I have some questions

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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2017-12-08, 10:39

Irusia wrote:What does this mean:
"Do you all sell anything to eat here?" one questions the grizzled old carpet slippers who opens the door.
Does the phase refer to a person?

It does. This is a form of metonymy, referring to a person by a noteworthy element of their attire. Compare this line from the song "We Are Young" by Fun:

"My seat's been taken by some sunglasses asking 'bout a scar."

"Sunglasses" here denotes "a guy wearing sunglasses". Reducing him to just this one element does several things. It dehumanises him, but it also taps into certain negative stereotypes about people who wear sunglasses indoors. It expresses a great deal of contempt on the part of the speaker.

Your example is interesting because the adjectives "old" and "grizzeled" apply to the person wearing the slippers, not the slippers themselves. ("Old" could apply to both, actually, but it's difficult to see how "grizzled" could apply to slippers.)

Irusia wrote:What do the following sentences mean:

One table was playing dominoes already.

More metonymy. "Our table" means "the people sitting at the same table as we are".

Another example: "At breakfast our table decided to visit the Buarbrœ Glacier in the morning and to drive to the Laatefos Waterfall in the afternoon." (The setting is a cruise ship.)

Irusia wrote:So I resolved to sell no more muscle and to become a vendor of brains.

Metonymy again! (See definitions 4 and 5 for "muscle" and 3 and 4 for "brains".)

Irusia wrote:The Stars and Stripes dangled languidly from a flag staff.

And again! The Stars and Stripes is a nickname for the flag of the United States, which prominently features both these elements in the design.

Irusia wrote:Birling: Well, have another glass of port, Gerald - and then we'll join the ladies.

Port wine.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby Salajane » 2017-12-09, 8:06

Thank you very much, linguoboy!
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Re: I have some questions

Postby Salajane » 2017-12-09, 18:38

In the sentence "They were even referred to as Irishmen" there is the preposition "to" after "referred" even though there is no noun/pronoun after it, and "they" is nominative. Why?
Can I use prepositions after any verb even if there is no noun after it?
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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2017-12-10, 1:02

Irusia wrote:In the sentence "They were even referred to as Irishmen" there is the preposition "to" after "referred" even though there is no noun/pronoun after it, and "they" is nominative. Why?
Can I use prepositions after any verb even if there is no noun after it?

There's not too many things you can do in English after "any verb". Verbs in English come in many subclasses, each with their own grammatical peculiarities.

Refer to is classed as a prepositional phrasal verb. That means that the verb and preposition are basically inseparable, since this particular combination has a different sense than the verb alone or even the verb with a separable prepositional phrase. Compare: "They are the Irishmen I referred to you". (Refer s.o. to s.o. is a different verb with a different meaning.)

Examples of other prepositional phrasal verbs in similar constructions:

Where are the children you're looking after?
How does it feel to be forgotten about?
Those are the ones we've completely run out of.

Your example is the passive version of a sentence with a prepositional phrasal verb. That is, the theoretical unmarked underlying form of that sentence is:

They even referred to them as Irishmen.

When you passivise an English sentence, the object gets promoted to subject while the subject gets demoted to adjunct (e.g. "by them") or dispensed with completely. That's how you end up with:

They were even referred to as Irishmen.

Since they is the subject, it can't also be the object of a preposition. But you can't drop the preposition (or even separate it from the verb) because that changes the meaning. So it gets stranded in place, something simply not allowed by most other languages.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby LifeDeath » 2017-12-12, 16:12

I've had some arguments with one person. We tried to understand a part from an audiobook which seemed interesting. We still haven't decided what words are actually spoken there yet.
Here's the link. The moment is at 5:11:56
So can you write the following sentence? Until 5:12:03.
We are not sure about the first word, which is probably a name. We also do not understabd whether it's "wondered" or "wandered" used there. And we are choosing between "went on" and "went out".
I won't write my option as it may confuse you. (I know that sometimes reading someone's else option may be confusing when analyzing a text yourself.)
So what do you think is used?

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Re: I have some questions

Postby Dormouse559 » 2017-12-12, 17:42

Here's the sentence: "Shadow wondered about the other trains he'd seen — blank, windowless, metal cars which went on for mile after mile, hooting their lonely way through the night."

The book's main character is named Shadow Moon.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby LifeDeath » 2018-01-26, 15:22

Hello! I've a couple of simple questions today. You know, I've been to a foreign country so I've noticed some peculiar uses of English here.

1. At breakfast I noticed that there was a little frame note on my table with the written word "occupied" on it. So is it a good word choice here? I guess it should be something like "reserved" or "taken". Don't you think so?

2. Does the word topless refer to women only? There's a note in my hotel like "Due to visitors of different cultures and religions, you're not allowed to walk topless across the beach and swimming pool areas as it may humiliate their cultural standards." But as I've noticed, men doesn't really seem to obey this prescription. So as I felt before, that word referred rarher to women and this sign has partly confirmed it. How's it in American English?

3. [url="https://vk.com/photo37262396_456242066]I saw this sign a couple of days ago.[/url] So is it really correct to use words without articles? I heard that it's kind of official style and is done in order to save some space. But doesn't it confuse? In fact, there's pretty much space to insert the article there. I think English native speakers are not used to seeng countable nouns being used without articles.
It's like if in Russian some words would be used without prefixes or word-endings. It'd be very confusing. Or maybe it's a mistake?

4. If two phrasal verbs have the same preposition, can I use the preposition only once when listing?
Like: "It's really kept me motivated to go and carry on". Or will people think that I mean "to go" but not "to go on"?
Do I need to rephrase "It's really kept me motivated to go on and carry on"?

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Re: I have some questions

Postby Dormouse559 » 2018-01-26, 16:07

LifeDeath wrote:Hello! I've a couple of simple questions today. You know, I've been to a foreign country so I've noticed some peculiar uses of English there (Unless you're still in the foreign coutry, in which case, change "I've been to" to "I am in").

1. At breakfast I noticed that there was a little framed note on my table with the written word "occupied" written on it. So is it a good word choice here? I guess it should be something like "reserved" or "taken". Don't you think so?
"Reserved" sounds best to me.

LifeDeath wrote:2. Does the word topless refer to women only? There's a note in my hotel like "Due to visitors of different cultures and religions, you're not allowed to walk topless across the beach and swimming pool areas as it may humiliate their cultural standards." But as I've noticed, men doesn't really seem to obey this prescription. So as I felt before, that word referred rather to women instead and this sign has partly confirmed it. How's it in American English?
It does usually refer to a woman. Notably, a woman's upper garment is often called a "top". A man's upper garment is more likely to be called a "shirt", and "shirtless" is correspondingly more associated with men.

On another point, I think I'd say "offend" instead of "humiliate" on that sign. For me, the object of "humiliate" is usually a person, not an abstract concept, whereas "offend" can take abstract objects.

LifeDeath wrote:3. [url="https://vk.com/photo37262396_456242066]I saw this sign a couple of days ago.[/url] So is it really correct to use words without articles? I heard that it's kind of official style and is done in order to save some space. But isn't it confusing? In fact, there's pretty much space pretty much to insert the article there. I think English native speakers are not used to seeng countable nouns being used without articles.
It's like if in Russian some words would be were used without prefixes or word-endings. It'd be very confusing. Or maybe it's a mistake?
VK tells me that photo is only visible to logged in users, so I can't see it. But we've told you in this very thread that language on signage regularly deletes articles. This is expected and not at all off-putting for native speakers.

LifeDeath wrote:4. If two phrasal verbs have the same preposition, can I use the preposition only once when listing them?
Like: "It's really kept me motivated to go and carry on". Or will people think that I mean "to go" but not "to go on"?
Do I need to rephrase: "It's really kept me motivated to go on and carry on"?
You'd need to say both "prepositions". (They're more like adverbs than prepositions.) But on a stylistic level, your example sentence still sounds awkward because "go on" and "carry on" are near-synonyms. There's no reason to use both.
Last edited by Dormouse559 on 2018-01-26, 16:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-01-26, 16:08

LifeDeath wrote:1. At breakfast I noticed that there was a little framed note on my table with the written word "occupied" on it. So is itthat a good word choice here? I guess it should be something like "reserved" or "taken". Don't you think so?

These all mean roughly the same thing. I've never seen "taken" used on a sign, though, probably because it sounds too colloquial.

LifeDeath wrote:2. Does the word "topless" refer to women only? There's a note in my hotel like "Due to visitors of different cultures and religions, you're not allowed to walk topless across the beach and swimming pool areas as it may humiliate their cultural standards." But as I've noticed, men doesn't really seem to obey this prescription. So as I felt suspected before, that word referreds rather to women and this sign has partly confirmed it. How's it in American English?

The same, more or less. Men with bare torsos are generally referred to as "shirtless". But it really depends on context. A beach is a context where men are usually topless but women may or may not be. But an office, for instance, is one where you would expect everyone to cover their upper body. So if I said, "It was a shock seeing one of my coworkers walk in topless", you wouldn't necessarily know if I meant a man or a woman.

LifeDeath wrote:3. [url="https://vk.com/photo37262396_456242066]I saw this sign a couple of days ago.[/url] So is it really correct to use words without articles? I heard that it's kind of official style and is done in order to save some space. But doesn't it confuseisn't it confusing? In fact, there's pretty much space to insert the article there. I think English native speakers are not used to seeing countable nouns being used without articles. It's like if in Russian some words would be used without prefixes or word-endings. It'd be very confusing. Or maybe it's a mistake?

The link above isn't working. But, as you say, dropping articles is part of a particular register often used in formal signs. It doesn't sound "wrong" to us because we see examples every single day.

LifeDeath wrote:4. If two phrasal verbs have the same preposition, can I use the preposition only once when listcoordinating them?
Like: "It's really kept me motivated to go and carry on". Or will people think that I mean "to go" but not "to go on"?

That's exactly what they'll think. They aren't like objects which only need to occur once (e.g. "I need you to take and wash the dog"--and even that might be more commonly expressed as "I need you to take the dog and wash him".)

LifeDeath wrote:Do I need to rephrase to "It's really kept me motivated to go on and carry on"?

Yes. (Although this is kind of an odd example, since "go on" and "carry on" are synonymous, so there's no real reason to use both together.)
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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-01-26, 16:13

Dormouse559 wrote:You'd need to say both "prepositions". (They're more like adverbs than prepositions.)

I think "particle" is a better term than either "preposition" or "adverb" in this context. Yes, it's sort of a catch-all category, but so is "adverb" and--as this very example shows--they don't behave very much like prototypical adverbs in English.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby LifeDeath » 2018-01-26, 16:16

Thank you guys! I tried to fix the link here but it doesn't seem to work. Using this forum through a mobile phone may seemingly cause issues like that.
Anyway, it was written "Please lock door" in a lavatory. Which is really strange, as I said.

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Re: I have some questions

Postby Dormouse559 » 2018-01-26, 16:21

LifeDeath wrote:Thank you guys! I tried to fix the link here but it doesn't seem to work. Using this forum through a mobile phone may seemingly cause issues like that.
You didn't close the quotation marks in the first tag. But what I meant is that I don't have a VK account, and when I manually followed the link, the site said I couldn't view the photo without an account.

LifeDeath wrote:Anyway, it was written read "Please lock door" in a lavatory. Which is really strange, as I said.
It really isn't strange. That's very normal-sounding for an instructional sign.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-01-26, 16:29

LifeDeath wrote:Anyway, it was written "Please lock door" in a lavatory. Which is really strange, as I said.

Strange to you, maybe, but completely normal to us native speakers who are used to that style of giving instructions in signs.

I had a little look around where I work. The sign reminding users of the staff bathroom to lock the door behind them is missing, so I can't tell you the exact warning, but I found this on the fire doors which separate one corridor from another:

PUSH UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS
DOOR CAN BE OPENED IN 15 SECONDS

It's a very large sign. There's plenty of room to put "THE" before "ALARM" and "DOOR". But there's no need--the sentence is entirely clear without these words. Including them adds nothing and actually makes the instructions sound less urgent and official.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby Salajane » 2018-01-27, 16:03

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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-01-29, 16:35

Irusia wrote:What is the difference between subsequent, successive and following? Which is more suitable before year?

I'm not sure there's a simple answer here, since this is more a question of collocation and register than denotation.

In informal registers, I'd prefer "the following year". "The year after" would also work.

"Successive" sounds odd with a singular since it refers to a series. That is, you would say "successive years", but not "the successive year". "The subsequent year" sounds a bit stilted. It sounds better in the phrase "in subsequent years" since this is something of a fixed expression.
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Re: I have some questions

Postby Salajane » 2018-02-13, 18:55

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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-13, 18:59

Irusia wrote:"Also, both treatises have sequential numeration beside the titles of parts, problems which were discussed/examined/touched upon/dealt with".
Does this sentence sound natural and what is the most suitable word in the end of the sentence?

You lose me after the second comma. Having sequential numeration is the problem?
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Re: I have some questions

Postby Salajane » 2018-02-13, 19:03

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Re: I have some questions

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-13, 19:05

Irusia wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Irusia wrote:"Also, both treatises have sequential numeration beside the titles of parts, problems which were discussed/examined/touched upon/dealt with".
Does this sentence sound natural and what is the most suitable word in the end of the sentence?

You lose me after the second comma. Having sequential numeration is the problem?

No. The problems which are discussed in the treatise are numerated (as well as parts of it).

So the grammatical relationship between "parts" and "problems" is one of apposition?
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Re: I have some questions

Postby Salajane » 2018-02-13, 19:14

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