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    Default Parts of Speech of "All"

    Hi, I just feel relieved, just knowing this website. Today's question is about parts of speech of "All".

    For example, "My hands are all numb" . In this, "all" is used as an adverb modifing the adjective "numb" or pronoun representing my hands? Or both are possible?

    Then, is there a meaning difference?

    Please help me out. Thanks a million in advance.

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    Default Re: Parts of Speech of "All"

    It's an adverb there, with the meaning of 'completely'.

    There can be no ambiguity, because if we use a determiner/pronoun with our hands, it's 'both', not 'all'

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Parts of Speech of "All"

    How about " We are all happy" ? We=all or completely=all or both?

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    Default Re: Parts of Speech of "All"

    Something of a hybrid, functionally speaking.

    While in this particular case we can safely regard it a simple adverb meaning 'completely' (since it patently could not be a rearrangement of nonsensical ?all my hands), in that of e.g.

    My books were all wet.

    which actually could mean 'all my books', we would have to content ourselves with terming it a 'pronoun with adverbial force'.

    Without clear contextual evidence, any debate as to whether 'all' refers to the number of books affected or simply to the overall degree of wetness is doomed to be inconclusive at best, and irrelevant at worst!

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    TheParser is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Parts of Speech of "All"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwang hee Han View Post
    How about " We are all happy" ? We=all or completely=all or both?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Kwang Hee Han,

    (1) I think that "all" has to be a pronoun in apposition with "We":

    We are happy.
    We are all happy.
    We all are happy.

    (2) I do not think that "all" could mean "completely" in your sentence.

    (a) I do not think that a native speaker would say:

    What a beautiful day! I am all happy.

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    Default Re: Parts of Speech of "All"

    Thank you all for great explanations. English is really hard but totally worth learning!! Thanks again.

  7. #7
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Parts of Speech of "All"

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Kwang Hee Han,

    (1) I think that "all" has to be a pronoun in apposition with "We":

    We are happy.
    We are all happy.
    We all are happy.

    (2) I do not think that "all" could mean "completely" in your sentence.

    (a) I do not think that a native speaker would say:

    What a beautiful day! I am all happy.
    On balance, my native-speaker instincts lead me to concur. However, it's a little difficult to say precisely why. Consider, e.g.

    I bounced into the office, all happy and full of the joys of spring, just to be told that I had been fired.

    Here 'all' clearly means 'completely'. It is hard to say with certainty that simply changing the pronoun from singular to plural would automatically render that reading impossible.

    Once again, I think only context could definitively resolve the matter.

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