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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    4 questions about 1 sentence

    It is worth the while to make a voyage up this stream, if you go no farther than (2)Sudbury, only to see how much country there is in the (1) rear of us; great hills, and a hundred brooks, and farm-houses, and barns, and hay-stacks, you never saw before, (3) and men every where, (2)Sudbury, that is Southborough men, and Wayland, and Nine-Acre-Corner men, and (3) Bound Rock, where four towns bound on a rock in the river, Lincoln, Wayland, Sudbury, Concord.
    (from "A week" by Thoreau)

    1) I got curious about what the noun "rear" could mean here. Is it something like the Australian "outback", only with farms and so on ? How would you describe the meaning of the word in this sentence?
    2) "Sudbury" obviously refers to the river here (not the town), doesn't it? I thought that before names of rivers should be the definite article. Or not necessarily always? I noticed that the chapter I took the sentence from is named "Concord river" (not the Concord river). Is there any rule on this use of articles?
    3) Did the author mean "men from everywhere": from Southborough, Wayland and Nine-Acre-Corner?
    3) Do you know what "Bound Rock" he's talking about? I just can't figure out how "four towns" can "bound on a rock".
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 30-Mar-2017 at 18:02. Reason: Enlarged font to make post readable

  2. Senior Member
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    #2

    Re: 4 questions about 1 sentence

    Or did Thoreau mean by the word "rear", in this context, the part of the country located upstream of the river?

  3. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: 4 questions about 1 sentence

    1) I suppose I would need to know where he's talking about to know why he uses rear. He's obviously talking in perspective to something.
    2) Sudbury is a town, not a river.
    3) Yes, it seems that's what he means. This seems to me like an odd way of putting it, though.
    4) Bound Rock is the boundary of four towns.

  4. Senior Member
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    #4

    Re: 4 questions about 1 sentence

    1) and 2) His location was in Concord, and he was talking about going "up the stream". I understood that as going up the Concord and then the Sudbury rivers. The thing is, there is a town and a river with the same name, and I, just like you, first thought that he meant the town cause there wasn't the definite article before the name. But having looked at the map, I doubted this theory because the town is not on the river Sudbury and it lookes unlikely that he suggested visiting it by water; on the other hand, "Southborough men, and Wayland, and Nine-Acre-Corner men" could very easily be met while going by the river. Then I noticed that the name of the chapter was, too, without the article (Concord river) and suggested that it's the name of the river and not town in the quoted excerpt. Do you think it's unlikely to be true? I mean this theory. Grammatically speaking. Better to say "old-fashionedly" grammatically speaking.

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: 4 questions about 1 sentence

    Now, you've explained a little, I think it's quite possible you're right, yes.

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