Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the difference between these sentences?

  1. Your app may simply get lost
  2. Your app may simply lost
share|improve this question
1  
I doubt if an app has the ability to get lost. –  user8568 May 26 '11 at 11:49
    
@Boob: I agree, but nothing has the ability to simply lost either, so there's no real certainty about what OP means in the first place. All you can say for sure is that whatever he means can't be expressed by the second sentence, because it's not grammatical. –  FumbleFingers May 26 '11 at 13:01
2  
@Boob - An app may get lost could mean people will not be able to find it in appstore because of large number of similar and better apps. –  rest_day May 26 '11 at 22:59
add comment

closed as too localized by RegDwigнt May 7 '12 at 15:53

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

4 Answers

The second sentence is incorrect.

Your app may simply get lost.

Says what you probably want it to say: that it's possible an app will get lost somehow.

Your app may simply lost.

Is incorrect, but can be corrected to:

Your app may simply be lost.

Says that the app is already lost somewhere.

share|improve this answer
add comment

"Lost" is an adjective. It modifies the subject of the sentence through a verb.In your second sentence there is no verb, therefore you will need to insert a verb to make the sentence grammatically correct.

You cannot shorten the sentence any more, because any alteration will changes the meaning of the sentence.

In the message "Your app may simply get lost", the action of the sentence is being performed upon the app, so if you change the sentence to make the app do the action (i.e. The app may simply lose), it completely changes the semantics of the sentence.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The first one looks grammatically correct. But its meaning depends on what you want to say: if it happened in the past, or if it's likely to happen in the future, require different structures; I think Rimmer provided a good explanation on this part.

The second one is totally incorrect. "May" is a modal verb and such category usually requires them to be followed by another verb without the "to", with the exception of "ought to" and "used to". See these examples taken from the OALD (and some added by me):

  • You may go home now.
  • You must find a job.
  • You ought to stop smoking.
  • I used to smoke but I gave up two years ago.
share|improve this answer
add comment

The word lost is the past participle of the verb lose. In the sentence “Your app may simply get lost” the verb phrase is “may simply get lost” where “get lost” is a verb structure known as a get-passive. It is a form of the passive voice that uses the verb get whereas the normal passive voice uses the verb be. (See this related question).

The second sentence “Your app may simply lost” is ungrammatical. The auxiliary verb may requires attachment to an infinitive verb phrase, and lost is a bare participle, so it cannot be used in that position.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.