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    #1

    Time was what we had a lot of!

    In my textbook,one of Captain Bligh's sailors wrote:
    ...In addition, the captain kept us all busy reading the tables to work out our position. Although this took a great deal of time, it didn't matter. Time was, after all, what we had a lot of!

    Well, I've never read such a sentence with words in such a strange order.
    What do you native speakers think of this strange sentence?

    Thank you in advance.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Time was what we had a lot of!

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    In my textbook,one of Captain Bligh's sailors wrote:
    ...In addition, the captain kept us all busy reading the tables to work out our position. Although this took a great deal of time, it didn't matter. Time was, after all, what we had a lot of!

    Well, I've never read such a sentence with words in such a strange order.
    What do you native speakers think of this strange sentence?

    Thank you in advance.
    It's a pretty normal literary sentence. They didn't have food, or water, or shelter. Time was all they had. They had a lot of it.
    After all, time was what they had a lot of.

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    #3

    Re: Time was what we had a lot of!

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It's a pretty normal literary sentence. They didn't have food, or water, or shelter. Time was all they had. They had a lot of it.
    After all, time was what they had a lot of.
    Then, is it normal to say 'Time we have/had a lot of' in written (or spoken) context?

    Thank you again.
    Last edited by joham; 12-Sep-2008 at 02:09. Reason: a second thought.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Time was what we had a lot of!

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Then, is it normal to say 'Time we have/had a lot of' in written (or spoken) context?

    Thank you again.
    No, that's not grammatical. Also, no one would say the original sentence in speaking, and almost no one in writing. That's what makes it literary. It's like poetry - people don't actually speak that way, but you can understand it.
    You can say and write "We have/had a lot of time".


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    #5

    Re: Time was what we had a lot of!

    You could say that if you wanted to be fancy and dramatic, and people will understand it. It isn't strange, except when someone tries to work it into everyday conversation. I could see myself using that phrase when I want to be sarcastic with someone (like if we didn't really have a lot of time, or they were particularly slow about something).


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    #6

    Re: Time was what we had a lot of!

    Quote Originally Posted by thedeebo View Post
    You could say that if you wanted to be fancy and dramatic, and people will understand it. It isn't strange, except when someone tries to work it into everyday conversation. I could see myself using that phrase when I want to be sarcastic with someone (like if we didn't really have a lot of time, or they were particularly slow about something).
    I agree. It doesn't necessarily sound literary or formal: He needed both money and time to do that. Money was tight but time he had a lot of.

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    #7

    Re: Time was what we had a lot of!

    Quote Originally Posted by acorn View Post
    I agree. It doesn't necessarily sound literary or formal: He needed both money and time to do that. Money was tight but time he had a lot of.
    Agreed.

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    #8

    Re: Time was what we had a lot of!

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    No, that's not grammatical.
    You can say and write "We have/had a lot of time".
    Sorry, I'll retract that "Time we have/had a lot of" is ungrammatical. I read it wrongly. I'd still deny it was the "normal" way of saying this.

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