5

This question is on the following sentence, from chapter 7 of La porte étroite by André Gide.

Sa voix restait si calme et naturelle que mon exclamation m’en parut d’autant plus ridiculement emphatique.

QUESTION

I am trying to account for en and have come up with the following ideas. Please let me know if they are right. Where they are wrong, please tell me what I should have thought instead.

  1. A d’autant plus + adverb construction may be completed with either a pour-phrase or a que-clause supplying a cause, reason or occasion. (This would be rather like so much the more + adverb completing with a for, now that or as.)

  2. En in the Gide sentence results from (represents or means) pour + le. From this I should draw the lesson that en may unpack into pour + something, and not always de + something.

  3. Le, or the 'thing' in en, in this case would be the whole preceding clause, i.e. Sa voix restait si calme et naturelle.

  • 1
    It's 3. It's not easy to find documentation about that specific use, but the others are right, it's 3. – Teleporting Goat Feb 12 '17 at 19:57
  • Tossing in my agreement for that analysis. In fact, you sometimes find an "en" used in a very loose way to refer to more or less all that went before, even when it's hard to pinpoint the exact phrase that the pronoun is linking as the cause of / contributor to sense of the verb. – Luke Sawczak Feb 12 '17 at 21:35
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Your third option seems all right.

Sa voix restait si calme et naturelle que mon exclamation m’en parut d’autant plus ridiculement emphatique.

Without changing the whole structure, you could reconstruct a de-headed complement:

Sa voix restait si calme et naturelle que mon exclamation me parut de ce fait d’autant plus ridiculement emphatique.

But of course, you could also reverse subordination, getting a completely different structure for approximately the same meaning:

Mon exclamation me parut d’autant plus ridiculement emphatique que sa voix restait si calme et naturelle.

  • Thank you. I particularly appreciate being told that a noun (such as ce fait) would connect with de (not pour or que). – Catomic Feb 13 '17 at 1:40
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  1. I can see d'autant plus + adverb + que, but not d'autant plus + adverb + pour. Could you give an example with pour that we could look at?

  2. I don't think a priori that this en has to do with a pour-phrase or que-clause. I think it only stands in for Sa voix restait si calme et naturelle.

  3. Yes.

  • Sorry, I cannot find anything with pour in it. (I thought I did yesterday, but it was a misreading of a different usage of pour.) Besides GAM PUB seems to have told us that a noun phrase (supplying a cause etc.) would be headed with de as in de ce fait. – Catomic Feb 13 '17 at 1:29

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