Questions pertaining to the structure of phrases and sentences.

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3
votes
4answers
288 views

It is an existential question

A question on another site asks, I have a laptop ... Now I am trying to install Windows 7 and it shows a message saying "Driver not found". Whereupon a commenter asks, What is the "it" that shows ...
5
votes
3answers
718 views

English generator algorithms

This may be an odd question for this site, but tonight I've been enjoying myself by creating a small script that produces (is supposed to produce) sample sentences that resemble English, while being ...
5
votes
3answers
352 views

sylleptic parentheses

Here's a quote from Wikipedia: the triple point of Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW, 273.16 K and 0.01 °C) Now, "VSMOW" refers to "Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water", while "273.16 K and ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the structure in “as best you can”?

I instinctively translate it "as best as you can", however this makes no sense. What is the real structure behind this phrase? I'll include an Ngram to illustrate the historical presence of this ...
0
votes
1answer
100 views

Is there a reversal in the following sentence?

This mapping also helps better support page parameters. Is the above sentence the same as this one? This mapping also helps support page parameters better. The original sentence is ...
0
votes
3answers
247 views

Structure and meaning of 'having a just a few' in the following paragraph?

What is the structure and meaning of 'having a just a few' in this paragraph? The major shift here is that we treat both entities and users groups as very cheap resources. Instead of having a just ...
1
vote
1answer
432 views

What is the meaning and structure of the following sentence?

RLIMIT_NOFILE Specifies one greater than the maximum number of file descriptors that a process may hold open.
8
votes
3answers
664 views

What phrase is “you betcha” a descendant of?

"You bet you"? That's the closest I could think of. Or is it "you bet yourself", with the "self" omitted so it's quicker to say? Or is it something else altogether?
5
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a carpenter if he doesn't carpent?

Why does "carpenter" end in "er" if "carpent" isn't a word? Same with "butcher". (As in: "I butch for a living.")
3
votes
1answer
9k views

Yoda's sentence structure [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What term can be used to describe Yoda's speech? What is the structure of Yoda's sentences? Are they grammatically correct (US english)? "Size matters not, ... ...
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
6k views

“I'm not understand” — help regarding sentence structure

I am trying to learn/improve my English by remembering grammar rules. Everyday, I read a lot of technical documentation and have many conversations with my colleagues from US. I already have many ...
3
votes
3answers
776 views

What does “this” refer to?

What does "this" refer to in the following quote from the Wikipedia article on Learning Curve? The learning curve can also represent at a glance the initial difficulty of learning something and, ...
73
votes
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. ...
4
votes
2answers
348 views

What defines a correlative?

I have come across a number of expressions (both...and..., if...then...) which are named as "correlative" in different grammars (namely Quirk et al.). The question: What makes an expression a ...
3
votes
3answers
252 views

Validity in the brevity of this prose?

What I intended to write full out was: We have moved away from obsoleted technologies and technologies being deprecated. What I actually wrote feels slightly awkward but I justified leaving ...
6
votes
1answer
739 views

Zero conditional form

Chatting with a colleague we came a cross a dilemma (as we are not English native), which of the following sentences are wrong? Why? If I knew everything, I'd be a genius. If I know everything, I'd ...
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. ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

What does the phrase 'Quote-O-Matic' mean?

A sample application in the book 'Test Drive ASP.NET MVC' used this as its title.
1
vote
2answers
372 views

What is the meaning of the word 'should' in the following paragraph, and how does it function?

You might also be curious why the productsList variable is initialized as new list of strings at the start of the method, only for it to be overwritten by the code in the try block. This is a ...
5
votes
2answers
329 views

When talking about something, where do we place its name in the sentence?

In Computer Science papers (and I'm sure that in papers in many other fields, too), we often have to describe a new tool or method that has a name. Let's talk for instance about Eclipse, and its wide ...
1
vote
3answers
962 views

How can I rephrase compound sentences to make them simpler?

Following Martha's advise I am splitting up a question Compound sentences, the punctuation and mooore. Consider the following sentence: One of the items that needed a further development was a ...
2
votes
2answers
595 views

Prepositions in a compound sentence

Following Martha's advise I am splitting up a question Compound sentences, the punctuation and mooore. Consider the following sentence: One of the items that needed a further development was a ...
2
votes
1answer
818 views

Constructing compound sentences

Consider the following sentence: One of the items that needed a further development was a research on child nodes of a story representing its sub categories being updated the moment the list of ...
2
votes
1answer
397 views

How to describe relations between objects unambiguously?

Following Martha's advise I am splitting up a question Compound sentences, the punctuation and mooore. Consider the following fragment: child nodes of a story representing its sub categories I ...
3
votes
3answers
269 views

Should I reformat this sentence? [closed]

I kind of feel like the first comma in the sentence below should be a semi-colon. Does anything else in there read funny? As you’ll see in my enclosed resume, I have the educational background, ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the structure of the sentence 'const to the rescue'?

The following is the context: Despite my fastidious coding habits, I have made a silly mistake and typed += when I meant to type +. As a result, when concatUnsafe is called, it will modify ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

Should I refer to “Section 2.3” or “Subsection 2.3”?

When writing a document that is divided into numbered sections and subsections, sometimes I would like to refer a certain subsection that has been numbered 2.3, for example. Here the 2 represents the ...