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  1. #1
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    advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    Hi,

    Below, you will find a number of sentences. This is a part 1 of a series of questions that I need to have answered because next week I'm taking an examination. Here's the tough part... Some of them can be rewritten into sentences beginning with "There..." but some of them cannot. What I want you to tell me is... why. Such sentences are called "There Insertion Structure" or "Locative Existential Structure". I couldn't find any rules about it, in my books. Anyway, this stuff comes from materials I was given by a lecturer in English Grammar. It's a tough nut to crack...


    Allright, here it is :


    I was told that these sentences are wrong :

    2. All of a sudden a bottle broke on the table.
    (All of a sudden there broke a bottle on the table)

    6. A dog was running in circles.
    (There was a dog running in circles)

    9. A woman sang in the cold November night.
    (There sang a woman in the cold November night)

    14. Some forty terrorists participated in the assault.
    (There participated some forty terrorists in the assaukt)

    16. A ravishing naked girl bathed in the pool.
    (There bathed a ravishing naked girl in the pool)

    18. Many people helped when the police arrived.
    (There helped many people when the police arrived)

    Are these correct ? I think they're not. But why exactly ? What's the rule ?

    And the next ones :

    1. And suddenly a joyful thought floated into his mind.
    (And suddenly there loated a joyful thought into his mind)

    I won't rewritte all of them, but you know what's the rule here.

    3. Instead of co-operation, mutual distrust prevaield between the two groups.
    4. A set of materials corresponded to each course of study.
    5. The goddess Varuni emanated from the ocean.
    7. A sense of responsibility and urgency exuded from all present.
    8. A monster lurks in every woman.
    10. Two men remained in the village.
    11. A bright light streamed forth over all the people present.
    12. Some three hours elapsed and his wife got back home not knowing at all what on earth had happened.
    13. Only the lower sections of the wall survived.
    15. A new bright vision dawned upon his mind.
    17. A humongous palace of diamonds and crystal drifted in the distance.
    19. A new complication developed quickly after the first was fixed.

    So, these ones sound ok... I guess, but again - why ?

    And the last ones :

    1. In the middle of the kitchen there was killed a big pig.
    2. There were stalked three women in this part of the town last year.
    3. Of course, a lot of people complain because there are walked dirty dogs in front of their windows.
    4. In this section of the readning room, there are read old manuscripts.
    5. In the corner between wall and cealing, there was mounted a unique gargolye measuring about thirty cm.

    Are they incorrect ? I think so... but I don't know why

    I need to know why some of the given examples are correct and some are incorrect. I was told that sometimes it has to do with verbs of "appearance" or "existence". Still, I don't get it.

    Thanks a lot,

    forum_mail

    ps. If I made ANY mistakes, please correct me

  2. #2
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    Re: advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    Quote Originally Posted by forum_mail
    What
    Quote Originally Posted by forum_mail
    I want you to tell me is... why such sentences are called "There Insertion Structure" or "Locative Existential Structure". I couldn't find any rules about it, in my books.
    Existential "There" goes hand-in-hand with a certain verb, notably copular BE; "There is", "There are", "There appears to be", "There seems to be" are set pairs:

    There seems to be a problem.
    There appears to be a problem.
    There is a problem.

    To form an existential "There BE" structure, invert the subject and the verb, like this,

    Canonical Structure: A bottle is on the table.
    Existential There Insertion: There is a bottle on the table.

    Note, the phrase "on the table" tells us where the bottle is located, which makes "There is a bottle on the table" a Locative Existential Structure.

    If the verb is not a form of BE, the result is ungrammatical (*),

    All of a sudden a bottle broke on the table.
    *All of a sudden there a bottle broke on the table.
    All of a sudden there was a knock at the door.

    If the locative is missing, the result is ungrammatical (*),

    A dog was running in circles.
    *There was a dog running in circles _________. (Where was it running?)
    There was a dog running in circles on my porch.

    I trust you will be able to complete the rest.

    All the best,

  3. #3
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    Re: advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    In addition, here are three more examples.

    14. Some forty terrorists participated in the assault.
    => There were some forty terrorists who participated in the assault

    16. A ravishing naked girl bathed in the pool.
    => There was a ravishing naked girl bathing in the pool.

    18. Many people helped when the police arrived.
    => There were many people who helped when the police arrived.

  4. #4
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    Re: advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    Hi ! Thanks a lot ! Wow, your explanations are REALLY helpful. Actually you're the first person who answered my question, giving me some fine explanations. If you would be so kind to tell me... what about this one :

    "In the middle of the kitchen there was killed a big pig"

    Why is it wrong ? We have "was" here... Oh, and can I ask you more questions if I find some examples difficult ?

    Are there any books that give some rules on the topic ? Becasue in my books there was no such such thing as "Locative Existential Structure"

    Thanks again, best wishes !
    Last edited by forum_mail; 30-Aug-2005 at 14:00.

  5. #5
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    Re: advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    You're most welcome. The reason you may have received only one or few responses might have to do with the fact that your topic, Existential there Locatives is at the present time being debated in the field of Linguistics. Psst, even the "authorities" aren't sure how those structures work. But, not to worry, there are rules - for English, at least.
    Quote Originally Posted by forum_mail
    If you would be so kind to tell me... what about this one:
    "In the middle of the kitchen there was killed a big pig." Why is it wrong? We have "was" here.
    OK. So, our first test is to make sure there's a form of the verb BE, and 'was' meets that tests. Out second test is subject-verb inversion. Notice that the subject-verb string in [1] is inverted but that a word, specifically "killed", intervenes:

    [1] There was killed a big pig on the road. ungrammatical
    [2] There was a big pig killed on the road.
    [3] A big pig was killed on the road. (canonical structure)

    'was killed' is not a form of the verb BE. It's a verb + participle string. Participles are not nouns. Only nouns can be subjects.

    Please note, with existential there structures, the true subject, the semantic one, the one that carries meaning, comes after the BE verb. there is called the structural subject:

    There (Structural Subject) was (Verb) a big pig (Semantic Subject)

    'a big pig' is the true subject. Try this, look for the BE verb; the noun that comes directly after it is the true subject.

    There + BE + NOUN
    There + BE + *killed (ungrammatical; 'killed' is not a noun)

    Oh, and can I ask you more questions if I find some examples difficult?
    Sure.

    Are there any books that give some rules on the topic? Becasue in my books there was no such such thing as "Locative Existential Structure"
    What 'books' do you have?

  6. #6
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    Re: advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    I've got :

    1. Current English Grammar by Sylvia Chalker (McMillan)
    2. Longman English Grammar by L.G.Alexander
    3. A Practical English Grammar by Thomson and Martinet
    4. An A-Z of English Grammar and Usage by G.Leech
    5. Living English Structures by Allen (this one is more like a practice book than a grammar one)

    Oh, and by the way - some new topics are coming. I'm gonna post them today or tomorrow, and they will be concerned with : Reciproceal Alternation, "Garden Path" Sentences and more ;)

    thanks, best wishes

  7. #7
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    Re: advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    I've been going over some examples in my mind and I've got some doubts about them. Let's have a look at some examples :

    1. All of a sudden there broke a bottle on the table

    The thing is, that even though I know that this one is wrong I've got some doubts about the reason why it is wrong. It includes the locative - "on the table" so one condition is fulfilled. But the verb doesn't have a form of "BE". But... let's think it over for a while. Is is the REAL reason why the sentence is wrong ? I guess there may be another, even more important, reason.

    Let's think of "broke" or it's first form "break" as a verb that actually says that something "is" or "exists" - I mean, if something breaks it somehow has to exist at first. What I am driving at is "The Change Of State". Maybe it's the change of state that makes this sentence wrong. Becasue as far as the verb "to break" is concerned, it somehow describes the existence - subconsciouslly. It's just my tortuous reasoning :D but I have to know if I'm completely wrong or not...

    Besides, my lecturer told me that if there is a change of state, then indeed, "there ins. structure" is NOT possible

    Okey, another example :

    2. There prevailed a mutuall distrust between the two groups.

    Ok, at first sight this one is correct. Probably it is correct anyway but... what about "prevailed" ? One may think of it as "appearance" but one may think of it as "change of state". In other words - what's the explanation here ? What makes this sentence correct ?

    3. There corresponded a set of materials to each course of study.

    Again - what's the explanation here ? Is it the "existnece" included in the meaning of "corresponded" ?

    4. There emanated the goddes Varuni from the ocean.

    Correct, but ! What about the rule that says "no definite noun phrase/noun" in sentences beginning with "There" ???

    5. There was a dog running in circles.

    Wrong. Becasue there's no locative. So what about "There was a dog running loose" ? I found it with google.com.

    6. There lurks a monster in every woman.

    Correct, but again - why ? "lurks" doesn't have figurative meaning - "exist", does it ?

    7. There sang a woman in the cold November night.

    Again - doesn't "sang" convey the fact that she "existed" ?

    8. A ravishing naked girl bathed in the pool.

    The locative is ok - "in the pool"; can "bathed" name the "existence" ?

    9. There drifted in the distance a humongous palace of diamonds and crystals

    Is this one correct because of : a) "locative" where - "in the distnace" or b) becasue of "drifted" meaning "was there" and "existed" ?

    10. Would it be possible to say "There grew a flower there" ? Is "There grew a flower" itself is ok ?

    11. Coming back to the example number one - here is an example of the change of state. "There opened a door" - this one is wrong, isn't it ? And I guess it's because there is the change of state, but I'm not sure and I don't want to suggest you any answer becasue it may be wrong.

    And the last one :

    12. There broke riots all over the city.

    Is the main reason for it's correctness, that "broke out" = "appeared" or "all over the city" = the locative ?

    Uf, that's all. I hope my questions won'e be a problem ;) Thanks a lot. Take care.

    Oh, and by the way - if you come across any mistakes, in the general form and grammar of this post, please let me know.
    Last edited by forum_mail; 03-Sep-2005 at 11:03.

  8. #8
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    Re: advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    anyone wants to answer :) ?

  9. #9
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    Re: advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    I just logged on. Let me take a look. ;)

  10. #10
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    Re: advanced grammar problem - part 1 - help needed

    Ok I'm glad you're here

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