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jiang

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Dear teachers,

Please read the following sentence:

Then it was that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery.

I don't understand the structure of this sentence.

If it is the structure: It is ......that......Then it is an emphatic sentence. The first that can't be ommitted because it refers to something. "why Bess had made no mention of her finery" is the object of "knew" so it is impossible that "that" is omitted. And if it is an emphatic sentence "that" can't be omitted either. So I think the sentence should be:
Then it was that (something) that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery.
But it seems it doesn't right. Or should it be:
Then it was that that made Lottie know why Bess had made no mention of her finery.

I feel confused.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.

Jiang








 

emsr2d2

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Dear teachers,

Please read the following sentence:

Then it was that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery.

I don't understand the structure of this sentence.

If it is the structure: It is ......that......Then it is an emphatic sentence. The first that can't be ommitted because it refers to something. "why Bess had made no mention of her finery" is the object of "knew" so it is impossible that "that" is omitted. And if it is an emphatic sentence "that" can't be omitted either. So I think the sentence should be:
Then it was that (something) that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery.
But it seems it doesn't right. Or should it be:
Then it was that that made Lottie know why Bess had made no mention of her finery.

I feel confused.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.

Jiang


Given the wording, I assume you are reading a book written either a long time ago, or set in the distant past.

Imagine the sentence like this:

It was then that Lottie knew why Bess.......

or

It was at that moment that Lottie knew why Bess......

So basically, Bess had not mentioned her fine clothes etc but previously Lottie had not known why she hadn't mentioned them. Then something happened (not mentioned in your quote) which made Lottie understand the reason for Bess not mentioning it.

Why the author used "Then it was...." instead of "It was then....." I can only assume is because it is specific to the style of writing at the time.
 

jiang

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Hi emsr2d2,

Thank you very much for your explanation.
The sentence is from the story "The richer the poorer", which according to Literary Encyclopedia, was written in 1926 and was re-printed in 1995.

As far as I can understand the structure is "It is.....that" and "then" is missing because of the old style of writing when "then" is clear from the context. Or is it "that" should be replaced by "then" and at that time "that" in the structure "it is .... that" could be omitted?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.

Jiang
Given the wording, I assume you are reading a book written either a long time ago, or set in the distant past.

Imagine the sentence like this:

It was then that Lottie knew why Bess.......

or

It was at that moment that Lottie knew why Bess......

So basically, Bess had not mentioned her fine clothes etc but previously Lottie had not known why she hadn't mentioned them. Then something happened (not mentioned in your quote) which made Lottie understand the reason for Bess not mentioning it.

Why the author used "Then it was...." instead of "It was then....." I can only assume is because it is specific to the style of writing at the time.
 

emsr2d2

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Hi emsr2d2,

Thank you very much for your explanation.
The sentence is from the story "The richer the poorer", which according to Literary Encyclopedia, was written in 1926 and was re-printed in 1995.

As far as I can understand the structure is "It is.....that" and "then" is missing because of the old style of writing when "then" is clear from the context. Or is it "that" should be replaced by "then" and at that time "that" in the structure "it is .... that" could be omitted?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.

Jiang

I'm afraid I don't quite understand the gist of your current question.

You have to say either "It was then that......" or "Then it was that......" as the author did.

You could indeed remove "it", "was" and "that", and simply say "Then, Lottie knew why Bess.........."
 

jiang

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:oops:
Terribly sorry my English is not good enough to make me understood. I am trying to explain it again:
I think the sentence is an emphatic sentence structure "It is/was.....that". For example:She knew it was that that had given her the palpitations. And in this structure "that" can't be omitted.
According to your explanation (if I understand it correctly) in modern English the sentence should be
It was then that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery.
But since it was written "either a long time ago, or set in the distant past" "then" could be omitted. So the sentence goes "It was that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery". Is that right?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.

Jiang
I'm afraid I don't quite understand the gist of your current question.

You have to say either "It was then that......" or "Then it was that......" as the author did.

You could indeed remove "it", "was" and "that", and simply say "Then, Lottie knew why Bess.........."
 

emsr2d2

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:oops:
Terribly sorry my English is not good enough to make me understood. I am trying to explain it again:
I think the sentence is an emphatic sentence structure "It is/was.....that". For example:She knew it was that that had given her the palpitations. And in this structure "that" can't be omitted.
According to your explanation (if I understand it correctly) in modern English the sentence should be
It was then that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery.
But since it was written "either a long time ago, or set in the distant past" "then" could be omitted. So the sentence goes "It was that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery". Is that right?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.

Jiang

No. You can't omit the word "then" in any situation. I was simply differentiating between:

It was then that = modern usage

Then it was that = more old-fashioned construction.

You have to keep the word "then" because it's the whole point of the sentence. It was "only then" that Lottie understood the reasons for Bess's actions. The timing is very relevant.
 

jiang

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Dear emsr2d2,

Thank you so much for your explanation. Now I see the point.
Actually "then" should be put before "that".

Jiang
No. You can't omit the word "then" in any situation. I was simply differentiating between:

It was then that = modern usage

Then it was that = more old-fashioned construction.

You have to keep the word "then" because it's the whole point of the sentence. It was "only then" that Lottie understood the reasons for Bess's actions. The timing is very relevant.
 

TheParser

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Dear teachers,

Please read the following sentence:

Then it was that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery.

I don't understand the structure of this sentence.

If it is the structure: It is ......that......Then it is an emphatic sentence. The first that can't be ommitted because it refers to something. "why Bess had made no mention of her finery" is the object of "knew" so it is impossible that "that" is omitted. And if it is an emphatic sentence "that" can't be omitted either. So I think the sentence should be:
Then it was that (something) that Lottie knew why Bess had made no mention of her finery.
But it seems it doesn't right. Or should it be:
Then it was that that made Lottie know why Bess had made no mention of her finery.

I feel confused.



Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.

Jiang



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

Good morning, Jiang.

(1) I have learned SO much from this thread.

(2) May I try (Try!) to analyze your sentence?

(3) (a) Then it was that Lottie knew. ...finery,
(b) It was then that Lottie knew. ...finery.

As Teacher Emsr said, both ways are fine. It is a matter of style. ( I personally find (a) more charming.)

(4) You need to remember that Teacher Emsr said that "then" = at that time. In other words, "then" is being used as a noun.

(5) "Lottie knew. ...finery" is an adjective clause that modifies "then" (at that time).

(6) "That" is just a word that introduces the adjective clause. In this case, it = in which.

(7) Therefore, I think (THINK!) that we may analyze it as:

It + was + then (at that time) + that (in which) + Lottie knew. ...finery.

(a) You may NOT delete "then." You need a time noun.

(b) You may, in fact, delete "that" in informal conversation:

It was then Lottie knew. ...finery.

It was then that I knew Tom was not a real friend.

Then it was that I knew Tom was not a real friend.

It was then I knew Tom was not a real friend.

Then it was I knew Tom was not a real friend.

Have a nice day!
 

jiang

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Good morning, Mr. TheParser,

Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I see the point.


Have a nice day!

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

Good morning, Jiang.

(1) I have learned SO much from this thread.

(2) May I try (Try!) to analyze your sentence?

(3) (a) Then it was that Lottie knew. ...finery,
(b) It was then that Lottie knew. ...finery.

As Teacher Emsr said, both ways are fine. It is a matter of style. ( I personally find (a) more charming.)

(4) You need to remember that Teacher Emsr said that "then" = at that time. In other words, "then" is being used as a noun.

(5) "Lottie knew. ...finery" is an adjective clause that modifies "then" (at that time).

(6) "That" is just a word that introduces the adjective clause. In this case, it = in which.

(7) Therefore, I think (THINK!) that we may analyze it as:

It + was + then (at that time) + that (in which) + Lottie knew. ...finery.

(a) You may NOT delete "then." You need a time noun.

(b) You may, in fact, delete "that" in informal conversation:

It was then Lottie knew. ...finery.

It was then that I knew Tom was not a real friend.

Then it was that I knew Tom was not a real friend.

It was then I knew Tom was not a real friend.

Then it was I knew Tom was not a real friend.

Have a nice day!
 
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