I would like a generative BNF-style complete description for English grammar. Some of the more subtle stuff leads to awkward questions of grammaticality (a complete answer to this question, and all related questions, is a publication with a complete description of a comprehensible and comprehensive formal grammar which generates exactly the set of grammatical English sentences):
Here is question 1: is grammaticality of verbs ever dependent on external context from other sentences? If so, then those constructions obviously require some semantics.
The two sentences below are the context
- John smiled at Lisa at Kinko's.
- John asked Lisa for advice at Kinko's.
After either 1 or 2, you say:
- I did what John did at Kinkos at James
- I did what John did at Kinkos of my friend
I believe the second form is certainly not grammatical in case 1. How about case 2? I am not sure if the first sentence is grammatical even in case 1. Should they be
- I did what John did to Lisa at Kinkos to James?
In other words, do the arguments have to match "do" or the verb that is implied by context by the "do"?
More generally, are there any cases where the grammaticality of a sentence requires looking at other sentences for context?