Questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences

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Which version of the sentence sounds more natural?

As a non-native speaker I would like to get your opinion about a sentence translated into English. It's an excerpt from a magazine column. Which version sounds more natural?? 1. "At the very moment ...
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2answers
85 views

Why exactly is this sentence the way it is?

I couldn't explain it in the title, my apologies. Now the sentence, in indirect-speech: Anne asked me who my favourite actor was I know this sentence is correct, but WHY isn't it the following? ...
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45 views

Ambiguity in prepositional phrases

"Nellie washed the dishes in the sink." This sentence is ambiguous, and the prepositional phrase can be read two ways--either as 'Nellie washed (in the sink) the dishes', in which case it is an ...
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What is the meaning of “modulo”? [duplicate]

What is the meaning of “modulo” in this context sent by my supervisor. "The section (of a research paper in linguistics) is Okay, modulo few mistakes"?
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Diagramming simple wh- “to be” sentences

I have read a syntax book cover to cover and it seems to stubbornly avoid diagramming sentences with "to be" (or other auxilliary verbs) functioning as the principal verb. For example: That dog is ...
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1answer
18 views

Descriptions of frequency versus present tense

Is there ever a difference between descriptions of frequency and the present tense? For example, is there a difference between "I speak English." (referring to frequent speaking of English) and "I ...
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1answer
51 views

Can colours be used as an adverb?

I am trying to understand which syntactic role the word red has in this sentence: We could colour the walls red. My first thought was it being an adverb, but I have never heard someone saying ...
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2answers
62 views

Confused by the syntax or grammaticality used in this quote by Karl Marx. Please help?

The quote is from the Manifesto of the Communist Party: No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set ...
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1answer
36 views

how to continue a sentence after a line breaking example

I am writing a technical document in which I need to intersperse examples into paragraphs. For example I have a sentence like below: For example, rather than the following code example: //This ...
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131 views

Does the “she was found in violation of…” <-> “she was violated” equivalence have a name?

This is a follow-up to this question: Why is "violated" being used as future perfect with a person as the object? At that question, it was established that there is a jargon/slang usage of ...
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21 views

“A for B and C showcases D like E”

Consider this sentence: “His work for Blair and Claire showcases traditional arts like weaving.” Does this imply that both his work for Blair showcases traditional arts and his work for Claire ...
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Is it appropriate not to capitalize “I” if i personally view it as vanity on cultural grounds? [closed]

My native language is Russian, and the first person singular pronoun in Russian is "я". No capitalization. We also have a proverb in our language (and culture), which is literally translated as: "'я' ...
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21 views

Some clause structure about “SOURCE said that CLAUSE”?

Suppose we have the following sentences: John believes that people are good. Steve knows that France is in Europe. Now, in these sentences we have some clause (e.g. People are good, France ...
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Grammar rules governing a phrase from the US Constitution:

The U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 5 reads No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall ...
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24 views

Do neither and nor ever switch places for literary effect? [duplicate]

I came across this picture: Is the swapping of nor and neither is a gross grammatical error (benign typo, if you will) or is it sometimes employed for some literary effect?
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35 views

Can all dynamic (action) verbs be paired up with all existing prepositions to form compound verbs?, ie. “Throw- out,off,in, up, etc.”

I know that not all verbs can be compounded with all prepositions such as, "Believe-out, of, from, up, down." being a stative verb; and that action verbs can be paired up with lamost all prepositions. ...
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1answer
42 views

What is and isn't a constituent, and how (whether?) can one argue that something is or isn't grammatical

Background In CGEL on p. 1317, we find the following analysis of the sentence [1] [Beauty] [as well as love] is redemptive. They note that the singular is signifies that as well as is here not a ...
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1answer
43 views

“Can you tell me what this is?” or “[…] what is this?” [duplicate]

As written in the title, my question is, which version of the sentence is grammatically correct, if not both. I've been arguing with some guy on 9gag for roughly 10-15 minutes already, and I'm not ...
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1answer
42 views

Correct morphological parse of a word “indecipherable”

What will be the correct morphological parse of word indecipherable in-prefix>decipher-stem>able-suffix or indecipherable in-prefix>de- prefix >cipher-stem>able-suffix ...
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2answers
70 views

Describing the syntax in a sentence from Jane Austen's Emma

I'm writing an essay on a passage from Jane Austen's Emma and am trying to comment upon the structure of a certain sentence. I know what I want to say (in terms of the effects of the syntax), but I ...
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28 views

using “get + verb(pp)” to replace become, is this slang?

My question is about the use of (get + pp) to mean "become ______." I got laid. I got #%$&ed. I'm going to get hammered. She got schlonged.(Trumpism) Is this slang or syntactically correct? If ...
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69 views

Analysing “Ain't got no use for no coal company”

I'm writing my thesis and I have a problem analysing this sentence: "Ain't got no use for no coal company" (Grisham, 2014: 157). I know there's no subject - is it therefore an ellipsis? I don't ...
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1answer
136 views

“Should never have been” or “should have never been”? [duplicate]

Example: Methamphetamine should have never been created. or Methamphetamine should never have been created. Which one is correct? This seems like it should have a simple answer, but ...
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1answer
72 views

Did English ever admit the 'to have X years' verbal phrase? [closed]

This verbal phrase remains grammatical in Romance languages (eg: 'avoir X ans' in French).
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1answer
55 views

Is “War needs heroes” grammatically correct? [closed]

It's intended to be used as a slogan of a war-type game. Should the subject be "war" or "a war" or "wars"? And what the verb form should be accordingly?
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70 views

Revising a Sentence for Brevity while Maintaining Eloquence

I am working on an article / story about legal cannabis in Colorado, and I have written this sentence regarding the smell upon entering a large, industrial grow room: The only way I know how to ...
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1answer
63 views

What is the term for a phrase like “school it is”?

I heard this kind of expression in conversation: 1) A.- You should go to school and learn. B.- All right, school it is. 2) A.- Open the window unless there is better idea. B.- (no ...
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2answers
53 views

An alternate sentence to ask somebody to complete their task [closed]

At work, When expecting a document from someone, I email with sentence like these: Please provide the document or Can you provide the document? I think this sentence should not be a ...
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14 views

What order should one describe something with size, age, shape and colour? [duplicate]

Consider a little dog, which is brown in colour, and old. Is there a correct order in which these three descriptive words should be placed when describing this man? Is there even a correct way? Is ...
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1answer
48 views

Is there any dialect of English that uses “positive ever” to mean “once”?

One of the most interesting things for me is to learn that some construction that seems completely ungrammatical to me is completely okay for speakers of some other dialect of English. For example, ...
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2answers
75 views

I want to know how to correctly use me and I or you and I in a sentence [duplicate]

I would like to understand how to you the word me and I in a sentence using correct grammar. The difference between you and me : The difference between me and you The difference between you and I : ...
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2answers
55 views

Different writing styles - Using the word 'as' too much [closed]

I am using the word 'as' too much. The gate swung open as it was moved by the wind. He said as he looked away She put her hand on his leg as she peered deep into his eyes. I also use this ...
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1answer
59 views

Correct syntax using 'as well as' [closed]

I have the feeling that this sentence is not correct and that it would be better to split it in two, but I can't seem to get my head around it. I would appreciate any hints as to whether it is a ...
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1answer
39 views

Proper nouns and a and an [closed]

I seem to recall a syntactical rule about proper nouns not taking the an form. Example: a android phone. Or a iPhone. Or is this just my memory failing me?
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165 views

Why is “is” not the error in this SAT sentence?

In this practice SAT question, the test-taker is required to identify the existence and location of an error in a sentence: True chalcedony is different from blue agate [in] the purity of its ...
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1answer
50 views

De-garden path this: “This time I did spend thinking”

Consider the following excerpt from an imaginary letter: Dear Margaret, I apologize for not having replied to your letter sooner. I have been traveling for the past month and circumstances ...
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171 views

a [box [of apples] ] vs [a box] [of apples]

The standard linguistic analysis of the NP a box of apples is that we have a determiner (a) which acts on (modifies?) box of apples. (For an example of standard analysis, see e.g. Fig. 6 here). ...
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How do I ask two questions back to back? [duplicate]

Example: What is that? A bird or an eagle? Is this the correct way to punctuate this sort of question?
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2answers
63 views

Is there a typo in this sentence? If not, help me understand it [closed]

I'm having trouble parsing this sentence: (I hope I used "parsing" correctly.) Now, the history of Eliza Doolittle, though called a romance because of the transfiguration it records seems ...
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1answer
91 views

How common is the use of 'although' as a preposition rather than a conjunction?

Conceding a point can be expressed by means of – an adverb (however, nevertheless, etc); – a preposition + the point in noun form (despite this, in spite of this, despite the fact that, etc); ...
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2answers
55 views

Restrictions on including TO BE in “the only one [to be] X”

This English Language Learners question prompted me to wonder about... Q1: Why was John annoyed? A1: Because he was the only one [to be] refused entry to the pub. Q2: Why was only John ...
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2answers
51 views

Use of “as” with verbs? [closed]

Would you say: I don't know anybody who has as much energy as John. or I don't know anybody who has as much energy as John does.
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39 views

Syntax of the title 'king'?

Sorry for the strange title, this is my first question in this site; English is not my mother language so this may sound like a really weird question but I want an answer to my doubt: Why is 'king ...
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Is the phrase “who/what even is [blank]” correct?

I've been hearing a lot of people recently say something like: What even is a baseball? however when I hear people say that I get the gut feeling that it should be What is a baseball even? ...
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291 views

What exactly does it mean to say something is “grammatical?”

I often see the expression "That's ungrammatical" used to explain why something is not OK. For example, a user might post a question: "Is it OK to say, I are go to New York?" Most people would ...
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1answer
62 views

What is the grammatical basis for using “a” before a present participle (-ing)?

Example: When I called, he came a running. My first inclination was that it's an article and the participle is being used as a gerund, but that doesn't make sense structurally. My second is I ...
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Properly Punctuating a Parenthetical

I have a line in a document "Create New Path" which I would like to change to "Create New Path or Update Old Path?" including the "?" In my correspondence with others they may think I'm asking a ...
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2answers
68 views

When it is appropriate to use “-ing” in a dependent clause?

I tend to use sentences like these ones in my writings: "Bob kicked the boy, injuring his left knee." "Congress passed the brand new tariff act, increasing the prices of imported goods." ...
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1answer
92 views

To Infinitive or Not Infinitive

I am wondering if the lack of infinitive "to+have" in the section highlighted below raises any flags for anyone. People have been taught have faith and to trust — or not have faith and not to ...
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2answers
68 views

Proper syntax of gender-neutral statements, order of his/her

I know that in certain cases, you can form a gender-neutral sentence with a form of "they", e.g.: If a person goes out to their car... You could also use "his or her" or some variation: If a ...