7

I can't understand the meaning of this paragraph!

But in our brief description of TCP and UDP, conspicuously missing was any mention of throughput or timing guarantees— services not provided by today’s Internet transport protocols.

is "conspicuously missing" the subject of the sentence? or "conspicuously" is the subject? What does that dash mean before "services"? It doesn't make sense to me not at all!

In other words I can't understand meaning of

conspicuously missing was any mention of throughput or timing guarantees—

part!

I can't detect the verbs too! One of them is "not provided" and another is "was" but I don't know the role of "missing" in the sentence.

10

There are two verbs in that sentence that have a subject. These are was and provided.

Was is a little confusing because it's in a non-standard order. To be is a linking verb, so it can take an adjective as object - and in certain circumstances it can be OVS rather than SVO, which is what has happened here. The object is conspicuously missing, that is the adjective missing modified by the adverb conspicuously. The subject is any mention of throughput or timing guarantees, a noun phrase.

Provided is in passive voice, so the subject is services and there's no object, but the adverbial provides what would have been the subject if it were in active voice - today's Internet transport protocols. If it were in active voice, it would be "today's Internet transport protocols do not provide these services".

  • Is it correct to say There was any mention of sth? Isn’t it supposed to be There wasn’t any mentions of sth or There was no mention of sth? – Andrew Tobilko Mar 11 at 13:03
  • 2
    @AndrewTobilko: "any" can be used like that without a negative sense. "Was there any sign of life?", for instance. Plus it's been stated to be missing, so there is a negative sense. "Any mention" was "missing". – SamBC Mar 11 at 13:21
  • Technically, "conspicuously missing" is the subject complement. And "provided" is not a finite verb. It's a past participle that acts as an adjective modifying "services". – Acccumulation Mar 11 at 21:28
  • @Acccumulation: I've never found differentiating subject complements from objects terribly helpful. It's one of those technical bits of grammar description that are of far more interest to linguists than to people just trying to speak a language. So I don't usually both. And sometimes differentiating between a passive participle and a participle-as-adjective is just splitting hairs (and frequently debatable). – SamBC Mar 11 at 21:32
  • It being a subject complement explains why it can be an adjective rather than a noun. – Acccumulation Mar 11 at 21:38
5

But in our brief description of TCP and UDP, conspicuously missing was any mention of throughput or timing guarantees— services not provided by today’s Internet transport protocols.

The subject of the sentence as a whole is “any mention of throughput or timing guarantees”.

The dash signals what appears to be a supplementary appositive NP, one that can substitute for the matrix NP.

"Conspicuously missing" is a preposed adjective phrase in which "conspicuously" modifies "missing". It functions as predicative complement of "be" in its ascriptive sense.

The basic non-preposed equivalent makes things clearer:

But in our brief description of TCP and UDP, any mention of throughput or timing guarantees – services not provided by today’s Internet transport protocols -- was conspicuously missing.

0

The subject of the sentence is "any mention of throughput or timing guarantees." It's a case where, when people try to sound smarter OR want to prequalify something, they place the syntax in a non-standard order.

The sentence essentially reads:

The mention of throughput and timing guarantees, which are services not provided by todays Internet transport protocols, was conspicuously missing in our brief description of TCP and UDP

For the second part, we have "conspicuously," meaning "obviously" or "clearly;" "throughput," or "amount passing through a system or process" or "what passes through the process;" and "timing guarantees," which research shows is the "amount of time a website is active."

The phrase as a whole says that

"Information on the amount of data passing through the system and the amount of uptime of a website are obviously missing"

The dash in front of "guarantees" indicates that this was a pause, and that the following phrase was describing the prior two.

As such, the whole sentence reads:

"Information on the amount of data passing through the system and the amount of uptime of a website, which are services not provided by today's Internet transport protocols, was obviously missing in our short description of TCP and UDP"

Or, more succinctly:

"Information on data transportation and website uptime was obviously not in our description of TCP and UDP, and these services are not provided by Internet Transport protocols"

  • 1
    In your rewording, you changed the verb from was to were. The change in conjugation implies change in the subject, from mention to guarantees. – 200_success Mar 11 at 22:10
  • @200_success thank you, I will revise – awsirkis Mar 12 at 23:04

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