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"It would have been hard for you to have said it more eloquently," said John.

From White Horse Gery James.

Is it the same as "it would have been hard for you if you had tried to say it more eloquently?"

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  • 1
    Please use specific question titles.
    – user230
    May 30, 2014 at 11:02
  • The basic gist of it is: You said it nearly as eloquently as possible. It would be difficult to think of a way to say it that would be more eloquent than the way you put it.
    – Jim
    May 31, 2014 at 5:14

1 Answer 1

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The construction of the quotation is a subject right extraposition.

The heavy subject is replaced by anticipatory it and echoed at the right end of the clause as the referent of it:

[SUBJECTFor you to have said it more eloquently]
[VERB would have been]
[COMPLEMENThard]

[SUBJ It]
[VERB would have been]
[COMPLEMENThard]
[REF for you to have said it more eloquently]

The subject is constructed as as a for..to subordinate clause: the verb in the base clause You SAY it more eloquently is recast as a marked infinitive and the clause is headed by the subordinator for.

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  • If you had tried to say it more eloquently, it would have been hard for you. @user10395
    – Kinzle B
    May 30, 2014 at 16:28
  • I didn't. No sooner had you mentioned this than I noticed you had put it in your question. We just think alike! @user10395
    – Kinzle B
    May 31, 2014 at 7:34
  • @user10395 Not exactly. You is not the object of for here - it is not hard for you. For is a subordinator and its complement is you HAVE said it more eloquently. May 31, 2014 at 7:47

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