So I have this sentence to translate.

'There I am, in Jessie Clark’s back garden, doing a show, whilst my brother digs at a tree behind him.'

Can you please rephrase it? What does the main character do, what does her brother do (especially him), are they connected somehow?

(Jessie Clark is a girl)

  • can you add a little more of the context? – Varun Nair Aug 30 '16 at 10:26
  • There is actually no context to this - the main character is showing photos of her childhood, and this is the discription of one of the photos. No extra information given. – Valery Ustvolsky Aug 30 '16 at 11:01

There are three people involved in this scenario.

  1. Jessie Clark
  2. I (the main character, the speaker), let's call her Jane
  3. The Brother (of the speaker), let's call him Jack

Location: Jessie's garden.

  1. What is the subject doing?

Shes doing a show, of some sort.

  1. What is Jessie doing?

That is unspecified, let's assume he's just standing there, watching.

  1. What is Jack (the brother) doing?

He is digging on the ground beside a tree/ or on the tree itself, which stands behind Jessie.

So, to sum up,

Jessie Clark has a back garden. Jane is doing some sort of a show, while her brother, Jack, is digging up something beside/ on a tree, right behind Jessie.


Other possible interpretation is that the 'him' referred to at the end of the sentence is addressed as the brother.

But then, how does a kid dig at a tree behind himself?

Possible Interpretation by V.V:

The brother is digging (on the ground) by a tree, which happens to be behind him.

(This is the very valid interpretation)

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  • Isn't Jessie a "she"? – V.V. Aug 30 '16 at 10:17
  • now that you have raised that doubt, can this sentence be interpreted in more than one way? I wonder. – Varun Nair Aug 30 '16 at 10:19
  • Jessie is a girl! – Valery Ustvolsky Aug 30 '16 at 11:03
  • @VarunKN, Isn't it possible he is digging at(near) the tree , but it is behind his back (on that photo)? – V.V. Aug 30 '16 at 12:02
  • @V.V., it is possible. I'll edit in that possibility to the answer too. – Varun Nair Aug 30 '16 at 12:03

"dig at" means to needle or doing a little harm to something. So her brother is kinda carving on the tree behind the owner of the garden which is Jessie, so she is saying "my brother doesn't pay attention to my show, and he is harming the Jessie's tree while he is not watching."

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