3

What is the meaning of "sure of my claim to be its author" in the following sentences, (Source: PRACTICAL ENGLISH USAGE BY Michael Swan )

So many people have helped me to write this revised edition that I am no longer totally sure of my claim to be its author.

Does it mean "So many people have helped me to write this revised edition . Therefore, I don't think of me as its author any more" ?

I try to understand a sentence(=>sure of my claim to be its author) by changing from phrase to clause. Is there anything wrong?

So many people have helped me to write this revised edition that I am no longer totally sure of my claim to be its author.

=>Many people have helped me to write this revised edition so that I am no longer totally sure that I claim to be its author

3

Your revised phrasing is not quite right, as the author is still actually making the claim, it’s just that they are also claiming to be unsure of its validity.

This isn’t meant to be taken literally though; the author still knows they are the author. It’s an example of hyperbole, in this case likely used to express gratitude to contributors in a sort of humorous way. The author is being benevolent, generous, humble.

UPDATE

With regards to your wanting to see this as a "that-clause", the way to do this would be to remove the part about it being a "claim" (you also don't need the word "that" in "totally sure that I am"):

So many people have helped me to write this revised edition that I am no longer totally sure I am its author.

This is quite direct and so sounds quite extreme. You may water it down to something like:

So many people have helped me to write this revised edition that I am no longer totally sure I qualify as its author.

  • If my revised phrasing is not quite right, how do I convert it? I would be grateful if you could convert this sentence(=>So many people have helped me to write this revised edition that I am no longer totally sure of my claim to be its author) into clauses to make it easier to understand. – user22046 Nov 14 at 0:02
  • 1
    I’m no expert in the English language academically, so you’d have to tell me what you mean by “clauses”. But what is wrong with the sentence as it is, and how do you want it to sound? – Chris Mack Nov 14 at 0:11
  • 2
    @user22046 I am not quite sure what you mean by "convert". Do you mean rephrase? Is this easy for you to understand - "I am no longer totally sure of my claim to be this book's [only] author because many people have helped me write it." – AIQ Nov 14 at 0:15
  • What I mean by convert is that "of+phrase (of my claim to be its author)" is converted into "that-clause". for example, Can we convert "I am no longer totally sure of my claim to be its author" into "I am no longer totally sure that I claim(demand) that I am its author" ? – user22046 Nov 14 at 9:13
  • 1
    I updated my answer. – Chris Mack Nov 14 at 10:25
2

The author is just being humble, I think. He is acknowledging that without their help, he would not have been able to write that revised edition (at least not to that quality or standard).

He acknowledges the considerable amount of contribution made by others. He is saying that it would not be right to take all the credit for all of that work. Of course, he will be named as the author.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.