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    #1

    Some of green slime is created by bacteria

    Hello! I was reading an article about noun phrases with partitives/quantifiers and came across the statement that the sentence, "Some of green slime is created by bacteria" is "not welcome" (I understood it as "ungrammatical"). Here's the excerpt where I found it:

    (36) a. Ants had gotten into most of some jars of jam Bill had stored in the basement.
    b. Three quarters of half the population will be mothers at some point in their lives.
    c. Any of several options are open to us at this point.
    d. Each student only answered a few of many questions that they could have.
    e. Half of all dentists who chew gum prefer Trident.

    With the exception of the last example ((36e)), each of the underlined NPs above is intuitively
    indefinite, and would not be classified as definite by any of the analyses of that concept which
    we have looked at so far. The last example has an embedded universal (all dentists who chew
    gum) with a group interpretation.
    Data like those above (and more examples can be easily found) suggest that any NP that
    can have a group interpretation can appear embedded in a group partitive. The only exception
    is bare plural and mass NPs, which are not welcome there, as illustrated by (37).

    (37) a. * Most of books by Chomsky are on politics.
    b. * Some of green slime is created by bacteria.

    As is also indicated by these two examples, it does not matter whether the bare NP is interpreted as indefinite (as in (37a)) or generically (as in (37b)). Neither is possible embedded in a partitive. (Interestingly, in this characteristic bare plural and mass NPs are different from
    proper names; viz., e.g., Most of Australia is desert.)



    As I see it, (37a) should be, "
    Most of the books by Chomsky are on politics." But I can't see what's wrong with (37b). Is the problem with "some", or maybe something should be added between "of" and "green slime"?
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 13-Jan-2020 at 15:43. Reason: Enlarged font in quote

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Some of green slime is created by bacteria

    Try:

    Most books by Chomsky are on politics.

    And:

    Most green slime is created by bacteria.
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    #3

    Re: Some of green slime is created by bacteria

    Thank you, I totally forgot about this option! What about, "Most of the books by Chomsky are on politics."? Is this wrong?

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Some of green slime is created by bacteria

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Thank you, I totally forgot about this option! What about, "Most of the books by Chomsky are on politics"? Is this wrong?
    It's OK. (Note change to text.)
    Not a professional teacher

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Some of green slime is created by bacteria

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Hello! I was reading an article about noun phrases with partitives/quantifiers and came across the statement that the sentence, "Some of green slime is created by bacteria" is "not welcome" (I understood it as "ungrammatical").
    Right.

    As I see it, (37a) should be, "Most of the books by Chomsky are on politics."
    That's possible.

    But I can't see what's wrong with (37b).
    It's ungrammatical.

    Is the problem with "some", or maybe something should be added between "of" and "green slime"?
    Most books
    Most of the books
    Most of books

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