Questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences

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38
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6answers
15k 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. ...
18
votes
5answers
112k 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?
9
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
26
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
55
votes
18answers
4k views

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 ...
17
votes
4answers
3k 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
4answers
4k 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?
3
votes
4answers
756 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
2k 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 used ...
11
votes
2answers
9k 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?
8
votes
6answers
2k 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?
7
votes
3answers
2k 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.
2
votes
2answers
828 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

“most” vs “the most”, specifically as an adverb at the end of sentence

Which one of the following sentences is the most canonical? I know most vs. the most has been explained a lot, but my doubts pertain specifically which one to use at the end of a sentence. Do you ...
26
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
11k 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'?
4
votes
2answers
966 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?
5
votes
1answer
11k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I prove a word is a noun?

When I read a sentence, I can identify nouns. But now I need to give proof that they are indeed nouns, and that is where it goes wrong. I can think of one or two things sometimes (like combining it ...
7
votes
5answers
3k 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
368 views

What is the origin and extent of the Indian English usage of “only” to emphasize something?

I live in southern India, and for a long time I've been curious about this phenomenon that I've observed. Indian English uses the word "only" in a special way. It's used to emphasize things. Sort ...
16
votes
2answers
15k views

Why is “zero” plural?

I could have: Zero books One book Two books Why is zero in plural form? Edit Per Merriam-Webster: Plural (adj): of, relating to, or constituting a class of grammatical forms usually used to ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

“Love me tender”: adverb or adjective?

Is the last word in each of these phrases an adverb or an adjective? How can we know? love me tender treat me nice hold me tight
9
votes
3answers
2k views

“Be like” usage

Of late, I have been noticing a lot of casual memes floating around, particularly on Facebook, that involve this phrase. Typical constructs could be like the following examples: B*&^%$# be ...
4
votes
2answers
142 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
518 views

Is there an exception to the prohibition against ending a sentence with “ ’s ” at work here?

The ’s can be used as a contraction representing a weak, unstressed word that is not pronounced. It allegedly cannot occur in sentence final position. She is not ready, but he is. She’s not ...
6
votes
4answers
482 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
9k 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"?
4
votes
2answers
609 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
88 views

Flipping Sentences and Verb Agreement

Is the following sentence grammatically correct in regards subject-verb agreement? One of the main facets of the soul is the feelings humans treasure above all: love and compassion. The ...
3
votes
4answers
42k 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 salutations?...
3
votes
1answer
4k 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: Reading ...
3
votes
3answers
10k views

Usage of “upon”

Is "Let us have the ushers wait upon us" proper syntax?
3
votes
3answers
5k 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 doesn'...
3
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
392 views

Necessary and unnecessary articles for proper nouns

In AmE (and probably other dialects as well) there are certain place names and other proper nouns that either have a compulsory definite article or a compulsory lack of one attached to them. For ...
1
vote
2answers
389 views

Can a dependent clause undergo inversion in English?

The grammars I've seen state that dependent clauses never undergo inversion. This agrees with sentences like Tell me where he is. But how sentences like Tell me, where is he? should be ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views
0
votes
2answers
200 views

I'm just here to help is all

I came across the following sentence in an American novel: "Hey, sugar," he says. "I'm just here to help you is all." I take it that the sentence means, "I'm just here to help you and that's all....
8
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
698 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
365 views
+200

I am [who/whom] G-d made me

Please fill in the blank with the correct word and explain your choice. I am __ G-d made me. A. who B. whom Some people have suggested I elaborate on this question so here goes. The above was ...
7
votes
5answers
310 views

How does the to infinitive work with adjectives like “wrong” and “wise”?

You were wrong to pick that car I was wise to go home that day. I can't quite explain how the to-infinitive modifies the adjectives here. It's similar to sentences like "It's nice to see you" ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does “complex sentence” vs “compound sentence” matter?

This question asks about (teaching) the distinction between complex and compound sentences. I have managed to read really quite widely in linguistics for more than fifty years without ever as far as ...
6
votes
1answer
825 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 ...
6
votes
12answers
636 views

Subject, Verb Object (and so forth) sentence analysis. In particular: What's the Verb here?

I need help! Could you please look at this sentence: When I obtained a credit card, I began spending money recklessly. I'm doing basic sentence patterns, and I don't know how to analyse this ...
5
votes
2answers
829 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
3
votes
5answers
481 views

A coffee to go…( for syntax experts)

Could the infinitive phrase "to go" be a complement of the noun phrase "a coffee"?