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Is telling grammatical in the following sentence?

Did you get an email telling you about this?

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closed as general reference by Matt Эллен, J.R., FumbleFingers, tchrist, Cerberus Jul 17 '12 at 14:04

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2  
Yes, it's grammatical. Why do you think it might not be? –  Urbycoz Jul 17 '12 at 9:11
    
Is it the choice of word that surprises you, or rather this particular form and construction? –  Cerberus Jul 17 '12 at 10:16
    
Do the sentence meanings "Did you get an email that it is telling you about this?" –  seturyo Jul 17 '12 at 10:24
    
@seturyo: Yes, that's exactly what it means. –  Cerberus Jul 17 '12 at 10:58
    
..... that would be telling. –  lessthanideal May 6 '13 at 0:03

3 Answers 3

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Yes, "telling" inside that question is perfectly grammatical.

"Telling" is called an V+ing Clause. A simple way of understanding such a Clause is to see it as an abbreviated version of an Adjective Clause.

Adjective Clause:

Did you get an email that tells you about this?

V+ing Clause:

Did you get an e-mail telling you about this?

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For me "an V+ing" is a tongue twister. –  Kris Jul 18 '12 at 13:20

It is a participle describing the email. The indirect object of it is "you". Its adverbial constituent is "about this". There's nothing strange about this sentence.

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1  
Agreed, except that you is the indirect object, and about this is an adverbial constituent. –  Cerberus Jul 17 '12 at 10:17
    
Do the sentence meanings "Did you get an email that it is telling you about this?" –  seturyo Jul 17 '12 at 10:24
    
@Cerberus it looks like I am using all the wrong terminology here. I'll edit to what you said. –  JamesHH Jul 17 '12 at 11:01
    
I'm not sure if this is what the OP meant to ask. –  Kris Jul 17 '12 at 11:53
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@Kris: What the OP means is anybody's guess so far... –  Cerberus Jul 17 '12 at 14:03

Tell here is used in the sense of inform. Try reading the sentence substituting informing for telling and it will probably make better sense to you.

Did you get an email informing you about this?

The word tell need not necessarily always be used in the sense of 'speaking to'; it can also be used in other ways, for example, as above.

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thank you very much –  seturyo Jul 18 '12 at 1:10

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