+0
"His situation was most suitable, quite the gentleman himself, and without low connections; at the same time not of any family that could fairly object to the doubtful birth of hers."

Is there any reason the author uses a semicolon instead of a comma up there?

I'd say, "quite the gentleman himself", "without low connections" and "not of any family that could fairly object to the doubtful birth of hers" are all clauses modifying "his situation", so they should be seperated by commas.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
+0
Hello Hunk

Here's my 2 cents:

The first three clauses tell us that his origins weren't humble; but the "at the same time" clause tells us that they weren't the highest. It therefore has a concessive quality: an "on the other hand" to the first three clauses' "on the one hand".

The semi-colon requires a longer pause than the comma, and so marks the point at which the change occurs.

Other members may have other opinions!

MrP
+0
Hi guys,


"His situation was most suitable, quite the gentleman himself, and without low connections; at the same time not of any family that could fairly object to the doubtful birth of hers."

Is there any reason the author uses a semicolon instead of a comma up there?

This seems to me to be an old-fashioned, although elegant, style of writing. I'm not comfortable with the use of what really seem like phrases rather than proper clauses. The semi-colon is certainly intended to signal a contrast, but I don't like a semi-colon followed by what is really just an adjectival phrase that doesn't seem to balance properly to the first part of the sentence.

I'd prefer to write it this way.

"His situation was most suitable, quite the gentleman himself and without low connections, yet at the same time not of any family that could fairly object to the doubtful birth of hers."

Best wishes, Clive

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Comments  
Hello MrPedantic and Clive,

I didn't at all notice the contrast until you guys pointed it out ; thanks very much for your help.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
You're welcome, Hunk – have a merry 25th December!

MrP