Questions tagged [grammar]

A body of rules, features, or generalizations which reliably differentiate between grammatical and ungrammatical constructions.

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36 views

Flesch-Kincaid reading ease formula coefficients [duplicate]

About the Flesch-Kincaid reading ease formula: F = 206.835 − (84.6 ∗ S) − (1.015 ∗ P) I don't understand the meaning of the coefficient choices. Why those specific numbers? Are the studies behind the ...
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What does Head-Driven Phrase Structure grammar say about continuous verbs? [closed]

I would like to understand head driven phrase structure grammar better. Could someone please write some of its formal rules which pertain to continuous verbs, and explain what they are saying?
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How do you draw a x-bar tree with negative inversion? [closed]

For example: 'Never was I so offended' There is already a T to C inversion with 'was', where do we put the word 'Never'? And how should we label it? AdvP or Neg?
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1answer
42 views

In syntax trees, why aren't single-word phrases reduced to that word?

Why do phrases like "the car in Texas" break down into (NP (Det the) (N car) (PP (P in) (NP (N Texas)))) Why is the prepositional phrase "in Texas" constituted of the ...
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1answer
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Can adjuncts modify nouns?

The Wikipedia page on adjuncts gives the example Yesterday, Lorna saw the dog in the garden. Notice that this example is ambiguous between whether the adjunct in the garden modifies the verb saw (in ...
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1answer
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What causes people to make mistakes in language usage? Is it bad concentration or mislearned rules or ...?

What causes people to make mistakes in language usage? Is it bad concentration or mislearned rules or ...? This confuses me. If the rules are to be reasonable, shouldn't people "know" ...
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9answers
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Why are there grammars in languages in the first place?

I recently took an interest in linguistics and is currently working through the various interesting phenomenon like x bar theory, wh-movement, binding theory, etc. It all sounds very fascinating to me....
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1answer
107 views

Does Morpho-syntax = Grammar?

According to Fukuyama University Asst. Prof. Warren M Tang1 What is morphosyntax? – in other words Morphosyntax is another word for grammar. Grammar can be divided into morphology and syntax. ...
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What's the significance of correct grammar (as long as the information gets across)?

What's the significance of correct grammar (as long as the information gets across)? This confuses me, because I intuitively think that: Yes, if there are grammar rules, then one should attempt to ...
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1answer
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What is it called when a verb takes its "logical" or "usual" object as its grammatical subject?

This usually occurs for objects that are used by a person, and in English often feels to me like an Americanism. Examples: The sofa sits five. The wine drinks very smoothly. The car drives very ...
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Why "a liter of water" but not "a 100ºC of water"?

Imagine a volume of water, 100 ml in size, with a temperature of 100ºC. Interestingly, you can refer to the water as "100ml of water" but you cannot call it "100ºC of water". That ...
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Why does the pronoun and verb order vary in Polish language?

My go nie lubimy - we do not like him On nie kocha mnie - he does not love me Why in the first example go is followed by nie lubimy, but in the second sentence we have the opposite: nie kocha followed ...
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why in Polish we change ją to jej when negating the phrase?

ja lubię ją - I like her ja nie lubię jej - I do not like her Do I understand correctly what these sentences mean? If yes, why do we change ją to jej when negating the phrase? In both cases the ...
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What is the maximum number of accusatives you can have in an English sentence? [closed]

I know things like the double-accusative exist in English, like "I call sodas cokes." Then things can get more complex with words like "bet," where you can have "I bet you 5 ...
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When/how did "articles" like "the" first appear in language?

I am wondering this sort of cross-linguistically. I know many (most?) languages don't have a word for "the", but the English language does. First part of the question is, did Middle English ...
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(how) do natural languages distinguish classes and instances of things?

In data modeling and other areas of knowledge organization there is often a strict separation between abstract classes of things and individual objects. For instance I am an instance of the class ...
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The grammatical analysis - "most of them civilians"

I came across this sentence today: They were most of them civilians. Now how will we analyse"most of them" here? Is it just a modifier in Noun Phrase - "most of them civilians"? ...
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1answer
61 views

Is there a root final stop in English?

Is there a root final stop in English? I can't seem to find any
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When can FOR be used as a preposition and a complementiser?

This question is based on several suppositions: For as a preposition is able to be transformed into a wh- question with the wh- phrase preposed with for, as below with senators John acting as the ...
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1answer
82 views

The verb "to hit" does not change the form between active voice and passive voice - implications [closed]

As adults we confidently grasp the concept of searching for context when information in a few words spoken to us is not enough. Moreover, we apply logic and cause-effect dependencies, filtering out ...
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Meaning of Old Babylonian word pāqidūtum [closed]

I am learning the Old Babylonian language and just stumbled over the word/form pāqidūtum. It seems to be a third person male stativ singular + u + the female ending tum of the verb paqadum (to care ...
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2answers
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Could the at symbol '@' be considered a vocative marker?

Specifically, the at-symbol as used e.g. on Twitter or Github (or many other sites besides), e.g. '@somename, what do you think about this?' or '@foobar, I'm waiting!' Comparing it with English/German ...
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1answer
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Does grammar allow two questions in one sentence? [closed]

This is not an English-specific question. In Japanese, you might also ask "何時から何時までですか。" Or "nan ji kare nan ji made desu ka", "From what time to what time?" (from Google)...
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Is there a name for the idea of having grammatical rules for the purpose of easy pronunciation?

For instance, in German you'll have Der Mann singular, Die Männer plural, instead of, say, Die Männen. It seems this is because you don't want to over-expose the speaker to the "n" sound. ...
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What's a grammatical feature?

This is not a naif question asked by a layman just out of curiosity. I am presently editing a book by a colleague which is devoted to the notion of grammatical feature (with a special focus on ...
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1answer
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Combinatory categorial grammar for English

I am working on theoretical NLP things, in particular to do with combinatory categorial grammar (CCG). I don't have much knowledge of CCG, or of grammar in general. I was wondering how much of English ...
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Is there a universal (general) definition of gerund, infinitive and participle?

Is there a universal (general) definition of gerund, infinitive and participle applicable to all languages despite the differences between them?
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I have my hair cut - "my hair" a Direct Object?

I am confused about the following sentence: I have my hair cut. Now here I am not sure whether "my hair" is the Direct Object (DO) of the verb "have", or if it is just the ...
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4answers
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What are some reasons why grammar is often more complex than needed for communication purposes?

It shouldn't be controversial to say that the grammar of certain languages is more complex than what communication calls for. For instance, some languages have gendered nouns, and it is often unclear ...
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2answers
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What is terminology for the difference between, for instance, "see" and "sees"?

To clarify, I'm referring to the terminology for the difference between just a the word "see" as a verb, and the word in a statement like "Alice sees Bob". What is the correct ...
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191 views

Grammatical function vs. Semantic role

What is the difference between grammatical functions and semantic roles? Are they the same?
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Can one sentence have two or multiple possible phrase structure grammars? And what is this called?

After reading about syntactic structure and phrase structure grammar in Wikipedia and on the internet, I was wondering if there are any sentences with more than one possible phrase structure grammar? ...
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1answer
140 views

How do you tell a spelling mistake from a grammar mistake?

How do you tell a spelling mistake from a grammar mistake? For example: Your the best. This iz the end. I likes music. She preatend to be asleep. One method is to read the erroneous sentence aloud (...
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Question about a specific grammatical feature

In one Conlang I am developing there is a feature where owned items are treated as the subject of a verb, and the owner as the Object. So, for example: Car sohi Amelia Would mean Amelia's Car, with ...
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594 views

Is 'clothes' countable or uncountable? [closed]

I can't decide if the word 'clothes' is countable or uncountable. The dictionary only writes - plural.
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1answer
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Past Simple vs Present Perfect Continuous in questions [closed]

It is my first ask in this forum. I am not sure about proper grammar usage, so I want to ask someone who knows it well. If I want to ask a person for a duration of time he has worked at the specific ...
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Interleaving (Cross serial dependency) using context sensitive grammars

I saw from different sources that Context Free Grammars are insufficient to generate cross serial dependencies (interleaving) in languages and it would require mildly context sensitive grammars to do ...
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Automating the identification of a language grammar based on samples -- is this something that is done, and what is it called?

I'm trying (not very successfully) to find research papers to help with a project. Suppose you had a relatively small sample of a target language (e.g. a bible translation) and you would like to write ...
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What are some more examples of doubly centre embedded clauses?

Hey guys I am a uni student doing psycholinguistics and currently studying doubly centre embedded clauses for a study on comprehension. For example a phrase such as: "The man the boy the cat ...
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1answer
191 views

What makes "can't get any" a double-negative, according to Steven Pinker?

The Rolling Stones famously sang "I can't get no satisfaction", which is a double-negative. "I can't get any satisfaction" is seen as more grammatical in modern English. In his ...
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For English, is there a finite set of patterns for constructing sentences?

I am wondering about conlangs and thinking about English currently. I'm wondering does English have a finite set of patterns for constructing sentences? That is, could you build a computer program ...
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Why is the subject outside the VP in most theories of syntax?

I'm trying to understand why in most theories of syntax, the subject of a sentence is the sister of the verb, and not the child eg: S -> NP VP instead of VP -> NP V (NP...) The latter feels more ...
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Verb-ing after this phrase or clause "this is my first time"

Is the verb with '-ing' in the phrase or clause "this is my first time eating this" a gerund or a present participle verb? I think now I see that "this" probably is or means "...
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Where can I find a table/list of all/many languages' plural/singular forms for hours/time?

Even though I'm natively Swedish, I'm seriously unsure if it's "1,1 timme" or "1,1 timmar". That is, what in English would be "1.1 hour" or "1.1 hours". Even as ...
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1answer
226 views

Arabic grammar: The difference between the terms raf` and marfu'

I have begun to learn Arabic, and the difference between following terms confuse me. There is this topic of ʾirāb—the science which deals with how the Arabic noun inflects with respect to its ...
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What exactly is the Structure-Dependency Principle

Could someone explain what structure-dependency is in layman terms, and why it's so important? Resources I've found on the internet weren't of much help so I'm asking on here. Thanks!
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What can explain the appearance of "self-made" language features if neither of languages a person speaks or learns have similar features?

I know a woman, whose native language is Kyrgyz (Turkic family) and who learned Russian as an adult (mostly, maybe she was somewhat exposed to it before as well). What striked me is that she invented ...
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Adjunct vs complement with intransitive verb

Tony came from outside the traditional media Am I right in thinking because came is intransitive that "outside the traditional media" is an adjunct rather than a subject complement?
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Where did English get its perfect tense(s) from?

Apologies if this is too basic, but I know very little about linguistics and figured this would be a good place to ask. English seems like it draws from several other langiuages, notably the romance ...
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60 views

What is the name of the formulation where you specify sentence parts

Say I have the sentence: The cat sat on the mat What's the name of the formulation: The-DET. cat-NOUN. sat-VERB. on-PREP. the-DET. mat-NOUN Or this example from Wikipedia Kin á-ø-sh-łééh make-3....

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