I came across this sentence "So did the Old Ball; it lay there sighing through its crack all day long,"

The context is that the Old ball broke and new ball was bought. And this Old Ball is anthropomorphic.

I couldn't understand the meaning "did" and "through" in this sentence. Does "through" mean "caused by"? What's the meaning "did" in this sentence?

  • More context or source would help. My guess is that if you imagine a ball with cracks on its surface, its inner self is sighing outward, now that it was old and broken. You can't know what did refers to, because we can't tell what so means without a contextual reference. For example, in "The big ball bounced, and so did the old ball.", I know what the old ball did (bounced). But just "so did the old ball" does not.
    – user3169
    Apr 22, 2016 at 19:41
  • Does this "so" mean "it lay there sighing through its crack all day long"? Apr 22, 2016 at 19:52
  • so is a continuation of a previous action. "You went to the store. So did I". (I also did what you described).
    – user3169
    Apr 22, 2016 at 21:47

2 Answers 2


Sentences don't ordinarily occur in a vacuum: context is usually critical to understanding.

So with auxiliary inversion in the following clause is usually employed with the sense "thus"; this is an anaphor, referring to an action mentioned immediately before the clause. It usually carries the additional sense "too, also". Here's your sentence in context:

But a few days later they could hear a bouncing noise outside the shed; bump-bump it went against the wall, and the Wheelbarrow knew what that meant. So did the Old Ball; it lay there sighing through its crack all day long.

So did the Old Ball means that The Old Ball, too, knew what that meant.

Sighed through its crack is also explained in context. Just three short paragraphs earlier we read:

“Look, there’s my ball!” she shouted, and hugged the Ball tightly. But it sagged and made a hissing noise because it had a split in its rubber tummy.

The crack is the split in the ball; as JavaLatte says, the author treats this as an "anthropomorphic mouth" through which the ball sighs.

  • Thank you for your helpful answer. I didn't write this context because they are so long but it seemed this context was necessary to answer this question. Apr 22, 2016 at 20:38
  • @KinzleB But I didn't mention "personification"! Apr 23, 2016 at 13:43

do so is sometimes used in the in the sense do this. See the TO AVOID REPEATING section of do or the first section of this. The word order can be reversed, for example so did I.

If the preceding text is not relevant, this is an unusual usage because it precedes the repetition: it shows a poetic disregard for normal sentence structure. What it means is:

the Old Ball did this; it lay there sighing through its crack all day long

I think that the crack is supposed to be its anthropomorphic mouth, so it is sighing through its mouth.

  • Thank you for your helpful answer. I got it and does "this" in your sentence mean "it lay there sighing through its crack all day long"? Apr 22, 2016 at 19:56
  • @Yuuichi Tam: Exactly.
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 22, 2016 at 19:57
  • Is there a sentence starting with 'Like' preceding this one?
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 22, 2016 at 20:13
  • No, I first think "did the Old bowl so" and what's meaning of transitive "do". Apr 22, 2016 at 20:20
  • 1
    @StoneyB: you are right. It is indeed clear from the preceding sentence.
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 22, 2016 at 20:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .