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.

Is it grammatically correct and is it the right way to say that I have something already made and I'm still doing it, in this case drawing the stamps?

Because as far as I know, 'have' should be after 'I', like this: 'I have already (but what should go there then?) two stamps drawn'?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 0 down vote accepted

The sentence you write should have a different order of words. It should be:

I have already drawn two stamps.

You can use this structure to say that you have completed something, i.e. drawing two stamps. It can imply that your activity of drawing may continue, but its primary use is that of showing completion of an action in the past with results that are visible in the present.

share|improve this answer
1  
I'll put this here, but it's in response to a comment you made elsewhere. To put a link in a comment, just use [x](y), where x is the text you want to remain visible (and highlighted) for others, and y is the http... address of the linked content. Also note that if the link is to another stackexchange question, you can safely delete everything after the word "questions" in the address. Useful with long question texts, if you want to link several of them, or write a long comment! :) –  FumbleFingers Jan 15 '12 at 23:22
    
@FumbleFingers: Thank you very much! I've been meaning to ask for a while now, being jealous of everyone who knows their way around links, but I was shy for some reason... I guess I was afraid my query might be ignored and I can't stand rejection! (joking) Thanks again! :) –  Irene Jan 16 '12 at 12:47
    
For reasons I don't understand (probably not incompetence, since the SE backroom boys look pretty good to me), comments use a different parsing routine to actual question and answer text. So, for example, you can't include nested square brackets inside the "x" text in comments, even though you can do this in Q&A text. Anyway, I look forward to your comments being even more incisive in future, now you have the tools to add "bite". –  FumbleFingers Jan 16 '12 at 15:23
add comment

Both the sentence presented

I already have two stamps drawn.

and the one Irene presented

I have already drawn two stamps.

are completely grammatical, and mean the same thing. They are not, however, the same construction, and have slightly different grammars.

Irene's sentence is the Present Perfect construction of the verb draw, and it does imply (though not guarantee) that drawing will continue, because of the Present Relevance feature of Present Perfect. (The already helps there, too.)

The original sentence, however, is a different construction, also using have, but with a noun phrase direct object — i.e., "what I already have" — of two stamps that are drawn, with a restrictive relative clause on the same pattern as

  • I already have seven chapters that are finished.
  • I already have three bags that are full

This is reduced by Whiz-deletion to two stamps drawn, like

  • I already have seven chapters finished.
  • I already have three bags full.

This construction (again helped along by use of already) also implies, perhaps somewhat more strongly — because it's more specialized — than the present perfect, that this is ongoing effort and this is just the first product.

The placement of already is different, too. Already has to go either after the first auxiliary verb or, if there are no auxiliary verbs, before the main verb.

  • In the Present Perfect, have is an auxiliary verb, so already has to follow have, as Irene says.

  • In the other construction, however, have is the main verb, and there are no auxiliary verbs, so already has to precede have.

share|improve this answer
    
+1. I have to admit I didn't think of the construct you are explaining here. I only thought of the causative form when I saw the question, which didn't make sense to me. –  Irene Jan 15 '12 at 22:38
1  
I don't like to seem contrary, but it seems to me there can be a different nuance in I have already drawn two stamps as opposed to I already have two stamps drawn. They may of course be used to mean exactly the same thing, but in the absence of italics or anything else to indicate emphasis, I would naturally place it on the first suitable contender. Thus your first version emphasises two stamps are drawn already (suggesting some more need to be drawn). In the second version it might be the stamps are done, but something else (not stamps) remains to be drawn. Or maybe not. :) –  FumbleFingers Jan 15 '12 at 22:45
    
Yeah, they're different constructions, with different affordances and prohibitions, and different purposes. Most of the nuances you mention would count as conventional implicatures, normally associated with the construction and words, but cancellable. –  John Lawler Jan 16 '12 at 0:40
    
I'd never heard of cancellability in that sense before - it took only a minute to look it up and understand the basic concept, but several more to grasp how it applies to the case in point. Am I right in thinking we could move the word already to be the last word in the sentence, giving the cancellable proposition that the speaker is in fact Jewish? And is that proposition therefore an implicature? Or am I just making a mishmash of the terminology? –  FumbleFingers Jan 16 '12 at 1:10
    
You could do that; it'd be a good joke, at any rate. Saying an implicature is "cancellable" just means that although it's what a listener would normally conclude, it isn't necessary and you can explicitly deny it. –  John Lawler Jan 16 '12 at 1:17
show 1 more comment

protected by RegDwigнt Mar 27 '13 at 0:31

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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