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Clauses of Concession

These clauses express some circumstance despite which the action of the main clause is performed. They are of several types. One type comprises clauses introduced by the conjunctions though, although, and (in a somewhat high-flown style) albeit, which can have no other meaning but the concessive. Another type is represented by clauses of the pattern "predicative (noun or adjective) + as + subject + link verb", in which the concessive meaning is not directly expressed by the conjunction as or, indeed, by any other single word, but arises out of the combined lexical meanings of different words in the sentence.

The first type may be illustrated by such sentences as: Resolutely she smiled, though she was trembling. It does not call for any special comment for the time being. The second type may be seen, for example, in the sentence Clever as he was, he jailed to grasp the idea, where the concessive meaning arises from the contrast in meaning between the word clever, on the one hand, and the phrase failed to grasp, on the other. If this needs any proof, it can be provided by the simple expedient of introducing a change into the head clause, namely, replacing the phrase failed to grasp by the word grasped: Clever as he was, he grasped the idea here the meaning is causal, rather than concessive, and this of course depends only on the combination of lexical meanings of the words clever and grasped. The pattern of the sentence, with the conjunction as a part of it, merely expresses some kind of connection between what is expressed in the subordinate clause and what is said in the head clause.

Adverbial modifiers of concession are occasionally found in a simple sentence, and the preposition despite or the phrase in spite of is the usual way of introducing them. When the obstacle opposing the performance of the action is some other action, especially when it is performed by another agent, the more usual way of expressing it is by a subordinate clause.

Clauses introduced by the conjunction though can also, in certain circumstances, go beyond their essential concessive meaning; that is, in these circumstances they do not denote an action or situation in spite of which the action of the other clause takes place. Such clauses may be emancipated, that is, they may acquire an independent standing, and even become a separate sentence, as in the following example: I suppose that I am ticketed as a Red there now for good and will be on the general blacklist. Though you never know. You never can tell. The sentence Though you never know does not express an obstacle to the statement contained in the preceding sentence, but a new idea, or an afterthought limiting what had been said before.

The second type of concessive clause is seen in the following sentences: . . . and great as was Catherine's curiosity, her courage was not equal to a wish of exploring them (the mysterious apartments.) after dinner. It is the combination of lexical meanings great ... curiosity, courage . . . not equal that shows the meaning to be concessive. But deplorable as it might be, and undoubtedly was, there was another aspect of the case that more vitally concerned himself. It is the words another and more vitally that point to the concessive meaning. Compare also: And yet somewhere through all this gentleness ran a steel cord, for his staff was perpetually surprised to find out that, inattentive as he appeared to be, there

was no detail of the business which he did not know; while hardly a transaction he made did not turn out to be based on a stroke of judgement.

Another type again may be seen in a sentence like this: Coinciding with his holiday inclinations this request might have been successful in whatever words it had been couched.. Here it seems to be the meaning of the pronoun whatever which lies at the bottom of the concessive meaning of the clause.

Date: 2015-12-24; view: 1273

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