Mobile menu

Sentence Analysis
Thread poster: Gabrielle Bannard
Gabrielle Bannard  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:35
French to English
Sep 13, 2007

Hello!

I've been brushing up on my English grammar and have run into a snag, so I thought I'd ask language professionals about it!

Please read the following sentences and let me know which word you think is the BARE SUBJECT:

1. Rich samples of ore came from the mine.

2. A pair of kingfishers darted across the bay.

3. Shouts of applause arose from every spectator.

Note that the grammar book I'm using is rather dated, but really that shouldn't make a difference, should it? Another English professional I asked said that it does make a difference in that why should I care about knowing this? It isn't the important stuff in grammar, she says. Please feel free to share your thoughts on that too!

Note also that in this sentence:

"An avalanche of snow slid over the cliff."

the book states that "avalanche" is the Bare Subject, which is why the above 3 sentences have given me trouble. Is the word "of" the clue that the word after it cannot be the Bare Subject? Unfortunately, the book doesn't give me the answers at the back!

Thank you all in advance!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:35
Member
English to Turkish
Moved the topic... Sep 13, 2007

...to Linguistics forum.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

André Charbonnet
Greece
Local time: 03:35
Greek to French
+ ...
Noyau du groupe sujet Sep 13, 2007

Depuis la grammaire générative de Chomsky, on parle de noyau du groupe nominal (sujet). Quand on pronominalise tout un groupe, on ne pronominalise en fait que le noyau. Le reste (adjectifs, copléments du nom, etc.) est secondaire de ce point de vue.

Par exemple:
un amas de pierres est tombé.

On remarque que le verbe est "est". Donc le sujet est "amas" et non "pierres".

On pronomilnalisera donc avec "il" et non "elles".

C'est la règle disons "SCOLAIRE".
Cela n'empêche pas le français de faire des accords selon le sens. (accord dit logique).
Ex. une foule de gens SONT venus.
Certains considèrent cette tournure comme fautive; il faudrait dire "une foule de gens EST venue" (accord grammatical).


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:35
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Subjects and numbers Sep 13, 2007

AWOE wrote:

Please read the following sentences and let me know which word you think is the BARE SUBJECT:

1. Rich samples of ore came from the mine.

2. A pair of kingfishers darted across the bay.

3. Shouts of applause arose from every spectator.

Note that the grammar book I'm using is rather dated, but really that shouldn't make a difference, should it? Another English professional I asked said that it does make a difference in that why should I care about knowing this? It isn't the important stuff in grammar, she says. Please feel free to share your thoughts on that too!

Note also that in this sentence:

"An avalanche of snow slid over the cliff."

the book states that "avalanche" is the Bare Subject, which is why the above 3 sentences have given me trouble. Is the word "of" the clue that the word after it cannot be the Bare Subject? Unfortunately, the book doesn't give me the answers at the back!

Thank you all in advance!


I don't think I've ever seen these words "bare subject" before. The presence of "of" indicates to me that the part preceeding "of" determines the number for the verb in the sentence. (e.g., The list of books is on the table. The books are on the shelf.)

Style manuals differ about quantity words. One I use puts the emphasis on whether the emphasis is on the quantity or the things counted.

A large number of books discusses the history of Hawaii.
(Here the emphasis is on the fact that there are a lot of books about this subject.)

A large number of books on the history of Manitoba are available for sale.
(Here the emphasis is on the books.)

However, I think they go together and the first of these two sentences sounds odd to me. After all, the number doesn't discuss anything, the books do.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:35
Russian to English
+ ...
Definition Sep 13, 2007

As I understand it, the bare subject is the grammatical subject of a sentence minus any modifiers. In the first example you give, therefore, the bare subject is "samples." The complete subject would be "the rich samples of ore." In the second sentence, "pair" is the bare subject, and "a pair of kingfishers" is the complete subject.

By the same token, there is a "bare predicate" and a "complete predicate." The principle is the same. The bare predicate is the predicate minus modifiers. Thus in the first sentence "came" is the bare predicate, while "came from the mine" is the complete predicate.

Reference: http://books.google.com/books?id=4JkAAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA23&dq="bare%20subject"


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Gabrielle Bannard  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:35
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Sep 13, 2007

Thanks to all of you for your help.

James, your explanation is exactly what I needed to confirm what the book is trying to teach me. The book you referenced is even older than mine! But those oldies are goodies!

Charbonnet and Paul, your input helped me really understand and solidify the concept in my mind.

Regards,
AWOE

[Edited at 2007-09-13 18:44]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 20:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
2 out of 3 are easy ... Sep 13, 2007

To me, as a native UK English-speaker with over 50 years' practical experience of the language, the first two examples are easy:

1. Rich samples of ore came from the mine.
The 'bare subject' is samples, since that is what is being qualified with 'rich' and 'of ore'

2. A pair of kingfishers darted across the bay.
The 'bare subject' is kingfishers, since that's what's being quantified with 'a pair of'.

But the third example is less clear. And maybe that's why James didn't explain this case .

3. Shouts of applause arose from every spectator.

Either:
- the bare subject is 'applause', qualified by 'shouts of'
or:
- the bare subject is 'shouts', qualified by 'of applause'.

This case is ambiguous and I guess it depends on the wider context. For example, in the sentence:
'Shouts of 'Give us Mozart!' came from the crowd in the street while shouts of applause came from every spectator attending the rock concert.'
it's clear that two types of shouts are being contrasted and so 'shouts' is the 'bare subject.

On the other hand, in the sentence:
'Shouts of applause arose from every spectator while the only applause from the players' bench was half-hearted hand-clapping.'
the types of applause are being contrasted and the bare subject is 'applause'.

MediaMatrix


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 20:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
On number agreement ... Sep 13, 2007

Paul Merriam wrote:

...

Style manuals differ about quantity words. One I use puts the emphasis on whether the emphasis is on the quantity or the things counted.

A large number of books discusses the history of Hawaii.
(Here the emphasis is on the fact that there are a lot of books about this subject.)

...

However, I think they go together and the first of these two sentences sounds odd to me. After all, the number doesn't discuss anything, the books do.


I doubt there's any respectable English style guide that would support this sentence:
A large number of books discusses the history of Hawaii.
Where a sentence has a countable number phrase such as 'a large number of', 'a few' etc. you can easily get the verb right if you substitute a number for the phrase.
In 'Five books discuss the history of Hawaii. you would never think to put 'discusses' - would you?

MediaMatrix


Direct link Reply with quote
 

James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:35
Russian to English
+ ...
Grammatical vs. logical subject Sep 14, 2007

The discussion here

http://books.google.com/books?id=XXQSAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA513&lpg=PA513&dq="logical%20subject"%20grammar&source=web&ots=Hdqa-D-qFC&sig=3R3NnE9mudScTLYXxFl21XzGr5w

may help to explain why sometimes the number of the verb doesn't agree with the grammatical subject of the sentence, as in the sentence, "A large number of books discuss the history of Hawaii," where "number" is the bare subject.

I think mediamatrix is confusing bare subject and logical subject in his analysis of this sentence:

2. A pair of kingfishers darted across the bay.

I believe he was technically incorrect in saying, "The 'bare subject' is kingfishers, since that's what's being quantified with 'a pair of'."

From a strictly grammatical standpoint, "pair" is the bare subject, but "a pair of kingfishers" is the logical subject.

Remember, however, the reference grammars for this discussion are rather old. Chomskyan linguists studying the English language have pointed out many constructions in so-called standard English that are impossible to explain using traditional English grammatical rules. But Chomsky's approach remains controversial, and I'm not aware of new, codified, and universally accepted grammar of English that explains all the issues linguists in that school have identified . . . so we go with what we've got.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:35
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Journalese and current usage Sep 15, 2007

The trouble is nowadays that correct grammar is so often disregarded in current usage, newspapers, on TV, and so on.
More often than not now, we find the use of a plural verb with what is strictly speaking a singular noun (often a collective noun), as in "The committee have decided ..." when it should be "The committee has decided ..." and "The government have done it again ..." when it should be "The government has done it again ...". People become so accustomed to this misuse that ultimately it sounds right, and so becomes accepted.
Yes, "samples", "pair", "shouts" and "avalanche" are the "bare" subjects in the examples you quote, in my opinion.
Regards,
Jenny.

[Edited at 2007-09-15 15:37]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rosina Peixoto  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 21:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
A very good grammar book: Jun 2, 2008

A Student´s Grammar of the English Language by Sidney Greenbaum and Randolph Quirk.
They don´t mention "bare" subject but I agree with our colleagues.
Cheers!
Rosina


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Sentence Analysis

Advanced search






PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs