?

ex)No sooner had we arrived at the station than the announcement started.
"No sooner had we arrived at the station than the announcement started."
"No sooner than the announcement started had we arrived at the station."

I agree that it could do with some explaining.
It's actually strictly incorrect, unless the two events happened simultaneously. And in many cases (perhaps most), A does happen before B - otherwise we couldn't say that B happened 'just after' A.

The proposition is that the arrival at the station happened no sooner than the announcement started. In that case, the announcement must have either started before the arrival or contemporaneously with the arrival.

So, in most cases, it's a figure of speech. When we say, "No sooner did I arrive home than my daughter ran up and kissed me", it is obvious that I did arrive home sooner than my daughter ran up and kissed me. We are taking poetic licence to indicate that the second event occurred almost no later than the first - though, if pressed, we could tell which event happened earlier (sooner) and which later.

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