Questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences

learn more… | top users | synonyms

5
votes
3answers
464 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
600 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
453 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
792 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
525 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
451 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
455 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
290 views

Use of “submitting” or “submit” in sentence

Why is submitting used instead of submit in the sentence below from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codebase? They are often used by multi-developer projects to handle various versions and developers ...
1
vote
3answers
16k views

The correct syntax for “I/We remain” at the end of the letter

I want to sign off a letter with the following: Letter text. We remain, Sincerely yours, Mr Person Head of Accounting Is this correct usage? Isn’t this like having 2 ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Is there a term for using a word twice in a row, but in a grammatically-appropriate way?

For example: "I could tell he had had a great time at the circus." If you're not repeating the word for emphasis, is there a term for the sequential usage, other than "coincidence"?
0
votes
2answers
753 views

Word-type in this sentence

I'm trying to decode what word-type each word is in the following sentence, please correct me if I'm wrong. The things you own end up owning you. I have it decoded as follows: The (det) things ...
2
votes
2answers
269 views

“At least as much as skilled as”

Is this sentence right? Xs need to be at least as much as skilled as Ys. If not what should it be?
1
vote
3answers
260 views

Grammar–are there any PoS patterns that are incorrect/to be avoided?

I don't know if there are any patterns/rules for "grammatical don'ts" that pertain to Parts of Speech. For the sake of clarity, I refer to things such as: 1) Noun Noun Noun 2) Verb Noun Adverb 3) ...
4
votes
1answer
233 views

Human Face Divine

I recently read that there is a grammatical construct known as a Miltonic Structure, after John Milton. It said that the structure consists of an adjective + noun + adjective, like "human face divine" ...
1
vote
1answer
279 views

how to use verbs

Here I don't understand the grammar of this sentence-- I never heard you say that. Why not 'I never heard you saying that' or 'I never heard of you saying that'?
3
votes
2answers
358 views

Help me parse this sentence, please?

Observable as a tendency of our culture is a withdrawal of belief in psychoanalysis: we no longer feel that it can solve our emotional problems. This is from GRE verbal tests. From what I guess ...
2
votes
2answers
15k views

Distinguish “naming” and “telling” part of simple sentence with compound predicate

Dad caught fish and cooked them for supper. This is a question from a test that my son missed; he is in the second grade. The instructions for the test are as follows: Put one line under the ...
6
votes
4answers
446 views

Have I got a little story for you

There is a song called "Alive", by Pearl Jam. The opening line is: Son, she said, have I got a little story for you Despite the subject-auxiliary inversion ("have I"), which would be expected in ...
7
votes
2answers
821 views

Is Wayne's World's (NOT) a modern invention?

Older users of this site may recall the 'Bill & Ted' 'Wayne's World' series of movies of the early 1990s. They were mindless but fairly amusing and their eponymous characters spoke in a unique ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How do noun clauses work when they seem to leave no independent clause?

Another thing that was raised in conversation with my ESL friend is noun clauses. I was aware of Adverbial and Adjectival Clauses and thought that the things he was demonstrating to me were in fact ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is “zero” plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Correct plural form of a zero quantified noun I could have: Zero books One book Two books Why is zero in plural form? Edit Per Merriam-Webster: Plural (adj): of, ...
5
votes
4answers
27k views

What is the difference between syntax and semantics? [closed]

As a computer scientist and a writing hobbyist, I really ought to know these terms' meanings for memory. Can anyone clarify the difference between syntax and semantics, and provide some examples? For ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Fish fish fish [closed]

I have seen that buffalo buffalo... has been posted here before. However some sites claim also that the sentence Fish fish fish fish fish fish fish. makes sense. Can someone confirm and ...
1
vote
4answers
289 views

Breaking down “Of his honour and his glory, the people would sing” into subject, verb, predicate

I recently listened to the lyrics of Lucky Man by Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and noticed the following line. Of his honour and his glory, the people would sing. It struck me as being non-typical ...
1
vote
1answer
502 views

What's the difference between - and — in a phrase? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen? When do I put a - in a sentence? Is it a more powerful comma? With a bigger pause?
3
votes
4answers
2k views

What is correct syntax with 'entail'?

My instinct is that when it means "to have as an inescapable consequence", entail must be followed by a noun. In all the grammatical examples I have come across this is how it is used — without ...
2
votes
2answers
563 views

Syntax in poetry

Could you please explain why the syntax in the following stanza is wrong? Surrounded by that sturdy assertiveness that walled England the din of traffic in my mind quietens,
2
votes
1answer
274 views

this is the first year + clause

In a sentence such as This is the first year I’ve lived in a house with a yard. Is it all right to have a clause other than present perfect? That is, can you say, for instance, sentences like ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Superlative + noun + “possible”: why does the adjective come after the noun?

Does someone happen to have an explanation or theory for why in phrases like "the best method possible" the word 'possible' comes after the noun?
3
votes
6answers
17k views

Syntactically correct, semantically incorrect sentence

How would I answer the following programming exercise? It's trying to emphasize the difference between semantics and syntax. Write an English sentence that has correct syntax but has semantic ...
18
votes
10answers
2k views

What rules make “Remember me, who am your friend” grammatical?

An acquaintance recalled this specific example from an English textbook, but it is jarring to my native ear. Is this an example of prescriptive grammarians gone wild?
23
votes
4answers
2k views

How do the rules of English inform understanding of one of our language's most disputed sentences?

Yes, historical context is important, but forget it for a moment. Taken at face value, what does the text mean? A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right ...
3
votes
2answers
460 views

Irregular plurals. Leathermans or Leathermen?

Which plural do you use for a word that should have a regular plural but ends with a word that has its own irregular one? The example that made me ask was "leatherman" (the multitool) but there are ...
8
votes
3answers
15k views

“Denoted by” or just “denoted”?

In a mathematical context (explaining a formula just written) the following seems unobjectionable: "The set of unitary polynomials has been denoted by P". My question is whether it sounds right to ...
7
votes
3answers
24k views

“Thank both of you”

Is there a trace first person pronoun before the utterance "thank you", making it shorthand for "I/we thank you"? A ramification of this question is an expression of gratitude I just heard that ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Use of “do” in affirmative statements [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do you use “Did + 1st form” instead of “2nd form” When is do used in affirmative sentences? For example: I do think that this is going to be... Is it only ...
8
votes
7answers
2k views

Using -ed vs. -ing in the “needs washed” construction

I'm from Central Pennsylvania, and apparently, we have a strange language construct in this area. I was recently talking about how "my car needs washed" to a friend from NJ, and she told me that my ...
67
votes
3answers
24k views

Is “believe you me” proper English?

I understand the phrase "believe you me" to be an emphatic version of "believe me" but how did it come to be? Is it a poor translation into English?
5
votes
2answers
707 views

Syntax for marking incorrect examples of language

I have noticed various marks in example sentences to denote incorrect examples of English: This is correct. *This incorrectly. The former is left alone; the latter has an asterisk marking ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Are the tense and syntax in this sentence correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Future tense usage: “When you see it …” When he will arrive, he will call you. Please let me know if the tense and syntax in this sentence are ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

“He does more than (is) necessary.”

Can someone diagram the sentences He does more than necessary. He does more than is necessary. please? (Say, using an X-bar tree.) Also, there seems to be a secondary clause in the sentences (or ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Ending sentence with two nouns?

This is from NYTimes: And again and again, and closer and closer, it returns to a speeding commuter train, a recurrence that artfully foreshadows the story’s nifty repetition compulsion. How can ...
1
vote
1answer
349 views

How do I handle articles with parenthetical statements? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “a/an” preceding a parenthetical statement If I were to use a (normal) parenthetical statement, the article would not cause problems. If I were to use a ...
4
votes
5answers
947 views

“It would not do to confuse the nurses with the patients”

From http://www.debate.org/debates/School-uniforms-ought-to-be-worn-in-primary-and-secondary-schools./1/: For many of these, the reason for wearing a uniform is clear: so that they are easily ...