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I came across this sentence in my reading yesterday and even though I didn't quite understand the grammar being employed I decided to skip over it because I understood the gist of it, but I've now decided to return to the issue because skipping over issues defeats the purpose of my reading. The sentence was, "..., 没来得及避开的很快就被骷髅们蜂拥而上,撕成碎片。" which I understood to mean:

                ⤚--------------------⬎
来得及  - not having enough time to ____  ¦
避开    - evade ----------------------------⬏  ¦
的     - [having the property of] ----------↵
很快    - [also] is quick
就     - immediately
骷髅们  - by skeletons
蜂拥    - swarmed
而上    - over [a certain point]; excessively

撕     - torn
成     - turned into
碎片    - pieces

The completed English being, "[those who] were quick but lacked enough time to evade were immediately swarmed by skeletons in excess and torn into pieces." The part I had difficulty with was "没来得及避开的很快". Is this a simple case of chaining adjectives? Because I can't make sense of this otherwise. And if so, is speaking (writing) like this normal?

It sounds goofy to first declare that they weren't quick enough to get away, and then follow up by calling them quick. I found on this answer that when listing adjectives any adjectives ending in 的 should be placed first. Is this something that I should just get used too?

Additionally, I could not find an entry for 而上 in any of the readily accessible dictionaries I normally use, I had to make a trip to Baidu to just barely understand what this means, did I use it correctly?

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... 的 structure can also represent a nominal element meaning "those who ...".

很快 here functions as an adv. meaning "soon".

蜂拥而上 is an idiom meaning "overwhelmingly rush on like a swarm of hornets". 上 is a verb indicates moving direction, not "excessively". 而 is a versatile conj. , but here it combines the action and the way that action is done.

e.g.

拾级而上 "to ascend following the steps"

EDIT:

就 has a lot of meanings... Here it is an adv. indicating "the result".

e.g.

治不好的就死了。 Those couldn't be cured died.

治不好的很快就死了。Those couldn't be cured soon died.

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  • I know the usage of 而 and 上 individually, its the combination of the two that I was curious about. I see your explanation of their usage but I came across this when searching: dict.baidu.com/… , what are your thoughts? – 小奥利奥 Jan 30 at 9:34
  • @小奥利奥 This is about another function of 而 and another function of 上. 而 with a direction word can be the same as 以, as in 而上、而下、而后... – Toosky Hierot Jan 30 at 9:47
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The sentence should be understood as such: [没来得及避开的] 很快 就[被骷髅们] 蜂拥而上,撕成碎片

没来得及避开的: the ones that don't have enough time to evade.

很快 is an adverb soon, quickly.

就 denotes something happens very soon.

I tweaked your understanding:

those who didn't have enough time to evade were soon/quickly swarmed by skeletons in excess and torn into pieces.

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  • then doesn't that introduce redundancy? Or should 很快就 be taken as a single phrase? – 小奥利奥 Jan 29 at 11:41
  • Also, does that mean I have the correct understanding of 而上? – 小奥利奥 Jan 29 at 11:43
  • @小奥利奥 而 denotes this sense "把表示时间或方式的成分连接到动词上面", e. g. 夺门而入 – dan Jan 29 at 12:20
  • @小奥利奥 很快/马上就 is a common colocation meaning doing something soon. E. g. 我马上就来。我很快就走。 – dan Jan 29 at 12:23
  • @小奥利奥 The 'redundancy' adds a bit emphasis or makes the phrase flow naturally. – dan Jan 29 at 12:35
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You can see the sentence as 没来得及避开的 很快就被骷髅们蜂拥而上,撕成碎片。 You can see 没来得及避开的 as a subject (those who didn't get away in times). 很快就被骷髅们蜂拥而上,撕成碎片。 used to describe the subject. 很快 describe that 就被骷髅们蜂拥而上,撕成碎片。 occurred right after the short time.

In conclusion, I will list things chronologically. First, there is people didn't get away in time(没来得及避开的). Second, a very short time passed(很快). Third, people be torn up after skeletons rushing to them(就被骷髅们蜂拥而上,撕成碎片。).

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