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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 31st, 2011, 01:32 am
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Default Many grammar questions

I have had many grammar questions and am now finding it difficult to locate answers using texts and the internet. I'm hoping I can come here and ask on a regular basis.

Question 1.
Is it possible to use two gerund forms after the verb enjoy?
Exp. Did you enjoy practicing speaking English?
This seems very odd to me. Enjoy necessitates a gerund form so both those verbals are ok if used alone but both together... I don't know. Is practicing even a gerund there ,or just an ing verbal (adjective)?


Question 2
Is it possible to use 'either' at the end of a sentence where 2 clauses are negative but those negatives are about completely different topics.
Exp. Sue doesn't like fish and Ben doesn't like salad, either.
Again, this seems odd. Shouldn't either be used for 2 similar negative clauses?


Sorry one more.

Question 3.

What is the grammatical/lingustic word for an answer to a WH question that ends in the to be verb?
Exp.
Q. What was the instrument used in the play.
A.A guitar was.
Is this even correct? I would noramally say a guitar or it was a guitar.
I know we say-What's making that noise? The alarm is.
But I'm trying to find rules/termanology for this.

Thanks for any help here.
Gonzo
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 31st, 2011, 03:18 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: Many grammar questions

1. Yes, grammatically it's possible - if both the first and the second verb take the gerund then the gerunds chain up : Compare ... The doctor recommended stopping smoking. / They advised continuing investigating. However, it often sounds a bit clumsy, and people would normally, I think, switch to an alternative structure for the one or other verb to avoid it : The doctor recommended that he stopped smoking./ They advised continuing to investigate.
However, in your example it's not possible - there is no alternative structure as both enjoy and practise only take the gerund. What makes it sound odd is that, here, playing is redundant. It's enough just to say He enjoys practising the guitar.
But if you take another example - eg He enjoyed practising walking the tightrope- to me it sounds quite possible.

2. Depends what you mean by "possible". Logically no, and I'd avoid it in writing - but I could see it being used frequently in spontaneous speech where, by the time the speaker reaches the end of the utterance, they've forgotten the beginning. Spoken discourse is rarely totally grammatically logical because of the "real time" factor. And in a continuing conversation, you wouldn't notice it.

3. A pro-verb. Just as a pronoun subsitutes for a noun, an auxiliary verb (or Be as main verb) functioning as operator will often substute a complete verb phrase, where that verb phrase is understandable from the co-text. Eg John can't swim but Mary can (= can swim). John didn't go to Rome last week but Mary did (= went to Rome last week).

It can't happen though in your sentence because a guitar is the object rather than the subject : The instrument used was a guitar. So, as you say, the sentence has to be It was a guitar or just A guitar. Compare the other example you give (The alarm is making that noise) and this one : Who was the last person to arrive?/David was. In each case the "answer word" (alarm/David) here is the subject.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 31st, 2011, 04:12 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: Many grammar questions

It occurred to me after posting this that it might not be clear why "a guitar" should be the object rather than the subject of your example sentence : why not A guitar was the instrument used...?

The answer lies not in grammar but in the discourse organisation of English, which generally follows a "given-new" organisation of information. So eg if the first sentence was Where was John? both speaker and listener know they're talking about John - that information is "given" for the reply. The "new" information in the reply will be the location. So the sentence will be ordered : He (ie John, given) is at home (new) and not At home is John.

You question was What was the instrument used in the play? Therefore The instrument used in the play is the "given" information and will natuirally come first in the sentence - ie in subject position - with the "new" information (the answer - a guitar) at the end - in object position. The instrument used... was a guitar / It was a guitar.

Hope that's clear.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Jan 31st, 2011, 07:42 pm
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Default Re: Many grammar questions

That's great thanks for your time.
The ideas for 1 and 2 are exactly what I was thinking. I find it hard though sometimes to come up with a hard concrete rule I could use/apply in terms of teaching it.
In the case of the 3rd-it's simply referred to as a verb phrase?
These are all coming from lessons being taught in the Japanese JHS.
From the teachers test.---What was the name of the new song? His answer was, Silent Night was.
I just thought it strange to drop the object there.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Feb 1st, 2011, 03:33 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: Many grammar questions

To find out more about verb, noun, adjective etc phrases, I suggest you look at : Phrases Page 1

And as I said "Silent Night was" is grammatically possible but unlikely because of the normal given-new discourse organisation of the language. Language isn't only grammar
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