1

I am trying to understand where the independent clause/s are in the following sentence:

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

It is more complex than the ones I have been working with so far.

Thank you.

  • Please tell us what definition of "independent clause" you're using, and what you have tried so far. – curiousdannii Mar 3 '15 at 7:58
2

I can only find one independent clause: "this truth is ... fixed ...".

The modern correspondent to the traditional independent clause is Emonds' root sentence. Root sentences can be identified by the applicability of certain transformations, including subject auxiliary inversion and topicalization.

We can prepose and invert in this example in the clause "this truth is so well fixed ..." to get a variant "so well fixed is this truth ...", so that is evidence that this is a root clause.

There is also some sort of an order change at the beginning: "the feelings or views of such a man may be little known ..." ==> "little known the feelings or views of such a man may be ...", but that seems to be due to the "however" subordinator.

1

The independent clause is

this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families

Notice it can stand alone as a complete sentence.

  • 1
    But it doesn't have the same meaning (or indeed much meaning at all) without the that-clause. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 2 '15 at 17:21
  • @Edwin: To those of us who know our Jane Austen, this truth is instantly recognisable as the very same one more commonly known as a truth universally acknowledged. Not that I remembered the actual words so many decades after reading them, but the style itself is unmistakable. – FumbleFingers Mar 2 '15 at 17:34
  • 1
    So the whole main clause has to be ... this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters. (The comma would be dropped nowadays.) The 'this' has an anaphoric reference. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 2 '15 at 19:29
1

Edwin Ashworth is correct in his comment to the answer given by Fred Bailey:

So the whole main clause has to be ... this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters. (The comma would be dropped nowadays.)

. . . [T]his truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families cannot be independent because its use of so demands additional information.

I'm so hungry can mean I'm very hungry. But the sense of so in the instant sentence means

adverb . . .
2. to the same extent (used in comparisons).
"he isn't so bad as you'd think"

--Google's dictionary

The following rearrangement renders clearer the incompleteness of the phrase: This truth is fixed in the minds of the surrounding families to the same extent.

Unless the referent to to the same extent has already been expressed, it's needed here to make the idea (which is a comparison or equivalency) complete.

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.