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    #1

    How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    In particular, what form/function does Ebay have/play? Adverb? Direct object noun phrase?

    I was thinking...

    S
    NP - VP
    N - V - Adv - Preposition - NP
    N - V - Adv - Preposition - Det - Adj - N
    "implied you" - shop - Ebay - for - the - best - deals

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    #2

    Re: How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    The sentence as written has, at best, marginal grammatical acceptability.

    Standard usage would require 'Shop at E-bay...'

  1. Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    I have no problem with the grammar. But I would use Reed-Kellogg. "Shop" is simply used as a transitive verb, of course in the imperative mode. Sorry but the following comes to mind, "Debbie, do Dallas" Apologies.

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    #4

    Re: How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    I don't believe that 'shop' has any currency in standard usage as a transitive verb. However, if you wish to spend time diagramming a grammatically substandard sentence, I suppose that is a matter of choice...

  2. Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    Yes, diagramming "substandard" or "nonstandard" sentences can really be fun. As long as they make sense, they can be diagrammed. And diagramming usuually shows exactly how they make sense. I know that it is sometimes used in a court of law to establish exactly what is meant. Actually, sentences don't really even need to make sense for diagramming. But there has to be an understandable syntax. Jabberwok???? talk or headlines from newspapers, or Jamaican can all be diagrammed.

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    #6

    Re: How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    I would have thought that the very concepts on which diagramming is based are grounded in the premise that relations between words in a sentence will be governed by laws of syntax. A nonstandard sentence, by definition, does not conform to one or more of those laws and thus does not seem, to my mind, to be logically capable of being diagrammed without first being corrected, any more than it could be meaningfully parsed.

    Reactionary wet blanket as I'm sure I must be, I'm not entirely convinced by the 'fun' argument. Bungee-jumping (so I'm told) can be fun, but I would question its relevance or usefulness to the study of linguistics.

  3. Frank Antonson's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    Perhaps what we call "usage" is part of the issue. Nonstandard usage often offends some ears, but it still carries meaning, eg. "The dish is broke." No problem with diagramming.
    Also, I would add that language is ALWAYS drifting. There are so many examples of this when you look at old "Victorian" grammar books. "I will try and explain this". used to be much more offensive than it is now. I can still remember an English teacher of mine who raged over a popular song part of the text of which went... "try and paint a portrait of my love..."

    Syntax does not drift nearly so fast. In fact I find it so interesting that Reed-Kellogg works fine for German or even Persian, as was shown earlier in this forum.

    I DID think of an example for which Reed-Kellogg is unprepared, though. That is, the rare occurrence of an infix in English. "Oh so wunderful sittin' absobloominlutely still" from "My Fair Lady". Or "Cinderfuckinella" from "Pretty Woman".

    I recommend the book "Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog". That book tries to capture the fun.

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    #8

    Re: How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    The issue for me is, essentially, that by consenting to diagram/analyse nonstandard sentences without emendation, we are tacitly expressing our acceptance of them, and thereby ultimately doing our visitors here something of a disservice.

    I think, therefore, that we'll have to agree to differ concerning the value of this exercise!

    EOT

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    #9

    Re: How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    This has become quite an interesting thread for me. I realize that the visitors to this forum will be very well served to learn the most standard of English, but it would be a shame if they did not also appreciate how alive and changing (drifting) the language is.

    I thought of another example of something that my one-time English teacher raged about. "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should." At that time the word "like" was completely disallowed from being a subordinating conjunction and could only be a preposition. Since then, I believe, that usage has been somewhat accepted. Hypercorrectness can become a problem. Speaking of cigarette commercials, at about the same age, I delighted in the compound prepositions of "... filters the smoke over, under, around, and through tiny...). One does not often get to diagram such a sentence part.

    A very current example of a shift (drift) in part of speech is the word "listen". When I heard Gayane Chichakyan on Russian Television say "Take a listen", I knew that "listen" had successfully become a noun. And why not? One can take a look, or take a taste, or take a smell, or take a feel. why not take a listen. But that has been new within the last few years. "Listen" was a noun ready to happen. So...why shouldn't "shop" be allowed to drift into "transitiveness"?

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    #10

    Re: How would you diagram "Shop Ebay for the best deals"?

    I wouldn't say this is a nonstandard use of the verb "shop". I come across it frequently in Standard English, and it's found in several online dictionaries, including M-W, AHD and Dictionary.com, none of which mark it as nonstandard.

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