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-   -   to run out vs to run out of something (http://www.eslhq.com/forums/esl-forums/english-questions/run-out-vs-run-out-something-70168/)

alexlearner Jun 5th, 2016 12:25 am

to run out vs to run out of something
 
I would like to make up four sentences.

(1) I ran out of these pamphlets.
(2) These pamphlets ran out.
(3) This particular pamphlet ran out.
(4) This particular pamphlet ran out of copies.

I do not have any questions about (1) and (2). If you compare (3) and (4), (4) has two extra words at the end, which are "of copies".

Is it grammatically wrong to add the two words there? Thank you for your help.

susan53 Jun 9th, 2016 12:56 pm

Re: to run out vs to run out of something
 
(4) doesn't make sense - "This pamphlet" is doesn't own/contain the copies, nor is it uncountable, which must be the case with any single object/person which serves as subject of "run out". Compare:

David ran out of petrol half way down the motorway (David "owned" the petrol)
The car ran out of petrol half way down the motorway (the car contained the petrol)
The petrol ran out half way down the motorway (uncountable)



You'd need to say :

We ran out of copies of this pamphlet after two days.
Copies of this pamphlet ran out after two days.




Similarly in (3) "this pamphlet" sounds as if it's a single document - not one with copies, so sounds odd. You'd need to say eg:
The first edition of this pamphlet ran out after two days.
or something similar. Here, although "The first edition" is grammatically singular, it is understood as meaning more than one copy, and not as a single object.


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