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I came across the below sentence in this article.

"The emasculated society of Europe serves, then, as a warning to conservatives, and reinforces their belief that America must reverse the trend of modern politics, which has involved the increasing assumption by the state of powers and responsibilities that belong to civil society."

My understanding is that the then here is a time indicator of the Europe at that time i.e. the author means "The emasculated society of Europe at that time." (Correct me if I am wrong)

Is this a common style? Are there other ways to indicate the time of a particular instance/event and give additional details related to that instance/event like how it is being explained here.

Also how is the below sentence different from the above sentence?

"The then emasculated society of Europe,serves as a warning to conservatives, and reinforces their belief that America must reverse the trend of modern politics, which has involved the increasing assumption by the state of powers and responsibilities that belong to civil society."

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Consider that then may also mean in consideration of the forementioned details. –  Anonym Jun 17 at 2:40

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In these dispositions then has a different reference and significance.

Set off from the sentence with commas, as in your first sentence, then is still a sentential adjunct but it has the meaning “thus, consequently”, drawing a conclusion from the matter which has gone before. Your first sentence may be paraphrased:

So the emasculated society of Europe serves as a warning to conservatives ...

Then preceding an attributive adjective, as in your second sentence, modifies the adjective with the sense “at that time”. Your second sentence may be paraphrased:

The society of Europe, [which was] emasculated at that time, serves as a warning to conservatives ...

In your second sentence the comma after Europe should be deleted.

The then emasculated society of Europe serves as a warning ...

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thanks! very helpful.. –  sunny Jun 17 at 2:55
    
This is absolutely correct. Then, could you please accept this answer sunny? (Accept answers by clicking the 'checkmark' graphic to the left.) <--- –  Garet Claborn Jun 17 at 3:22

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