Questions about the structure of grammar

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21
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
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
799 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
7k 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
3answers
9k 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
7answers
9k 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.
8
votes
6answers
873 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
2answers
4k 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.
7
votes
6answers
512 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. ...
6
votes
3answers
19k 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
2answers
160 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
715 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
8answers
5k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
247 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
732 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
6answers
881 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?
5
votes
11answers
9k views

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

In the course of answering this question, we have evoked some dispute over whether the phrase Am I needing to read this book? is grammatical. I think it is correct, although not common, but ...
5
votes
4answers
4k 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
4answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
6k 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
204 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
243 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
273 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 ...
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
17k 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
15k 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
420 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
6answers
281 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
6k 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
4answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
47 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
7answers
1k 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
5answers
228 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
7k 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
1answer
141 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
925 views

Why is it “objections to moving”, not “objections to move”? [closed]

I got this sentence from the Economist: There are two primary objections to moving to the chained CPI. My question is, why have they used moving instead of move after objections to?
3
votes
2answers
691 views

Is the sentence “The world is getting smaller and international connections tighter.” grammatically correct?

Is following sentence grammatically correct? The world is getting smaller and international connections tighter. What kind of construct is this? Parallel structure?
3
votes
2answers
87 views

Is “switched” always used as a verb?

I was thinking that the word switched could be used as a noun and maybe an adjective too but I might just be making grammar mistakes. Switched in the dictionary only shows up as being a verb! Here ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

Identifying verb types, nouns, adjectives and adverbs in a sentence - 5th grade

While helping my son, who happens to be in the 5th grade, with his English grammar, I have realized that I am confused. The following sentence, that I gave him as an exercise, he has identified the ...
3
votes
3answers
135 views

That's the way it worked

Mendoza said that's the way it worked. In this sentence why are we using that's? Why not that was? Wouldn't that was be much better? To clarify my question, Mendoza originally said "That's the ...
3
votes
3answers
271 views

structure or phrasal verb?

I think I understand what he wants to say, but cannot figure out the sentence structure or I just don't know such a phrasal verb. "I thought of the Lake Como what I had thought of Lugano."
3
votes
0answers
77 views

Names for different forms of “command” sentences and their parts [closed]

Edit: I'm rewording the question, so as to maybe make it more answerable. My goal: I'd like to create a parser that allows my program to accept certain types of english sentences. In particular, I ...
2
votes
3answers
11k views

What's wrong with these sentences? [duplicate]

My workplace has presented me with the opportunity this month to attend a "grammar" webinar that is suppose to help me enhance my grammar skills. I thought they were good already... I don't have time ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is 'this this' correct?

The ability to echo words and still make a meaningful statement has always bugged me. Take this example sentence: "Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. We will take care of this this ...
2
votes
3answers
86k views

My family *is* or My family *are*? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular? Which is correct: The rest of the staff is or are? The rest of my family is or are? I've done a bit ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Suggestion phrased as a question

I recently received a mark-down for the following phrase: With this regard, will you please accept the Takeover agreement on this quote so that we can proceed with the validation process? The ...
2
votes
1answer
604 views

Is the use of 'has' appropriate with first person singular?

We have been learning since childhood that Has can only be used with third person singular but I have seen and heard people using has otherwise. For example, the other day I was reading that ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “just between you and me” function as?

We are trying to figure out the parts of speech in the following sentence and have been stumped by the first phrase: Just between you and me, those boots aren't cool this year. I say ...
2
votes
2answers
475 views

Is this proper English: “I am student”? [closed]

So, I have a debate with my associate. We are debating whether one can say something like "I am student." It was argued that this was proper and that indeed you can use a verb followed by a noun ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“Will be waiting” — verb?

I have been trying to understand how to detect subject and predicate in a sentence. So, I stumbled on this page. The following example was given: Jim will be waiting for you at the mall. In the ...