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  1. #31
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Help me out of this confusion!

    Sorry, Mike one more thing to ask which has just come out of my curiosity.

    When you see a "It is a (noun) to X" construction, you can go like "OK, this infinitive can be replaced with "it"" or "NO...this infinitive cannot be in the position of its subject, so it just modifies the noun in front".

    But I think that strategy would work only in written contexts. What happens when you hear a"It is a (noun) to X" in conversations? How do you tell the difference when you hear it? Is it just a matter of familiarity???

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Help me out of this confusion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Sorry, Mike one more thing to ask which has just come out of my curiosity.

    When you see a "It is a (noun) to X" construction, you can go like "OK, this infinitive can be replaced with "it"" or "NO...this infinitive cannot be in the position of its subject, so it just modifies the noun in front".

    But I think that strategy would work only in written contexts. What happens when you hear a"It is a (noun) to X" in conversations? How do you tell the difference when you hear it? Is it just a matter of familiarity???
    It is not a conscious process. As you know, from your own language, we do not think in terms of grammatic structure. We understand the meaning of what we hear or read as a whole. nevertheless, when the structure is faulty, we hear the mistake as well.

    It is common for learners to ask a question beginning with: I am confusing. We know what they meant, but we still hear the mistake. Most people don't say "He used a progressive verb when he intended a predicate nominative."

    When it comes to pronouns, we sometimes confuse each other. Imagine a sentence in which a person is talking about two women. Afetr a while, if the speaker/writer keeps using she and her, it will be unclear which woman he is talking about. "It" can be just as confusing.

  3. #33
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Help me out of this confusion!

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    It is not a conscious process. As you know, from your own language, we do not think in terms of grammatic structure. We understand the meaning of what we hear or read as a whole.
    That's absolutely right. Usually, I don't really think about grammatic things even when I speak, read, hear anything in English.

    It's my job, teaching English that forces me to think too much...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    "He used a progressive verb when he intended a predicate nominative."
    Did you just make up the rule to describe the situation? Or is it actually one of the grammatic rules which do exsit? I don't come up with an example of that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    When it comes to pronouns, we sometimes confuse each other. Imagine a sentence in which a person is talking about two women. Afetr a while, if the speaker/writer keeps using she and her, it will be unclear which woman he is talking about. "It" can be just as confusing.
    OK. I understand.

    By the way, could I ask one more thing about "differentiation in conversations"?

    As you know, restrictive use and non-restrective use of relative pronouns are semantically different. And it's very easy to tell the difference in written contexts: all you have to do is check if there is a comma in front of "who" or "which" or not. However, you cannot see commas in conversations, so how do you tell the difference then?

    I heard that there should be a "pause" before a relative pronoun if it is non-restrictive. But a "pause"...You know, the length of such a pause varies form person to person, so I'm curious about how you native speakers tell the difference in actual daily conversations.

  4. #34
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me out of this confusion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    It is not a conscious process. As you know, from your own language, we do not think in terms of grammatic structure. We understand the meaning of what we hear or read as a whole.
    That's absolutely right. Usually, I don't really think about grammatic things even when I speak, read, hear anything in English.

    It's my job, teaching English that forces me to think too much...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    "He used a progressive verb when he intended a predicate nominative."
    Did you just make up the rule to describe the situation? Or is it actually one of the grammatic rules which do exsit. I don't come up with an example of that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    When it comes to pronouns, we sometimes confuse each other. Imagine a sentence in which a person is talking about two women. Afetr a while, if the speaker/writer keeps using she and her, it will be unclear which woman he is talking about. "It" can be just as confusing.
    OK. I understand.

    By the way, could I ask one more thing about "differentiation in conversations"?

    As you know, restrictive use and non-restrective use of relative pronouns are semantically different. And it's very easy to tell the difference in written contexts: all you have to do is check if there is a comma in front of "who" or "which" or not. However, you cannot see commas in conversations, so how do you tell the difference then?

    I heard that there should be a "pause" before a relative pronoun if it is non-restrictive. But a "pause"...You know, the length of such a pause varies form person to person, so I'm curious about how you native speakers tell the difference in actual daily conversations.
    Yes the pause makes a big difference, but there is also a change in voice inflection.

    The doctor, who I saw last week, told me to stop smoking.
    The doctor who I saw last week told me to stop smoking.

    In the first, there is a pause after "doctor" and "week". There is a stress on doctor, then the voice drops for the entire non-restrictive clause. The stress picks up on "told" (to flat or higher, depending on the intended emphasis.

    In the second, there is no pause after "doctor" and the stress rises with "week". Then it varies, depending on intent.

  5. #35
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Help me out of this confusion!

    Voice inflection! I see. I haven't payed attention to that when I hear something in English (I just have payed attention to the content and context).

    Thank you.

    (What about the predicate nominative thing, Mike?)

  6. #36
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me out of this confusion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Voice inflection! I see. I haven't payed attention to that when I hear something in English (I just have payed attention to the content and context).

    Thank you.

    (What about the predicate nominative thing, Mike?)
    Voice inflection is very important in English. Is that true in Japanese?

    What about predicate nominatives? You've lost me. :?

  7. #37
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Help me out of this confusion!

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Voice inflection is very important in English. Is that true in Japanese?
    I guess it's more or less true in any language. In my opinion, however, compared to English, Japanese is a bit flat in terms of voice inflection.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    What about predicate nominatives? You've lost me. :?
    I mean this part:

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    "He used a progressive verb when he intended a predicate nominative."
    I'm wondering if this is a real grammatical rule or you just made fun of a "grammar conscious" guy who would find such a rule, which actually doesn't exist.

  8. #38
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Help me out of this confusion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    Voice inflection is very important in English. Is that true in Japanese?
    I guess it's more or less true in any language. In my opinion, however, compared to English, Japanese is a bit flat in terms of voice inflection.
    Thanks. We can learn from each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    What about predicate nominatives? You've lost me. :?
    I mean this part:

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
    "He used a progressive verb when he intended a predicate nominative."
    I'm wondering if this is a real grammatical rule or you just made fun of a "grammar conscious" guy who would find such a rule, which actually doesn't exist.
    [/quote]

    I was describing what we don't say to ourselves. When a student says "I am confusing" when he means to say "I am confused", we don't analyze the grammar in our head, we just hear the mistake. We need to know the grammar to correct it, though. :wink:

  9. #39
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Help me out of this confusion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Voice inflection! I see. I haven't payed attention to that when I hear something in English (I just have payed attention to the content and context).

    Thank you.

    (What about the predicate nominative thing, Mike?)
    May I make a suggestion? Say:
    • I haven't paid attention.


    :)

  10. #40
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    Default

    When a person says "I am confusing" he is using the progressive form of the verb. When a person says "I am confused" the predicate nominative ("confused") describes the subject ("I").

    :)

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