Star-spangled syntax

I only just realized that the entire first half of the National Anthem, from the beginning to “gallantly streaming,” is a single sentence.

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4 thoughts on “Star-spangled syntax

  1. Terence Tao says:

    The preamble to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is a single sentence that has been called “the unconditional surrender of the English language”.

  2. r says:

    And two out of the three sentences in the lyrics end with a question mark.

  3. Greg says:

    Probably because it was originally written in French. The syntax and structure is typical of a French legal document as is actually quite readable. The English translation sticks to this structure and that makes it less idiomatic.

  4. Mark Meckes says:

    I didn’t pay close attention to the threading, and my first thought on reading Greg’s comment was, “Really? Francis Scott Key was writing in French?”

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