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    #1

    Question question about English syntax

    First and above, I would love to thank you all for your supportive help before.

    This is a question about English syntax.

    A: What is it?
    B: It was a restaurant a long distance from the city.

    I would just like to know whether B's answer is grammatical because the word 'restaurant' adjoins 'a long distance' without an intervening comma.

    Thank you.
    Have a productive working week ahead.

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    #2

    Re: question about English syntax

    My stance on the issue is this:

    B: It was a restaurant (which was) (at) a long distance from the city.


    (which was) = reduced relative

    You may delete the relative pronoun and the be verb when:
    1. they are followed by a prepositional phrase.
    (at) = idiomatically missing preposition

    a long distance from the city = postmodifier --> no preceding comma

    It was a distant restaurant.

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    #3

    Re: question about English syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    If A relates to B, B should be written, "It is a restaurant, a long distance from the city."

    The second part of the sentence provides more information.

    It would be more natural to write the sentence this way, "It is a restaurant, a long ways from the city."
    Unless this is an AmE form, I think there's a typo there- a long way from the city.

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    #4

    Re: question about English syntax

    It was a restaurant (a long distance from the city.) (absolute phrase)
    It was a restaurant. This is a good sentence.
    It was a (a long distance from the city) restaurant. Not good
    'a long distance from the city' is a post-nomial (= comes after the noun) adjectival absolute phrase.

    Cf This was a restaurant (designed for the ultra-rich.)
    This was a designed restaurant for the ultra-rich. Not so good.
    This was a designed for the ultra-rich restaurant. Not good.

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    #5

    Re: question about English syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by corum View Post
    My stance on the issue is this:
    B: It was a restaurant (which was) (at) a long distance from the city.
    (which was) = reduced relative
    (at) = idiomatically missing preposition
    a long distance from the city = postmodifier --> no preceding comma
    It was a distant restaurant.
    I would think your stance is also possible.
    I have another example regarding this type of syntax.

    My friend Peter Jackson is coming to my rescue.

    There are no commas before and after Peter Jackson because it is a defining noun phrase post-modifying my friend.

    Maybe the same is also applicable to this sentence:
    It was a restaurant a long distance from the city. (defining noun phrase)

    Thank you all again.
    Last edited by panicmonger; 06-Dec-2010 at 14:10.

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    #6

    Re: question about English syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by panicmonger View Post
    My friend Peter Jackson is coming to my rescue.
    No, this is another story, an issue of restrictive apposition.

    Peter Jackson = (one of) my friend(s)

    It was a restaurant a long distance from the city.

    distance ≠ restaurant

    IMO these are similar:

    It was a restaurant a long distance from the city. the sub-clause is SVA
    It is a restaurant far away from here. -- the sub-clause is SVA

  3. lauralie2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: question about English syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by panicmonger View Post
    First and above, I would love to thank you all for your supportive help before.

    This is a question about English syntax.

    A: What is it?
    B: It was a restaurant a long distance from the city.

    I would just like to know whether B's answer is grammatical because the word 'restaurant' adjoins 'a long distance' without an intervening comma.

    Thank you.
    Have a productive working week ahead.
    Corum (post #3) offers a sensible solution:

    You may delete the relative pronoun and the be verb when:
    1. they are followed by a prepositional phrase.
    The problem is that our example does not house a preposition:



    • It was a restaurant that was a long distance from the city.



    The more I read that sentence, the more it sounds OK to me, but when I read it for the first time it sounded rather stilted and awkward. Adding a comma, doesn't help. I want to add in a word like Corum, but "at" doesn't work for me; an adjective, say 'located', works better--perhaps because our modifying phrase (a long distance from the city) is adverbial:


    • It was a restaurant that was located a long distance from the city.


    Alternatively, add brackets or a dash. They serve to separate the modifying phrase from the syntax proper:



    • It was a restaurant (a long distance from the city).
    • It was a restaurant--a long distance from the city.



    For me, adding a comma results in an awkward sounding sentence because it connects the modifying phrase to the syntax proper:



    • It was a restaurant, a long distance from the city.


    Again, the more I read it, the better it sounds, but I should go with my first instinct: it's awkward sounding.
    Last edited by lauralie2; 06-Dec-2010 at 15:08.

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    #8

    Re: question about English syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by lauralie2 View Post
    The problem is that our example does not house a preposition


    A little bit of nip and tuck and the circumstances suits my argument again:



    You may delete the relative pronoun and the be verb when:
    1. they are followed by an prepositional phrase adverbial objective.

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    #9

    Re: question about English syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Unless this is an AmE form, I think there's a typo there- a long way from the city.
    It's actually standard here, yes.

    Ways - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    ways noun pl but singular in constr \ˈwāz\
    Definition of WAYS

    : way 6 <a long ways from home>


    I'm sure there will be others who decry this as yet another example of American bastardization of the language. Oh well.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #10

    Re: question about English syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    It's actually standard here, yes.
    Thanks- good job I put the rider in.

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