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I have several questions about the sentence in bold from the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan.

THE PLAY—for which Briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper—was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch. When the preparations were complete, she had nothing to do but contemplate her finished draft and wait for the appearance of her cousins from the distant north. ”

  1. Does tipped mean "having a specified color or material on the end or tip"?

  2. Is tipped an adjective?

  3. Does folding mean "able to be folded into a smaller shape"?

  4. Does screen mean "a large, flat, white surface on which images or movies are shown"?

  5. Does "constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side" mean "Briony used a folding screen whose side is tipped to construct the sales booth"?

  6. Does out of mean "used to say what something is made from"?

  7. Does line in the sentence "and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper" mean "to cover the inner surface of (something)"?

  8. Does in in the sentence "and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper" have same meaning as the word "with" in the sentence "I lined the box with paper"?

  9. Which meaning of "in" is used in the sentence "and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper"?

http://learnersdictionary.com/definition/in

I looked up the word "in" in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary, but I couldn't find the definition of "in" which matches the meaning of "with" in the sentence: "I lined the box with paper".

  1. Does the word "tempest" mean "a situation in which people are very upset or excited"?

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/tempest

  • You could try image searching for "folding screen". I'm sure it'll almost answer half of your questions. I read a folding screen tipped on its side as a folding screen that can't stand upright. – Damkerng T. Sep 8 '16 at 11:57
  • @DamkerngT. Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it. I image searched "folding screen" in Google. Does the word "tip" in the sentence "constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side" mean "to move into a sloping position, so that one end or side is higher than the other, or to make something do this"? Thank you so much for your help again. – Li Xiaodong Sep 8 '16 at 12:27
  • More or less, yes. I see that you've gotten an answer. :-) – Damkerng T. Sep 8 '16 at 12:56
  • @DamkerngT. This question has no title, I even tried to edit it but yet there is no title. Its also very long!! I wonder how the community allows for such questions! – Ahmad Sep 8 '16 at 16:30
  • @Ahmad Thanks for the edit. I tried to improve it. Feel free to improve it further as you see fit. :-) – Damkerng T. Sep 8 '16 at 17:13
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  1. Does tipped mean "having a specified color or material on the end or tip"?

  2. Is tipped an adjective?

English lets past participles of verbs act as modifiers (especially "post-positive" adjectives or adjectives that follow the noun instead of precede it), and the meaning of "X Y'ed" is a shortcut for "X that is Y'ed" or "X that has been Y'ed." So "folding screen tipped on its side" = "folding screen that has been tipped on its side"

  1. Does folding mean "able to be folded into a smaller shape"?

  2. Does screen mean "a large, flat, white surface on which images or movies are shown"?

English has a lot of "two word" compound "words," where two words together really describe a separate concept, even if the separate concept is related to meanings of the individual words. It's not worth breaking down the individual words in these instances, just pretend there's a hyphen between them making them one word. Ice cream is a classic example, and folding screen is pretty much one of these. This is what could possibly be meant by "folding screen".

  1. Does out of mean "used to say what something is made from"?

Yes. Out of carries the implication that the things used to construct X are not normally used to create X.

  1. Does line in the sentence "and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper" mean "to cover the inner surface of (something)"?

It can be used to mean to cover any flat surface with something thin like paper, implying decoration or protection. A typical meaning is to line a floor with newspaper to prevent a pet from making a permanent mess.

  1. Does in in the sentence: "and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper" have same meaning as the word "with" in the sentence "I lined the box with paper"?

You could interchange in with with here. It's possible that with can be meant instrumentally, e.g. I lined the box with a tool X in substance Y whereas in can't have that meaning.

  1. Which meaning of the word "in" is used in the sentence "and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper"?

If X covers Y completely, X can be said to be in Y. For example, if you hide under a blanket, you can be said to be in the blanknet. Or clothes.

I looked up the word "in" in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary, but I couldn't find the definition of "in" which matches the meaning of "with" in the sentence: "I lined the box with paper".

Prepositions in English and most languages are really flexible and depend on how the writer or speaker logically, spatially, or causatively perceives things at a given moment. Different writers/speakers may have different ways of looking at things and express things slightly differently. Exact definitions are really not possible for a dictionary to give. You will have to observe and imitate patterns you see in real text and speech to learn them completely.

  1. Does the word "tempest" mean "a situation in which people are very upset or excited"?

Tempest is a rather evocative word that can mean "thing done in a frenzy of inspiration, fear, etc.". Keep in mind a tempest is a storm and that's the feeling the writer is trying to convey.

  • Thank you very much for answering my question. I really appreciate it. Does the word "tip" in the sentence "constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side" mean "to move into a sloping position, so that one end or side is higher than the other, or to make something do this"? ldoceonline.com/dictionary/tip_2 Thank you so much for your help again. – Li Xiaodong Sep 8 '16 at 12:45
  • Yes, tip means "on it's side" and not "having a specified color." It would only mean having a color if the context had something to do with painting. – LawrenceC Sep 8 '16 at 12:46
  • Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it. I still have a question about "a folding screen tipped on its side". What tipped the side of the folding screen? Does "a folding screen tipped on its side" mean "something tipped the side of the folding screen"? Thank you so much for your help again. – Li Xiaodong Sep 8 '16 at 15:05
  • Something that is "tipped" isn't in its usual orientation as perceived by the speaker/writer. So something would have had to tip it. It could be a person or something like the wind. If this is not specified, the "tipper" is unknown or the speaker/writer considers that information not important – LawrenceC Sep 8 '16 at 15:20
  • Thank you so much for your help again. I really appreciate it. Does "a folding screen tipped on its side" mean "something or someone bent forward the side of the folding screen"? Thank you very much for your help. – Li Xiaodong Sep 8 '16 at 15:27
2

A simpler answer about the clause set off by 2 em dashes: which Briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper

Here is the parse:

1) Understanding the meaning: Briony /had designed the posters, programs and tickets/, [and had] /constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side/, and [had] /lined the collection box in red crêpe paper/ for the play written by her.

2) to construct X out of Y = to build something out of a material (paper, wood, cement etc.). To build or construct something OUT OF x is an idiom. It means: to build or construct something USING some material.

3) a /folding screen/ is a type of furniture, often placed in the corner of a room to cover a person or thing. Often, in theater dressing rooms, there is a folding screen where an actress can change her clothes while continuing a conversation with a visitor to that dressing room. Folding screens either provide privacy in a room or are used to cover something the person does not want to be open for everyone to see. A folding screen usually has three panels. You can fold it up (close it) and store it against a wall. The height of a folding screen is something like five feet high or a meter and a half.

4) So, this Briony took the folding screen and placed it so the three panels were horizontal rather than vertical. not like this: |||. That shape turned on its side. Tipped here means turned over on its side.

5) Yes, lined means to cover the surface of something (inner or not). Line something in red crepe paper is the same as line something with red crepe paper.

6) a tempest of composition means: as if there was a storm and it was written very hurriedly and with a lot of passion. Storms (tempest) evoke passion. __

  • Thank you very much for your help. I really appreciate it. I am still not very clear about "turn over on its side". – Li Xiaodong Sep 8 '16 at 15:22
  • Ok, here goes AGAIN. :) A folding screen (by the way, one sees them all the time in old movies about China. I am pretty sure they are common items in traditional Chinese homes. I just read that folding screens ORIGINATED in China. :) dhresource.com/0x0s/… – Lambie Sep 8 '16 at 15:25
  • So, the lady turned the screen on its side to create a sales booth. We don't have the details but you can imagine taking the screen I show above and transforming it into a sales booth....Here is the simplest one I could find: Something like that, not exactly that:commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/… – Lambie Sep 8 '16 at 15:31
  • Thank you very much for your help. Did Briony make the panels of the folding screen parallel to the ground? – Li Xiaodong Sep 8 '16 at 15:33
  • Yes, in order to make the screen, she put them parallel to the ground and then did more things to it. As I said, we don't have the details but one can imagine it, right? Turn something on its side. Imagine a bottle: if you turn it on its side, it will be lying on the table horizontally. TIP means that here. Tip an object on its side. :) To place an object horizontally on a surface. – Lambie Sep 8 '16 at 15:41

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