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17 votes

It seems the main clause is absent in this complex sentence. Why is it correct?

The main clause is the one headed by the verb "is", so the bracketing is: (What surprises me) is (that they are fond of snakes and lizards). Both the subject and its complement are content ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
8 votes
Accepted

It seems the main clause is absent in this complex sentence. Why is it correct?

[What surprises me] is that they are fond of snakes and lizards. The main clause is the whole sentence in a 'fused' relative construction. The subject "what surprises me", is not a clause ...
BillJ's user avatar
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6 votes

I am happy I could/was able to help you. - which one?

'Could' is used to indicate possibility. 'Able' is related to ability. Arguably "I'm glad I could help you" could refer to things that made it possible for you to help - the circumstances, ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 106k
4 votes

How shall "...with his denial that we have any grasp of the way the world is independent of the way our minds construct our experience" be parsed?

The prepositional with can introduce something that rubs shoulders with something else, which is temporally right next to it, so to speak: And with that remark, he left the room. And that notion of ...
TimR on some device's user avatar
3 votes

At a female bar, female bartenders serve you drinks. - What is the point in putting an adverbial phrase or clause at the beginning of a sentence?

It is not about basic meaning that can be derived from the sentence taken as a whole but about the ordering of information so that the information is delivered in an order that is conducive to the ...
TimR on some device's user avatar
2 votes

How shall "...with his denial that we have any grasp of the way the world is independent of the way our minds construct our experience" be parsed?

He denies that we have any (understanding of the way the world is) that's independent of (the way our minds construct our experience). It's a garden-path sentence even for a native speaker. Replacing &...
benrg's user avatar
  • 140
2 votes

When they passed the admission test, they would enter the university. - if he doesn't even have a child yet, is this construction correct?

The verb in the "when" clause is normally present tense, so "when they pass..." or "when they have passed" are possible. You take the perspective of that time. You can ...
James K's user avatar
  • 226k
2 votes

Tenses in subordinate clauses

The difference is that with present simple the clause refers to the time when the event starts, but with the present perfect version, it refers to the time when the event is finished. So your sentence ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 51k
2 votes

Does it make any differences in meaning when the subordinate clause is at the end or beginning of the sentence?

As the comments have stated, these sentences have the same meaning. There might be slight variations in emphasis or implication, but not in denotational meaning. In this case the first sentence places ...
Ryan Jensen's user avatar
1 vote

Which clauses are emphasized in sentences containing although (or though) or but?

With concession, the clause without the conjunction (clause A in your examples) is the central, or weightier, clause: I favour A, although (I concede that) B is not bad. It doesn't matter which ...
ishtar's user avatar
  • 664
1 vote

Usage of 'that's'

... have to meet within a period that's imminent. ... have to meet within a period that is imminent. That's is a contraction of that is and it's describing the period as being imminent (soon; could ...
swmcdonnell's user avatar
  • 8,002
1 vote

"Backshift - ​the changing of a tense when reporting what somebody said." — There is no subject for the verb "reporting". Is it omitted?

The implied subject is you/we/one, omitted for brevity in dictionary definitions. In the Cambridge example, as you say, it's when we are reporting.... In the Oxford example it could be when you are ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 57.5k
1 vote
Accepted

"Backshift - ​the changing of a tense when reporting what somebody said." — There is no subject for the verb "reporting". Is it omitted?

"When" may be labeled an adverb or a subordinating conjunction. (I think CamGEL may label it a preposition). Either way, in this instance it takes an -ing participial phrase/clause as a ...
ishtar's user avatar
  • 664
1 vote

I am happy I could/was able to help you. - which one?

In example 1, "could" is being used to describe an ability in the past. The person was able to help, and they are happy about it. Let's consider a conversation: I need to exchange this ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
  • 4,775
1 vote

Until as a subordinate conjunction and a preposition

We will wait here until [called]. You are innocent until [proven guilty]. Contemporary grammar classifies "until" solely as a preposition. In both examples there is ellipsis of the subject ...
BillJ's user avatar
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1 vote
Accepted

Not sure if "see" is used intransitively or transitively

The verb see is complemented by a clause in this rural dialect construction. Call that clause an object, and see don't I object. Here's a similar construction from Zora Neale Hurston's 1925 play Spunk ...
TimR's user avatar
  • 130k
1 vote

Not sure if "see" is used intransitively or transitively

It's distracting that the cited example features an extremely unusual / dialectal use of much as a verb (meaning to make much of, to make a fuss of, to "pet" warmly / enthusiastically1). But ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
1 vote
Accepted

Why does the subordinate clause not have the verb “be”?

You've probably encountered cases where a supplement of the form "<noun phrase> <participle phrase>" modifies a clause. Here's a simpler example of that construction: His work ...
ruakh's user avatar
  • 4,707
1 vote

Whatever and whichever usage

(1) and (2) are written in inverted form. You might just as well write Fred eats whatever Alice offers him. The inversion is in order to emphasise whatever by putting it at the beginning of the ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 57.5k
1 vote

"I am curious what you think" or "I am curious about what you think"?

These are both OK to say. You might say "I am curious what you think" immediately after sharing some new information with the listener, or reporting another person's opinion on a topic. ...
BadZen's user avatar
  • 3,729

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