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In a contract document I'm reading, I found the following sentence:

Notwithstanding the foregoing, your employment is also subject to the following terms:

My question concerns the phrase, "notwithstanding the foregoing." I understanding the meaning, but if you were going to construct a sentence diagram, what part of speech would this phrase have?

My initial reaction was to call it a nominative absolute, but it doesn't seem to fit the usual test (ie, try to subordinate by adding a conjunction + verb of being).

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    It's a pragmatic parenthetical (ie it stands syntactically separate from the matrix sentence). It is replaceable by the pragmatic marker subclass mitigation (and traditionally called a comment clause, and a sentence adverb / adverbial) nonetheless. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 18 '16 at 15:17
  • @EdwinAshworth In trad grammar, notwithstanding is a preposition. In modern grammar it is too! In one sense it's very different from nonetheless, because nonetheless cannot take a Complement. This is kind of important even from a trad grammar point of view. – Araucaria Jan 19 '16 at 23:00
  • @Araucaria The question refers to the phrase 'notwithstanding the foregoing', as does my comment-answer. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 20 '16 at 0:19
  • @EdwinAshworth Indeed. Like many other preposition phrases, it's an Adjunct. In trad grammar, it's an "adverbial". And notwithstanding is a preposition. – Araucaria Jan 20 '16 at 0:22
  • But OP asks about the parenthetical. I consider it to be so similar to 'nevertheless' here that it's of little use further analysing it, considering it best considered a multi-word lexeme. I've posted quite a few times about the unhelpfulness of the term 'sentence adverbial'. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 20 '16 at 0:28
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Notwithstanding is a preposition that means in spite of and the noun foregoing is an object of the preposition. Therefore, "Notwithstanding the foregoing" in the sentence is just a prepositional phrase that modifies the sentence.

I think the confusion came from the fact that the preposition notwithstanding is in the form of a present participle (-ing) and the comma placed after the noun foregoing.

The comma is necessary to separate a rather long prepositional phrase from the sentence that follows it.

As you mentioned, there is no verb in the phrase and adding a conjunction doesn't work. Therefore, it is not a nominative absolute or participial construction.

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Your first inclination is correct: it is a nominative absolute. The acid test of adding "because of" before it shows this.

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    'Because of notwithstanding the foregoing' satisfies a test? – Edwin Ashworth Jan 20 '16 at 0:22

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