3

I can't explain why the following sentences are wrong, although I can correct them.

  1. (a) INCORRECT — The table shows the average amount of time advertisements on the Internet lasting.

    (b) CORRECT — The table shows the average amount of time advertisements on the Internet last.

  2. (a) INCORRECT — The graph shows what proportion of UK adolescents following a vegetarian diet.

    (b) CORRECT — The graph shows what proportion of UK adolescents follow a vegetarian diet.

    (c) CORRECT — The graph shows the proportion of UK adolescents following a vegetarian diet.

What's the actual grammar going on here?

  • Are these real sentences you have seen somewhere? – nxx Apr 2 '14 at 12:17
  • Looks to me like cutting and pasting/rewriting without correcting all the sentence. In which case there's no actual grammar, just errors and sloppy editing. – Mynamite Apr 2 '14 at 12:19
  • the actual grammar is just a subject and a verb. Advertisements last. pretty simple. – andi Apr 3 '14 at 15:54
  • Those are some good questions that you've asked. :) – F.E. Apr 11 '14 at 17:55
  • You could also have The table shows the average amount of time advertisements on the Internet are lasting. and The graph shows what proportion of UK adolescents are following a vegetarian diet. – Neil W Apr 12 '14 at 3:22
1

Verbs have many properties, tense (e.g., present, past), number (viz., singular and plural), mood (e.g., imperative, conditional), but here the inconsistency is in in verb's grammatical aspect.

There are four grammatical aspects:

  • Simple
    "I ate", "I eat", "I will eat"
    "I lasted", "I last", "I will last"

  • Progressive (ongoing)
    "I was eating", "I am eating", "I will be eating"
    "I was lasting", "I am lasting", "I will be lasting"

  • Perfect (completed)
    "I had eaten", "I have eaten", "I will have eaten"
    "I had lasted", "I have lasted", "I will have lasted"

  • Perfect Progressive (completed, but was ongoing)
    "I had been eating", "I have been eating", "I will have been eating"
    "I had been lasting", "I have been lasting", "I will have been lasting"

    1. (a) INCORRECT
      — The table shows the average amount of time advertisements on the Internet lasting.
        the average amount of time = not progressive
        lasting = progressive.

      (b) CORRECT
      — The table shows the average amount of time advertisements on the Internet last.
        the average amount of time = not progressive
        last = not progressive.

    2. (a) INCORRECT
      — The graph shows what proportion of UK adolescents following a vegetarian diet.
        what proportion of UK adolescents = not progressive
        following = progressive.

      (b) CORRECT
      — The graph shows what proportion of UK adolescents follow a vegetarian diet.
        what proportion of UK adolescents = not progressive
        follow = not progressive.

      (c) CORRECT
      — The graph shows the proportion of UK adolescents following a vegetarian diet.
      In this sentence there is an implied that are:
      The graph shows the proportion of UK adolescents that are following a vegetarian diet.
        the proportion of UK adolescents [that are] = progressive
        following = progressive.

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0

Let's start out by parsing your good sentences, #1.b, #2.b, #2.c, by using brackets to identity the internal complement(s) for the verb "shows":

  • 1.b) The table shows [the average amount of time(i) (that) advertisements on the Internet last __(i) ].

  • 2.b) The graph shows [what proportion of UK adolescents follow a vegetarian diet].

  • 2.c) The graph shows [the proportion of UK adolescents following a vegetarian diet].

You can see from the above that there seems to be three different types of constructions involved, w.r.t. show's internal complement(s). Each one would probably involve a good hunk of time and text to explain. I'm not sure if you're really interested in such a detailed grammatical explanation. If you actually are, then you might want to pose a new question where you asked about exactly one of those example sentences (perhaps it could be paired with one of the ungrammatical examples).

Also, you might notice something if you parse the ungrammatical examples and then compare them to the good ones. But, unfortunately, that might need to have the good ones grammatically explained first.

Anyway, let me give some quick impressions w.r.t. your first example set.

  • 1.b) The table shows [the average amount of time(i) (that) advertisements on the Internet last __(i) ].

The expression that is in italics "(that) advertisements on the Internet last __(i)" seems to be a relative clause, which modifies the nominal within the noun phrase "the average amount of time". The relativized gap ("_(i)") is linked to that same nominal. A possible interpretation for that relative clause could be something like: advertisements on the Internet last [an average of five hours].

You can try to use that explanation as you attempt to parse the ungrammatical version #1. Maybe that explanation will be helpful, maybe it won't. (Note that, in general, relative clauses are finite clauses. But the complement in version #1 seems to involve a non-finite clause as a modifier.)

And then, you can attempt to create explanations for your other good versions, #2.b and #2.c.

Hope some of this will be helpful to you.

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-1

In the first sentence, the meaning that I gather is that the average amount of time advertisements last. So you can see that the matter is to put forward a general fact and hence that would require the sentence to be in simple present tense. Hence last and not lasting.

In the second sentence, the subject is what the graph shows and there is no helping verb present in the sentence (in this case is) which compels you to correct the verb following to follow since simple grammar does not allow us to use ing-words in the absence of a helping verb.

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