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  1. anhnha's Avatar
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    #1

    without there being a guard

    I just saw the sentence below in Ancient Egyptian Literature.

    It is he who makes the way safe without there being a guard.
    Could you help me parse the part "there being a guard"?
    Thank you.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: without there being a guard

    My best guess is that there is no guard, so you better take care of your own safety.


  3. anhnha's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: without there being a guard

    Thank you. I understand what the sentence means but I'd like to parse the bold part.
    without: preposition
    there:
    being: gerund
    a: indefinite article (determiner)
    guard: noun

    Could you comment and help me parse that?

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    #4

    Re: without there being a guard

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Anhnha:

    As usual, your excellent question has sent me running to my beloved books. Here is what I found:

    1. That huge book by Professor Quirk and three colleagues label "there" in your kind of sentence as a so-called introductory adverb.

    2. Do you like that term? I do not. And it seems that most books do not, either.

    3. Here are some other terms that are used:

    a. anticipatory "there"
    b. preparatory "there"
    c. expletive (filler)

    4. Here is an explanation that works for me. It comes from the second edition of A Grammar of Present-Day English (1947 and 1963 copyright) by R.W. Pence and D.W. Emery.

    a. "No question of there being any need for assistance has yet arisen." [All emphasis is mine.]

    i. "There" is an expletive.
    ii. "being" is a participle.
    iii. The sentence actually means:

    "No question of any need for assistance being (= existing) has yet arisen."


    5. IF you accept the professors' reasoning, then maybe your prepositional phrase can be parsed as:

    without = preposition.
    there = expletive.
    being = participle.
    a = adjective (determiner).
    guard = noun.


    That is to say: without a guard being ( existing).



    James
    Last edited by TheParser; 27-Aug-2014 at 12:00. Reason: Deleted ambiguous adjective.

  4. anhnha's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: without there being a guard

    Thank you very much, James.

    I also like that terms "introductory adverb" and expletive.
    However, I have no idea about anticipatory "there" and preparatory "there".
    I consulted these words in my dictionaries but they are still confusing.
    I really love your versions. I have no problem with them.

    No question of any need for assistance being (= existing) has yet arisen.
    It is he who makes the way safe without a guard being ( existing)

    I prefer these sentences to original ones.
    Which ones do you prefer, James?
    Thank you!

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    #6

    Re: without there being a guard

    Hello, Anhnha:

    1. I think that "anticipatory there" and "preparatory there" are only terms that some authors have made up. As you know, "to anticipate" means something like "expect": They anticipate huge crowds of teenagers tomorrow when the new shoes go on sale; so the "there" anticipates (expects) the true subject to come along very soon; preparatory "there" prepares us to get ready for the subject.

    2. I know that you want me to be courteous but HONEST.

    a. So I absolutely would NOT recommend your using those two sentences that you prefer.

    i. If you said, "It is he who makes the way safe without a guard being," that would sound very strange to a native speaker.

    (a) I would choose either original sentence or possibly "It is he who makes the way safe without a guard being there."
    REMEMBER: That "there" is a real adverb. It equals "in that location."

    The bottom line: I think that you should stick with the original sentence of "It is he who makes the way safe without there [expletive] being a guard." That's nice English that you want to get used to.

    In everyday conversation, I would follow Tarheel's excellent interpretation and say something like:

    "He's the one who makes the way safe even though there is no guard."



    James

  5. anhnha's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: without there being a guard

    Hello, James.
    Thank you for the thorough reply.
    The sentence "It is he who makes the way safe without a guard being there" is perfect to me.
    However, I am not comfortable with ""It is he who makes the way safe without there being a guard."
    Is this an inverstion here?

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    #8

    Re: without there being a guard

    To the best of my (limited) knowledge, I do not think that this is a case of inversion.

    The original is "without there being a guard." If it were a true inversion, then I guess that it would be something like:
    "Without being a guard there." As you can see, that is not acceptable.

    James


    P.S. You say that you are not comfortable with "without there being a guard." I believe that this kind of construction is often used in writing. As you progress in your reading and writing, you may change your mind.

  6. anhnha's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: without there being a guard

    Thank you, James.
    I am trying to expand my vocabulary by reading lots of books, newspapers,...
    I think my mind will change soon!

  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: without there being a guard

    Quote Originally Posted by anhnha View Post
    Thank you, James.
    I am trying to expand my vocabulary by reading lots of books, newspapers,...
    I think my mind will change soon!
    That last one is a sentence I never expected to see.

    Perhaps you wanted to say:

    I expect to improve quickly and get better fast.

    What do you think?


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