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I don't understand the function of concealed. Is it describing the words? If so why author didn't use "by" or "with" before it .

She was only extemporizing but a stirring warmth flowed from her as if her heart was trying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words.
(Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald)

Is this version acceptable ?

She was only extemporizing but a stirring warmth flowed from her as if her heart was trying to come out to you by concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words.

2 Answers 2

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Conceal is a synonym of hide. You can combine conceal with a preposition after the word:

by:

The keys were concealed by my sweater.

The keys were hidden by my sweater.

In is another valid choice of preposition and the author is saying that the warmth is concealed in the words.

For example, if the keys are hidden in my sweater, it implies that my sweater has a pocket, or that it was bunched up on the floor, thus creating an inner hiding place.

(The interior of a word is a metaphor for its meaning.)

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  • I understand the meaning but I don't understand the structure why the author didn't use comma between two things that describe the warmth ? A stirring warmth "flowed" from her as if her heart was trying to come out to you "concealed" in one of those breathless, thrilling words .( Warmth flowed and it was concealed right ? ) . I mean why this sentence don't have comma like this : A stirring warmth flowed from her as if her heart was trying to come out to you , concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words. Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 10:48
  • @TalhaÖzden It's not the warmth that was concealed, but her heart (metaphorically).
    – Darael
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 13:02
  • I see. I was distracted by your second question "is this acceptable". I'll try again (in a different answer) to address your question differently. I think that the comment above this (Darael) answers your question succinctly.
    – KCE
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 10:34
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Concealed is not an adjective describing the words, it's the past tense of a verb telling us that her heart was concealed in one of those words.

The structure here is interesting but not unusual. I see the middle part of that sentence with two interchangeable blocks. Both of the following are equivalent:

  1. ... as if her heart was | trying to come out to you | concealed in one of those words.
  2. ... as if her heart was | concealed in one of those words | trying to come out to you.

But I'm afraid my knowledge of the grammar rules here is lacking. I don't know the name of this pattern or if it requires a comma. I know that as a native reader, I would pause after the first block. So I would put a comma there to let others know to do the same.

Bonus:

Here's your example made correct by changing concealed into an adjective describing her words:

She was only extemporizing but a stirring warmth flowed from her as if her heart was trying to come out to you by concealed words.

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  • Thanks, I think that part (concealed in one of those words ) is reduced adjective clause. The thing I understand from this example is that we don't have to use reduced adj. clause right after the noun described by that clause. Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 12:19

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