Absolute (or indendent) subordinate clauses 804
§ 182. Subordinate clauses may be used absolutely as independent exclamatory sentences. They may have the form of a conditional or comparative clause.
If only I knew his address!
As though you didn’t know!
That he should be so late!
Parenthetical clauses (parentheses)
§ 183. A parenthetical clause (parenthesis) interrupts another sentence with which it is either not connected syntactically or is only loosely connected with separate parts of the sentence.
Parenthetical clauses are often called comment clauses, because they do not simply add to the information given in the sentence, but comment on its truth, the manner of saying it, or express the attitude of the speaker toward it. In some cases it is direct address to the listener or reader.
He waited (which was his normal occupation) and thought, like other citizens, of the cost of living...
(Some information is added.)
...there is, as it were, a transparent barrier between myself and strong emotions. (The figurative meaning
of the utterance is indicated.)
My parents, you know, were peasants. (Direct address to the listener.)
Parenthetical clauses may occur in front, mid- and end position, but the end position is mainly restricted to informal style. They are usually marked off from the rest of the sentence by commas, dashes, or parentheses (brackets) in written English and by a separate tone unit in speech.
Parenthetical clauses may be patterned like independent sentences, coordinate, main, or subordinate clauses. In all cases the mechanism of turning a sentence or clause into a parenthesis is the same - the inverting of their usual sequence or placing the parenthetical clause in an unusual position, which changes their communicative value. The embedded (включенное) structure acquires a secondary status, informing the reader of the author's opinion of the utterance, or containing some comment on the content of the embedding (включающее) sentence, or else addressing the reader directly. The embedding structure is primary in importance and structurally independent. The following sentences may be taken as examples:
Although the evening was still light - we dined early - the lamps were on. (a parenthetical clause
patterned like an independent sentence)
She cooked - and she was a good cook - and marketed and chatted with the delivery boys. (a parenthetical
clause patterned like a coordinate clause)
As you put it, it sounds convincing, (a parenthetical clause patterned like an adverbial clause of manner)
Does your objection to tea (which I do frightfully want) mean that we’re unlikely to be alone? (a
parenthetical clause patterned like an attributive clause)
Mr. Ford - if this was now to be his name - walked slowly up to the counter, (a parenthetical clause
patterned like an adverbial clause of condition)
Parenthetical clauses may be patterned like different communicative types of sentences or clauses - statements, questions, imperative or exclamatory sentences or clauses.
It was - why hadn’t he noticed it before? - beginning to be an effort for her to hold her back straight, (a
parenthetical clause patterned like a why-question)
I felt - such curious shapes egoism fakes! - that they had come because of me. (a parenthetical clause
patterned like an exclamatory sentence)
Clauses patterned like main clauses with verbs of saying and those denoting mental activity (he thought, the author said, etc.) may have an inverted order (thought he, said the author).
Quite a number of parenthetical clauses are stereotyped conversation formulas, used to attract the listener’s attention or to show the reaction of the speaker (you know, you see, I see, etc.).