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138

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 ...


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

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 ...


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, ...


23

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

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 ...


17

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.


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

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

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 ...


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

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

It is equivalent to "Let civil liberties be damned"


13

Despite the superficial similarity between "Till death do us part" and "Till death do we part", I believe that the structures of these lines are quite different. In this kind of poetic construction word order is typically thrown out of the window in order (haha!) to achieve a more pleasing metre or rhyme. This means that we need to look harder at the words ...


13

There is no single syntactic or distributional property of nouns which is sufficient to guarantee the inclusion of an item in the word class. For most modern grammarians there is a major subcategory of the noun class, the ᴘʀᴏɴᴏᴜɴ, the members of which show slightly different properties and distributions. The remainder of the class can be subdivided into ...


12

I didn't realize I used this construction until I moved to Minnesota and a wordie laughed when I said "My house needs cleaned." It could only come from my Dad, who is from southern OH, by way of Pennsylvanian immigrants from Ireland, who in turn are of Scottish ancestry. I realize I would only use it for needs/wants. A couple of quirks about my usage I ...


12

If the verb to try is being used in the sense of to attempt, then it is generally followed by to + infinitive rather the -ing form of the verb. So, assuming that the trying here is attempting, it should be: I am trying to fix this. If, on the other hand, the verb is being used in the sense of testing something out (e.g. to see if it works or if you like it)...


12

To add to the other answers... The poem is a pastiche of heroic poetry such as Beowulf. This inversion is generally seen by native English speakers as old-fashioned/archaic. There are many other archaic constructions in the poem too - just in that first verse, "twas midnight" and "the slithy toves did gyre" are forms which were no longer in use in spoken ...


12

I’m afraid the answer is ultimately a very disappointing “because it is”. There are various types of adjectives, and like verbs, different adjectives have different properties of valency. Some cannot take any complements; some can take one or more optional complements; and some must take one or more mandatory complements. Of those that can or must take ...


11

One of your examples is punctuated idiosyncratically: While Anna dressed the baby spit up on the bed. I've always been taught and I've always taught that adverbial clauses starting a sentence need to be followed by a comma: While Anna dressed, the baby spit up on the bed. This isn't mere disambiguation. Rather, the comma grants that clause -- "While ...


11

Neither of those are good grammar. 'less' is comparative, and should always be 'less than' something (sometimes only by implication). Good sentences using less might be "Use tools less than ten times" or "Use tools less than the other builder." To convey what you seem to be saying, you can use: Use tools as little as possible which means keep the amount ...


11

One simple feature of a noun is that it can be replaced by "he/she/it" when it is a single noun in singular and by "they" when it is a single noun in plural. I have never tested if this feature really helps in difficult cases, as in English a noun can also be a verb (a cry, to cry), an adjective (the dark, a dark corner) or even an adverb (my home, to go ...


11

A noun generally takes an article ("the"), can be modified by an adjective, cannot be modified by an adverb, cannot take a direct object. To illustrate, here is a sort of minimal pair between noun and verb: "Eating lobster is forbidden." (This is the first half of the pair.) The subject noun phrase, "eating lobster", has "eating" as its head, so you might ...


11

To add to the theories in OP and the answer of @Malvolio, there's another interesting clue here. As @NeilW noted in the comments, the British actually used to use the word "only" after the amounts on cheques, receipts, bills, etc. (Apparently to prevent tampering, thanks @MattBishop .) This is still practiced in India today. For example, here's one of my ...


11

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 relative word equivalent to sentential relative "which", but, unlike the latter, which always appears after the sentence to which it refers, "as" can precede the ...


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