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131 votes

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

It is a parody of I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. Constructions such as "I am come", "He is become X" were used in English several centuries ago but are now obsolete in ...
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62 votes
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Syntactical problem? Musk's tweet "I Am Become Meme, Destroyer Of Shorts"

"I am become" is an archaic perfect (= "I have become"). Here Elon Musk's phrase parodies a quote by Oppenheimer. Background to Parodic Reference Robert Oppenheimer was an ...
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32 votes
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I hate mushrooms. How can you agree?

You use the form, not the negative meaning. Me too So do I. Either of these would be acceptable. Also He hates mushrooms, doesn't he? You would normally say this when you thought he ...
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  • 7,511
28 votes

The grammar of "Stop Asian hate"

The difference between "Stop Asian hate" and "Stop white terrorism" isn't one of grammar, it's one of semantics. "Stop Asian hate" and "Stop white terrorism" ...
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25 votes

Is "The two men Savchenko, an Iraq war veteran, was convicted of helping to kill were . . . " grammatical?

The sentence is difficult to parse because it has a long relative clause with no wh-word. In addition, the relative clause has an extra phrase in the middle. It may help to think about the sentence ...
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25 votes
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Grammar behind "Whatever what is is is what I want."

Whatever happens. Whatever what is is is what I want. Only that. But that. Whatever "what is" is, is what I want. (Second cup of coffee to the rescue.) Although is appears three times ...
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24 votes

The grammar of "Stop Asian hate"

If you drive in the UK, you'll see road signs that have one word on them - STOP - and this is perfectly acceptable. English learners are sometimes taught as a "rule" that a simple sentence ...
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21 votes
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“as would a calm dog whose yard…”

When she opened her eyes she saw a harbor seal, twenty feet in front of her, staring at her as would a calm dog whose yard she'd walked into. There's nothing missing from the basic construction. Your ...
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  • 13.3k
21 votes

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

Also, another question is what does "destroyer of shorts" mean? TLDR: Elon does not like people who short sell stocks (aka "shorts" or "shorters") and is happy to ...
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  • 873
18 votes

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

No, you can't. Explain always takes to before the indirect object. In other languages it works, but I have never seen it in English. A search in de BNC for explain me returned 0 results. You always ...
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  • 5,064
17 votes

Can "Wow!" be a sentence?

Short answer: Yes, these are minor sentences. They consist of a single clause that's usually categorized under "minor clauses". Examples of minor clauses are optatives, conditional fragments, ...
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  • 7,357
15 votes
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"Her this behavior" vs "this behavior of her"

You should omit 'this' in the first sentence I don't like her behavior but that would be about her behavior in general. I don't like this behavior of hers. (note the extra 's' at the end – it's a ...
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  • 14.6k
13 votes
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Can "Wow!" be a sentence?

This question is anything but clear. It's muddled by design. :^) But I'll take a shot at it. NOAD defines sentence like this: sentence (n.) a set of words that is complete in itself, typically ...
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  • 108k
13 votes

“as would a calm dog whose yard…”

The seal was staring [in the same way] as a calm dog would [stare] when she had just walked into its yard. You are expected to 'understand' the missing words, which have been left out to make the ...
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13 votes

The grammar of "Stop Asian hate"

This isn't a matter of grammar, but of context. Grammatically it is ambiguous, and could mean either "stop hatred directed at Asian people" or "stop hatred perpetrated by Asian people&...
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13 votes

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

I think Musk is referring to a quote made famous by Robert Oppenheimer. Upon witnessing the detonation of the first atomic bomb, Oppenheimer recalled a line from the Hindu sacred text "Bhagavad-...
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  • 141
13 votes
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Is it correct to say "how-many-day a tour was it"?

"How many days was the tour" is the only option there that is correct. I'd still definitely prefer to use "how long was the tour". Edit: as Jack said, option 2 "How many days ...
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  • 927
13 votes

What does "though somewhat dated, as, to a greater extent, are those..from the same decade" mean in this sentence?

Jack's various essays from the 1950's are still readable, though somewhat dated, as, to a greater extent, are those by Neville Braybrooke and Christopher Hollis from the same decade. Jack's essays ...
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  • 11.8k
12 votes

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

Consider the following examples - He gave Mary ten dollars. He passed Paul the ball. The verbs - give and pass - are the examples of ditransitive verbs. They take both an indirect object as ...
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12 votes

Grammar behind "Whatever what is is is what I want."

Grammatically, this can be summed up neatly by some ungrammatical use of parentheses: (Whatever (what is) is) is what I want. Each phrase in parentheses is a noun phrase and can be substituted by ...
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11 votes

Is there an omission in: 'or hushed calls to send the military'?

Australia is now spending over $40 million to combat the deadly virus, but it hasn't silenced the critics, who say the response has been underdone and tardy, or hushed calls to send the military. The ...
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  • 11.8k
10 votes
Accepted

Why so many verbs in this sentence in the published book?

'come' here is not a finite verb, but a past participle used as an adjective modifying 'nightingale'. The original sentence could be expanded as: There's a bird on the lawn that I think must be a ...
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  • 2,118
10 votes
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How to understand "…you like it the shape it is"

It is syntactically analogous to the way it is. I like it the way it is. That is, "as it is (now)". If you like the present shape of your nose, butt out. Would you like some more milk to cool ...
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9 votes

"I decided the target for our firm IS TO BE TO provide better services."

It is grammatically acceptable; but it is gnarly to read. There is a linguistic rule-of-thumb called horror aequi which states that people don't like to hear or read identical constructions too close ...
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9 votes

Entry Was Gained

There are (at least) four reasons to use a passive construction. One, because you don't know who or what performed the action. "Entry into the house was gained through the basement." Perhaps we don't ...
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9 votes

Is "have to" a modal verb?

Have to is not a modal verb, it is not even an auxiliary verb. In the have to structure have is a main verb: Examples: Declarative sentence: I [do] have to go Questions: Do I have to go? ...
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  • 11.3k
9 votes

Why so many verbs in this sentence in the published book?

In this case come is not a finite verb but a participle. If you want to paraphrase the clause it heads as a relative clause you should cast it in the perfect construction: . . . a nightingale ...
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9 votes
Accepted

What does "though somewhat dated, as, to a greater extent, are those..from the same decade" mean in this sentence?

Jack's various essays from the 1950's are still readable, though somewhat dated, as, to a greater extent, are those by Neville Braybrooke and Christopher Hollis from the same decade. Parse 1: Jack's ...
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  • 36k
8 votes

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

Learners from German or Russian (for example) will tend to place too many commas. When writing in English, try to think of commas as a very "heavy" form of punctuation, i.e. that it signifies a ...
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  • 231
8 votes
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"Nothing is available, is anything?" Tag questions for negative sentences

The Original Poster has the right idea about the grammar here. When we have negative sentences, the question tags must be positive, not negative. One small, but important point though: usually, we ...
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