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Dr Grammar

Grammar Question (27Mar2014)

Posted by josephtam   28 Mar 2014 3 36 pm

Hi Alex,

I find the following sentence from a passage:

"This is because they believed that for a government to be fair, it would have to be made by the people and for the people, meaning doing things for the good of all citizens."

1. I am confused by the phrase "meaning doing things for the good of XXXX". What is the part of speech?

I suppose:
meaning = noun (subject)
doing = verb
things = noun (object)
for the good of all citizens = adverb clause for the action "doing things"

But why don't use "mean to do things for the xxxx"?

2. I don't understand the usage of "would have to be made" as well, is it ..... um.... "past tense of future perfect"?

P.s. I posted the duplicated question in the wrong class section "Advanced Certification in General English 2013-2014", you may delete it.

Thanks,

Joseph

 
 

Teacher
Posted by alex stringer   28 Mar 2014 4 33 pm

Hi Joseph

It's a participle clause. These are quite common and there are various types. Some of them have a very general usage and some are only used with particular verbs and so on. Here it works like a relative clause:

'...meaning doing things for the good of all citizens.'
...which means doing things for the good or all citizens.'

There is no difference in meaning between these.

In terms of subjects, verbs and objects: the phrase 'by the people and for the people' means doing good things for the good of all citizens

Do be aware that you can't take any relative clause and replace it with a participle clause. The relative clause I have suggested here is the kind where the relative clause relates to the whole of the main clause, not single noun or noun phrase. Participles can (usually*) be substituted in this kind of sentence.
(*I'll be cautious; I haven't done exhaustive research on this.)

Some more examples:
A lorry had broken down in the tunnel, which resulted in a delay of over three hours.
A lorry had broken down in the tunnel, resulting in a delay of over three hours

He continued to deny the allegations, which made the crowd more angry than ever.
He continued to deny the allegations, making the crowd more angry than ever.

He says it will have to be finished by Friday, which means we'll all have to do overtime.
He says it will have to be finished by Friday, meaning we'll all have to do overtime.

Some examples of relative clauses where a participle can't be substituted.

She didn't say thank you, which I thought was rude.
Participle clause is not possible: the relative pronoun is not the subject of the clause.
He arrived late, which was very unusual.
Participle clause is not possible: verb 'be'. ?
She then told stood on the table and started to sing, which had a remarkable effect on the audience.
Participle clause is not possible: verb 'have'. ?
(They're definitely not possible; I'm guessing the reason.)

Hope this helps,

Alex
 
 
Posted by josephtam   28 Mar 2014 5 27 pm

Hi Alex,

Thanks for your explanation on the participle clause. I get your points. : )

Then, how about the meaning of "would have to be made" in the sentence?
".....it would have to be made by the people and for the people...."

it seems related to the type 3 of conditional clause for unreal situation. But it doesn't make sense to me since they are asking for something (a new government) but believe that it's unreal? I am confused.

Thanks,

Joseph
 
 

Teacher
Posted by alex stringer   28 Mar 2014 6 46 pm

Ah, forgot that part.

This is the 'future in the past'. They are referring to something that was in the future from their perspective - something that had not yet happened at that time. The 'have to' is for obligation. The past of 'will' is 'would'. It is also used in reported speech.


I realised I would have to run if I was going to catch the plane.
Obviously we would have to take plenty of water as it would be very hot.
The travel agent told me I would have to change planes in Dubai.



All of these are 'real', not imaginary futures. Although you're right when you suggest that 'would' is often used to introduce imaginary or unreal information. But not here.

Alex
 
 
Posted by josephtam   28 Mar 2014 11 05 pm

Yeah, I get it.

Thanks Alex :)
 
 

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