Questions relating to the pattern of words in a sentence.

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73
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1answer
3k views

Is there a name for this type of sentence structure: “She looks as though she's been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say 'when'”?

Comedians seem to use phrases that employ this type of sentence structure - is there a name for it? Examples of Groucho Marx's one liners seem to fit this pattern — and if memory serves, Emo Philips. ...
27
votes
7answers
17k views

How do you handle “that that”? The double “that” problem

Have you ever had a case where you felt compelled to include strange things like a double that in a sentence? If so, then what did you do to resolve this? For me, I never knew whether it was ...
17
votes
2answers
840 views

“Some champagne for my real friends, some real pain for my sham friends.”

Some champagne for my real friend, some real pain for my sham friends." Is there a name for this kind of sentence? Note: I'm not sure the origin of this, but it is a line in Spike Lee's movie, ...
14
votes
4answers
5k views

Is there an online sample sentence database or search engine?

Sometime, I am not sure if I use a specific word correctly. I would like to get some sample sentences to learn from. So, is there a online sample sentence database/search engine?
14
votes
6answers
4k views

Sentence Construction: “Just Because … Does Not Mean”

I've already found an entry on this here. However, it does not solve my problem: I just read an entry on "cross platform" from Wikipedia, in which it wrote: Just because a particular operating ...
11
votes
4answers
402 views

What is the word that denotes the words preceding these nouns?

What word describes/denotes the words that precede vision in the following two words: computer vision and machine vision?
11
votes
1answer
748 views

Through a Glass, Clearly / A Scanner Darkly / In a Mirror, Darkly / etc

I've seen a pattern in a couple of titles. Asimov has a book called "Through a Glass, Clearly". Philip Dick wrote "A Scanner Darkly". Star Trek has the episode "In a Mirror, Darkly" Agatha Christy ...
10
votes
4answers
205 views

“The program is functional, fast, and finds a solution…”

This triple appears wrong to me: The demonstrations show that program A is functional, fast, and finds a solution that program B misses. Because functional and fast are adjectives and both ...
9
votes
2answers
17k views

Can a sentence starting with “While, …” be grammatically correct?

I have a colleague who often writes sentences in the form "While, [these circumstances would make X seem unlikely to be the case], [these other circumstances show that X is in fact the case]. For ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

Why is it “I better not (+verb)” instead of “I better don’t (+verb)”?

This question will seem weird to a native speaker because “I better don’t” sounds inherently wrong and unusual. But if you think about it, it’s an irregularity; normally when a verb is negated and ...
9
votes
2answers
433 views

avoid the slash?

Should the slash be avoided? For example every week/day in my head is translated to every week or day. I think I started using slashes because I saw them used in forums and in articles. Is using ...
8
votes
5answers
977 views

“She left me for another woman” or “She left me for a woman”?

Assuming a male speaker is referring to an ex-partner, which of the following is more correct? She left me for another woman She left me for a woman The phrase She left me for another ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Framing a question whose answer is an ordinal number [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)? I am the third daughter of my parents. How should a question ...
8
votes
7answers
3k views

Grammar: “Just because A, doesn't mean B”

I hear this all the time, and often from writers, but it never sounds right. I found myself using it in something I was writing. For example: "Just because I stopped eating doesn't mean I'm full." ...
7
votes
3answers
610 views

A phrase as an interjection

Often in spoken English, I see one sentence or phrase "set up" another much like an interjection. For example: I forgot to ask. Did you find that book I told you about? How do you generally ...
6
votes
1answer
14k views

Starting a sentence with “rather”

I've sometimes heard people use rather for connecting two sentences where the second one sets counterexample to something negated in the first. This is not a meaningful sentence. Rather, it's an ...
5
votes
3answers
292 views

Does this sentence require the pronoun 'they'?

I have the following sentence: There were several dominoes—some so precariously placed that I'd swear should have toppled over. I believe it's correct, but when read quickly or out loud, ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

An error message should display or should 'be' displayed?

If the writer means to say that an error message should 'appear' can he phrase the sentence as 'When user clicks the button, an error message should display' or is it more correct to say 'When user ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Inversion in “Only when the virus introduces its nucleic acid into a cell does disease occur”

Given this sentence, Disease occurs only when the virus introduces its nucleic acid into a cell. Is the following inversion grammatical? → Only when the virus introduces its nucleic acid ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Is 'I would rather…' without an infinitive immediately following it correct?

Consider: I would rather the walls remain painted in a neutral tint. Is this proper use of 'I would rather..', without an infinitive immediately following it? EDIT This suggests that 'I would ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Dissecting an English sentence using a pattern?

I am trying to make a script that can dissect an English sentence. Problem is, I have no idea how to dissect an English when the words are not familiar. I know what the nouns, verbs, etc are, because ...
5
votes
3answers
96 views

Reverse relationship of Belong?

Consider the phrase: "That shovel belongs to Tim." which when you reverse the subject becomes: "Tim owns that shovel" However there is another use of belong, which means membership of. "Susan ...
5
votes
1answer
154 views

Poetic syntax with “as” and “so”

Does anyone know how to describe the type of poetic syntax of the line: "As the deer panteth for the water / So my soul longeth after thee" or something to that effect. I'm not sure if this ...
4
votes
11answers
3k views

What's a good comeback to “obviously”?

If someone tries to sound smart in repartee by saying, Well obviously blah blah blah but what they said is actually wrong, then what's a good comeback to that, or what's a good way to phrase ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

Using “though” at the beginning of the following sentence

But during the trip, she hardly spoke with him. In fact, she hardly spoke with anyone in the group. She would just follow us quietly to whereever we went, like a little stray cat. Though she ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Double meaning?

Taken from "A Quiver Full of Arrows": "The flowers have lasted well," she teased, and left him to make the coffee. Does the sentence clearly imply that she left to make the coffee? Or could ...
4
votes
3answers
604 views

Why is there no form of “do” in questions of the type “who knows?”

I'm wondering whether expressions like the ones below are correct or not. I've seen them several times but they don't seem to follow the typical grammatical structure. Who comes? (instead of ...
4
votes
2answers
129 views

Can “But!” be a sentence?

From Dune by Frank Herbert: "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and ...
4
votes
3answers
499 views

If I write two phrasal verbs with difference prepositions consecutively, can I omit the first preposition?

Give or take away something from someone. The problem in this sentence is that normally one would say "Give to" or "take away from" someone, but what should I write when I want to refer to both ...
4
votes
1answer
712 views

Loudly is Complement or adverb/adjunct in the sentence The cat / scratched / loudly

Loudly is mentioned as Complement when it is actually an adverb or adjunct in the site, http://changingminds.org/techniques/language/syntax/clause_arrangement.htm . Is it right or wrong? I have given ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

The correct usage of “too” and “also”

I always have problems in deciding whether to use "too" or "also". For example, if the previous sentence is: Peter ate the cake. Which of the following should I say?: He ate the pie too. He ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

“I am going to attend” vs “I am attending”

Which of these two statements seems to be more appropriate? I am attending a meeting tomorrow. I am going to attend a meeting tomorrow. I am quite not sure which one to use.
4
votes
2answers
2k views

“Subject, verb, direct object, object complement” versus “subject, verb, indirect object, direct object”

Reading English Grammar (HarperCollins College Outline, published by HarperResource, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers) I found a chapter (Sentence Basics) that explains that in English there are ...
4
votes
2answers
391 views

What are the meanings of the sentences where “Not that” is followed by an object-missing expression?

According to my observation, there are at least two types of using "Not that....". And my question is: what does "not that" mean in its second type of usage? In the first usage, "not that" is ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

When is “will” used in an “if” clause?

Given the following sentences that use will in the if clause (which is seldom with if-clauses and therefore, I'm not sure they all are even grammatical or not). If you will/would kindly lend me ...
3
votes
3answers
595 views

Enjoys his fair share to work hard and smart to meet commitments

Received a resume lately. One of the sentence, in summary section, doesn't look right to me. It may be not a very obvious mistake, or may not be a mistake at all. But I can't say anything for sure, as ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

The phrase “let alone”

I notice that "let alone" is used in sentences that have a comma. The structure of the sentence is what comes before the comma is some kind of negative statement. Right after the comma is "let alone," ...
3
votes
1answer
8k views

Difference between 'taken back' and 'taken aback' [closed]

A sentence is written like this, In this work of Pankaj Mishra, we are taken back to 18th century Europe where ... In this work of Pankaj Mishra, we are taken aback to the 18th century Europe ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning of “it's long past time to …”

Saw a lot of such sentences (examples below). What does the "it's long past time to..." mean? Example: It's long past time to ditch the use of the ubiquitous bulleted-list templates found in both ...
3
votes
3answers
155 views

Conversions between “though” and “however”, both used at the beginning of the sentence

I've come across a sentence conversion question of the following type and am getting stumped. We need to change the following sentence to a construction starting with "However...". Though she is ...
3
votes
2answers
516 views

What is the correct way to punctuate sentences that end with proper nouns who also contain punctuation? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to handle a name that includes an exclamation point (or other punctuation)? Pardon the example usage, but given a proper noun that contains punctuation (e.g., the ...
3
votes
2answers
615 views

Where to get a set of common English phrase patterns?

I hope that this computational linguistics question is not an off-topic here. For my little just-for-fun programming project I'm looking for common English phrase part-of-speech patterns to use to ...
3
votes
1answer
290 views

Sentences excluding “being”

I am wondering about a certain type of sentence construction which seems to somehow exclude the word being. For example, A native English speaker, he was well suited for the task. Well versed ...
3
votes
3answers
187 views

“Called himself doing”

A friend of mine was telling me a story about one of their colleagues and they said the following sentence: "Mike called himself cleaning up the lunch table, but he left spaghetti sauce streaked all ...
3
votes
1answer
486 views

How to determine the English structural validity of a domain name

I'm in the process of creating a parser which, using a few dictionaries (English language words, places and acronyms), splits the domain name into a set of potential phrases and attempts to decide ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Structuring sentences without using the word “but”

I seem to have a habit of using a lot of sentences that involve the word "but": "I haven't tried it yet, but I think it should work"; "I could easily resort to chicken, but I want to see how far I can ...
2
votes
4answers
371 views

How should this sentence structure be interpreted?

I'm playing an online game in which I came across a message in the form of a sentence of which the structure is new to me. It read: You do not have a hatchet which you have the level to use. ...
2
votes
3answers
294 views

Are dependent subclauses allowed in the middle of sentences?

I have recently finished writing an academic thesis. During proofreading, my supervisor and I had quite a number of discussions related to the placement of dependent subclauses (I think that's the ...
2
votes
4answers
545 views

Asking somebody to select between two or more options

Assume we want to ask somebody to choose between two options. Each option is a phrase like "stay home" or "come with me". What is the correct form of asking such questions? Do you want to stay ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

How can you use “either… or” twice in a sentence?

I want to be able to say something like: There either needs to be X to do either Xa or Xb or there needs to be Y. (edit: since from some answers it doesn't seen to be clear, I mean that that Xa ...