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  1. #1
    majddi is offline Newbie
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    Default Who can explain why the sentence is not grammatical

    'What will Steven Smith put a wallet in his pocket'
    Is there any explanation why this sentence is not acceptable?

  2. #2
    ha179's Avatar
    ha179 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Who can explain why the sentence is not grammatical

    Not a teacher.
    Quote Originally Posted by majddi View Post
    'What will Steven Smith put a wallet in his pocket'
    Is there any explanation why this sentence is not acceptable?
    Your sentence is not meaningful. It must be "What will Steven Smith put in his pocket?" and the answer is "A wallet", or the another question with a different meaning is "What will Steven Smith put in the wallet in his pocket?".

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    texholdem is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Who can explain why the sentence is not grammatical

    The sentence is grammatically incorrect because the verb "put" has two direct objects (what and wallet), thus not conforming to the standard construction Subject - Verb - Object.

    Note that in "John visited me and my brother" "me and my brother" does not represent two direct objects but one in grammatical sense.
    Last edited by texholdem; 09-Apr-2010 at 14:45. Reason: typo

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    corum is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Who can explain why the sentence is not grammatical

    Quote Originally Posted by majddi View Post
    'What will Steven Smith put a wallet in his pocket'
    Is there any explanation why this sentence is not acceptable?
    Let us convert the sentence from interrogative mood into declarative mood:

    Steven Smith will put a wallet in his pocket.

    'what' is missing right? Question: How can we insert 'what' in the sentence? First we have to know what 'what' is. What is fronted in interrogatives that is an NP? Subject or direct object or indirect object.

    'What' = S?
    What Steven Smith will put a wallet in his pocket.

    If what = S, then Steven Smith = ? An apposed restrictive NP? No, it is not possible.

    What = indirect object? No; 'put' is never ditransitive.

    --> What = DO

    Where is a slot for a DO of 'put' in our declarative sentence?

    Steven Smith will put _ a wallet in his pocket.
    Steven Smith will put what a wallet in his pocket.
    Steven Smith will put this a wallet in his pocket.

    When a verb is followed by two NPs, one of them must be either an indirect object or an object complement that expands the meaning of the direct object.

    Indirect object we can't have as I already said, since 'put' has no ditransitive uses.
    'a wallet' = Objective complement?

    1. [Steven Smith] [will put] [this] [a wallet] in his pocket. -- NP VP[NP NP Adv.P]
    2. [Steven Smith] [will elect] [him] [president] in the conference hall. -- NP VP[NP NP Adv.P]

    As we can clearly see, formally the two sentences are identical. Why still #1 is ? No syntax without semantics, comes to mind. What does #1 mean?

    I cannot see the way that 'a wallet' could possibly extend the meaning of 'what'. That is my concern and that is why I discard #1.

    Conclusion:
    what ≠ indirect object
    what ≠ C
    [what a wallet] ≠ NP

    --> The sentence you proposed is wrong.

    QED.

  5. #5
    bds51 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Who can explain why the sentence is not grammatical

    Hello Madjji,
    This statement can be made grammatical without adding any words but is it supposed to be a sentence or a question? If it's supposed to be a question, what is the answer? If it's a statement, what does it mean to you?

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