Questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences

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7
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2answers
559 views

Longer than a word — smaller than a sentence

What would you call a linguistic construct that is just big enough to convey a meaning within a context, longer than a word but not having the length and proper form of a complete sentence? Like, for ...
3
votes
4answers
433 views

Analysing clause elements and their function

I have a problem analysing this sentence from the point of finite/nonfinite clauses, clause elements and their functions: He does not want to destroy his parents' dream of him achieving a ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

Is this 'as' a conjunction?

I guess ‘as’ is a conjunction. If then, is as-clause an adjective clause that modifies ‘Muggle money’? There was a train to London in five minutes' time. Hagrid, who didn't understand 'Muggle ...
1
vote
2answers
313 views

Is this the structure of verb + object + adverbial phrase? [closed]

In ‘point new Gryffindors in the right direction ‘, is this the structure of verb + indirect object + direct object, or verb + object + adverbial phrase? As a Korean, I’m easier to accept the former ...
3
votes
3answers
325 views

Sentence with two not-so-related parts

Quite a lot of articles in Wikipedia, especially about people, have sentences like this one: Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first ...
1
vote
3answers
618 views

Use of prepositions in strings of conjunctions

When one wants to list various cases/classes/categories/types of objects in a string of conjunctions, is it preferable (or even mandatory) to keep on using (the same) preposition in front of each one ...
0
votes
1answer
129 views

Is this an absolute phrase?

In the following example, is more full picture a kind of absolute phrase? He has given us a lot, more full picture of dinosaurs of the East Coast.
5
votes
1answer
146 views

When to put a verb ahead of its doer?

I have read this at the Science.com, and it's in the second line of the last paragraph. A bow and arrow or an atlatl allows users to attack prey—and enemies—from a safer distance than does an ...
-1
votes
1answer
378 views

Is 'their way' having the function of adverbial phrase?

It was a nice feeling, sitting there with Ron, eating their way through all Harry’s pasties, cakes, and candies (the sandwiches lay forgotten). In this sentence, what's the meaning of 'their ...
11
votes
4answers
633 views

How much not better than average is enough?

This is adapted from a silly conversation I had about a baseball player. It set me wondering how to describe this sort of wordplay linguistically. HIM: Do we leave Jay in center? HER: He's ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

Symbol, punctuation, or abbreviation that indicates a “paraphrase”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the proper use of [square brackets] in quotes? This question is born of practical necessity - one that I encountered while quoting a reference in "another" Stack ...
0
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is “being ” used in this sentence “it being a rainy day” as a present participle?

The following sentence is somewhat confusing. It being a rainy day, we had to abandon (or simply say cancel) the match. or Being a rainy day, we had to abandon the match. I think one of ...
5
votes
5answers
808 views

What is going on in this sentence?

I was helping my brother study for the SAT, and we came across this sentence: While it was different from all the other classes he had taken, Eric was unhappy with his psychology class. The ...
2
votes
2answers
560 views

Reason for Subject-Verb Inversion: Only in cases where A is B, shall the Company do X [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Sentences using: [something] + have + they subject-auxiliary inversions not associated with questions In the following, why does subject-verb inversion occur? Is it ...
2
votes
0answers
385 views

Syntax, contrastive analysis [closed]

Could anyone help me with this question? What are the main types of contrast involved in contrastive analysis of syntax? Give examples. I tried to find answer, but unfortunately I find nothing.
2
votes
0answers
724 views

Why do BBC News use so many 'quotes' in headlines [closed]

I have noticed a that the BBC News website seems to use quotes in their headlines in places where I can see no reason to do so. Take the following story: Julius Malema: South Africa issues 'arrest ...
6
votes
6answers
5k views

Russian speakers and “I feel myself to be …”

I was told that it is a typical mistake for Russian speakers to say I feel myself badly instead of I feel ill. I wonder to what extent such constructs sound wrong to native speakers? I feel ...
-1
votes
2answers
784 views

“What is that?” vs “What is it?” [closed]

When describing my product (actually a computer system) in a presentation, what way is best (most understandable or natural) for writing the heading of the introductory slide, where “XYZ” stands for ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Adverb position in perfect tenses [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there any rules on the positioning adverbs should take in a sentence? My question concerns the adverb position in perfect tenses. For example look at these ...
0
votes
3answers
435 views

What type of clause is this?

Can anyone say what type of clause this is — noun, adjective or adverbial? I am glad that you have passed the test. Some people say that it is a noun clause. But I am not sure. What is the ...
3
votes
2answers
318 views

Wrong usage of “myself ”, or just putting emphasis on “me”?

I was writing the following sentence, and I realized it somehow sounds odd: I am constantly trying to remind myself to think carefully before speaking, but those moments I forget to do so end up ...
-1
votes
5answers
228 views

Still More Syntactic Confusion [closed]

I sometimes encounter sentences like this Mussolini ordered the Italy invaded Albania. It seems incorrect to me but I want native speakers to prove. UPDATE. The sentence above is taken from ...
2
votes
3answers
637 views

At/For a Distance Of

Somebody asked me about the usage of the word distance in a sentence. I have my own ideas about it, particularly the difference between at a distance of and for a distance of. Unfortunately, I’m ...
4
votes
2answers
81 views

“Foos are menace” vs. “Foos are a menace”

One of my friends has this in one of his E-mail signatures: «"Kosher" Cellphones (cellphones with blocked SMS, video and Internet) are menace to the deaf. They must be outlawed!». Is this sentence ...
2
votes
2answers
412 views

Dangling Participial Phrase [closed]

Here’s the original: The veterinarian was caught off guard when, regaining consciousness, we were again attacked by the cat. My rewrite of this sentence is either: The veterinarian was ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

How to Identify a Rhetorical Question?

I am familiar with the idea of a rhetorical question, but are there any criteria to mark or identify one? Can a rhetorical question be recognized alone or does it need surrounding context? It ...
5
votes
1answer
127 views

Name and rules of this construction: “A somber man privately, Johnson had an acid humor.”

I'm reading a book right now that in my opinion overuses a certain construct. It's used so much that it distracts from the content. Some examples: Eccentric and egotistical, Berkeley was not so ...
1
vote
1answer
229 views

Three part or Three-part [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a grammar rule behind the hyphen in the phrase 'one-act play'? Okay, so it might sound like a primitive question. However, I can find out a reasoning or ...
0
votes
3answers
329 views

Does the following make sense?

Someone texted me the following What did you get up to? And when I asked what that meant, told me it meant What are you doing tonight?. Now to me that doesn't make any sense, but I'm not a ...
4
votes
2answers
744 views

Is it correct? I “am trying fixing this”?

Actually, I'd like to know if is correct to say: "I am trying fixing this", or should use the more obvious "I am trying to fix this"? If the first one is correct, is there a name for this kind of ...
2
votes
1answer
827 views

“You have until X to do Y” — is this grammatically correct?

I have a question regarding the following sentence: You have until June 6th to go there. Is it grammatically incorrect? Consider the following: You is the subject, have is the verb, until June ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

If “latter” comes first, and “former” comes second, what comes third? Or fourth? [closed]

If we had an hour long discussion, and discussed 5 topics: A, B, C, D and E in order, to the extent that we are talking about "E" right now, if "D" is the latter, and "C" is the former, what is "B" to ...
1
vote
2answers
120 views

“Come + X” construct

I've come across the "come + X" construct in a passage of a New York Times article. Here it is (emphasis added): Politicians like to keep the fiscal levers in their hands come election time ...
0
votes
2answers
300 views

Omission of “to” with deontic “have to” [closed]

In the following sentence from The New Yorker (emphasis added) Sarkozy [...] has spent much of his campaign trying to woo voters away from Le Pen [...] and he is only going to have grovel for them ...
0
votes
1answer
83 views

“Is/are X + adjective”

I provide the sentence in context: [A couple kisses. A friend of them sees the scene and says:] Oh, are you cute! This clearly means "you're so cute, sweet" and the like. So, is this ...
0
votes
4answers
91 views

“something inescapably points if …” or “if something inescapably points to …”?

At the same time, they are reluctant to accept the conclusions toward which such proof inescapably points if they do not "sense" the uniformity themselves. The position of the word if in this ...
0
votes
3answers
378 views

How to use “ as … as ” to mean something is beyond someones experience

I found the following means something AT the limit of someones experience "The wooden stair descending to the Capitol's subbasement were as steep and shallow as any stairs Langdon had ever ...
5
votes
3answers
445 views

Position of adverb “implicitly”

In the following sentence I'm not sure where to put implicitly: The language doesn't support Int and (implicitly) converts (implicitly) Int to Double (implicitly). First I put it at the end, ...
6
votes
1answer
581 views

Word order for “What is… that … called?”

I am having difficulty with finding the natural word order in the following passive construction: What are people called who do a lot of unnecessary work? What are called people who do a lot ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

The Guardian: “It does indeed […] misleading them […]”

Reading an article by The Guardian, I stumbled upon a sentence which I cannot make sense of: Yes, the worst things you may have heard about the National Defense Authorization Act, which has ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

using “the”+adj without a noun

Is the following sentence good/legal/understood English? Meditation melts the coarse and solidifies the subtle. If it isn't, how can this be otherwise expressed, in a neat and concise way?
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Order of preposition in US and UK English

In Britain we'd say He had a black hat on. Speakers of American English are more likely to say* He had on a black hat. The latter just seems wrong to me. Is my intuition correct or are ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

I was confused about “to be + past participle"

Why does the following sentence use "to be reinforced" rather than "was reinforced" The fact that organisms evidently inherit the capacity to be reinforced by certain kinds of event does not ...
2
votes
4answers
439 views

“The punch card was data processing back then”

I find it difficult to understand the sentence as shown in the title. Is the card data? Is the card processing? Is the card a method (or style) to process data? I'm Chinese. If I express the ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Not so much as [something] as [something else]

Consider the sentence: "She sees him not so much as her uncle as her friend." Is this sentence correct? I feel something is missing, or perhaps I am disturbed by the extra 'as'. Compare with: ...
2
votes
5answers
757 views

How do I say 'people insist on' in the passive voice?

If I have 'read guides where people insist that...' then how do I use that in the passive voice? 'In guides I have read, it is insisted that...'? 'In guides I have read, it is insisted upon that..'? ...
3
votes
2answers
491 views

“It is having time to think that makes me depressed” — grammatical function of “that”?

It is having time to think that makes me depressed. In this sentence, what is the grammatical function of the word that?
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Proper usage/origin of the generic phrase “[action phrase] does not a [noun] make” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is “xxxx doth not a yyyy make” considered valid English? I occasionally come across a sentence formulated in a manner similar to the following: ...
6
votes
4answers
448 views

There is no headache strong enough, that a good coffee won't relieve

I heard this phrase today and I'm pretty sure that there is something wrong with it. I do not know if it is the grammar or the syntax or the meaning of the words. Can you please tell me what the ...
1
vote
2answers
425 views

Isn’t the expression, "I'm not inclined to be a supporter of Newt Gingrich's having served under him for four years” confusing?

I found the following line in today’s (December 4) Time magazine article titled, Coburn Speaks Up: “On "Fox News Sunday," Sooner State Sen. tells Chris Wallace he would have trouble supporting ...