let alone; would

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jiang

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Dear teachers,
I came across two sentences one of which I don't understand and one of which, I think, is not correct.

No.1. A sharp change toward resource-conserving diets would be a heavy blow to some segments of our food industry, which, however, would be better able to bear it than would the family agriculture of the past.

My question is: Is the sentence after 'than', that is 'than would the family agriculture of the past' an inverted sentence? If it is what's the reason for doing so?

No.2. It should be granted that there are some grounds for pessimism that the diet revolution will occur, let alone that it may leave us notably healthier and wealthier.

I have consulted my dictionaries the subjective clause is always a negative sentence or of negative meaning when we use 'let alone'. So the sentence should be 'It should......that the diet revolution will not occur, let alone.....' Am I right?

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you in advance.

Have a nice weekend.

Jiang
 

MikeNewYork

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jiang said:
Dear teachers,
I came across two sentences one of which I don't understand and one of which, I think, is not correct.

No.1. A sharp change toward resource-conserving diets would be a heavy blow to some segments of our food industry, which, however, would be better able to bear it than would the family agriculture of the past.

My question is: Is the sentence after 'than', that is 'than would the family agriculture of the past' an inverted sentence? If it is what's the reason for doing so?

Yes, it is an inverted clause. The first question is why the "would" is repeated. If the sentence were written without the second "would", we would have:

A sharp change toward resource-conserving diets would be a heavy blow to some segments of our food industry, which, however, would be better able to bear it than the family agriculture of the past.

The meaning would be confusing. One could not tell if the food industry if the food industry was bearing a change better than family agriculture was bearing it or whether the food industry was bearing the change better than it was bearing family agriculture. So the word "would" is needed a second time. The second question is where one puts it. It could be placed at the end of the sentence:

A sharp change toward resource-conserving diets would be a heavy blow to some segments of our food industry, which, however, would be better able to bear it than the family agriculture of the past would.

That would fix the problem ultimately, but the reader might still stumble when reading the part "to bear it then the family agriculture".

So we invert the clause and move the "would" to follow than. Then it is clear. We often move the auxiliary verb in this fashion in comparisons.

Another example:

Mary liked the new doorman more than her boyfriend John.

One can't tell here if Mary was comparing the doorman to her boyfriend or whether Mary's feelings were being compared to John's feelings.

Mary liked the new doorman more than her boyfriend John did.

The clarity is improved, but the possible stumble remains.

Mary liked the new doorman more than did her boyfriend John.

Clarity improved and stumbling block removed.

This reversal is usually not necessary in short, simple comparisons, but it can be halpful in longer, more complcated ones.


No.2. It should be granted that there are some grounds for pessimism that the diet revolution will occur, let alone that it may leave us notably healthier and wealthier.

I have consulted my dictionaries the subjective clause is always a negative sentence or of negative meaning when we use 'let alone'. So the sentence should be 'It should......that the diet revolution will not occur, let alone.....' Am I right?

Yes, I agree with you. The writer seemed to feel that "pessimism" was enough of a negative, but I don't agree. :wink:
 

jiang

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:D & :?
Dear Mike,
Thank you very much for your explanations. Now I understand the first question well.

I still don't quite understand the second one:
No.2. It should be granted that there are some grounds for pessimism that the diet revolution will occur, let alone that it may leave us notably healthier and wealthier.

If 'let alone' is a conjunction, why is there another conjunction 'that' after it? Is 'that' a mistake here?

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you in advance.

Have a nice weekend.

Jiang


MikeNewYork said:
jiang said:
Dear teachers,
I came across two sentences one of which I don't understand and one of which, I think, is not correct.

No.1. A sharp change toward resource-conserving diets would be a heavy blow to some segments of our food industry, which, however, would be better able to bear it than would the family agriculture of the past.

My question is: Is the sentence after 'than', that is 'than would the family agriculture of the past' an inverted sentence? If it is what's the reason for doing so?

Yes, it is an inverted clause. The first question is why the "would" is repeated. If the sentence were written without the second "would", we would have:

A sharp change toward resource-conserving diets would be a heavy blow to some segments of our food industry, which, however, would be better able to bear it than the family agriculture of the past.

The meaning would be confusing. One could not tell if the food industry if the food industry was bearing a change better than family agriculture was bearing it or whether the food industry was bearing the change better than it was bearing family agriculture. So the word "would" is needed a second time. The second question is where one puts it. It could be placed at the end of the sentence:

A sharp change toward resource-conserving diets would be a heavy blow to some segments of our food industry, which, however, would be better able to bear it than the family agriculture of the past would.

That would fix the problem ultimately, but the reader might still stumble when reading the part "to bear it then the family agriculture".

So we invert the clause and move the "would" to follow than. Then it is clear. We often move the auxiliary verb in this fashion in comparisons.

Another example:

Mary liked the new doorman more than her boyfriend John.

One can't tell here if Mary was comparing the doorman to her boyfriend or whether Mary's feelings were being compared to John's feelings.

Mary liked the new doorman more than her boyfriend John did.

The clarity is improved, but the possible stumble remains.

Mary liked the new doorman more than did her boyfriend John.

Clarity improved and stumbling block removed.

This reversal is usually not necessary in short, simple comparisons, but it can be halpful in longer, more complcated ones.


No.2. It should be granted that there are some grounds for pessimism that the diet revolution will occur, let alone that it may leave us notably healthier and wealthier.

I have consulted my dictionaries the subjective clause is always a negative sentence or of negative meaning when we use 'let alone'. So the sentence should be 'It should......that the diet revolution will not occur, let alone.....' Am I right?

Yes, I agree with you. The writer seemed to feel that "pessimism" was enough of a negative, but I don't agree. :wink:
 

Tdol

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I'd say that the second conjunction comes from the verb 'granted' and is there to link to that verb, while 'let alone' links to the clause. ;-)
 

jiang

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:D
Thank you very much for your explanationt.

Jiang
tdol said:
I'd say that the second conjunction comes from the verb 'granted' and is there to link to that verb, while 'let alone' links to the clause. ;-)
 

MikeNewYork

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jiang said:
:D & :?
Dear Mike,
Thank you very much for your explanations. Now I understand the first question well.

I still don't quite understand the second one:
No.2. It should be granted that there are some grounds for pessimism that the diet revolution will occur, let alone that it may leave us notably healthier and wealthier.

If 'let alone' is a conjunction, why is there another conjunction 'that' after it? Is 'that' a mistake here?

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

I agree with TDOL. The two conjunctions are serving different functions. "That" is used to introduce the noun clause; "let alone" creates the context for that noun clause. :wink:
 

jiang

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:)
Thank you very much for your reply.
Jiang
MikeNewYork said:
jiang said:
:D & :?
Dear Mike,
Thank you very much for your explanations. Now I understand the first question well.

I still don't quite understand the second one:
No.2. It should be granted that there are some grounds for pessimism that the diet revolution will occur, let alone that it may leave us notably healthier and wealthier.

If 'let alone' is a conjunction, why is there another conjunction 'that' after it? Is 'that' a mistake here?

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

I agree with TDOL. The two conjunctions are serving different functions. "That" is used to introduce the noun clause; "let alone" creates the context for that noun clause. :wink:
 
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