I've got a problem with this structure:

"Under this term are meant all things that belong to (...)"

I wish to know if it's correct and what kind of structure actually it is.

I believe it's probably more of general problem with sentence structure in English. I've got similar problem with this kind of constructs: "There is/are sth in somewhere" vs. "In somewhere is/are sth".

Example: "There are two tomatoes in the fridge." vs. "In the fridge are two tomatoes."

Are the above structures correct? Can they be used interchangeably?

closed as not a real question by MetaEd, Robusto, tchrist, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, StoneyB Dec 2 '12 at 4:46

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


Under this term are meant all things that belong to . . . is grammatical, but it would be used only in a very formal document. The normal way of expressing it would be something like This term includes all things that belong to . . .

There are two tomatoes in the fridge and In the fridge are two tomatoes are both grammatical. The first is an ‘existential clause’, typically used to introduce new information. For that reason, the first sentence is more likely to occur in this particular case than the second.

The use of existential ‘there’ and the inversion of subject and verb are just two of the ways in which the normal word can be altered to serve different purposes and to suit different contexts.

  • Is it really acceptable formally? I would be happier with By this term is meant or Under this term are included. But rather like OP, I'm more uneasy than objecting. – TimLymington Dec 1 '12 at 22:35
  • @TimLymington. You're right. I was oversimplifying to illustrate the difference. – Barrie England Dec 2 '12 at 7:48

Structurally, this sentence is fine. Lexically though, it seems odd to me. I can't think what it actually means to mean something under a term. I would probably have written

This term means anything that belongs to ...

or something similar.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.