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When we win, libraries will belong to all. Through them, Baby V will grow up bound to a collective that thinks freely and makes empowered choices for themselves, their community and their country, sound in the knowledge that no matter one's identity, everyone deserves the same rights—to live, to dream, to read.

—The Indian Express,22June 2023

When I read this paragraph, I get stuck at 'sound in knowledge...' part, as I am not able to figure out the connection between it and the subject.

I am also confused about for whom it is used(a collective to which the baby will grow up bound or the baby itself). Second thing is about grammar. If 'is' had been placed just before 'sound in knowledge', it would have made sense as it would have been just another complement of 'a collective'. But since only a comma has been used, it confuses me.

Edit: Added 'the' before 'knowledge' as it was written in the original text.

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  • You may be getting confused by the fact that there's a missing comma before "no."
    – alphabet
    Jun 24, 2023 at 3:05
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    The cited text is definitely "Indian English". All mainstream Anglophones always say secure in the knowledge that [some comforting fact is true], never sound in knowledge... And most of us still include what in no matter what one's [qualities]. Jun 24, 2023 at 14:06
  • Sound in the knowledge that ... is short for while they are sound in ... How would you identify that structure? It's identical in meaning and produced by ordinary syntactic rules. Jun 24, 2023 at 19:20

2 Answers 2

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When we win, libraries will belong to all. Through them, Baby V will grow up bound to a collective that thinks freely and makes empowered choices for themselves, their community and their country, [ sound in knowledge that no matter one's identity, everyone deserves the same rights—to live, to dream, to read ].

The adjective phrase "sound in knowledge ..." is a predicative adjunct. It's predicative because it relates to a predicand, in this case the NP " baby V", and it's an adjunct because it's an optional element in clause structure.

The comma marks the "sound in knowledge ..." phrase as a supplement (notice the broken intonation). Supplements are not dependents of some head, thus they are not modifiers.

Compare the predicative complement equivalent

Baby V will be sound in knowledge that no matter one's identity, everyone deserves the same rights—to live, to dream, to read.

Incidentally, the passage is poorly written, for example it should be "sound in the knowledge ..."

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  • can the supplement be called an absolute phrase? 2 . that-clause including 'no matter one's identity' is actually a noun-clause explaining 'knowledge'? 3. Why no comma is used before 'no matter one's identity'? Can you please add the answer of these three questions in your answer?
    – RADS
    Jun 24, 2023 at 11:11
  • These questions arose in my mind reading your answer.And 'the' was actually included in the text. It was a mistake from my part.
    – RADS
    Jun 24, 2023 at 11:22
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    @RADS No: the absolute construction consists of non-finite clauses with a subject. The that clause is complement of "knowledge". The comma is optional.
    – BillJ
    Jun 24, 2023 at 11:32
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    The adjunct may relate to 'a collective'. Jun 24, 2023 at 11:55
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    @RADS I've already covered that point. Again, only clauses have a subject and predicate structure.
    – BillJ
    Jun 24, 2023 at 12:58
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OP wrote:

When I read this paragraph, I get stuck at 'sound in knowledge...' part, as I am not able to figure out the connection between it and the subject

and commented:

If 'is' had been placed just before 'sound in knowledge', it would have made sense ...

Maybe it will help to break the sentence apart visually, moving some repositionable things around, and adding some clarifications in brackets:

   a collective

     that 
      thinks freely 
      and 
      makes empowered choices for themselves, their community and their country,

    
      [a collective each of whose members is] 
      sound in the knowledge 
          that 
          one deserves the same rights: to live, to dream, to read,

          no matter one's identity.

Compare:

The expedition decided to try for the summit, though some were suffering from severe headaches, firm in the belief that their dwindling oxygen supply would suffice.

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  • Thanks for your answer and it really helps but @Bill J says it's the Baby V who will be sound in the knowledge. I want to test my knowledge on the example you give after reading answer of yours and BillJ. Can you please check them. 'firm in the knowledge' is a supplement or adjunct used for giving extra information about 'the expedition'. Now for the 'though some were suffering from severe headaches'...I guess it is also an adjunct?
    – RADS
    Jun 24, 2023 at 17:13
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    firm in the belief... characterizes the expedition, its collective state of mind when making the decision to go for the summit. What is important to understand is that it is predicated of the expedition. Its meaning would not change if it were rewritten as being firm in the belief... There's no need for a non-finite verb in order to apply an adjectival predicate, but it is as if there is one there. I think BillJ would be willing to agree that it's not really possible to decide between BabyV or the collective; the syntax could go either way.
    – TimR
    Jun 24, 2023 at 18:22
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    though some were suffering... is a subordinate clause. It concedes that there was reason not to try for the summit.
    – TimR
    Jun 24, 2023 at 18:27
  • Thanks for your detailed explanation...
    – RADS
    Jun 25, 2023 at 0:47

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