Questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences

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3
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6answers
18k 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 ...
21
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10answers
3k 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
482 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
16k 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
26k 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
3k 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 ...
70
votes
3answers
27k 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
723 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
350 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
967 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

“Wake up Joe” or “Wake Joe up”?

Are they synonymous, or not? Looking at wake up as a phrasal verb it seems that the more correct way is "I will wake up Joe" rather than "I will wake Joe up", but the second rolls better off my ...
4
votes
2answers
434 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
1answer
246 views

Where did ::action:: come from?

Sometimes during instant messaging, people will want to express an action, possibly something where an acronym doesn't exist for, yet. The formula is generally opened by two colons, an ...
8
votes
4answers
11k views

“The world forgetting, by the world forgot.”

This is from Alexander Pope's Eloisa to Abelard, also appeared in the movie Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind(2004). Could anyone parse this sentence for me? Where's the predicate? What does "the ...
3
votes
1answer
292 views

“It is black's turn” or “it is blacks turn”?

Is it black's turn to move in chess, or is it blacks turn?
2
votes
3answers
438 views

What is the difference between these “clause separators”?

Here is an example sentence: At the start of the day you may (if you like) make yourself a slice of toast. Are the brackets appropriate to separate the clause "if you like" from the main ...
1
vote
3answers
410 views

Meaning of the adverb 'differently' and its position

Perceptual constancy refers to our ability to see things differently without having to reinterpret the object's properties. Is differently referring to we see or things?
1
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7answers
1k views

What is the difference between “I earn $500 each month” and “I earn $500 per month”?

What is the difference between these two sentences? I earn $500 each month I earn $500 per month
2
votes
1answer
194 views

“predictions of” or “predictions for”?

As far as I know, both are grammatically correct, so which one is best to use? My predictions of the future Or: My predictions for the future
1
vote
3answers
3k views

The Coordination/Conjunction Constituency Test

We've been covering constituency tests in my syntax class and whenever it comes to doing the Coordination (also know as conjunction) test, it isn't making sense to me. I'm just not sure how it proves ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

“used word” or “word used”?

The word used in that context should be gusto. The used word is wrong. Is it correct to place used after word? When should I use word used, and when used word?
12
votes
5answers
50k views

Should an adverb go before or after a verb?

For example: The word rarely turns up outside of those contexts. The word turns up rarely outside of those contexts. Which one is correct and why?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Could you help me to do a syntax analysis of this sentence?

The more I use Froyo the more new stuff I discover. Does it mean: I more use Froyo, I discover more new stuff.
7
votes
4answers
6k views

Is it incorrect to say, 'Give me it'?

Is it incorrect to say, 'Give me it' ? I am told that it is and one should always say, 'Give it me'?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Syntax analysis of the sentence

I'm trying to analyse the following sentence. To understand the importance of this event you should know all the facts. It seems to me that this sentence is complex, and «To understand ...
3
votes
2answers
802 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
2answers
422 views

“He thought that that might be awkward.”

"He thought that that might be awkward." I know this sentence is a bit awkward, but is it grammatically incorrect?
5
votes
2answers
684 views

“Can't it also be” or “Can't it be also” in a question?

They both have plenty examples available, but which one is preferable? "Can't it also be" — 1,310,000 Google results "Can't it be also" — 1,430,000 Google results
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Can ‘although’ be used in this way?

We still haven't got a sponsor although the fact that we've written to dozens of companies. What's wrong with ‘although’ in the sentence above?
2
votes
3answers
8k views

Is “as” used correctly in this sentence?

Young, naive and trusting as I was, I believed every lying word he said. From what I learned, "as" used the way here should mean "though". But if it means "though", the meaning of this sentence ...
2
votes
4answers
7k views

Different size or different sizes?

Which one is better: two pipes of different radii or two pipes of different radius? In Futurama, let me show you some of the different lengths of wire I use is a plural argument, but is it only ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Usage of “upon”

Is "Let us have the ushers wait upon us" proper syntax?
15
votes
4answers
2k views

English questions and negation with *do* in syntax

A former lecturer of mine once explained why, from a syntactic point of view, the English rule that negation and questions are formed with the auxiliary do follows from other syntactic facts about ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do newspaper headlines use strange syntax rules?

Newspaper/news article headlines usually have different syntax rules, for example No copula. North Korea trip 'successful' Past events written in present. Qantas cancels flight out of frozen ...
1
vote
1answer
976 views
1
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3answers
271 views

Where would “take your life safety lightly” fit in?

Can you come up with any sensible sentence, into which the following combination of words would fit in well: "take your life safety lightly". Please, don't change the words order. Also, if possible, ...
47
votes
14answers
2k views
+50

Central Pennsylvanian English speakers: what are the limitations on the “needs washed” construction?

In the Central Pennsylvania dialect of English (and possibly elsewhere), the following construction is possible: This car needs washed. (=needs to be washed) The room needs cleaned. (=needs ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “choose from one of four options” wrong?

I need backup in pressing my case that the phrase “choose from one of four options” is grammatically incorrect. Is there some resource that can prove my case, that the incorrect phrase should be ...
7
votes
2answers
8k views

Is there a comparative form of “well”?

Is there a word that means "more well", in the same way that "better" means "more good"? In common parlance most people just use "better" for this purpose, but this seems incorrect and is a nagging ...
5
votes
4answers
213 views

Any error in the following statement?

Any error in the following statement? Scenario : Earlier, I have informed the other person that the event is not yet approved but later on I realized that I am wrong and I need to convey it. So I ...
3
votes
2answers
860 views

“turn them all off” or “turn all them off”?

"turn them all off" 84,800 results "turn all them off" 63,200 results both are correct?
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Is “Me neither” incorrect?

I've heard that "me neither" is incorrect. Instead one should say "neither do I." People definitely say "me neither" conversationally, but is it technically incorrect?
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Using the word 'Only'

I am confused about using the word only. I often hear it being used in many contexts that sound wrong to me - but I'm not sure if it's me or them. Let me give some examples: A: Where were you ...
18
votes
4answers
660 views

Should Kyle be corrected, and if he doesn't, why?

In a recent blog entry, Jeff Atwood quotes his sysadmin Kyle: "Should the developers have access to the production environment, and if they do, to what extent?" My understanding is that this ...
28
votes
6answers
11k views

Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”?

I heard this lyric in a song the other day and it just sounded so wrong that I assumed it must be incorrect grammar, but I can't find any specific prohibition that applies. That's what it's. ...