I found this interesting topics being discussed here. I also had some time back asked similar questions in the other forum. Here is the sentence -

Although his (Nirmal) detainment (in prison) lasted only a day or two, the experience had a profoundly unsettling effect on Nirmal, following as it did on his rejection by Nilimas's (Nirmal's wife) family and his separation from his own.

I understood the explanation from other replies, and would have applied same explanation to my quoted sentences as well, but the "on" after "as it did" and the "following" before "as it did", makes thing a but different in this case. Can you please explain this also?

Thanking you in advance.


Let's cut out the operative portion:

  • the experience had an effect on Nirmal, following as it did on his rejection

and put it under analysis at the Syntax Lab. Pronouns (it, his) and a pro-verb (did) have been deployed here. If we put back their referents we get

  • the experience had an effect on Nirmal, following
    [as the experience did follow]
    on Nirmal's rejection

And that has been made into a clause éclair by stuffing an assertion inside a presupposition;
unpacking this treat, we get

  • the experience had an effect on Nirmal,
    following on Nirmal's rejection,
    [as the experience did follow on Nirmal's rejection]

Normally an adverbial clause like following on Nirmal's rejection would be presupposed,
but asserting something that's already presupposed is like offering a personal warrantee.
That's all, really; the rest is all syntax rules of movement and deletion that allow this.

  • Oh, as for the on following (on) following, that's just another version of follow. The image is things in a line, following one another, and maybe holding on to the next one. English is loaded with alternations like that that don't do more than add a syllable when you want one. – John Lawler Feb 22 '14 at 3:28
  • What do you mean by clause eclair? And "following on"? How "on" can come after "follow"? "following as it did" and then "on" is fine but without "following as it did", only "follow on" is a bit confusing. – Man_From_India Feb 22 '14 at 3:28
  • (That should be "How can on come after follow?", btw) The answer is right above your question; we both put them in at the same time. – John Lawler Feb 22 '14 at 3:30
  • Yes, got it. :) what do you mean clause eclair? And from which book those links were made, just for curiosity? – Man_From_India Feb 22 '14 at 3:32
  • "From what book were these links made?" Don't forget to invert auxiliaries; it's important and an instantly noticeable mistake. The presupposition handout is a handout from my Introduction to Linguistics class, and the list of rules is from Haj Ross, who describes their provenance in the introduction. – John Lawler Feb 22 '14 at 3:35

The phrase following as it did is very similar to the phrase because it followed - the key difference is that the former implies what follows to be an explanatory afterthought, whereas the latter implies a straightforward causation.

  • What do you mean by explanatory afterthought? – Man_From_India Feb 22 '14 at 3:20
  • An example: "The surprise party was wonderful, following, as it did, a day of less-than-pleasant surprises." This feels like the main point is "surprise party was wonderful" -- whereas -- "The surprise party was wonderful because it followed a day of less-than-pleasant surprises." This feels like the focus is off of "surprise party was wonderful" and placed more heavily on the "less-than-pleasant surprises" .. The first phenomenon i was calling a "explanatory afterthought" and the second more a "straightforward [focus on] causation [and the cause/reason]" – miercoledi Feb 22 '14 at 3:30
  • see the answer beneath mine, it much better describes exactly what i meant to. – miercoledi Feb 22 '14 at 3:31

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