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Certainly we will, said Glaucon; and in a few minutes Polemarchus appeared, and with him Adeimantus, Glaucon's brother, Niceratus the son of Nicias, and several others who had been at the procession. - The Republic of Plato

It's difficult to read.

Q1. Whom does the pronoun "him" refer to in the first sentence?
1) Polemarchus
2) Adeimantus: According to appostion (him Adeimantus).
3) Who else?

Q2. I know there should be at least one verb after conjunction 'add' when it is used to start a new sentence or clause that continues or adds to a previous sentence or clause., but there isn't any verb after "and" in this sentence. Is it okay?

Q3. What is the grammar of "and with him Adeimantus"? The form is noun after noun (him Adeimantus) but it doesn't look like apposition. Because I think the pronoun "him" refers to Polemarchus.

Q4. What on earth the meaning of "and with him Adeimantus, Glaucon's brother, Niceratus the son of Nicias, and several others who had been at the procession."
1) Polemarchus appeared with Adeimantus, Glaucon's brother, Niceratus and others. : I just presumed. I have no idea about grammatical problems.
2) What else?

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    It's a matter of context and what seems likely, in that context, whether Adeimantus and Glaucon's brother refers to one or two people (same with Glaucon's brother and Niceratus the son of Nicias). Based on biological principles we can be pretty sure only Nicias was the father of Niceratus, but syntactically those "several others" could also be his father. Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 15:24
  • @FumbleFingers There is an Oxford comma there so the list is: Polemarchcus, Adeimantus, Glaucon's brother (not "the brother of Glaucon"), Niceratus who is the son of Nicias, and several others who aren't sons of Nicias. It's pretty simple. Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 16:19
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    @SovereignSun: You assume the final comma to be an "Oxford comma". There's nothing in any absolute rules of grammar that requires such an interpretation. Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 16:23
  • @FumbleFingers There isn't but I bet I'm right. The later or prior context would be of much help to find out the truth. Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 16:27
  • @SovereignSun: To repeat my substantive point, there's no such thing as "right" regarding the meaning of the construction itself, only what seems likely, in any given context. Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 16:45

2 Answers 2

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You've got a list of people who have arrived and some explanations of who they are... It's a combination of a list with an appositive:

The people are as follows:

  • Glaucon
  • Polemarchus (aka "him")
  • Adeimantus (who happens to be Glaucon's brother)
  • Niceraturs (son of Nicias)
  • other people who were at the procession

The verb has been elided because it was just stated... it is "appeared" though it would be more likely we would say "came" if we wanted to include a verb.

In a few minutes Polemarchus appeared and with him [came] Adeimantus (who is Glaucon's brother), Niceratus (the son of Nicias, and several others (who had been at the procession.

So, in the end, your presumption was correct except that you have Adeimantus and Glaucon's brother as two separate people.

Technically, your interpretation could be just fine, though as it's somewhat ambiguous whether Adeimantus and "Glaucon's brother" are two different people but, based on the info in some guides to The Republic, interpreting this as an appositive is correct.

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  • Thank you for great answer. It benefits a lot. English is quite difficult language for me because of the ambiguity and a lot of sentence pattern. Like, A, B, C and D. or A, (=A'), C and D. S+V or V+S. Plus, omission of verb. Haha.
    – Ting Choe
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 16:23
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  1. Yes, him refers to Polemarchus. Polemarchus is the subject of the clause, so he's the only logical referent for him. I can't really think of a case in which we would say "him Adeimantus" to refer to Adeimantus.

  2. There doesn't have to be any verb after a conjunction, especially not and. Consider "I bought milk and bananas."

  3. The subject and verb of the clause are "Polemarchus appeared"; the rest of the sentence should be read as "and with him also appeared Adeimantus, Glaucon's brother, etc." We often don't repeat a verb if it would be clear from from context.

  4. I think you basically understand the sentence. Think of it as "Polemarchus appeared, and all these other men also appeared with him."

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  • About 2., there are two usages of "and", 1. used to join words or groups of words. 2. used to start a new sentence or clause that continues or adds to a previous sentence or clause. Usage 1 doesn't need a verb. Usage 2 have to take a verb after it. I'm sorry that I didn't say clearly in my question.
    – Ting Choe
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 15:50
  • How can "Adeimantus, Glaucon's brother, etc. also appeared with him " be "with him also appeared Adeimantus, Glaucon's brother, etc."? Thank you in advance.
    – Ting Choe
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 15:55
  • @TingChoe What's wrong with that?
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 15:56
  • @Catija Which one? First or second comment?
    – Ting Choe
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 15:58
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    @TingChoe Only in the most basic forms. It's not "standard" but it's still acceptable. It's often done this way for clarity or to emphasize or (in the case of poetry or prose) for the form of it... it flows better.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 16:04

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