Questions tagged [syntax]

This tag is for questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences.

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20
votes
5answers
3k views

Is ending a sentence with a preposition acceptable?

When I learned English at school, I was taught that I should not end a sentence with a preposition. Is it correct to end a sentence with a preposition? To avoid starting a sentence with a ...
15
votes
3answers
5k views

"What it does is {VERB / to VERB / VERBing} ..."?

For these expressions What a paper shredder does is tearing the paper/tear the paper in small pieces which can be easily disposed. What he wants to do is to become/become a ballplayer. Which of ...
13
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3answers
5k views

Can I rephrase the sentence "Can you explain this word to me?" into "Can you explain me this word."

Can you explain this word to me? Can I rephrase it as Can you explain me this word?
4
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3answers
471 views

How to parse 3 successive negations: '... does not ... without ... unless ... ' ?

I apologise for this long quote's intricacy, but I simply wish to practice parsing long sentences replete with negations. Below, the bolded 3 negatives (because unless is a negative conditional), ...
25
votes
2answers
1k views

Does "It snowed hard Monday" require an "on"?

I came across an English learner writing It snowed hard Monday. After saying that it didn't snow on Friday and Saturday. It didn't quite feel right to me. I'd be okay with It snowed hard. or ...
11
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4answers
11k views

Can "Wow!" be a sentence?

The question is clear. Can "Wow!" be a sentence? Imagine a hypothetical context where I'd utter something like this: Wow! What an amazing idea! I should think about a way to push this fix. We see ...
11
votes
2answers
11k views

"Nothing is available, is anything?" Tag questions for negative sentences

I wasn't taught how to form a tag question when the main sentence involves "no". Is it grammatical to say There's no problem with the car, is there? There's no apples left in the carton, are ...
9
votes
6answers
4k views

Should we not start sentences with "And" , "But" ,"So" and "Because"?

Personally, I use “but” and “so” to start sentences, but not “and” and “because”. Today I was talking to a friend of my brother on this matter, who is in 6th Grade. He takes tuition from a private ...
11
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4answers
802 views

The grammar of 'Ready to take' versus 'Easy to take'

Why is this ungrammatical?: * The medicine is easy to be taken. when we can say: The medicine is ready to be taken. What is the difference between "ready" and "easy" that makes the ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

the structure "like for somebody to do something"

I ran into this in the novel The Old Man and the Sea, “I do not like for him to waken me. It is as though I were inferior.” What has happened in the first sentence "I do not like for him to waken ...
-1
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2answers
394 views

A Complete Interrogative Sentence, Grammatically Proper, Like a Complete Declarative Sentence?

From what I’ve read, and got, here, a complete declarative sentence requests a verb, and arguments. Does a complete interrogative request this, to get thought of as grammatically proper, too? She (...
25
votes
4answers
7k views

Syntactical problem? Musk's tweet "I Am Become Meme, Destroyer Of Shorts"

Here is a quote from Elon Musk's tweet: "I Am Become Meme, Destroyer Of Shorts" I have never come across such an expression as "be+ become." As far as my syntax knowledge goes, V+...
5
votes
1answer
429 views

When dependent clauses require commas, when do they allow them, and when are they definitely incorrect?

I've been writing in English for many years, but there are certain recurring issues that come up in my writing, which I can't seem to resolve permanently. Primarily I have a problem with punctuation. ...
0
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2answers
7k views

Which is the correct sentence? (is, is called, called as)

Which is the correct sentence? The young cow is calf. The young cow is called calf. The young cow called as calf.
0
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1answer
137 views

'had better not entangle' v 'had better not to entangle' [duplicate]

Can I write this sentence: He said Carter had better not entangle the US in problems like those in Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. Like this: He said Carter had better to not entangle the US ...
4
votes
3answers
778 views

when should we use "being"

From an article in The Hindu: An Integrated Textile Park (ITP) being developed at Edlapadu on Guntur-Chennai National Highway is expected to give the much-needed fillip to textile industry in ...
1
vote
1answer
202 views

"any other verbs then being located in VP" -- is this acceptable?

if the sentence you are analysing contains a modal verb, then it is positioned in ‘I’,any other verbs then being located in VP. (English Syntax and Argumentation - Bas Aarts) At first, I think ...
0
votes
1answer
345 views

A question about using the "v-ing" verbs

To native speakers, normally do you use adverbs to modify these v-ing worlds especially when they are the objects of the verbs? Like: I regret swimming hurriedly Not I regret hurried ...
15
votes
3answers
638 views

Is there a general rule for Verb + Preposition/Particle idioms, such as "come across"?

Composite verbs are giving me a lot of trouble. In German the syntax is simple; if the composite verb has the moving part, it goes to the end. But in English I've found many forms and I'm not sure ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

"How come" vs. "How come that"

I'm a English learner who studies syntax. I often refer to English corpus such as COCA to learn natural uses of English. Then, I found some sentences involving "how come", followed by "that" and a ...
4
votes
3answers
509 views

What makes language easily understandable for learners?

What types of construction, syntactic elements and vocabulary make language easy or difficult for learners of English to understand? Are there significant differences between the difficulties ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

"I want to understand what my options are" or "I want to understand what are my options"?

Which way is correct: "I want to understand what my options are" or "I want to understand what are my options" and why ? Since my English still needs tons of work, this baffled me for a long time, ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is a modal verb, really?

Is "have to" a modal verb? tells us, in two conflicting answers, that it's either a modal verb or it's not a modal verb. Then I just realized that there are never any definitions provided for what a ...
3
votes
2answers
212 views

role of infinitive

I want to ask a question to you about the sentence: I want you to go there. I can't separate the sentence into its parts. Could you please tell me which one is correct? "You to go there" is a ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

I know who my friend is / who is my friend

I know who my friend is. I know who is my friend. Could you tell me what is the difference between these?
1
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2answers
28k views

"as ... as" or "so ... as" for comparison?

I read in a book that for comparison, as ... as is used for affirmative statements, and so ... as is used to for negative statements. For example: He is as tall as his brother. He is not so tall as ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Is "have to" a modal verb?

I have heard people say that "have to" is a modal verb. Other people have told me it is not. Why exactly is "have to" a modal verb? Or why exactly is it not? I have also heard that it is a ...
0
votes
2answers
6k views

"each one having/has its own advantages and disadvantages"

Consider followings: In recent years some new models have been proposed, each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. In recent years some new models have been proposed, each one having ...
0
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3answers
54 views

"He alleges another £1m had gone on material purchases based on projections of Arcadia orders he was told were coming down the line."

He alleges another £1m had gone on material purchases based on projections of Arcadia orders he was told were coming down the line. This sentence look like a simple sentence. But here uses, more than ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

"Despicable Me": can "me" be used in such a way?

We know a movie named Despicable Me. I guess it means "I am despicable". But can me be used in such a way? For example, can I further say unavoidable me to mean "I am unavoidable"? Are there other ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it uncommon to end a sentence with a contraction?

I tried to persuade X to go, but I couldn't. I came across someone writing a sentence ending in a contraction, similar to the one above, and someone else saying that it's uncommon, and that "but I ...
4
votes
2answers
180 views

What this photograph is of: Why does it sound weird?

I know that the following sentences are correct: This is a photograph of me. This is a photograph of my Brother. This is a photograph of my new car. But can I use this as a question? e.g.: Can you ...
4
votes
1answer
703 views

Infinitive form Vs. -ing form after a value judgement

Which one of the following is correct and why? It'll be wonderful to see you again. It'll be wonderful seeing you again.
3
votes
2answers
273 views

Can I omit the second “is” in “is… and is…”?

What is the correct syntax: This column is a primary key and null. or This column is a primary key and is null. Should I write is again?
3
votes
1answer
181 views

In what ways can this song phrase be grammatically parsed? (From "Close to the Edge" by Yes)

In the song, Close to the Edge by Yes (click link to see lyrics), there is a line that I don't understand how to parse grammatically to make sense of it: "And assessing points to nowhere, leading ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

As I understand it, the first phrase is common. I'm afraid, I don't understand why is necessary the second "for" here (in bold). I think "to" is necessary here because "good ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Subject-auxiliary inversion in elliptical sentences (eg 'So am I')

[User 'Colin Fine' 's answer:] Note that so here [in so do I] has a different meaning from that it would have in the normal order ("I do so") - [the inverted so] means 'also', or 'as well' and it ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

Why mustn't the negatives be cancelled in: 'enumeration … does not presuppose something not enumerated'?

Source: United States v. Lopez, 1995, US Supreme Court, majority opinion by Rehnquist To uphold the Government's contentions here, we have to pile inference upon inference in a manner that would ...
1
vote
2answers
183 views

Is "This is the only mammal that can fly" an independent clause?

We were taught that an independent clause must have a complete thought/idea. This is the only mammal that can fly. How can "This is the only mammal" be treated as an independent clause? ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

judge which phrase the clause refer to

I read the sentence The driver process runs your main() function, sits on a node in the cluster, and is responsible for three things:... I am not sure sits on a node in the cluster ...
0
votes
0answers
85 views

"As shocking as Steven Avery’s case is to Netflix viewers"

As shocking as Steven Avery’s case is to Netflix viewers, his wrongful imprisonment for 18 years is not an isolated incident in the troubled US criminal justice system. http://www.theguardian.com/...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Can an English sentence exist without the subject?

In the bold sentence below, I can't find the subject, and I think it's not a inverted sentence. I don't know if it's right? Particularly relevant to the present work is the recent paper of Verdun et ...
0
votes
2answers
94 views

What is the construction of this sentence?

It is to an exceeding degree dependent not on how happy you were overall, but on how much delight you took in just a couple of things, how rosy and comforting your reflection will be on your school ...
0
votes
1answer
9k views

How about going to the cinema tonight?

We usually form wh-questions with wh- + an auxiliary verb (be, do or have) + subject + main verb or with wh- + a modal verb + subject + main verb ... When what, who, which or whose is the subject or ...
-1
votes
2answers
171 views

What is the name of such sentence in English syntax? (Pronoun + auxiliary verb + noun / adjective)

What is the name of such sentence in English syntax? Pronoun + auxiliary verb (or lexical verb) + noun / adjective No verb in the sentence. for example: I am a student or I am shy I ...