I wonder if the sentence below is correct. To my, a non-native English speaker's eye, the part in bold somehow looks weird. But I am not sure.

Language affects all over our society and culture.

Any explanations will be appreciated. Thank you.

Edit1 (I added contexts below. I am sorry that I haven't done this. I tried to make the question look simple and neat, so I cut out the context. But now I know I was wrong.)

As user3169 commented below, I meant as follows.

Language affects all areas of our society and culture.

But I wondered if it was also alright to say "Language affects all over our society and culture.". I felt it was weird but I couldn't find any clear, grammatical reason regarding it.

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    I think your example is probably actually ungrammatical, not just "weird". You might consider something like Language has effects throughout our society and culture as more "natural" phrasing. Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 18:28
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    Are you trying to say, all of society is affected?
    – Hector von
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 19:28
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    Or all areas of society and culture?
    – user3169
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 19:59
  • @Hectorvon I was trying to say all areas of society and culture as user3169 indicated. Thank you also for the answer below! Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 18:24

1 Answer 1


Language affects our all over society

locative adverbs (rather adverbials of place) come at the end correlating to the direction of the target, because a target is by definition something at the end of a process. The pronoun comes beforehand.

There's a billion different interpretations because "all over" is not really a grammatically formal construct, like roundabout. Formalism are in fact used to be precise and avoid inaccuracies. If anything you have to quantify the imprecision. You need to circumscribe the context for us to help you.

Here's another one:

Language affects the direct object (accusative case) all over society

The verb is transitive requiring a direct object, but "all over our society" is not a noun phrase and as such couldn't be the direct object. What does it affect all over society?

"all over" is a preposition linking the verb and the indirect object, "society", so it's quite fine in the middle, and the whole description of place is still at the end.


The word society (or culture) is a metaphorical personification of an abstract concept, that works very well, because it means actual persons. It's inherently subjective, because you don't say what property of these persons is actually affected, and because persons are actual subjects. I said, you might instead want to highlight the object that is actually affected. One possible interpretation would be that language affects the society's language. That makes the expression difficult, because then society affects itself, and language affects itself, too; but I'll ignore that because you didn't specify the context. I'll just say that affect has an emotional lexical aspect, it is subjective, not objective. Language as object rather has effect on subjects: "All of our society is effected by Language", which can be turned into a metaphor "Language has effects on all of our society". I say meta- because the language is still used by the person, so that sentence is on the meta level, which is fitting because language about language is necessarily on the meta level.

The simplest correct case would be:

Language affects our society.

To be precise, you could say "all of our society" in the abstract sense, or "everyone in our society" in the personal sense.

"All over" can be used as an adverbial of place meaning "everywhere", then it should come at the end as well; this would emphasise that society is not bound to a place, which makes it an oxymoron - a grammatically correct contradiction, which can be used as rhetorical device to resolve a paradox by proof by contradiction. Simply speaking: this would put emphasize on the negation of a previously assumed fact ("assumed fact" is likewise an oxymoron ... ).

It can be used to replace "everything" in "affects everything in/of our society", too, then your sentence would be correct, but most certainly not directly true, and to be unspecific I would instead still prefer "affects our society". "all over" is listed as a pronoun, too, but I think it's in informal style. Then my first recommendation "our all over society" would be the one to use, "our all over" being the colloquially idiomatic combination of these pronouns. Compare that to the formal compound pronouns, i.e. "language affects itself", which highlights the recursive nature of language, but isn't useful without [recursion] termination. If the terminating end condition is implicit, the whole sentence could be implicit and I would leave it out.

  • Is the sentence you mentioned at first "Language affects our all over society and culture." natural and correct to say? And does it have the same meaning as "Language affects all areas of our society and culture."? I am trying hard to understand your answer, but I have several questions. I hope you don't mind if I ask you a bit more about your answer. Thank you very much. Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 7:57
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    You doubt my answer and I am not sure as either. As I said, "all over" is ungrammatical in this case. I'll amend the answer.
    – Hector von
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 12:22
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    feel free to ask if I'm unclear or wrong
    – Hector von
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 13:42
  • Thank you so much for the response, but I am the one that lacks understanding ability. Your explanation is great. Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 14:27

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