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What does "cutting" mean in the following context?

From the day that Michael Codron became interested in producing the show, I felt the cutting take root.

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Cutting = a piece cut off from a plant that can be used to grow another plant of the same type

Cambridge Dictionary

In this case the cutting is an analogy for the idea of the show. Codron’s interest in the idea helped give life to it. It grew and expanded into the show that it eventually became. Just as a small cutting, if suitably planted, will root and grow into the final specimen plant.

The use of take root rather than took root is an interesting point. The answer may be that during the period that is being recalled (“from that day ...”) the author experienced the taking of root as something happening in the present during that period.

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  • Why "take root" and not "took root"? It has happened in past.
    – Alish
    Jan 12 at 10:18
  • I thought the same, you may add it to the answer.
    – Alish
    Jan 12 at 11:18
  • Thanks. I have modified accordingly.
    – Anton
    Jan 12 at 12:14
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    Take is not present here, it's infinitive. I felt it move/grow/shake. Feel plus infinitive clause means "experience, have a sense of". There is another construction that takes a tensed "that" clause, where the "that" is optional: I felt [that] it took root, but "feel" in that construction means "think, conclude, have an opinion".
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 12 at 12:30
  • A fine point, and one that you may reasonably propose in general. But here is a specific and similar example: “I feel you (to) take hold {= taking hold} of my hand.” Despite the ellipsis (to), this gives take a present and active, if gerundial, verbal sense.
    – Anton
    Jan 12 at 14:04
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Some plants are propagated by cutting off a branch (then referred to as the cutting) and re-planting it. In this case, whatever "the cutting" refers to is starting to grow. See wikipedia.

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  • This is a good answer. I wonder if you might improve it by adding the best definition from the Wikipedia article you cited? (This will avoid link rot, in case the Wikipedia entry gets updated.)
    – rajah9
    Jan 12 at 14:40

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