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.

I was just reading a News paper. and found this sentence:

Our impatient host could not understand that our security personnel are under so mush pressure in such tense red alert situations. They do their duty and try to protect us so that we can go back home safely to our families. And all we do is to complain and ignore red alerts.

I am not getting this one. Why it could not be as we complain about it and ignore red alerts.

Is there any grammatical mistake while using this: We complain about it and ignore red alerts.

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 0 down vote accepted

"all we do is"

equates to

"the only thing we do is"

or simply:

"we only".

The "to" is superfluous.

The sentence could have been written:

"And we only complain and ignore red alerts."

share|improve this answer

Your variation is grammatically correct, but so is the version that appears in the original article. The difference is one of emphasis. The version that appears in the newspaper places a strong focus on the fact that all we do is complain and ignore. This is a much more emphatic and attention-getting way of establishing that we complain rather than appreciate the security personnel.

share|improve this answer
    
I'm not sure it is grammatically correct in the context of the sentence. I think you need a phrase with do in it. "All we complain about it and ..." doesn't seem natural. –  Matt Эллен May 16 '12 at 13:18
    
@JSB:it may be. –  Krishna Chandra Tiwari May 16 '12 at 13:19
1  
All we do is short for All that we do; it's a relative clause. Most of the problems people ask about here come from shortened phrases like this taken out of context. –  John Lawler May 16 '12 at 13:24
    
@MattЭллен, I was assuming that the OP's suggestion is its own sentence, i.e. They do their duty and try to protect us so that we can go back home safely to our families. We complain about it and ignore red alerts. –  JSBձոգչ May 16 '12 at 13:33
    
It's a very common English idiom to say "all we do is X" or "all you do is X" to mean that the person or people are doing X and nothing other than X. Sometimes this is literal but often it is a poetic exagerration. Like, "All you do is sit around and watch TV all day!" Surely the person does SOMETHING else, like eat and sleep and play video games. But the point is probably that he is not doing useful work. –  Jay May 16 '12 at 14:23

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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