phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: "knew going in"

Posted by Smokey Stover on February 22, 2004

In Reply to: Oooh...I love when you say "diagram a sentence" posted by Bruce Kahl on February 22, 2004

: : : : : : : : : : 2.COuld you explain the phrase 'what we knew going in' here? What does 'know' mean? And 'going in'?
: : : : : : : : : : President George W. Bush's national security adviser on Thursday acknowledged there may have been flaws in prewar intelligence about Iraq but brushed aside calls for an independent investigation into the matter.
: : : : : : : : : : "I think that what we have is evidence that there are differences between what we knew going in and what we found on the ground," Condoleezza Rice told CBS.
: : : : : : : : : 2. "What we knew going in," here, means "what we knew in advance about what we'd find when we (the American armed forces) went into Iraq," as oppposed to what we actually found "on the ground," that is, in reality or on the hard earth of the actual place.

: : : : : : : THank you for your previous answers, but I still got a problem. Why use continuous tense in "going in"?
: : : : : : : "I knew doing something." Is this right? Is there any other verbs that can be used this way?

: : : : : : : And do you know what does "participatory government" mean here?
: : : : : : : "There will be no change whatsoever to the foreign and security policies the participatory government has pursued so far," presidential spokesman Yoon Tai-young told a briefing when asked why South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun had shaken up his security team.

: : : : : : "We knew going in." "Going in" functions as an adverbial phrase. Examples using other verbs are "We knew starting out that . . ." and "I ate breakfast standing up."

: : : : : : "Participatory government." That would be a government in which people participate. The extreme case of such a government is a democracy.

: : : : : I'm glad R. Berg provided some answers here, because "going" is what they call a "verbal," that is, a verbal form not used as an actual verb, said about participles and infinitives used other than as ordinary verbs. In this case, "going" is a present participle, used as something else. Verbals are sometimes very slippery. While I was growing up, school classes in English often involved diagramming sentences. At first this was easy and enjoyable. But sooner or later it got difficult and frustrating, often because of dependent clauses, often because of verbals. At this point the teacher, to whom it was no easier than to us pupils, usually found that we had practiced diagramming sufficiently, and could go on to something less taxing. In "We knew going in" the word "in" is an adverb, "knew" is a transitive verb (with "what" as the required direct object). So what is "going"? Well, R. Berg calls it an adverb, modifying "knew," a very plausible explanation. Personally, I would have gone for adjective, modifying "we," but I'm probably wrong. It is not a predicate adjective, even though it is in predicate position. It is not a gerund and not part of the main verb in one of the progressive tenses. If we had a copulative verb, as in "what we knew while we WERE GOING in," then the subordinate clause would have a verb in the past progressive tense. As for the "continuous" character of the going, well, one doesn't necessarily go all at once, although Rice could have said, "when we went in." The time frame admits of either a simple past or a past progressive tense. Incidentally, does anyone know of other languages which claim, as English does, a progressive tense? We have a complete set of progressive tenses: He is going, he was going, he has been going (perfect progressive or present perfect progressive), he had been going (past perfect progressive), and even some conditionals: I would be going (imperfect conditional progressive, according to some grammarians), I would have been going (perfect conditional progressive). The thing about "verbals" is that they are usually dead easy to use and understand, but somewhat frustrating to try to explain. SS

: : : : to SS::: It always provides much delight to have you really warm up and provide an explanation. Thanks for your many contributions to the PF.

: : I call the phrase "going in" adverbial, not the single word "going." It's been too long since I diagrammed sentences, and I don't remember most of the rules for doing so. I do remember some simplified guideline like "An adverb tells when or how." In Rice's sentence, "going in" modifies the verb "knew"; it tells when we knew something. You can substitute other adverbial chunks to make new sentences: "what we knew from experience" (prepositional phrase substituted), "what we knew immediately" (single adverb substituted).

: : Further examples of similar adverbial phrases using other verbs: "John caught a cold swimming in the river" (phrase tells how he caught a cold); "Mary won a fortune betting on horse races" (phrase tells how she won it); "Pedro learned English working in California" (how); "Pedro learned English waiting for his permanent visa" (when).

: : If I recall correctly, Spanish has a progressive tense.

: See link.

Thank you, Ward Fredericks, for your kind and mostly undeserved words. I regard them all the more highly because I find your postings interesting and informative. Nov schmoz ka pop! SS