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I have two sentences, and the location of here bothers me. Could you help me figure out whether it's possible to use both of them or only one sentence is correct?

  • The object here is the chair.
  • The object is the chair here.

I know that the first sentence is correct according to the Cambridge Dictionary grammar. But maybe, the second sentence is also correct, what do you think?

I'm asking because I found some pattern in dictionaries:

He can find out more about these books here. They have lived here most of their lives.

I'd really appreciate your answers!

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  • The original sentences, while totally grammatical, don't come across as very natural-sounding (without any context, at least). Hence it's perhaps best to leave these examples. // The examples from dictionaries sound more natural, and are more easily analysed: 'He can find out more about these books here' (or with 'Here,' fronted) allows 'find out more about these books' to flow smoothly; it sounds awkward to split it. / 'They have lived here [for] most of their lives' sounds far more natural with the locative immediately after the verb. //... Jun 19, 2023 at 10:10
  • 'The odd one out here is the dolphin' shows the usual placement of 'here' after a noun phrase ('here' probably not being the central 'in this place' usage but 'in this situation', though that makes little difference). This is the unmarked version; placing 'here' in terminal position stresses the word and probably corresponds to a focusing on one odd-one-out situation among several. The same could be achieved by stressing 'here' after 'odd one out' (using italics in print). Jun 19, 2023 at 10:12
  • This use of here is normally done with the demonstrative pronoun ("This chair here") according to Merriam-Webster (here: adjective 1)
    – Stuart F
    Jul 19, 2023 at 12:17

5 Answers 5

1

Your two examples are correct - but only in a certain context (It is unfortunate that you gave none...)

English is quite liberal with the position of adverbs in a sentence.

Here, there, and where form a family of adverbs which must have a referent. The referent is something that has been mentioned or indicated (usually by pointing.)

In early Modern English, Here, there, and where had three forms

Here -> at, in, on, over, etc. this close place/point in time /area /surface /volume, etc. It is locative, i.e. it expresses the idea of location.

Hence -> from this close place and away from the speaker. This is an adverb of motion.

Hither -> towards this close place and towards the speaker - this is an adverb of motion

there -> in, on, over, etc. that more distant place/point in time /area /surface /volume, etc. It locative, i.e. it expresses “place”.

thence -> From that more distant place and away from the speaker.

thither -> from that more distant place and towards the speaker

where -> at, in, on, over, etc. which place/point in time /area /surface /volume, etc. It locative, i.e. it expresses “place”.

whence -> from which place and away from the speaker. This is an adverb of motion.

wither -> from which place and towards the speaker. This is an adverb of motion.

When the latter two of each adverb became rare, here, there, and where had to do the job. In order to do this, they became viewed as substantive objects, *i.e. they became their referent, and a preposition was added to indicate place or motion and thus they remained as modifiers.

Here = this place: "Store the boxes in here."

There = that place: "Store the boxes in there."

Where = which place: "Where (in which place) should I store the boxes." "This is where (the place in which) I store the boxes."

And so, in Modern English

Hence becomes from here

Hither becomes to[wards] here

thence becomes from there

thither becomes to[wards] there

whence becomes from which

wither becomes to[wards] which

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  • You say that "English is quite liberal with the position of adverbs in a sentence", and I don't disagree. However, you then give a long discussion of a dozen or so preposition, with not an adverb in sight! [You can probably find some non-grammar resource, like a dictionary, which will mistake them for adverbs, but they aren't adverbs and cannot do adverbs things!] Jul 22, 2023 at 14:39
  • @Araucaria-Nothereanymore. Your gospel is Pullam and Huddleston. Mine is not. Coincidentally, have just read the treatise made for here, there, where, etc., to be prepositions and, to be frank, it is linguistic garbage and will ruin the chances of students in exams. However, I respect your right to believe them. You will want to offer another answer.
    – Greybeard
    Jul 22, 2023 at 20:37
  • It's not "H&P", it's Otto Jespersen. The greatest linguist of English that ever lived. You need arguments and evidence before you bandy around 'garbage' labels! Jul 22, 2023 at 20:41
  • H&P use Jespersen (and Quirk) in justification and then go further. Indeed Jespersen did more for English grammar than anyone I can think of. I am a big fan of his but he was not always correct. It is they who need evidence - "He who asserts must prove" is the dictum - such evidence as I have seen is poor quality. As English is Germanic, one would expect the equivalent words in other Germanic languages to induce accusative or dative cases in their nouns - they don't.
    – Greybeard
    Jul 22, 2023 at 20:50
  • They use loads and loads of evidence for about thirty pages. But it wasn't only Jespersen, it was hosts of brilliant linguists like Edmonds, Jackendoff, Geis. Also linguists from the 1700's. The arguments are clear and well set out. If you could explain the poor quality of the evidence, I would be keen to be enlightened. Jul 22, 2023 at 21:37
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The object here is the chair. The object is the chair here.

They mean two different things (well, actually three).

In the first case you're either saying that the object of this discussion is the chair, or you're pointing to an "object" (which may just be a X on a drawing) and informing your listener that that is the chair.

In the second case you are saying that the "object" (of discussion?) is that particular chair (the one that's "here").

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The first thing is you need to understand the part of speech of "here" in the sentence. Surely it is an adverb. Generally adverbs modify verbs or adjectives, but in these two sentences here modifies the noun, so it is a noun modifier.

In the first sentence, here modifies the object, while in the second sentence here modifies the chair.

I think it is the only difference between these two sentences.

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    Here is an intransitive preposition. That's why it can't do all those adverby things and can do all those prepositiony things. For example, it can't be modified by very unlike most adverbs and like most prepositions and it can be modified by right unlike most adverbs and like most prepositions: *I live very here versus I live right here. Also unlike adverbs it can freely function as the complement of the verb BE, another attribute of prepositions: *He is locally versus He is here. Etc, etc ... :) Jul 19, 2023 at 12:51
  • Here is a locative, defining the spatial parameters of the statement. Old lumpers had it in the adverb miscellany, new ones have it in the preposition miscellany. Mar 15 at 15:31
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The object here is the chair.

The object is the chair here.

We have studied earthling languages on my planet for thousands of years.We walk and talk among you, gathering linguistic data, and have done so for millenia. Our terminology would be entirely alien to you. Ha Ha. We have humor on our planet too. Remember that the next time you say that laughter is universal. Ha ha. I have now made two puns in very close succession in your English. Such facility would qualify me to teach at one of your lesser universities. Ha ha. That's three. The language center of our E.T. brains is closely tied to the gustatory center, and English is one of the tastiest languages, a stew of Scandinavian, German, and French, with a few other bits. For us, a pun is like an amuse-bouche.

here in English can refer to a big place like one of your countries, or a smaller place,like a county or town or a village or even a street. It can refer to a school or a church in its institutional aspect rather than it its spatial aspect. You often use here to refer to a specific location where something is found, like a drawer, as when you say "Here are the car keys I've been looking for". You English speakers are always misplacing your car keys. And sometimes you use here to refer to who knows what, like when you say "See here, my good man! We won't have any of that sort of talk. Be off with you." It is a matter of ongoing debate at our institutes whether that last weirdly phrased command is the polite equivalent of your expression "Fuck off".

When here comes after words that refer to a thing, it tells you where the thing is. The thing is within spitting distance of the speaker. The speaker could reach out and touch it, or at least get to it relatively quickly by walking down the hall or across the courtyard or something like that. When the "thing" is an idea or a concept, where it is is anybody's guess. We suppose it means "in our current discussion" and that here can be replaced with "now".

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  • 'Here' can have the prototypical locative sense, or the 'in this situation' sense, in both sentences on trial. I'd say that with a locative sense, 'The object is the chair here' strongly suggests pointing after speaking. Mar 15 at 15:35
  • Who knows what those sentences might be referring to. A waste of time trying to envision a fitting context. A discussion of an early example of electricity being used for capital punishment might fit; or we could be listening to a historian talk about a chair where the queen once sat.
    – TimR
    Mar 15 at 15:52
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It's a matter of style. In paragraph 18 of The Elements of Style, Strunk and White advise: "Place the emphatic words of a sentence at the end."

In the case of the chair, the important word is "chair"; we know the object is here, but we don't know what the object is until we are told. If the chair were thought to be missing, then we would say, "No, the chair is here." But since the purpose is to say what object is here, we put the important word - chair - at the end.

Likewise, if I want to tell you where to look for more information, I say, find that information here (with a link). If I want to tell you how long they have lived here, I say "They have lived here most of their lives." If I want to tell you where they have lived most of their lives, I say "They have lived most of their lives here [often with a further identifier]."

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    I don't understand the point you are trying to make. You say The object here is the chair to call attention to the object, and The object is the chair here to call attention to the chair. Neither is necessarily "emphatic." Some additional context might be helpful, especially since your link is paywalled. NB Strunk & White is held in low regard by a good many, in part because what they present as stylistic guidelines (of dubious universality to begin with) are overzealously taught as formulaic rules by so many English teachers and tutors.
    – choster
    Feb 8, 2019 at 21:05
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    This rather misses the crucial point that deictics like here immediately follow what they modify; or said the other way around, that they modify what they immediately follow. It’s not a matter of style, but of which element in the sentence is stated to be ‘here’, which be any element it makes sense semantically to deicticise proximally. Jul 9, 2019 at 1:55
  • @Janus I can see terminal 'here', especially after a comma, used with the 'in this case' sense. And certainly sentence-initial 'here' would default to 'in this case', though 'in this photograph / collection / view ...' are certainly not impossible. Context is controlling. Dec 26, 2021 at 13:02

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