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28 votes

'I think IT unlikely that our team can win'. <--Is IT the object?

This is an extraposition construction. In an extraposition construction, we use a meaningless dummy pronoun it in a position where, in terms of meaning, we'd like to use a clause. The dummy pronoun ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

We know how expensive we are

Short answer (tl:dr): In the Original Poster's example, the subordinate finite clause how expensive we are is syntactically ambiguous and could be either interrogative or exclamative. Full answer: ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
12 votes

Where is the subject in "as was traditional for unmarried women"?

Strange as it may sound, the subject of "was" is, in the opinion of many renowned grammarians (please read N.B. below), the relative pronoun "as". In that sentence, "as" is not a conjunction but a ...
Gustavson's user avatar
  • 3,200
11 votes

Where is the subject in "as was traditional for unmarried women"?

As __ was traditional for unmarried women, Jane lived at home her entire life. It has no overt subject. The expression in bold is an adjunct of comparison with the preposition "as" as head. The ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 13.4k
9 votes

Where is the subject in "as was traditional for unmarried women"?

The subject of "was" is apparently missing. This is a complex sentence, so not all parts have to have all the elements of a main clause. The main clause of the sentence is the second part, "Jane lived ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 83.1k
9 votes
Accepted

Syntax of "What's going on at work these days that you're always on the phone?"

Huddleston & Pullum (2002) discuss this, describing it as a case where a declarative content clause functions as an adjunct in clause structure (pp. 969-970). They give the example: What has ...
alphabet's user avatar
  • 19.1k
8 votes

Can we ever use "that" and "who" right next to each other?

[1] *The problem is that who will go. [2] The problem is who will go. [1] is ungrammatical. The subordinator "that" can introduce declarative content clauses but not subordinate ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 13.4k
7 votes

The reason being

Early examples of the expression from transcripts The phrase "the reason being is that..." appears in Google Books search results going back to the late 1960s—initially in reports of ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
6 votes
Accepted

Coordinating conjunctions in translation of Kafka

Conveniently, Patrick O'Neill, Transforming Kafka: Translation Effects (2014) presents versions of this famous opening sentence as handled by twelve English translators of "The Metamorphosis"...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 165k
6 votes
Accepted

How did “to wish that” come to hate the present tense in the subordinate clauses it governs, and why is it alone in this?

You asked quite a few questions. Here is an attempt at providing answers to a portion of them. 1. Is this something new or something old? Has it always worked this way in English even before the ...
linguisticturn's user avatar
6 votes

Types of Clause

A clause is a sentence constituent that has a subject phrase and a verb phrase. What is called in grammar school a "simple sentence" is just one clause, with just one subject phrase and one ...
John Lawler's user avatar
6 votes

Comma with Em-dash after Subordinate Clause

No, there should not be a comma in front of either em dash in: When rebounding becomes important—as is the case when playing the Lakers—we need to have John in the game. According to The Chicago ...
Tinfoil Hat's user avatar
  • 18.1k
5 votes
Accepted

What specifically is the difference between a 'content clause' and a 'complement clause'?

A complement is a dependent that is licensed by its head (the element that the complement is dependent upon), which means that this particular head element permits the dependent while others don't. ...
deadrat's user avatar
  • 44.8k
5 votes

'I will miss everyone when/if I leave my job.' Can the sentence with 'if' and the one with 'when' really mean the same?

Case 1: you have made up your mind that you are about to leave. Better still, even others are aware that you are about to leave. In other words, there is no uncertainty in your intention, and others' ...
PintoUbuntu's user avatar
5 votes

Can we ever use "that" and "who" right next to each other?

Your example doesn't work as it stands. You would have to say: The problem is - who will go? where the question forms a separate clause, or: The problem is that we don't know who will go.
Kate Bunting's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Subordinate clause types/functions

She begged him [not to leave her]. The colonel commanded his men [to charge]. How can we encourage a baby [to use that toy properly]. Yes, the bracketed clauses are subordinate, but they are not ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 13.4k
5 votes
Accepted

What is the direct object of "I imagined" in the context "as I imagined would be the case"? (i.e. I imagined what?)

'I imagined' does not have a direct object here, instead 'imagined' allows the clause that follows '___ would be the case' where there is a gap in the subject position. The whole construction headed ...
DW256's user avatar
  • 9,517
5 votes

Preferred conjunction for integrated clause (e.g. "and one that" versus "and one which")

The type of relative clause for the two examples given is an integrated relative clause - they are not separated by a comma from their antecedent (one in this case) and could not felicitously be so ...
DW256's user avatar
  • 9,517
5 votes

Types of Clause

Types of clause can first be categorised as follows: Declarative - making a statement [You are very tactful.] Closed interrogative - asking a closed question [Are you very tactful?] Open interrogative ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 13.4k
4 votes
Accepted

“In + VERBing” vs “When + VERBing”

There is a slight difference between the meanings of the two . "In working with others..." means 'as part of the process of working with others'. "When working with others..." means something that ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
  • 26.2k
4 votes

Why does "that" sound odd to me after "said" in these sentences with "as" and "like"?

You are reacting to stylistic expectations. That is optional in all four uses. As you add words that can also carry emphasis, it becomes more and more desirable to omit an optional element and thereby ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
4 votes

What is an example of "where" in an adverb clause?

[1] [Where I'm going] is none of your business. [2] No one knows [where he is]. [3] It's interesting [where these things have come from]. [4] This is [where I want to be]. [5] This is the park [where ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 13.4k
4 votes
Accepted

Is it a noun clause or phrase when the nominal entity is modified by a determiner?

Your bag is in [your locker]. "Your locker" is not a clause but a noun phrase with the noun "locker" as head and the genitive pronoun "your" as determiner. Its function ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 13.4k
4 votes

When we say 'The probability that a red ball is picked is 0.5', what type of subordinate clause is being used?

The probability [that a red ball is picked] is 0.5. Preliminary point: I would advise against using the terms 'noun clause', 'adjective clause' and 'adverb clause'. The classification of finite ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 13.4k
4 votes
Accepted

Comma with Em-dash after Subordinate Clause

No, it is correct without a comma. If the visually displeasing nature of When rebounding becomes important,—as is the case when playing the Lakers—we need to have John in the game. isn’t good enough ...
GrammarCop's user avatar
3 votes

Does past tense soften tones?

As an American English speaker, I would definitely not use shall here. The context where I mainly see shall used are in technical standard documents, where it conveys an absolute requirement, not ...
The Photon's user avatar
  • 4,587
3 votes
Accepted

Is there a well-known secular sentence that uses all three of the imperative, indicative, and subjunctive moods?

Well, subjunctive mood is a bit opaque to me, and it's more than one sentence, but perhaps Just sit right back And you'll hear a tale A tale of a fateful trip, That started from this tropic port, ...
1006a's user avatar
  • 22.9k
3 votes

Why do people use ‘should’ in “It’s funny you should say that”?

Lexico's definition of "should" says: Used in a clause with ‘that’ after a main clause describing feelings. ‘it is astonishing that we should find violence here’ ‘It seems to me revealing ...
mic's user avatar
  • 596
3 votes
Accepted

How to tell if "which" refers to subject or object of main clause?

There's ambiguity when you try to analyze a sentence devoid of any communicative context. But since language is "quite often" used for communication, other things serve to help disambiguate; such as ...
Arm the good guys in America's user avatar

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