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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Grammar and Language Learning    

Grammar and Language Learning



almaz
United Kingdom

Grammar and Language Learning
 
Can anyone think of a construction in English which you know is not ungrammatical, but you īve never seen in a grammar book? 
 
From a recent Lingua Franca post:
 
"Grammars are never complete. Natural languages are so rich and diverse in variety of sentence types that there are always residual undescribed constructions."
 
The writer (a grammarian) then cites an example which his own reference grammar was the first to note and another which his book didn īt cover. The first construction was "the reduplication of modifier words for emphasis in a major, major problem, or much, much too far." The second was adding the regular past participle suffix –ed + out to a noun to indicate reaching an excess of something – to be museumed outto be all caffeined out.
 
The link is here:
 
 

29 Jul 2015      



yanogator
United States

Fun question, Alex. Concerning the "-ed" examples, the people of the US have a strong tendency to use any noun as a verb. In fact "to google" is a recent example of this. This makes it natural to form past participles, since the nouns are already considered to be verbs.

Bruce
 

29 Jul 2015     



almaz
United Kingdom

Exactly, Bruce. I especially like the idea of turning proper nouns into verbs. I heard a song recently which used Marvin Gaye as a verb (here) – and it īs just so right for the poppy vibe. I īm looking forward to hearing it in different forms – "Wow, man, I īm cream-crackered*; we īve been Marvin Gaying all day."
 
 
* cream-crackered: rhyming slang for īknackered ī – exhausted 

PS – I see the spamīs going to be Victored

29 Jul 2015     



cunliffe
United Kingdom

Hi Alex, is your professor saying that complete grammar guides are an impossibility as language keeps evolving? That is an obvious point. But does he extrapolate from that that therefore language tuition doesn īt assist language acquisition? Iīm asking as his language is very hifalutin and laborious. If so, as a humble teacher, I would have to disagree. Pointing out basic language patterns and modelling them for students is helpful, in fact it īs what we are employed to do - unless I īm on the Gucci website by accident:-)  Of course there are always exceptions to every convention (I know you don īt like īrule ī), but hey, that īs language! 
As for your example, it is actually well-chronicled - get googling. That usage stems from īto be maxed out ī, which has been in the language a while now.  
 
Here is a fun article about English by Gyles Brandreth, a marmite character (you either love him or hate him). It includes the shortest poem in English and a quiz to test how many words you know in English (to be taken with a pinch of salt). I hope you find it interesting. 
 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3173961/Are-wizard-words-Countdown-veteran-GILES-BRANDRETH-celebrates-love-English-language-s-quirks-curiosities.html

29 Jul 2015     



almaz
United Kingdom

No, Lynne, he was referring to WS Jevons ī two methods of knowledge acquisition and trying to relate that to language acquisition, while my post was all "Hey, can anyone think of a construction in English which you know is not ungrammatical, but you īve never seen it in a grammar book?" 
 
By the way, I love rules, me.
 
And just the idea of Giles Brandreth makes me regret I hadn īt bought that second-hand isolation tank all those years ago.  :)

29 Jul 2015     



spinney
United Kingdom

You should read P G Wodehouse for some imaginative conversion of nouns to verbs. He coined quite a few. As for Gyles Brandreth, I both love him and hate him at the same time. He knows his English, that īs for sure.

29 Jul 2015