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137

At the suggestion of the kind commenter, let me discuss the syntax of All mimsy were the borogoves There are two possibilities. The first is that mimsy is a noun, in which case we have the structure Subject Copulative-Verb Predicate-Complement where Subject = Noun Phrase All mimsy Copulative Verb = were Predicate Complement = Noun Phrase the ...


82

The phrase "Believe you me" copies the archaic word order one finds in Early Modern English for a marked imperative. Typical examples are from King James version of the Bible (both testaments). See e.g. Book of Matthew 14:16 They need not depart; give ye them to eat. and in a few common phrases such as "mind you" (but with a slight nuance) for example ...


54

Substitute the word "any" in the place of zero and it makes sense. Instead of saying "I have zero books." you are saying "I do not have any books." In this construction, the plural is not referring to the zero-quantity of books you have, but instead refers to a (vague and undefined) collection of books, none of which you have.


40

Later in the book, Humpty Dumpty gives Alice an explanation of the odd words in the poem and he defines 'mimsy' as 'miserable and flimsy'. In other words, we know it is an adjective because Lewis Carroll intended it to be one.


34

The only interpretation that would make sense at all would be taking the first two parts as an absolute construction, and the the other two as the main clause. With modern punctuation, it would look like this: A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed. ...


34

Let's change the main verb to "see". All the following adjectives accept an infinite I was happy to see her I was sorry to see her I was surprised to see her I was disappointed to see her 5a . I was sad to see her (go) 5b. I was saddened to see her ‘I was saddened to see their lack of commitment.’ I was mad to see her Incidentally, mad in ...


34

It sounds to me that the advice was one of style rather than grammar. Many people think that that should not be overused, and that sentences flow better without it. From the blog post "Overuse of That" by Billie Jo Schinnerer: My finding is many times it can be deleted without being missed and often increases the flow of the passage. For example in the ...


30

The common usage is that the person is connected to the life support. This is because usually the person is what's being discussed. John is connected to life support. The person, when it's what is important to the idea being talked about, is the subject, the state of being connected is the verb and the life support is the object. If the life support ...


29

Wiktionary has references from the 1840s and 1870s so this is old enough to register as a well-established idiom. I had some trouble finding other uses of "[verb] you me" until a blog pointed out the King James Bible: For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live Using Verb-Subject-Object order is "an archaic form used ...


27

Fortunately, Carroll's own definition assigns the part of speech to 'mimsy'. Otherwise, the word might now be taken as an early and unprecedented appearance of the British regional 'mimsy', also an adjective, but with a somewhat different meaning, although latterly sometimes influenced by Carroll's coinage: Prim; careful; affected; feeble, weak, ...


24

It's a standard passive voice construction, whereby P denotes the set of unitary polynomials becomes the set of unitary polynomials is denoted by P Of course, people tend to shorten things: the form “denoted P” is actually used both in oral and writing, but is the minority according to a couple of quick Google Scholar searches: “is denoted by x” vs. “...


23

This is ellipsis, but more importantly, English headlines follow special conventions that are, by and large, consistent across publications. Headlines have evolved to maximize information output and minimize space, because this has been optimal for newspapers (until the Internet age, at least — but now the conventions are ingrained into the world of ...


23

It's real English. It's based on archaic English grammar, e.g., phrases like "Hear ye me" in the King James Bible.


22

Stead as a noun exists, but is archaic. If you want to use it, it needs a specifier: his stead as in WS2's answer, or the stead. So you can say in the stead of; but instead of is much more common.


19

And (adding to oerkelens' statements about meaning), analysing the grammar involved, you're quite right, clever and miserable are still adjectives, referencing the (resulting state of) the kids here. This makes the usage a (resultative) transitive link-verb structure. However, it is a non-standard example, akin to Quote me happy. More common examples ...


19

Something that hasn't been mentioned yet: "all" here is being used as an adverb. Some examples of common English phrases using this construction: all worked up (thoroughly excited or upset e.g. "She got all worked up at the idea of adopting a baby.") all right (meaning in a satisfactory manner or to a satisfactory extent) all ready/all set (meaning "fully ...


18

Noam Chomsky famously used the sentence "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously". The syntax is flawless, but it has no meaning.


16

I can only answer the computer question, although it has the exact same meaning for the English language. In short: Syntax is structure, and semantics is meaning. Programming languages are written based on a grammar (just like English.) Grammars might say something like "If statements always have the form: if (condition) then (statement)." If you write ...


16

Starting a sentence with as is not a problem, and never was. The Corpus of Contemporary American English has 150000+ cites for sentences starting with as, across all registers and contexts, including academic writing. Your boss is completely alone in this. However, what your boss might actually be objecting to is the so-called dangling modifier. ...


16

First, a point of clarification. The "Therefore did Tristan claim justice..." passage that you quote seems to be from a translation made sometime around 1900 by Hilaire Belloc of an originally French text. That is well into the Modern English era; the period called "Middle English" is generally considered to have ended around 1500. A Middle English text ...


15

A rock smelled the color nine The syntax of the sentence works just fine but the sentence has absolutely no meaning because rocks do not smell and, even if they could, they couldn't smell a color that doesn't exist. But the form works with other words: A cat smelled the blue fish Related issues with English (which may or may not be next in your class) ...


15

You yourself is perfectly grammatical and idiomatic. It is used for additional emphasis. The Corpus of Contemporary American English has 475 cites for it, and the British National Corpus has 137. But since these two naked numbers alone mean little, here's putting them into some perspective: COCA BNC you 3556382 661498 ...


15

Instead is usually written as one word. It does not mean however that in and stead, cannot be separated in some circumstances e.g.: My father is too ill to go to the meeting so I shall go in his stead.


15

If I had to guess, it would be that this form "{subject} {verb} {adjective} {infinitive phrase}" does not always work. The sentence you described, "I was happy to help you" will work but replace happy with other adjectives to see if it works. I was hungry to help you I was eager to help you I was sad to help you I was mad to help you Out ...


15

This is a form of the subjunctive licensed by the preposition phrase on (the) condition. Many nouns, such as the noun condition can take content clauses using subjunctive constructions. Usually these clauses indicate the desired outcome of some implicit or explicit command or instruction. Here are some more examples of the subjunctive following the noun ...


14

In English, only 1 is singular; the other numbers are plural.


14

The sentence you gave does not consist of two subordinate clauses. It contains one independent clause, and one subordinate clause. The internal structure of the sentence goes like this: [He only gave me [what he owed me.]] The outer pair of brackets encloses the entire sentence, which is the independent clause. The inner pair of brackets indicates the ...


14

It's always a mistake to think of grammar as involving commas and words following them. Grammar is clauses and phrases and predicates; there are no commas in language, only in writing. In this case, there are two clauses: ((Eric's) psychology class) was different from the other classes (that) (Eric) had taken (Eric) was unhappy with ((Eric's) psychology ...


13

You're right that "thank you" could be used in either a singular or plural setting. So "thank you both" and "thank you, Raj" both work. But "thank you" is a phrase, a shortened form of "I thank you" (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=thank+you); to split it and try to use its component parts as if they were joined -- and as if they were both nouns -- ...


13

There are two, maybe three, different things going on here: Habitual be, as John Lawler and J_LV observe, is characteristic of AAVE; it now appears to be spreading from that dialect into the speech of ‘Millennials’, and I am informed by my 24-year-old son that the use is not entirely ironic: it is marked as non-standard but employed unselfconsciously. For ...


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