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Quick Write 121311 "Parsing the excerpt from Moby Dick"

I’ll parse the following excerpt from "Moby Dick” as tonight’s QWing. It’s no longer going to be Quick Write, but a blog-post like piece. If you’re interested in this kind of grammar stuff, please proceed to the piece.

"For, owing to the large number of whale-cruisers; the disorderly way they were sprinkled over the entire watery circumference, many of them adventurously pushing their quest along solitary latitudes, so as seldom or never for a whole twelvemonth or more on a stretch, to encounter a single news-telling sail of any sort; the inordinate length of each separate voyage; the irregularity of the times of sailing from home; all these, with other circumstances, direct and indirect, long obstructed the spread through the whole world-wide whaling-fleet of the special individualizing tidings concerning Moby Dick.”

First of all, there is only one period at the end of the excerpt, so this whole passage-like thing is just one sentence. The subject is "all these” and the verb is “obstructed”. The verb "obstructed” is a transitive verb and thus takes an object, "the spread”. The subsequent prepositional phrase, "through the whole world-wide whaling-fleet of the special individualizing tidings concerning Moby Dick”, modifies the object "the spread.” Another prepositional phrase "with other circumstance” is inserted after the subject "all these” with two commas, and two adjectives "direct and indirect” modify "circumstance” from behind, meaning “with other direct circumstances and indirect circumstances”.

"For” at the beginning is a conjunction to provide a reason for what is stated in the previous sentence. The following adverbial phrase "owing to the large number of whale-cruisers” modifies the subsequent main part.

What remains is three noun phrases a) b) and c) connected with semi-colon (;) consisting of the subject "all these”.
a) the disorderly way they were sprinkled over the entire watery circumference, many of them adventurously pushing their quest along solitary latitudes, so as seldom or never for a whole twelvemonth or more on a stretch, to encounter a single news-telling sail of any sort
b) the inordinate length of each separate voyage
c) the irregularity of the times of sailing from home

The noun phrase a) consists of four parts:
a-1) the disorderly way they were sprinkled over the entire watery circumference
a-2) many of them adventurously pushing their quest along solitary latitudes
a-3) so as seldom or never for a whole twelvemonth or more on a stretch
a-4) to encounter a single news-telling sail of any sort

The following are some remarks regarding these four parts.
a-1) "they” refers to “whale-cruisers”.
a-2) "them”, again, refers to “whale-cruisers”, meaning “many of (the) whale cruisers”. a-2) a-3) and a-4) as a whole is an appositive noun phrase for a-1).
a-3) "so as” is linked to “to” in a-4) as "so as (seldom or never) to encounter…”. "So as to” describes the purpose of an action or a plan, but the adverbs, "seldom or never”, is added before the infinitive, which means that the action or the plan is unlikely to be realized. The part "for a whole twelvemonth or more on a stretch” is an inserted prepositional phrase mentioning the duration of time.

(60 minutes / 522 words)

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Aya

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