The complex sentence with mutually subordinated clauses 587
§ 176. In complex sentences of this type it is impossible to differentiate which of the clauses is the main one and which is subordinate. We shall consider two patterns of such sentences.
§ 177. Clauses of proportionate agreement (or comparison).They express a proportional relationship - proportionality or equivalence; the more intensive is the action or quality described in one clause, the more intensive becomes the other, described in the following clause. Although sentences containing such clauses are undoubtedly complex, it is nevertheless impossible to state which of the clauses is the main one and which is subordinate, since they are of the same pattern -two twin clauses, looking like one another.
Clauses of proportionate agreement are joined by the conjunction as (correlated with the adverb of degree so in the other clause); or by means of the correlative adverbs so... so in both clauses. Proportionate agreement between the clauses may also be expressed by the correlative particles the... the, followed by the comparative degree of adverbs (or adjectives).
As time went on,so their hopes began to wane.
The more he reflected on the idea,the more he liked it.
The further I penetrated into London,the profounder grew the stillness.
Proportionate agreement occurs in such aphoristic sentences as the more the better, the sooner the better, which may refer to various situations.
§ 178. The second pattern of mutually subordinated clauses expresses temporal relations - a quick succession of actions or events, often overlapping with one another for a short period of time. These clauses form an indivisible whole owing to correlative elements and sometimes partial inversion in the first clause. The order in which the elements follow one another is fixed. As partial inversion is possible when the predicate consists of the operator and the notional part, only analytical forms or compound predicates are used.
There are several variants of the pattern:
1.No sooner... than.
No sooner had Tom seen usthan he jumped into a bus.
No sooner could the chairman finish his speechthan a great noise started.
2.Scarcely... when, scarcely... before.
Scarcely had he seen uswhen he jumped into a bus.
The door hadscarcely closed behind herbefore it opened again.
Hardly could he finish his last sentencewhen a great noise started.
I hadhardly finishedwhen Holmes returned with the news that the boy was putting in the horse.
He hadnot closed the doorwhen he heard somebody knock at it.
He hadjust cut a mighty slice of breadwhen he heard somebody’s footsteps.
The role of the past perfect tense in the first clause is also of importance as it does not manifest in this case real precedence but peculiar temporal relation, that of a quick succession of events or actions, often overlapping.