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    #1

    grammatical analysis

    I got this following sentence from the New York Times. It's from an Editorial. But I just feel it's a little unusual grammatically. Can anyone do a grammatical analysis for me? Thanks.

    It will never cease to surprise how the condition of being human means we cannot foretell with any accuracy what next Thanksgiving will bring.

    For the whole text, see the third paragraph of the following:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/opinion/26thur1.html


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    #2

    Re: grammatical analysis

    Do the brackets help?

    [It will never cease to surprise X] how [the condition of being human] means [we cannot foretell with any accuracy] [what next Thanksgiving will bring].

    I only miss this:
    surprise who (X)? 'surprise' is a transitive verb. You cannot drop the object.

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    #3

    Re: grammatical analysis

    Thanks. So you do think there is something missing, right?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: grammatical analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    I got this following sentence from the New York Times. It's from an Editorial. But I just feel it's a little unusual grammatically. Can anyone do a grammatical analysis for me? Thanks.

    It will never cease to surprise how the condition of being human means we cannot foretell with any accuracy what next Thanksgiving will bring.

    For the whole text, see the third paragraph of the following:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/opinion/26thur1.html
    Although "surprise" is a transitive verb (officially), it is sometimes used intransitively. I don't find anything very unusual about your sentence.


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    #5

    Re: grammatical analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    I got this following sentence from the New York Times. It's from an Editorial. But I just feel it's a little unusual grammatically. Can anyone do a grammatical analysis for me? Thanks.

    It will never cease to surprise how the condition of being human means we cannot foretell with any accuracy what next Thanksgiving will bring.

    For the whole text, see the third paragraph of the following:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/26/opinion/26thur1.html
    this is just standard English. I guess you find this sentence a bit weird because this isn't the way a non-native speaker would say it.
    and the verb "surprise" is often used without an object.

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    #6

    Re: grammatical analysis

    Thank you for all the inputs.
    I originally didn't think this is a wrong sentence, as first of all it is from an editorial of the New York Times and also written for one of the most important holidays in the States. So the chance to create a "wrong" sentence is very slim. But just because this is idiomatically right doesn't mean we can't analyze it grammatically. So can some grammarians here in this blog give us a try?
    Thank again for your inputs.


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    #7

    Re: grammatical analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by meee View Post
    and the verb "surprise" is often used without an object.
    Really? I would not be so sure.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: grammatical analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by Kondorosi View Post
    Really? I would not be so sure.
    I agree. I think 'often' is an outrageous overstatement.
    But I'd agree to "sometimes/occasionally/not rarely" - the sense being "often enough for a person knowledgeable of English usage to find [it] unsurprising".

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