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Hide-and-seek?

September 30, 2010 6 comments

I’ve been thinking about the difference between two phrases. Let me show you.

1) puppets operated by hidden men
2) puppets operated by men hidden

Please imagine the situation. There are several puppets hanging on the stage. Puppeteers are operating the puppets behind the curtain. Spectators are not able to see the puppeteers. The puppets are dancing as if the puppets are alive.

Are there any difference between ‘hidden men’ and ‘men hidden’?

I just felt from ‘hidden men’ in sentence 1) that someone had the men hidden. According to my dictionary, the word ‘hide’ has both an intransitive verb and a transitive verb in its meaning.

1. to put or keep sb/sth in a place where they/it cannot be seen or found
2. to go somewhere where you hope you will not be seen or found
3. to cover sth so that it cannot be seen
4. to keep sth secret, especially your feelings
(quoted from OALD)

‘I hid the credit card bill between books’ In this sentence, ‘the credit card’ is the thing which was kept from sth/sb. ‘I hid behind the curtain’ In this sentence, ‘I’ is the one who was unseen behind the curtain. Then, who/what is hidden in the phrase ‘hidden men’? Of course I know that the men are the ones who hide and operate the puppets, but I can’t help feeling something strange from the phrase. How would you feel if the phrase became ‘by hiding men’?

I’m not so good at grammar, so I don’t know if I am correct. The point would be that the phrase ‘hidden men’ is just an adjective + noun. On the contrary, ‘men’ of ‘men hidden’ is changable like this; ‘the men are hidden’.

One more thing, you often see a phrase like this; ‘hidden meaning’. I also felt something same from the phrase ‘hidden men’ as if somebody intentionally kept the secret from us because the meaning had a serious secret or something. What do you think of two phrases?

Categories: My ideas
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