Questions about the structure of grammar

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22
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6answers
5k views

“Don't let's fight”

I was watching a movie the other day and one character said to another, "Don't let's fight" instead of "Let's not fight." Is this proper usage, and if so, what is the grammatical rule that applies ...
20
votes
15answers
11k views

Is “Am I needing to. . . ?” grammatical?

In the course of answering this question (which is now deleted and may be viewed only by 10K+ community members), we have evoked some dispute over whether the phrase Am I needing to read this ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

'The X-ing of Y' vs just 'X-ing Y' : why are both 'the' and 'of' necessary together?

Take the example of There is very little that a conforming POSIX.1 application can do by catching, ignoring or masking SIGSYS (From the SIGSYS article) This can be rewritten as There is ...
13
votes
4answers
935 views

The use of “trespasses”

According to a dictionary search for "trespasses": v. Enter the owner's land or property without permission n. A voluntary wrongful act against the person or property of another, esp. unlawful entry ...
13
votes
5answers
816 views

I have no money to buy a bed [with]

BACKGROUND In this question, it was asked why it sounds better to omit 'with' in I have no money to buy a bed (with). whereas 'with' sounds right in I have no ball to play soccer with. ...
12
votes
5answers
9k views

Is “criterions” a valid plural for “criterion”?

Is criterions a valid plural for criterion? Dictionary.com says it is, but Oxford does not confirm or reject it.
11
votes
2answers
12k views

Meaning and usage of “be of”

I see such sentences all the time and I'd like to learn more about their grammatical structure (e.g. how they are described in grammatical terms), their meaning and how to use them in different ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

“Member FDIC” instead of “Member of FDIC”?

For several years now (as long as I've paid attention) almost every ad or commercial for a bank or credit union says they are Member FDIC or Member NCUA. Where is the of? Why are these not Member of ...
10
votes
7answers
12k views

Difference between “without” and “with no”

What is the difference between the usage of without and with no? For example, without sound and with no sound.
9
votes
6answers
977 views

What is “long” doing in “all (time-period) long”?

What part of speech is long playing the part of in the bold parts of the quotations below? For one thing, it shows at a glance how much money is on hand for any particular purpose all month long. ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

When should I use “to do” and “to doing”

folks Here are two sentences that I find difficult to understand the grammar during my reading. Last year, two of her ministers suggested that convicted tycoons be pardoned if they could contribute ...
8
votes
2answers
6k views

“Let's get it over (with)” — do I need the “with”?

I'm trying to understand why there is this "with". I can say "Let's get this done". So, why "Let's get this over with?" I would really appreciate if someone could explain that a bit.
8
votes
3answers
261 views

What is the equivalent in English of the French sentence part “complément de phrase”?

In French, a sentence has two essential syntactic parts (the subject and the predicate) and may have one or more "complément de phrase", which are optional parts. "complément de phrase" = "sentence ...
7
votes
2answers
329 views

Is Grammar An Exact Science? [closed]

"Science" might not be the appropriate word but I think it conveys the gist of my question: Is grammar always an agreed-upon, exact process among professionals when identifying usage and parts ...
7
votes
3answers
259 views

“To buy a bed with” vs “to play a ball with”

I got into a discussion with a friend and we're trying to figure out why we omit with when we say I have no money to buy a bed [with] when, grammatically, it's the same as I have no ball to ...
6
votes
3answers
26k views

How do I properly use [sic] for a phrase? Or do I use it at all?

The actual sentence I am quoting is: Company A will provide regular communications to Company B on the status of level of effort in comparison the projected monthly amounts contained in our ...
6
votes
11answers
553 views

Subject, Verb Object (and so forth) sentence analysis. In particular: What's the Verb here?

I need help! Could you please look at this sentence: When I obtained a credit card, I began spending money recklessly. I'm doing basic sentence patterns, and I don't know how to analyse this ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

“I had John return the video”: why do we use “return” instead of “returns” or “returned”?

I had John return the video for me. In this sentence, why do we use return and not returns or returned?
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the grammar behind “Thanks be to God”?

What is the grammatical interpretation of the phrase? I don't understand what verb tense or voice is used.
6
votes
4answers
4k views

When to use this construction: so Adjective a Noun

In "The Quiet American" by Graham Greene, Mr Fowler says: I watched her closely while she asked how I was and touched my splinted leg and gave me her shoulder to lean on, as though one could lean ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Is the structure “can have verb-ed” possible?

I have seen and heard sentences like these: He could have gone too far. John can't have eaten all the cake. But I don't seem to encounter this structure: She can have done the work. I ...
6
votes
8answers
7k views

Em dash vs semicolon: which is more appropriate in the following examples?

I am very confused by these, and even when I understand other people's usage of them I find it difficult to know when to employ them myself. For this reason, I am trying to make my own examples and ...
5
votes
3answers
939 views

“Even were he not to…”

I am currently reading "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" by P.K. Dick and I have come across a grammatical structure I don't quite understand. The excerpt is the following (no spoilers, don't ...
5
votes
2answers
507 views

SAT grammar question: Why is this “them” incorrect?

SAT grammar question: There are (more than) 300 million English speakers (in) India, most of (them) acquired English (as) a second language. (No error) The parentheses designate areas where the ...
5
votes
4answers
5k views

“After reviewing …, it …”: is it grammatical?

I was interested in the sentence “After reviewing the special commissioner's report, it is obvious to me that Mr. Namnum abused his responsibility and privileges to secure a job for his wife, who was ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

Noun + participle as adjective phrase

There's a construction in English that allows us to form a compound adjective from a noun and a past participle. Examples: This is a volunteer-built home. Our newspaper is student-run. ...
5
votes
1answer
355 views

Why don't interrogative sentences _start_ with a question mark? [closed]

Not all questions start with Wh- words, so why don't we start a question with a question mark to make it more obvious that it is actually a question? For instance, when I'm reading a book which has a ...
5
votes
1answer
319 views

present simple plus past simple in the if-clause

Please help me understand whether I can use the past simple tense with the present simple tense in one if-clause. My example is the question that I want to ask when speaking with English native ...
5
votes
1answer
289 views

Can I use an explicit verb in a comparison clause?

It seems that I often write something like this: The sizes of these datasets seem to grow faster than the processing power of computers does. Now, a longish text I'd written was proofread (by a ...
5
votes
1answer
200 views

Kinds of trips and their verbs

There is an exercise in a book I use which asks students to put the words for the kinds of trips in a chart, under three columns: Go, Take and Go on a/an. The problem is that after students do it, the ...
4
votes
3answers
277 views

Is it grammatically correct to shift an appositive away from the noun it renames or describes?

I'm taking a semester in London. Here's a sample of something I keep hearing: John: My mum will be here later? Susan: Is she staying for supper, your mum? If Susan wishes to say, "your ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Which is the correct passive construction of 'she bore him on the Christmas day'?

I think I understand the difference of meaning between 'born' and 'borne', plus I have also checked out a few questions that were asked about the two terms on this forum. So, I hope I am not posting a ...
4
votes
2answers
25k views

Verbing, or turning nouns into verbs [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is it called when a non-verb is used as a verb? The phenomenon of turning a noun into a verb is very common. Some are more well known, like "shouldering the blame" ...
4
votes
3answers
22k views

Is it two-third or two-thirds?

Is it two-third or two-thirds? If both are correct, how does their usage differ?
4
votes
2answers
446 views

Is the following sentence written in a conditional sentence structure?

is this sentence correct? It starts a small paragraph. My question is, does it violate any English rules? If it does, which ones? If it doesn´t, which rules validate it? It sounds perfectly fine to ...
4
votes
4answers
407 views

Why is “there” a subject while “here” isn't?

The question about "the role of infinitive in this sentence" prompted me to ask the following question. English uses a "dummy" such as it and there to start a sentence when there is nothing else to ...
4
votes
6answers
352 views

Is there a functional difference between “not believing” and “believing not”?

If you tell your friend some incredible story and they say, "I don't believe you!" It seems like they are pretty obviously trying to say that they believe that your story isn't true. I have someone ...
4
votes
3answers
9k views

Is it grammatical to finish a sentence with “also”?

In the following text, I wonder if it's grammatical to finish the sentence with also. it does sound weird to me. The sentence sound incomplete somehow and makes the audience wait for more. Here ...
4
votes
8answers
2k views

What is the difference between a part of speech and a syntactic function / grammatical relation?

What is the difference between a part-of-speech and a function? In other words: What is a part of speech. (e.g. noun) What is a grammatical function. (e.g. head, subject) [read "grammatical ...
4
votes
2answers
76 views

What is the grammatical construction behind the word “climbing” in the phrase “climbing wall” or the word “running” in the phrase “running” shoes?

I am curious about the grammar behind the word "climbing" in the phrase "climbing wall" (or the word "running" in the phrase "running shoes," etc). I first thought it was an adjective describing the ...
4
votes
3answers
109 views

“I have been there first time”: Does this sentence sound awkward?

I have been there first time. The reason why I think this might not be natural is that the expression "first time" seems to describe "past". You do not use the present perfect with an adverb ...
4
votes
2answers
94 views

Is “rub on” a phrasal verb or not?

I think the following sentences are all grammatical. So I am wondering whether there is a phrasal verb "rub on" that has the same meaning as "rub"-as-a-transitive-verb. If there is no phrasal verb, ...
4
votes
5answers
305 views

the verb 'declare' without a person who declares

Someone declares that the changes are aimed at combating untimeliness and incompleteness in [name of tax] tax assessment and withholding by tax agents. How would you express the said idea without ...
4
votes
2answers
60 views

Need help identifying epistrophe

I have a small presentation on epistrophe coming up and I want to make sure I don't say anything incorrect. Would the sentence "Ever since I left the city you, you, you" (it's from the song "Hotline ...
4
votes
2answers
106 views

Comma before “with,” “who,” “having” for non-compound sentences

I've noticed my résumé and cover letter have multiple sentences like the ones (slightly edited) below: I offer excellent computer skills, with a typing speed of 80–120 WPM. I recently met ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

Conflicting Advice: “Not Only,” “But Also” Constructions — Comma, No Comma, Parallel Structure?

I've searched for the answer on this site and other websites, and found conflicting advice and sample sentences that look wrong to me. I'm posting this question hoping for clarification. My ...
3
votes
5answers
10k views

“Did what I say/said make sense to you?”

Which is correct? Did what I say make sense to you? Did what I said make sense to you?
3
votes
3answers
78 views

What's the syntactic function of 'playing together' in: “ They spent the day playing together”

My attempt to analyse this sentence: sbj: They vrb: spent obj: the day What is the function of the participle phrase "playing together"?
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Is 'so I did', and other like expressions, at the end of a sentence good English?

In Northern Ireland people will say 'He went to Bohemia on holiday, so he did', or 'I need to do some shopping, so I do'. Is this correct English?
3
votes
1answer
161 views

The reason and meaning of repeating

In the movie "My Fair Lady", the main character will use this structure a lot; "I'm a good girl, I am." or "I washed my face and hands before I come, I did.". I like to know more about this structure ...