Questions tagged [syntax]

Questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences

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53 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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2answers
77 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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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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50 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 ...
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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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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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3answers
213 views

How to say one person does not share another person's fascination with either of two topics (using “neither…nor”)?

A is fascinated with reading and writing. B is not. This is the sentence structure I want to use but I'm not sure if it is possible: "B shares A's fascination with neither reading nor writing." ...
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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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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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38 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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1answer
80 views

Some clause structure about “SOURCE said that CLAUSE”?

Suppose we have the following sentences: John believes that people are good. Steve knows that France is in Europe. Now, in these sentences we have some clause (e.g. People are good, France is ...
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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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176 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 ?
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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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134 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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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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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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3answers
140 views

Putting “to do..” at the beginning?

There are some sentences I see no reason to do these stupid things. I can find no sensible explanation for you to leave your master program. An English professor from Canada at the university said ...
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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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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 ...
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1answer
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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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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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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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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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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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2answers
5k views

Not so much as [something] as [something else]

Consider the sentence: "She sees him not so much as her uncle as her friend." Is this sentence correct? I feel something is missing, or perhaps I am disturbed by the extra 'as'. Compare with: "...
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3answers
2k views

Is “we will connect to you” grammatically correct? [closed]

Am I right in thinking it does not make sense to say someone will connect to another one. Would the correct sentence be someone will connect someone/something to another or someone will be ...
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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 ...
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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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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
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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 ...
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351 views

Like as a preposition and prepositional phrase sub categorization rules

I'm trying to figure out how the sentence "My hands are shaking like crazy," breaks down into lexical categories. I know "like" can function as a preposition, meaning "similar to", but I'm not sure if ...
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1answer
24 views

Changing the focus of this sentence?

I'm trying to write a caption for my work Instagram account. I work for a ski holiday company and it's a photo of one of our guest's children. Wonderful photos from Chalet Augustine guests, Mike ...
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1answer
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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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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
66 views

“a food-hygienically acceptable substance”: Grammatical syntax?

In a document (written by a native Japanese speaker), I see the following phrase that sets off my acceptability and grammaticality alarms: a food-hygienically acceptable substance Google shows ...
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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 ...
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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
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1answer
3k views

Syntax analysis of the sentence

I'm trying to analyse the following sentence. To understand the importance of this event you should know all the facts. It seems to me that this sentence is complex, and «To understand importance ...
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478 views

What is the role of 'a lot' and 'much' in my sentences?

Can we use adverbs before pronouns? As we know adverbs are normally used to modify 'other adverbs' , 'verbs', and 'adjectives'. e.g (I'm feeling a lot better today.) I consider 'a lot' and 'much' as ...
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175 views

On the syntax of “just” with a “that-clause.”

I'm trying to work things through, (a) It's just that they won (b) She thinks just that they won (???) (c) She just thinks that they won In (a), just can appear immediately before the "that-...
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2answers
386 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 ...
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11k views

“most” vs “the most”, specifically as an adverb at the end of sentence

Which one of the following sentences is the most canonical? I know most vs. the most has been explained a lot, but my doubts pertain specifically to which one to use at the end of a sentence. Do ...
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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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2answers
4k views

The use of “So X as to be Y”

First of all, note that this is not a duplicate question of another one asking about the usage of so as to, since this one is asking about the structure of so . . . as to. . . . I understand this ...
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Why does “too [adjective] a [noun]” require the determiner to come *after* the adjective?

Example: John is too good a person to do something like that. If you can say John is "a very good person to do something like that", then why not "a too good person to do something like that?" Why ...

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