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  1. Phaedrus

    33K people are posting about this.

    Another plausible reason for the use of the present progressive there is that the audience consists partly of people who may be encountering the discussion for the first time, from whose perspective, as they read through the thread, it will appear that previously made postings are "presently"...
  2. Phaedrus

    Great Scott! (dated?)

    I only use "Great Scott!" when alluding to Back to the Future and only hear it when Back to the Future is being alluded to. The history of the interjection is interesting. Apparently, "great Scott" was first used by Sir Walter Scott in a poem of his ("The Wars of Bathurst 1830"): "Unlike great...
  3. Phaedrus

    I wasn't born at the time?

    I'm OK with "I wasn't born at the/that time" in that context, but it's important to note that "wasn't born" is not a dynamic passive in that sentence; the sentence does not mean "My mother didn't bear me at the/that time." Instead, the meaning is stative. It's as if "wasn't born" were a copula...
  4. Phaedrus

    teachers (and consequently, their students) are helped by understanding English

    I think they really deleted it. I have skimmed through that section in its entirety and have not seen the sentence anywhere. If you click HERE, you will find a link that should give you a pdf of the entire introduction to the third edition. Then you can see for yourself. :)
  5. Phaedrus

    teachers (and consequently, their students) are helped by understanding English

    Interestingly, Larsen-Freeman and Celce-Murcia edited the sentence in question out for the third edition of The Grammar Book (2016). In the third edition, there is a paragraph break after the sentence ending with "sentential level," and the first sentence of the following paragraph is the one...
  6. Phaedrus

    teachers (and consequently, their students) are helped by understanding English

    The active correlate of Teachers are helped by understanding English when generalizations can be made at the highest possible level of language is either: (1) Understanding English helps teachers when grammarians can make generalizations at the highest possible level of language. or (2)...
  7. Phaedrus

    The Arch has encouraged some new building downtown.

    Hi, Diamondcutter:— I'd like to focus on the part of your paraphrase which does not concern the absolute construction. Where you say "Some new building downtown has followed the style . . . ," you seem to be thinking of one specific building rather than of the activity of building. Although...
  8. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    On the contrary, Piscean, it is very much relevant to our present discussion. See Stephen Abney's doctoral dissertation, The English Noun Phrase in Its Sentential Aspect.
  9. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    Would their bemusement be comparable to my bemusement by your own ignorance (or stubborn unwillingness to concede the obvious) in this regard? When I teach ESL grammar courses at the college at which I am an ESL professor, I explain the mistakenness of the textbook when we get to the topic of...
  10. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    If we accept those terminological revisions, we must say, sadly, that Nonverbis has asked a meaningless question. It's rather pathetic, isn't it? Apparently, those grammarians do not recognise the distinction -ing forms that behave as nouns (gerunds) and -ing forms that behave as verbs (present...
  11. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    Yes, I wrote (2)—which has a present participle, not a gerund—as an example of a bad, though not necessarily ungrammatical, sentence. Sentence (1)—which has a gerund, not a participle—is perfectly normal, even if you prefer your revision. Google "Please rise for the singing of the national...
  12. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    Well, your sentence obviously does not contain a gerund, as can be seen by the fact that the following pronoun substitution is absurdly ungrammatical: *We all listened to him something. Your sentence has the following structure, which is most naturally parsed as having a perceptual-verb...
  13. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    Do you recognize a semantic difference between the following two sentences? Who's doing the singing? (1) The crowd rose for the singing of the national anthem. (2) The crowd rose for singing the national anthem. Does one of them seem better to you than the other? Would you want learners to use...
  14. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    No. You've probably let your ESL teachers deceive you. Most of them don't know what gerunds are. A gerund is a derived noun that is formed by [verb]+ing. That example does not contain a gerund. "Doing morning exercises" is a verb phrase that is functioning as a substantive. Here is a related...
  15. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    Nonverbis, are you aware that "listen to" can take the same special perceptual-verb patterns that "hear" can take? Even the base form of the verb ("criticize") is possible: We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticize the new book. (Compare: We listened to/heard them sing; We...
  16. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    Is it not worthwhile to differentiate between nouns and verbs? Do we want learners modifying nouns with adverbs or verbs with adjectives? Heaven help us if we do.
  17. Phaedrus

    We all listened with great interest to the speaker criticizing the new book.

    The distinction between gerunds and present participles is, in many cases, including this one, really a lot simpler and more obvious than 5jj makes it out to be. Gerunds and participles have the same form: [verb]+ing. However, gerunds are nouns, and participles are verbs. The question, then...
  18. Phaedrus

    "...designs, the best of which..." vs. "...designs, and the best of which..."

    Yes, "which" tells you that the clause following "T-shirt designs" is a subordinate clause. It is a relative clause modifying that noun phrase (nonrestrictively). If "which" (a relative pronoun) were replaced by "them" (a personal pronoun), then the clause following "T-shirt designs" would be a...
  19. Phaedrus

    From Beijing to Tianjin is two hours by train.

    A specifier is a structural position in the projection of a phrase in X-Bar syntax. It is the sister of the bar-level projection. They do various things in generative grammar, and what they do depends on the lexical category of the phrase. The specifier of a Complementizer Phrase is often the...
  20. Phaedrus

    From Beijing to Tianjin is two hours by train.

    I never disagreed with you; I was simply skeptical. There is no need to oversimplify. This is a very complex matter for anyone interested in grammatical analysis.
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