Questions tagged [construction]

symbolic units that connect a linguistic form with meaning

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106
votes
9answers
10k views

Is there a word for a person with only one head?

Reading this article by the fantastic Douglas Adams I came across this interesting quote: ‘[I]nteractivity’ is one of those neologisms that Mr Humphrys likes to dangle between a pair of verbal ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

A term describing the replacement of a specific word in a saying with one that ryhmes

I understand this is quite a complicated title, however I have failed to discover a word (or a few words) to adequately describe the creative language used when changing a saying (or well-known phrase)...
14
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2answers
9k views

What is the difference between a phrase and a clause?

What is the difference between a phrase and a clause? I tried looking this in dictionary but can not identify the difference. It would be great if I could get an example and formula of what makes a ...
13
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4answers
1k views

The use of “trespasses”

According to a dictionary search for "trespasses": v. Enter the owner's land or property without permission n. A voluntary wrongful act against the person or property of another, esp. unlawful entry ...
12
votes
3answers
475 views

One of the best universities in the world to _______?

In the construct one of the best places + to + infinitive, the infinitive refers to an activity that a person can do. Example Cape Breton Island is also one of the best places in the world to ...
11
votes
2answers
25k views

Difference between “subsequently” and “consequently”?

When studying and reading course material in "softer" sciences that are descriptive the word "subsequently" appears in a way like "and subsequently" ...what does it mean, disctinct from "consequently" ...
10
votes
1answer
13k views

Root + “-ophone” construction to describe speakers of a language

I've long used the terms anglophone and francophone to describe English and French speakers respectively, but I recently found myself about halfway through a sentence where I needed a similar term for ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

“just because… doesn't mean…”

It appears to me that the construction "just because… doesn't mean…" isn't used in literature at all. Is its use limited to colloquial speech and informal writing? Note that while some people seem to ...
9
votes
2answers
235 views

Get a high speed connection without roaming charges instantly

I saw this message on an advert: Get a high speed connection without roaming charges instantly. I am pretty sure that a better way to say it is: Instantly get a high speed connection ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

“That… be” construction

We will make the convention that exact categories be skeletally small. Is this construction (used in a mathematical context) correct? There is something that strikes me as odd in that "be". Should it ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Attributive and predicative position of an adjective

I have some difficulty understanding the position of adjectives. In English I have to put the adjective before the referred name (e.g., I'm an Italian man). In some languages (as Italian or Ancient ...
7
votes
3answers
313 views

Humour through repeated use of a construct, with a final variation?

I am wondering if there is any name, or well-known example, for a humoristic construct that I particularly enjoy. It is exemplified in this monolog from Pierre Desproges, directed at a woman he was ...
7
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1answer
1k views

What colour eyes

I've just stumbled on this sentence What colour eyes does she have? in my grammar book. What got me interested in this is the combination of the words colour, eyes with what and without any ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Zero conditional form

Chatting with a colleague we came a cross a dilemma (as we are not English native), which of the following sentences are wrong? Why? If I knew everything, I'd be a genius. If I know everything, I'd ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Making a question with the verb “to go”

I remember reading or hearing that English is a very unusual language, almost unique, in using the verb "to go" to create a question. (Are you going to see the play? Are you going to drink that coffee?...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

Question regarding the usage of “Bang”

Can anyone shed some light on the origin of the use of the word "Bang" to imply a positive adjective? For example, here are three colloquial phrases which use the word bang to lend strength to the ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Can an adverb be a noun?

I have seen this post for the answer to my question, but this is not much help in case of the question I am going to ask. Here is an example sentence - The new design of Twitter profile is more ...
4
votes
4answers
413 views

What is the proper term for etching or digging of wall to hide conduit of cables

I am creating a scope of work and I can't seem to find the right term to say... (including context) Contractor should provide in wall conduit. If no in wall conduit is available, contractor should ...
4
votes
3answers
80k views

Is “Please be reminded to …” a valid construction?

I received an email today with the following sentence: Please be reminded to bring your basketball gear in. He was subsequently made fun of by a co-worker: 'Please be reminded' - Will you be ...
4
votes
4answers
9k views

A is as good as if not better than B

A is as good as if not better than B Explanations for this phrase I got are a bit controversial. Some say A≤B, some, A≥B, but others say it could be A≤B or A≥B depending on the situation. The phrase ...
4
votes
4answers
872 views

verb or adjective in “The blue page is *stapled* to the red page”?

Consider the following sentence. The blue page is stapled to the red page. Although "stapled" is (apparently) past-tense, nonetheless the above sentence is clearly expressing something about the ...
4
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2answers
4k views

“would rather” + subject + past subjunctive

What is the difference between: The company would rather each employee be provided with ID card. The company would rather each employee were provided with ID card.
4
votes
1answer
564 views

“Will” vs “Would” in the sentence [closed]

On the Day of Judgement when nothing but God's justice WILL reign supreme. or On the Day of Judgement when nothing but God's justice WOULD reign supreme. Which of the two is correct? Also ...
4
votes
2answers
346 views

Why the construction “They it was who…” is grammatically correct?

I just came across the following sentence on Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker: They it was who controlled our whole adventure... I have the impression this a rather archaic, yet valid, construction. A ...
3
votes
2answers
281 views

Who is Greek president vs Who is THE Greek President

I saw this in a quiz on Stuff: Who is Greek president? Surely the word "the" should be in there somewhere? But I get the feeling I've heard things like "US President Barack Obama" instead of "The ...
3
votes
3answers
560 views

What's different between the two sentences?

Hey, I'm watching a TV show, and there's a sentence: I knew giving you that book was gonna come back and bite me in the ass. Can I change it to: I know gave you that book was gonna come back ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Is there a name for the type of shorthand sentence that excludes yourself as the subject? e.g., “Going to the park.”

See this all the time. Doing it right now. Leaving out the "I am" piece of the sentence. Does this have a name?
3
votes
3answers
6k views

“Attached {is/are} X, Y and Z.” If X, Y and Z are all singular, is it correct to use “is” here?

Which is correct? Attached are our compensation plan, an independent contract agreement, and a W9. Attached is our compensation plan, an independent contract agreement, and a W9. I thought because ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

What type of grammar construction is this

She thinks herself able to best him in this argument. She thinks that she is able to best him in this argument. She thinks herself to be able to best him in this argument. Are the first and the ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

“Choose a username that is …and must contain”: phrased incorrectly or just awkwardly?

The following parameters are given regarding creating acceptable usernames for a particular website: The username is case sensitive. Choose a username that is 6-74 characters long and must contain ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What grammar is used in “are there” for not a question & “is a compromise view” without a subject?

I have found 2 sentences in a law book, but I cannot figure out what grammar rules are used in them. Please advise. 1.) In no state, however, are there [what rule, why such order of the words?] ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Englishman and British man

Why is it Englishman, Frenchman, etc. (one word) but British man (two words)?
3
votes
1answer
241 views

Is this construction correct? “Today is [(pro)noun] [gerund]”

"Today is [(pro)noun] [gerund]" Context: Some time ago, my friend and I were messaging each other and then I used this construction. He immediately said that my sentence should've been "Today [(pro)...
3
votes
1answer
104 views

Elliptical construction: I scissored my cigarette between my fingers, very European.

Can I pass this sentence off as grammatical on the grounds that very European is an elliptical construction implying "which is very European"? From my understanding so far, the only requirement of an ...
3
votes
3answers
299 views

Why can 'X as well as Y' be written as 'as well X as Y'?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D., U. Texas at Austin, Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses), 2013, p 193:         ...
3
votes
2answers
544 views

Negating a clause

This is my first post, I really like this site! Basically I have problems to distinguish the negation of a verb that is applied to a clause, and a verb that is applied to a negation of a clause. The ...
3
votes
2answers
200 views

Pesky 'that' removal - what is this construction generally known as?

Recently seen: There is an expression I think comes from ... Others have told me (that) such a construction is wrong, but I am sure (that) it is OK. An editor decided it was grammatically wrong ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

“Money is all what/that I need.” [duplicate]

1.) Money is all that I need. 2.) Money is all what I need. Which one is right? or which one have you not ever seen? and is there any difference between them? But, what about the following? If we ...
2
votes
3answers
18k views

Use of “make someone able to XXX”

I have some doubts about the construction of this sentence: I want to make you able to play. In my language this is a common construction. Is it a valid sentence in English too? This is the form:...
2
votes
1answer
670 views

Job title + possessive case [duplicate]

Is the following construct (grammatically) correct? Swiss mathematician and physicist Leonhard Euler's contribution to number theory was [...] It sounds clumsy to me; however, this rewrite sounds ...
2
votes
5answers
26k views

A word or phrase to say something reminds or hints or brings up another idea

I want to tell that something reminds/hint us of another thing. For example, in an application, a sorting method used in it has similarities to bubble sort but not completely the same. In this case, ...
2
votes
1answer
658 views

“To have it [be] <something>” construction?

I have several times come across this construction in which the verb have is followed by the verb be, although normally be is omitted as saying just have is enough to convey the meaning. Are the ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

“that one consider” or “that one considers”? [duplicate]

I have a question to ask regarding this quote. In the formation of a marketing strategy, it is imperative that one considers the marketing mix, also known as the 4Ps – product, price, place, and ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

“there were enough room” or “there was enough room”

Which is the correct verb, should it be singular or plural? 1.) "There were enough room." or 2.) "There was enough room."
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Is this a positive or negative sentence?

I heard a sentence like this: How will Bill ever know that? Can someone tell me if this is a positive or negative sentence and what are the guidelines to decide which it is?
2
votes
1answer
333 views

Use of “still” in a reply in informal conversation

In informal conversation, in answer to the question, "What happened?" would it be correct to reply, "Nothing still important"? (Meaning nothing that is still important to discuss now; the topic lost ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

“Was to ” vs “was to have ”

What is the difference in the meaning between following sentences: John was to have picked strawberries yesterday but the downpour made the field too muddy. John was to pick strawberries yesterday ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

“After work at X” or “after finishing work at X” or “after finishing working at X”

After work at the store that day, I took a detour. After finishing work at the store that day, I took a detour. After finishing working at the store that day, I took a detour. Are the ...
2
votes
2answers
218 views

Usage of a participial construction in a specific interrogative sentence

I cannot grasp the construction and meaning of the following sentence. "What do Company A and Company B intend to achieve, anticipating that their intentions may be somewhat different?" Could you ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

I'm having so much fun watching

I'm trying to analyze the construction of this sentence: I'm having so much fun watching. so much fun = NP, Direct Object of the verb am having watching = My question is, is #2 an NP (and gerund) ...