I remember reading about sentences that naturally seem incomplete (ending in the middle as if the second half were missing), but are actually grammatically correct. The listener/reader just wrongly assumed some words to be either nouns or verbs.

I cannot find them now as I don't remember what they were called. I just remember they had a page on wikipedia.

  • Are you thinking of a run-on sentence? That is not grammatically 'correct', usually because of a missing (and essential) part of speech. The writer may be just hasty or distracted.
    – Timm
    Mar 19, 2021 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


They are called garden-path sentences and the definition is more or less what you said: "The reader is lured into a parse that turns out to be a dead end or yields a clearly unintended meaning."

  • 4
    Just to be clear: garden-path sentences don’t necessarily end ‘in the middle’ of the sentence due to the misparsing – sometimes it’s the other way around, where the sentence continues after you expect it to be finished instead. Mar 19, 2021 at 22:17
  • 1
    Here's a list to check. Notice that this is largely a phenomenon of writing; in speech these would not be confusing and we'd parse them straightforwardly without ever noticing the possible problem, because the intonation and rhythm would be different.
    – jlawler
    Mar 19, 2021 at 23:30
  • @jlawler Not disambiguated 100% of the time, but yes, usually. Mar 19, 2021 at 23:35

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