Questions tagged [syntax]

Questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences

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1
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1answer
30 views

Can you say “that which” instead of “that that”?

Which is better: "...and it is that that is our 'result'" vs "...and it is that which is our 'result'"?
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2answers
72 views

What is the omitted subject of 'eating with your brother' in 'the big guy eating with your brother'?

(1) Who's the big guy [ ___ eating with your brother]? Here, the subject of the bracketed non-finite clause is omitted, as shown in the blank, and is retrievable from the main clause. I'd like to ...
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2answers
48 views

I think this a compound-complex sentence - but I'm struggling to draw a tree diagram of the co-ordinating/sub-ordinating clause(s)

With my 'Rediscover Grammar' by David Crystal to hand, I've been struggling with trying to draw a tree diagram of the below sentence all day. I'm not asking anybody to do the diagram for, but I'm ...
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1answer
28 views

Does “it's ok to …” count as a cleft construction?

I am wondering if "it's ok to..." (e.g. as in "it's ok for us to leave now") would count as an it-cleft construction. When I consider Quirk et al.'s (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English ...
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2answers
46 views

I saw/looked at the girl singing on the stage

a. I saw the girl singing on the stage. b. I looked at the girl singing on the stage. Does (a) mean "I saw the girl who was singing on the stage" or "I saw a scene where the girl was singing on ...
1
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1answer
42 views

What are the rules behind stock-market expressions like “I'm short X” “Steve is long Y”?

Reading through The Big Short (or any other stock-market related material), you'll find such expressions as "I am short Microsoft" or "We are long this trade". What is the rule behind such expressions?...
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0answers
22 views

“Many of which” and present continuous - which is more correct?

The ideas presented in this paper were extended in later works, many of which utilising the same model. The ideas presented in this paper were extended in later works, many of which are utilising the ...
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0answers
28 views

Do these uses of “bright” seem unnatural/awkward?

A number of my (Slavic) non-native English speaking colleagues have a tendency to use the adjective "bright" (or the adverb brightly) in contexts it doesn't seem natural. For example, "create a bright ...
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2answers
37 views

It has/have to be (to have)

What kind of person it has to be to have no doubts about your choice? Aren't there too many infinitives in one sentence? I'm asking about syntax.
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0answers
26 views

The multiple uses of apostrophe [duplicate]

When writing my dissertations, I still face a problem regarding the use of the apostrophes. For instance, is it correct to write: *International law**'s** effectiveness...?* I also need details ...
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2answers
45 views

Structural ambiguity [closed]

This sentence is supposed to be ambiguous. However I cannot see the ambiguity. "We heard Mr. Vaughn’s voice on the loudspeaker" My interpretation is: We: SUBJECT Mr. Vaughn's voice: DO On the ...
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0answers
129 views

Is there an alternative modern approach to the fused-head NP?

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Page 410) defines "Fused-head NPs" as follows: Fused-head NPs are those where the head is combined with a dependent function that in ordinary NPs is ...
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1answer
52 views

The Chauvet cave is unique because its preservation is unprecedented ? despite containing the oldest paintings ever discovered. Comma?

The Chauvet cave is unique because its preservation is unprecedented ? despite containing the oldest paintings ever discovered. Do I need a comma here?
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0answers
15 views

Function of the extra “to be” verb [duplicate]

I was wondering a lot about it lately. I found various examples of it, specially in more formal/old texts. The first time I realized it was reading what Oppenheiner said in an intreiew after the test ...
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1answer
51 views

Helping [to] + infinitive verb?

What would be correct? And why? I'm helping maintain the library. I'm helping to maintain the library. I'm helping maintaining the library. I'm helping in maintaining the library. (ok this one sounds ...
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3answers
258 views

The syntax of 'a mere one stroke', 'a mere one game', etc

However, Bryson DeChambeau seized the lead by the end of Friday's second round and was a mere one stroke ahead of Reed and Erik van Rooyen. (From Bleacher Report) It seems that a here is not a ...
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0answers
49 views

Is it grammatically correct for titles to not have punctuation?

I was wondering (for no particular reason), is it grammatically correct for titles, including, but not limited to, the ones of questions in the websites of the Stack Exchange network, to not have ...
0
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1answer
36 views

How to ask a question? [duplicate]

I frequently come across questions that don't actually read like questions, for example, "How to ask a question?" which to me, reads more like a direction than an actual question. I mostly see it when ...
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0answers
58 views

Let alone + verb

I never saw him, let alone touch/touched/touching him. Which verb form should I use here? I know that let alone is a marginal coordinator and the verb should be paralleled to the previous ...
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5answers
266 views

What does the concept of “apposition” mean precisely?

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language makes a clear distinction between ascriptive and specifying supplements, and categorizes only the former as apposition. I believe that answers to similar ...
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2answers
133 views

Predicative elements in the sentence structure

I am interested in the analysis of the following sentence: It is an original, gripping, and disturbing tale of pervasive class tension, oppression, and helplessness, a black comedy that at times ...
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0answers
25 views

How to go backwards when quoting from something?

I am trying to take a quotation from a book (The Awakening if you're interested), but the part I am trying to quote does not well fit my sentence, I am wondering if there is an accepted way to quote ...
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8answers
3k views

How to parse 'do more harm than good'?

This Oxford dictionary defines "do more harm than good" as: Inadvertently make a situation worse rather than better. ‘hasty legislation does more harm than good’ So I think this example means ...
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1answer
32 views

What is it called when an informational clause is added in the middle of a sentence?

What is the name of this sentence format called, when a clause of information is embedded in the middle of a sentence? I have highlighted the clauses of concern in bold. I first met George, my ...
2
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0answers
28 views

Dangling modifier and the order of the modifier and the referent

Somewhere else on SE I came across the phrase "As an engineering prof, let me try to guess..." that felt like it had a dangling modifier. I suggested an edit, moving "let me" to the beginning of the ...
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0answers
57 views

What is the reason for the 'royal' order of adjectives? [closed]

Why do we say "a big ugly cat" and not "an ugly big cat" according to the order of adjectives (opinion first then size)?
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1answer
44 views

Article before a dependent clause [duplicate]

When one writes a noun after a dependent clause, should that noun be preceded by an "a" or an "an". "That was an, to be quite clear, extremely clever idea." Or: "That was a, to be quite clear, ...
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2answers
82 views

Why do grammars claim that adjective+adjective is always a morphological compound and never a syntactic construction?

According to CGEL (and all other sources I looked at so far, such as Quirk et al. and Biber et al.), the following are morphological compounds, i.e. compound adjectives, and not syntactic composites ...
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1answer
37 views

How to parse this NP containing the structure “help somebody to do something”?

I'm trying to analyze this long noun phrase (NP) syntactically: The assertion that an understanding of human nature in the light of evolutionary theory can help us to identify the means by ...
3
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2answers
381 views

Is “have” or “has” more appropriate in this sentence? [closed]

I think both of these may work, but my inclination is that "have" is more appropriate in the following sentence: About 1 in 3 American adults [has/have] prehypertension.
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1answer
34 views

What is the proper way to structure this sentence?

I have the following sentence: The pact brought power; power, notoriety; and notoriety, the authorities. Is this the correct way to distribute the verb "brought" to the rest of the noun pairs ...
3
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1answer
160 views

I would like to have met her

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, page 148, reads I would like to have met her and I would have liked to have met her, which are often used to convey the same meaning as I would have ...
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1answer
171 views

Dropdown or drop-down

In web programming we use drop-down lists, but I'm not sure about the correct grammar. Wikipedia says "drop-down" when most frameworks uses "dropdown". Which one is correct ?
0
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1answer
62 views

“Had me blind” and grammar in lyrics/poems

I'm looking at a line from the song "I Can See Clearly Now". It's the line: Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. I know that that line is in the passive voice ("the dark clouds that had me ...
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0answers
42 views

How would you rephrase this to be in passive voice?

We gave the teacher a few gifts and a card. This confuses me because I can see the teacher receiving the action of being given something, but also the gifts and card receiving the action of being ...
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0answers
20 views

Comma usage in a sentence

LiveText at NLU will also be very helpful because if I need any technical support, they are available via phone. Is the comma after support required?
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0answers
36 views

Is this a simple or compound sentence?

The water will gradually evaporate leaving the sugar juice to solidify in the pan The ambiguous part to me is at the phrase: leaving the sugar... Is that a compound sentence of a clause (The water... ...
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0answers
34 views

phrase structure: “…from A to B”

In the sentence "S walked from A to B", how does the interpretation of the semantic relationship between the from-PP and the to-PP affect the grammatical structure of the sentence? On the ...
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0answers
214 views

“comment on” vs. “comment about?”

Is one more appropriate than the other, is either ok? Bonus question: is it ok to end a sentence with either one of these? For ex.: "Is there anything else you'd like to comment on?" or "...comment ...
4
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2answers
222 views

Form of predicative complement

I have two questions about predicative complements: 1) I've been scouring CaGEL* in pursuit of some kind of survey of forms functioning as subject predicative complement, but have failed miserably; I'...
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2answers
87 views

What's the meaning of “to” in “Love you to”? [closed]

There's a Beatles song called "Love You To" (not To Love You nor Love You Too). I've never understood this grammar construction and I don't understand what the title actually means. Is it just a ...
1
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1answer
48 views

Use of the ''it'' pronoun in a sentence

Which one of the two following sentences is more appropriate? Each state stands for a possible configuration of the system, and it is represented in the state space by a point. Each state stands for ...
5
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1answer
118 views

Why is the passive voice more prevalent in English than in other European languages? [closed]

Although the active voice is predominant in the English language the ‘ideal’ proportion of recommended passive sentences is still regarded as between 5% and 10%(source1) ( source2). Which is ...
0
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1answer
90 views

I'm trying to enumerate some things in the middle of a sentence

I'm currently writing my thesis paper and i'm trying to enumerate some stuff in the middle of the sentence. It goes like this. "The results of the study will be able to describe and give useful ...
2
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1answer
70 views

An English Descriptive Word for Two Words

I'm currently after a synonym for "middle-aged". However, I'm needing the word to be appropriate to describe a non-living thing. Middle-aged is more or less associated with animals and humans, not ...
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2answers
70 views

Articles with Spatial Prepositions

Are both sentences correct? with and without the indefinite article (a): She lives two minutes' walk from the station She lives a two minutes' walk from the station
1
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1answer
88 views

What is the subject in a passive infinitive sentence saying “to be considered for a promotion”

Once the employees have completed the company's largest project successfully, they will be offered an opportunity to be considered for a promotion. I found that sentence in my English book and ...
3
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4answers
89 views

List with different last item with just one “and”

I have no idea how to describe this. I run into this usage all the time in English, and to me it seems wrong, but considering how common it is, I'm wondering if it's actually accepted. Consider the ...
0
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1answer
45 views

Shouldn't You? or Shouldn't you be?

I am trying to decide whether the appropriate wording is: ... "Your clients are evolving. Shouldn't you?" or "Your clients are evolving. Shouldn't you be?" ... For some reason, "be" feels both ...
2
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0answers
67 views

English comparative words (than, so, as, and maybe like): why are they so weird?

I promise this is an actual, answerable question. But I want to explain myself when I call these specific words "weird"; English is so often "exceptional" that referring to any particular part of it ...

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