0

I am reading a book by Gavin Esler and in one part he writes this sentence.

If you excised these twenty or so words from the speeches of David Cameron, Tony Blair, or most political or business leaders, there would in many cases be little left.

What I want to highlight is this part,

there would in many cases be little left.

As we see, the word 'be' is added in latter half of the sentence. Whereas, the common usages I have seen, would have rather put this as,

there would be in many cases, little left.

How the variation of placement of 'be' matters and is there any context, reason of this variation.

Please excuse my ignorance of the 'proper words' used in grammar discussions, I can barely identify and distinguish them now.

Cheers,

  • 1
    '... there would be, in many cases, little left.' works (the prepositional phrase is best set off by two commas, if only for ease of reading). '... there would, in many cases, be little left.' sounds rather punchier (more emphatic), and thus doubtless preferable in a speech (or political essay? Possibly.) Omitting the commas in this alternative signals that the pauses the commas invite are not preferred by the writer. It makes reading – and reading out – slightly more demanding, but is certainly an allowable style choice. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 5 '14 at 12:00
1

Not much of a "variation" in this case. It is just a case of inserting a parenthetical clause between would and be:

Saying "there would in many cases be little left" essentially like

there would (in many cases) be little left

or

there would, in many cases, be little left

or

there would be little left (in many cases)

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.