63 votes

Does this sentence of Melville lack a verb?

No, "their" is used quite correctly here, as a possessive. It simply modifies "air". To simplify the phrasing by removing some words, it basically says: Their inoffensive... air ...
Doug Warren's user avatar
  • 11.5k
45 votes

How is “The Stars My Destination” a grammatically correct title/sentence?

It makes complete sense. You're under-citing. Here's the entire verse from The Stars My Destination: Gully Foyle is my name And Terra is my nation. Deep space is my dwelling place, The stars my ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 134k
12 votes

Help me to explain this sentence's grammar

Let me start with the grammatical structure. But just briefly, the appearance of the word degree is indeed a mistake, and I will omit it in the discussion of grammar. I will say more about degree at ...
linguisticturn's user avatar
11 votes

"If you don't have a fresh chicken, I'll take a frozen (one)." – When can an adjective act on behalf of a whole noun phrase?

Natural: If you haven't got (any) fresh chicken, I'll take frozen. If you haven't got fresh cream, I'll take canned. If you haven't got any fresh cream, I'll take (some) canned. Not natural: If you ...
Tom B's user avatar
  • 267
11 votes

What does "you like stick" and "I like aerosol" mean?

Stick and aerosol are two different types of deodorant: (source: wikimedia.org) Personally I'd call aerosol deodorants "spray" deodorants instead, which tallies with the articles you get ...
AndyT's user avatar
  • 14.8k
11 votes

Gapping comma in a list

Yes, you can write it that way, sort of. There's nothing wrong with the concept of using gapping commas in that sentence, only the execution. In that sentence, since the items you list contain ...
Benjamin Harman's user avatar
10 votes

after movement have ceased (Steinbeck)

It doesn't need to be subjunctive; it's a plural verb because it's a plural subject: movement in time and space can be taken as a shortened form of movement in time and movement in space with the ...
psmears's user avatar
  • 16.1k
9 votes

"If you don't have a fresh chicken, I'll take a frozen (one)." – When can an adjective act on behalf of a whole noun phrase?

TL;DR: See the bulleted list in the second quotation box, and maybe peek into the final list too. Sentences #1-5 in the original post are examples of the fused-head construction; more specifically, ...
Færd's user avatar
  • 4,153
9 votes

Relative pronouns "where" and "when": where can they be omitted?

Short answer and quick fix: Look at the gap in the relative clause. If the gap can be filled in with the pronoun it, use the relative pronoun which. If the gap can be filled in using the locative ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
9 votes

Help me to explain this sentence's grammar

Another way to say this: "Global temperatures have already risen 0.9℃ [degrees] and continental temperatures [have already risen] 1.5℃ [degrees] above pre-industrial levels." If it sounds too ...
Robusto's user avatar
  • 151k
8 votes

Is it correct to use elipses in a formal essay?

Ellipses have only one place in most formal writing: inside a direct quote. Then they have two uses: to reporting halting speech, and if you omit some words. But in the latter case they should be used ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 21.6k
8 votes

"Electricity has a velocity (that is) as high as light’s (is)"

This answer ignores the physics implied by the sentences and focuses only on the English content. In linguistics, ellipsis (from the Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission") or elliptical ...
Lawrence's user avatar
  • 38.4k
7 votes

How are bracket ellipsis [...] used in quotations?

The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.) discusses square brackets with ellipses in 13.56. It indicates that in some languages (especially French [11.35]), ellipses are used more commonly than in ...
Chuck Bumgardner's user avatar
7 votes

Comma before ellipsis in a summation. Yay or nay?

The comma should not be used before the ellipsis as a comma is used to indicate a short pause, whereas an ellipsis indicates a longer pause trailing off into nothingness. Thus the comma is redundant. ...
Cameron's user avatar
  • 1,448
7 votes

Does this sentence of Melville lack a verb?

I agree broadly with Anton, but will suggest that the sentence in question is elliptical. Melville is saying that the officers' attitude on deck is certainly not the strangest thing - No! the ...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 40.4k
6 votes

Square Brackets and ellipses

If the original wording begins "The sun" and you insert "yellow" between those first two words, I can't imagine any theory under which adding ellipsis points (which indicate ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 161k
6 votes

Does this sentence of Melville lack a verb?

I'm essentially agreeing with Edwin Ashworth's paraphrase, but I'll offer a second possibility as well; and I'll disagree with Anton's suggested paraphrase. First, here's the original paragraph again: ...
Quuxplusone's user avatar
  • 2,632
6 votes

Using 'all' without a noun or pronoun

All is a Quantifier. That's a part of speech that the Romans didn't know about, so they left it off their lists. Other English quantifiers include some, any, few, quite a few, many, most, 33, over 50,...
John Lawler's user avatar
5 votes

"If you don't have a fresh chicken, I'll take a frozen (one)." – When can an adjective act on behalf of a whole noun phrase?

You ask "Does the phrase remain a noun phrase?" Yes, because the reduced phrase can be the antecedent for the "it" or "them", when you continue any of your examples with "Because I like it/them ...
Greg Lee's user avatar
  • 17.2k
5 votes

Relative pronouns "where" and "when": where can they be omitted?

You can omit the relative word only if it's possible to use "that" to introduce the relative clause I think "I met Laura on the day I missed the train to Barcelona" should ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 80.3k
5 votes

Capitalization of a word after an ellipsis

No, you do not capitalize the word following the ellipsis. I have only ever seen and used spaces in ellipses in academic writing when omitting text from the middle of a quote. For instance, from the ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 308
5 votes

"In 200 meters slight left" - Google Maps grammatical mistake?

It obviously uses a notation system that's a type of shorthand. Take this example of made-up "pacenotes" a co-driver would speak in a rally car: 100 metres, kink right severity 2 200 m, square left ...
Zebrafish's user avatar
  • 12.4k
5 votes

“Go before the numbers build”

In my reading, the two characters are talking past each other, rather than responding to each other. Anna seems to be some kind of public relations officer whom Maureen believes will actually make the ...
ᴇʟᴇvᴀтᴇ's user avatar
5 votes

“Although in poor health, she continued...” vs “No matter how poor her health, she continued…”

You say that "the prepositional phrase 'in poor health' doesn't seem correct without a noun before it. It seems better to say 'Although she was in poor health, she continued to carry out her duties'." ...
Shoe's user avatar
  • 32.9k
5 votes

Spoken equivalent of ... (ellipsis)?

For me, I might pause, I might carry on without a pause, I might say "dot dot dot" or three short "hmm hmm hmm" to denote that there's an ellipses. For reference, I speak Canadian ...
Cat's user avatar
  • 51
4 votes

Is it okay to omit an article after the word "or" because it is redundant?

Both are correct, with both or and and. However, the versions with the repeated article would be stylistically favored if the conjoined elements were categorically disparate (unlike writing materials ...
H Stephen Straight's user avatar
4 votes

Punctuating short quoted speeches

This is a matter of style, and you should thus be guided by your manual of style. I use The Chicago Manual of Style, which recognizes that you need to distinguish amongst words quoted in direct ...
deadrat's user avatar
  • 44.6k
4 votes

A bursar is an important figure in UK and US universities ["which" or "and"?] has many financial responsibilities

There are several options here, which can be seen as grammatically correct: A bursar is an important figure in UK and US universities who has many financial responsibilities. A bursar is an important ...
DES-COA's user avatar
  • 75
4 votes

"Yes, I will be"

Hmmf, well the question used to ask if someone could prove if this phrase was grammatical but this response inspired a edit removing that request for a proof. So what follows now seems a bit silly. I ...
candied_orange's user avatar

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