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Yesterday I came across a sentence I could no parse for the life of me. Maybe one of you can help me understand it better.

The sentence in question is: "These are things that I wish I could go Australia and handle myself."

The funny thing is that "These are things that I wish I could handle myself" makes perfect sense, while "These are things that I wish I could go to Australia" doesn't.

Does anyone know what this is called grammatically?

  • One hears native speakers say things like this, but that is a badly formed sentence. go to Australia and handle myself functions as a single verb on a semantic level, go-to-Australia-and-handle-myself . – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 24 '18 at 12:25
  • Thanks for the reassurance. I particularly like pathological sentences like this, since no one speaks their native language completely perfectly. And it is errors like this that make language such a dynamic thing. – Miriam Mar 24 '18 at 12:29
  • As you say, the sentence doesn't make sense. It would if you added a couple of words, as in: These are things that (make me) wish I could go (to) Australia and handle myself. – Ronald Sole Mar 24 '18 at 12:29
  • Today's pathology is tomorrow's tongue – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 24 '18 at 12:38
  • What do you mean pathological? What do you mean badly formed? Who are you to judge? The sentence makes perfect sense. As the OP says "These are things that I wish I could handle myself" makes perfect sense. I live in England so I can't handle them myself, but if I went to Australia then perhaps I could. Inserting that thought into the wish does not change the grammatical structure at all. It is equivalent to inserting a condition into the wish, such as, alternatively, "if I were old enough" or "if I were agile enough". – JeremyC Mar 24 '18 at 20:01

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