日本人英文法の意外な穴

帝京大学教授で、ルミナス英和辞典(研究社)をはじめとする英語辞書編纂にも多く関わってこられたクリストファ・バーナード先生が月3~4回、語法、語彙を含めた広い意味での英文法の様々なトピックを解説します。

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117. Why can we say 「秋にもかかわらず...」but not "In spite of autumn..."? (2)

117. Why can we say 「秋にもかかわらず...」but not "In spite of autumn..."? (2)

When we use "In spite of", we must remember the following:

a) The information after the comma is surprising information about what comes before the comma.
b) However, the information before the comma must be enough to give a hint to the reader or listener about what comes after the comma. In other words, there cannot be a complete logical jump between what is before the comma, and what is after the comma.
c) Because of (b), we often cannot use a noun by itself which is just acting as a sort of simple label. In other words, there must be some information concerning the noun which allows this noun to logically connect to the clause which comes after the comma.

Here are examples of nouns used as simple labels:

1) X In spite of autumn, ...
2) X In spite of a pen, ...
3) X In spite of Tokyo, ...

It is easy to see that these nouns do not contain any information, or give us any hint as to how the sentences are going to continue.

We can compare (1) above with this:

4) In spite of the early autumn, ...

In this case it is easy to guess how the sentence may be completed. Therefore using what I called the "short version" (see Column 116) is ungrammatical in (1), (2), and (3), and we therefore have to use the long version.

When the noun is a simple label, a naked noun as it were, it becomes necessary to expand the noun so that it is part of a clause, so that it is then no longer a simple label. We do this in the following ways:

5) In spite of the fact that it is a pen, ... / In spite of it being a pen,...
6) In spite of the fact that it was Tokyo,... / In spite of it being Tokyo, ...

When the simple label ("a pen"; "Tokyo") is expanded in this way, we can then get a hint as to what comes after the comma:
6) In spite of the fact that it is a pen, it does not write.
7) In spite of it being Tokyo, we could find nowhere to eat late at night.

In the next Column, I will discuss how we can test to see whether the short version is possible, or whether we must use a long version.


◆NOTES◆
a logical jump 論理の飛躍
a noun by itself:名詞をそれだけで(使う)
logically connect to something  ...に論理的なつながりを作る
act as ~:~の役割を果たす
as it were:いわば
expand:~を拡大する

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