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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118. Why can we say 「秋にもかかわらず...」but not "In spite of autumn..."? (3)

118. Why can we say 「秋にもかかわらず...」but not "In spite of autumn..."? (3)

In the last Column, I wrote that the following were acceptable:

1) In spite of the fact that it is a pen, it does not write.
2) In spite of it being Tokyo, we could find nowhere to eat late at night.

However, the following are not correct English:

3) X In spite of a pen, ...
4) X In spite of Tokyo, ...

I think that the easiest way to check whether we can use the short version is to substitute "Because (of)" for "In spite of". When we do this, it becomes much clearer that a simple label before the comma looks strange:

5) X Because of autumn / a holiday / a pen / Tokyo, ...

All the possibilities in (5) are not grammatical. As in the case of "In spite of", with "Because (of)" we need some kind of hint that tells us how the sentence is going to logically develop:

6) Because it is autumn, the trees are red and orange.
7) Because of the rainy autumn, I have stayed indoors a lot.
8) Because it is a holiday, ...
9) Because of the unexpected holiday, ...

So, to summarize these three Columns, we can say the following:

a) "In spite of" has a short version, and two long versions.
b) In the case of "In spite of" sentences, the information before the comma must allow us to make a guess as to what comes after the comma.
c) Because of (b), a simple label usually cannot be before the comma.
d) If we have a simple label in a Japanese sentence, we must expand it to a clause if we want to translate the Japanese to English.
d) We can use "Because (of)" as a grammar check.


◆NOTES◆
acceptable:容認可能な
substitute A for B:Bの代わりにAを使う
develop:展開する
unexpected:意外な


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