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  1. #1

    Need your insight

    Question 1]
    .................................................. ............................
    Please look at the sentences below:

    (1) On which bed did he sleep?
    (2) Which bed did he sleep on?

    The preposition "on" can be put on both places, but I'm not sure why some of the sentences below are ungrammatical, while others grammatical. How can I explain this? I need your help.

    1.
    (a) Until what time are you staying? (grammatical)
    (b) What time are you staying until? (NOT grammatical)

    2.
    (a) Like what is he? (NOT grammatical)
    (b) What is he like? (grammatical)

    3.
    Book and what did you buy? (NOT grammatical)

    4.
    Who and who came? (NOT grammatical))

    5.
    When and where were you born? (grammatical)

    6.
    Who said what to whom? (grammatical)

    Question 2]
    .................................................. ............................
    a. They could have canceled their trip.
    b. They were able to cancel their trip.

    According to the textbook,

    "According to both sentences, they had the opportunity to cancel their trip. According to the second sentence, they did not cancel; according to the first sentence, they did."

    Is this true? I thought the opposite is true.

    Question 3]
    .................................................. ............................
    Why are (b) and (c) ungrammatical while (a) is grammatical?

    (a) What John preferred was for Mary to leave early.
    (b) *What John believed was for Mary to leave early.
    (c) *What John persuaded was for Mary to leave early.

    but (e) and (f) is grammatically correct.

    (e) What the colonists wanted was to be free from external taxation.
    (f) What the colonists believed was that they should be freed from external taxation.

    Any insight?

    Thanks in advance.

    Jay from ROK

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #2

    Re: Need your insight

    Here are a few hints.

    1. "until" has two functions, preposition or conjunction.

    2. "like" has several functions, two of which are, a preposition, especially when it pairs up with a copular or linking verb, and an idiomatic expression;e.g., "Like, what is he?" Note the comma after "Like".

    3. is ungrammatical because the word "Book" is a count noun, which means it requires a determiner, either "a" or "the". Try,

    EX: 3a. [b]A[/u]Book and what did you buy? (grammatical)

    Note, if "what" is emphasized, then 3a. is OK. It's a simple matter of replacement. I'll show you:

    Q: A book and what did you buy? Sorry. I didn't hear the other thing.
    A: I said I bought a book and a DVD.

    If it's not supposed to be emphasized (i.e., replaced), then "else" should be added,

    EX: 3b. A book and what else did you buy? (grammatical)

    4. Again, if "who" is emphasized, then 4. is OK. If it's not supposed to be emphasized (i.e., replaced), either add "else" or just use one "who". It's both plural and singular.

    EX: 4a. Who and who came? (grammatical)
    EX: 4b. Who came? Answer: John and Sam or Just Sam.

    5. "when" refers to time, and "where" refers to a place. They refer to different things, whereas "a book and what" and "who and who" refer to the same thing. Do you see the pattern yet? Why is "else" added to 3. and 4., but not to 5. and 6.?

    6. "who" and "whom" refer to different people.

    EX: 6a. Sam said something to Max.
    EX: 6b. Who said something to whom?

    Next, here's a hint: "could" is a modal and "were" is a verb, a past tense verb.

    a. They could have canceled their trip, but they didn't.
    b. They were able to cancel their trip, so they did.

    Why are (b) and (c) ungrammatical while (a) is grammatical?

    (a) What John preferred was for Mary to leave early.
    (b) *What John believed was for Mary to leave early.
    (c) *What John persuaded was for Mary to leave early.
    The meanings expressed by the verbs "believed" and "persuaded" don't pair well with the meaning expressed by the preposition "for".

    (e) and (f) are correct. Do you know why?

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