“However a beauty’s cloak may flutter behind her, I shall never follow curiously after her. Further away, for God’s sake, further away from the street lamp! pass it by more quickly, as quickly as possible. You’ll be lucky to get away with it pouring its stinking oil on your foppish frock coat. But, along with the street lamp, everything breathes deceit. It lies all the time, this Nevsky Prospect, but most of all at the time when night heaves its dense mass upon it and sets off the white and pale yellow walls of the houses, when the whole city turns into a rumbling and brilliance, myriads of carriages tumble from the bridges, postillions shout and bounce on their horses, and the devil himself lights the lamps only so as to show everything not as it really looks.” ― Nikolai Gogol, The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol.

How do you discern a grammatical role of this phrase? Along seems like a preposition. And if you discern it a preposition, maybe this phrase modifies everything. I may not get how it modifies everything.

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    "along with" is a two-part preposition meaning together with sb/sth. The sense of the sentence: Everything breathes deceit, even the street lamp.
    – rogermue
    Jun 16, 2015 at 6:04
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    @saySay: Twice recently you have quoted an excerpt that begins with the word "But". Since this conjunction refers to a previous context, you should include the previous sentence at least.
    – TimR
    Jun 16, 2015 at 11:49
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    I understand the bolded phrase to function as a segue. I would call it a "but-complement" :)
    – TimR
    Jun 16, 2015 at 12:15
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    @StoneyB I beg to differ a little. Along with is categorized as a quasi-coordinator - a cross between a coordinator and a preposition. So will it be right to call along with the street lamp just only a preposition phrase? It can also be viewed as a coordinator. The street-lamp + Everything else breaths deceit. Oct 24, 2015 at 12:11
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    @Man_From_India I've seen this treatment, and I don't like it. "Along with", "as well as", "in addition to" do not coordinate. Oct 24, 2015 at 12:48

2 Answers 2


I believe Rogermue is correct with the comment:

along with" is a two-part preposition meaning together with sb/sth. The sense of the sentence: Everything breathes deceit, even the street lamp.

To add to this, I'd say it doesn't actually modify the meaning of anything, it's just a hyperbolic statement. Obviously the street lamp isn't breathing or willfully telling lies. It's purely an added exaggeration to inflate to the extreme the intensity of the deceit.

You're already doing this by using "everything". The lamp pole is part of "everything.", but by specifically implicating even an inanimate object (which is absurd logically), you're just inflating what you've already expressed a little bit more.


[withdrawn my remark after having read the comments more carefully]

Actually, in the original Gogol uses a negative there, not easy to translate, indeed. Very roughly: "But, even if you put the lamp aside (variant: forget about the lamp), everything breathes with deceit (here)..."

Далее, ради бога, далее от фонаря! и скорее, сколько можно скорее, проходите мимо. Это счастие еще, если отделаетесь тем, что он зальет щегольской сюртук ваш вонючим своим маслом. Но и кроме фонаря, все дышит обманом. Он лжет во всякое время, этот Невский проспект, но более всего тогда, когда ночь сгущенною массою наляжет на него и отделит белые и палевые стены домов, когда весь город превратится в гром и блеск, мириады карет валятся с мостов, форейторы кричат и прыгают на лошадях и когда сам демон зажигает лампы для того только, чтобы показать все не в настоящем виде.

(Source: Классика.ру)

  • An accurate translation, and equally as evocative as the original Russian, is: But forget the streetlamp; everything here breathes with deceit ... Aug 20, 2016 at 7:08
  • Yes, very good. Interestingly, 'here' is not present and not needed in the Russian sentence but absolutely necessary in the translation...
    – tum_
    Aug 20, 2016 at 7:19
  • I should have said: But forget the lantern; everything here breathes with deceit ... This is important, because Gogol is describing the odor of burning kerosene. In English, we might also say But never mind the lantern... Aug 20, 2016 at 17:28
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    Perhaps "aside from" might have been more accurate than (and at least as elegant as) "along with". I feel sorry for literary translators: they don't usually get paid well and they're always open to criticism.
    – Jaime
    Feb 17, 2023 at 12:42
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    I don't see "here" as necessary in the translation: any mystery resolved in the first clause of the very next sentence.
    – Jaime
    Feb 17, 2023 at 12:44

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