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"The End of All Things to Come" is an album title of heavy metal band Mudvayne.

There are two points that I do not fully understand:

(i) I suppose that "X to do Y" is a general construction that expresses ( in a poetical way ) that "X is going to do Y". Is this correct?

(ii) The predicate "to come" seems to refer to either "end" or "all things". My gut feeling tells me that it the title refers to an "end to come". However, I have read that, e.g., relative clauses are typically intended to refer to the most recent noun. With this principle in mind, the title would like roughly refer to "the end of all things that are coming".

Could you clearify this grammatical construction for me?

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Welcome to EL&U. Literary interpretation/analysis, including lyrics interpretation, is off topic (FAQ). Please reframe as a question strictly about how English works (syntax, semantics, vocabulary) if that is your question. Otherwise you might try Writers.SE, but check their FAQ before reposting. Thanks. –  MετάEd Feb 6 '13 at 14:22
    
@MετάEd, this isn't really a lyrics interpretation question, but a general question about the meaning of the construction in question. –  JSBձոգչ Feb 6 '13 at 23:20
    
@JSBձոգչ Perhaps the OP would welcome an edit to reframe it that way. As it stands, it is very clearly a question about how to understand an album title. This is clear from the question title as well as the body. –  MετάEd Feb 6 '13 at 23:33
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1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Heavy metal bands may not always be the best source of prescriptive grammar advice (the umlauts on Chüd, Güüg, Spüg & Rü-d, as an example of "Heavy metal umlauts" showing that they can break language rules with self-conscious irony, and other cases are just bad).

This is a reasonable enough case though. We can either consider it as:

[The end of all things] [to come]

Which takes "the end of all things" as a description of apocalyptic or revolutionary destruction (the former a popular source of imagery for heavy metal bands, but the latter suggested by the lyrics "Fuck all the flags, the greed, the world leaders"). It then states that it is "to come"; that it will happen in the foreseeable future.

We can consider it as:

[The end of] [all things to come].

Which takes "all things to come" as an optimistic or promised description of what will happen in the future, and then uses "the end of" to mean that this optimism, political promise, or source of progress will end.

Offering two ways to interpret it is ambiguous, even if we would lean toward one interpretation or the other.

This ambiguity is not a bad thing though. It certainly would be in a piece of technical writing, or furniture assembly instructions! But here, both senses match the imagery and message the titular song, and the album as a whole. In such cases, offering more than one meaning can be a good thing.

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