new women turning 18 every day

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JungKim

Senior Member
Korean
It's from an American sitcom:
Don't give up hope, Ted. There are new women turning 18 every day.
What exactly does the second sentence mean?
(1) There are new women who turn 18 every day.
(2) There are new women who are turning 18 every day.
(3) New women are turning 18 every day.
 
  • andrewg927

    Senior Member
    English - American
    (1). In case you want to understand the hidden meaning. 18 is the typical minimum marriage age in the US. There are cases where you can get married under 18 but that's not focus here. Based on the limited context here, I guess Ted got disappointed maybe because he just broke up with his girlfriend. But there will be new girls.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think I'd choose (3), JungKim.
    What do you see as the differences between your options?
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    What do you see as the differences between your options?
    When it comes to the construction 'There is something/someone -ing ...', I think it means 'Something/someone is -ing ...'. That is, the present participle has a continuous meaning to it.

    But here in the OP's sentence, I'm not sure if a continuous reading is necessary or even possible. I'm ambivalent about it. So, I posted this question.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Well, as you can see from my vote for (3), I find it entirely possible:).
    Thanks. So is it safe to say that the construction 'There is something/someone -ing ...' means 'Something/someone is -ing ...' regardless of context? 'Cause if the OP's sentence has a continuous meaning, I can't think of such a construction not having a continuous meaning.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm sorry, JungKim, I don't think I can answer your question in post 8. It's always hard to make generalisations "regardless of context".
    And I'm not sure I understand what your difficulty is about "continuous meaning":(.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "New women" sounds silly. 18 years is a long time for something to be "new." If you have to have "new", "newly" should modify "turning" though it seems unnecessary.
    I agree that 3) is the best.
    You've presented 1-3 as if they have clearly different meanings. I would assume someone saying any of those meant the same thing. I can't think of any other meaning except: There are women who turn 29 every year. They say "I'm 29" when they are 30, 31, ...
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    (1). In case you want to understand the hidden meaning. 18 is the typical minimum marriage age in the US. There are cases where you can get married under 18 but that's not focus here. Based on the limited context here, I guess Ted got disappointed maybe because he just broke up with his girlfriend. But there will be new girls.
    I don't think it has anything to do with marriage. 18 is the usual age at which a person, usually a woman, is considered mature enough [added in edit: in most parts of the U.S.] to make decisions about having sex. A person who has sex with another person under 18 can be convicted of the crime of statutory rape. (There are exceptions for people over 16 but under 18 when the other party is also young, but in most cases a person must be over 18.)
     
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    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    number 3 is the best choice.
    Quite so. Both (1) and (2) suggest that there exist women who (a) are new, and (b) repeatedly turn 18.
    This is of course nonsense. Nobody, not even a woman with an unlimited cosmetics budget, is capable of turning 18 more than once, let alone more than once a day.
    The sentence means that there is an endless supply of women (the "new" part is not really necessary) who cross the boundary from under 18 to over 18. Every day there are many such crossings.
     

    andrewg927

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I don't think it has anything to do with marriage. 18 is the usual age at which a person, usually a woman, is considered mature enough to make decisions about having sex. A person who has sex with another person under 18 can be convicted of the crime of statutory rape. (There are exceptions for people over 16 but under 18 when the other party is also young, but in most cases a person must be over 18.)
    You can argue about it both ways. Without further context, it could be about sex as you stated or about marriage.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    It's from an American sitcom:

    Don't give up hope, Ted. There are new women turning 18 every day.

    What exactly does the second sentence mean?
    (1) There are new women who turn 18 every day.
    (2) There are new women who are turning 18 every day.
    (3) New women are turning 18 every day.
    All of your answers include the phrase "new women". But that idea (women who are new) is not in the bold sentence at all!

    The bold says that every day "there is a new set of women turning 18". Nothing about any of the women is "new". But each day there are a large new group of women who turned 18 today -- so Ted can possibly date them.

    The reason it is "new" is that each day, the "set (group) of women who turned 18 today" is a completely different set of women than yesterday's set (the ones who turned 18 yesterday).
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's about being legal - the age a girl/woman has to be beyond which a guy doesn't have to worry about being arrested. A man who tries to be with someone below legal age is sometimes called a cradle robber. Even if the woman is over 18 but is much, much younger than him somebody might joke that he is a cradle robber.

    It's a very common reference in the U.S. 18 means legal age. Official adulthood.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    JungKim's question was - as I understand it - about the structure of the original sentence, not about the age of consent in the US.

    I'm still not sure what his difficulty was, but I'm as sure as I can be that it wasn't to do with the definition of "legal age";).
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I'm still not sure what his difficulty was, but I'm as sure as I can be that it wasn't to do with the definition of "legal age";).
    You're right that it's not about what "legal age" is.

    My difficulty is about the structure 'There are + NP(new women) + VP(turning 18) + adjunct(every day).'
    Where NP stands for 'noun phrase' and VP 'verb phrase'. Also, the VP here starts with -ing.

    The uniqueness of this structure is that most of the time -- I think -- the VP does not postmodify the NP but complements it. When the VP complements the NP, the structure is understood as equivalent to (3) New women are turning 18 every day, which necessarily carries a continuous aspect.

    But if the VP postmodifies the NP, new women turning 18 becomes a single noun phrase. And the entire sentence basically has this structure: 'There are + NP(new women turning 18) + adjunct(every day).'

    Now, when a VP starting with -ing postmodifies an NP, the VP may carry a continuous aspect or it may not, depending on context.
    For example, both women who turn 18 and women who are turning 18 can be rewritten as women turning 18.

    So my difficulty is about how to know -- as you seem to -- that the OP's sentence does not have the latter structure 'There are + NP(new women turning 18) + adjunct(every day)'.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    But if the VP postmodifies the NP, new women turning 18 becomes a single noun phrase. And the entire sentence basically has this structure: 'There are + NP(new women turning 18) + adjunct(every day).'
    I think it has the structure shown in this quote from #21.

    But within that structure "new women" means "a new group of female persons", not "female persons, each of whom is new". In other words "new" applies to the group, not to each individual in the group.

    I realize the grammar ("there are", not "there is") points to a different meaning, where each woman is "new". But I reject that immediately because it doesn't make sense, while the meaning "a new group of women" makes complete sense.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    But if the VP postmodifies the NP, new women turning 18 becomes a single noun phrase. And the entire sentence basically has this structure: 'There are + NP(new women turning 18) + adjunct(every day).'
    I think it has the structure shown in this quote from #21.
    Does this mean that you'd pick (1) or (2) in the OP's question?

    But within that structure "new women" means "a new group of female persons", not "female persons, each of whom is new". In other words "new" applies to the group, not to each individual in the group.
    How about parsing the NP as follows then?
    NP(new women turning 18) => new + NP(women turning 18)
    That is, the large NP consists of the adjective 'new' and a small NP(women turning 18), and 'new' premodifies not women itself but the entire small NP(women turning 18).
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I think it is a mistake to call "turning 18" a verb phrase. I like to think of it more as a truncated relative clause "who are turning 18".

    Your "adjunct" (you could think of it as a truncated prepositional phrase "on every day") is really an adverbial modifier of the whole rest of the sentence, not just of the noun phrase. This may be clearer if you move it to the front: Every day there are new women who are turning 18 (on that day).
    How about parsing the NP as follows then?
    NP(new women turning 18) => new + NP(women turning 18)
    That is, the large NP consists of the adjective 'new' and a small NP(women turning 18), and 'new' premodifies not women itself but the entire small NP(women turning 18).
    I think that's pretty close. If you think of all the 18-year-old women in circulation, who might be potential girlfriends for Ted, then every day there is a new supply of them (namely those whose 18th birthday that day is).
    It may be better to think of there being a word omitted (elided) like supply or batch or group, that is modified by new, instead of new directly modifying either women or your "small NP" directly.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I think it is a mistake to call "turning 18" a verb phrase. I like to think of it more as a truncated relative clause "who are turning 18".
    Why is it a mistake to call a verb phrase a verb phrase? :confused:
    Any phrase having a verb as its head is a verb phrase. As far as I know, the phrase turning 18 has a non-finite verb turning as its head and 18 as the complement of the verb. Therefore, it's a verb phrase, a non-finite verb phrase, to be exact.

    Now I don't want to go as far as to call it a mistake to call turning 18 a truncated relative clause "who are turning 18", but it's certainly not congruent with your earlier reading of the OP's sentence:
    number 3 is the best choice.
    Quite so.
    I mean, when you agree that the OP's sentence means neither (1) nor (2) but (3), how come you could call turning 18 a truncated version of "who are turning 18" through a whiz-deletion? If you were to call it a truncated relative clause, shouldn't have you opted for (1) or (2)?
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Why is it a mistake to call a verb phrase a verb phrase?
    I suppose it's no surprise that a discussion about words would become about semantics, but the main question is what major role does a particular part of speech play in a particular context? In this case, "turning" could be considered part of a verb phrase or, in my opinion, it is an adjective. The whole thing becomes very slippery at some point. I don't think Edinburgher meant that you were categorically wrong.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Thanks for the explanation in post 21, JungKim - I think I see where you're coming from.

    I suspect the translation
    women turning 18 -> women who turn 18/women who are turning 18
    is more likely when women turning 18 is not preceded by There are.

    So...
    Women turning 18 before 5 April will be required to complete tax forms
    ->
    Women who turn 18 before 5 April will be...

    or
    Women who are turning 18 before 5 April will be...

    It may be that whenever you have There is/are X {verb}ing, the natural translation is X is/are {verb}ing - as you suggested in post 8. I'm nervous about generalising, as I said before; but I can't think of a context where that wouldn't be true.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    So is it safe to say that the construction 'There is something/someone -ing ...' means 'Something/someone is -ing ...' regardless of context? '
    It may be that whenever you have There is/are X {verb}ing, the natural translation is X is/are {verb}ing - as you suggested in post 8.
    To me this is not obvious, and not correct. Certainly "there is" does not mean "is": in many languages (Korean, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, etc.) those are different verbs. The phrasal verb "there is" means "one or more exists". "There is" is not used to say "A is B".

    But you're talking about a specific pattern. "There is someone -ing" means "someone -ing exists" which means "Someone exists, who is -ing".

    So I agree that it implies that someone is -ing. But the sentence means (talks about) something different: whether or not any "-ing someones" exist. That is not what "someone is -ing" talks about, unless words are added to give it that meaning.

    In the "is" sentence, "someone" is a pre-defined person(s) who is known to exist before the sentence starts. In the "there is" sentence, the exact opposite is true.
     

    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    So is it safe to say that the construction 'There is something/someone -ing ...' means 'Something/someone is -ing ...' regardless of context?
    It may be that whenever you have There is/are X {verb}ing, the natural translation is X is/are {verb}ing - as you suggested in post 8.
    To me this is not obvious, and not correct. Certainly "there is" does not mean "is": in many languages (Korean, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, etc.) those are different verbs. The phrasal verb "there is" means "one or more exists". "There is" is not used to say "A is B".

    But you're talking about a specific pattern. "There is someone -ing" means "someone -ing exists" which means "Someone exists, who is -ing".
    I don't know about Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, etc, but in Korean I'm not sure if I can agree with your proposition that "there is" and "is" are different verbs. Of course, there's no such thing as "there is" or "is" in Korean, because...uh....that's English words. I don't want to go in too much detail on this, but whenever there's a different translation between the two, I'd say that we don't have any verb in Korean that corresponds to "is".

    So I agree that it implies that someone is -ing. But the sentence means (talks about) something different: whether or not any "-ing someones" exist. That is not what "someone is -ing" talks about, unless words are added to give it that meaning.
    I don't understand what you mean by "unless words are added to give it that meaning". What words are you talking about?

    It may be that whenever you have There is/are X {verb}ing, the natural translation is X is/are {verb}ing - as you suggested in post 8. I'm nervous about generalising, as I said before; but I can't think of a context where that wouldn't be true.
    Glad that we're on the same page.:)
    I think, dojibear, you seem to be able to think of a context that Loob and I can't think of.
    Then, why don't you provide me with an example or two where There is/are X {verb}ing cannot mean X is/are {verb}ing but mean There is/are X that is/are {verb}ing or There is/are X that {verb}?

    In the "is" sentence, "someone" is a pre-defined person(s) who is known to exist before the sentence starts. In the "there is" sentence, the exact opposite is true.
    Does this hold water when it comes to the construction we're discussing in this thread?
    If so, how come in the OP's (3) new women is not pre-defined persons?
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In the "is" sentence, "someone" is a pre-defined person(s) who is known to exist before the sentence starts. In the "there is" sentence, the exact opposite is true.
    Does this hold water when it comes to the construction we're discussing in this thread?
    If so, how come in the OP's (3) new women is not pre-defined persons?
    Q1: Are there any new women turning 19 today, here in <specific location>?
    A1a: Yes there are.
    A1b: No, there aren't.

    After Q1 but before A1, we don't know if there are any new women. There may be zero. That is what I mean by "not pre-defined".

    Q2: Are the women turning 18 today?

    Before any answer, we know there are some women: otherwise this question makes no sense. That is what I call "pre-defined". In any real use of this sentence "the women" would be defined in some way, before this sentence. We would know what women were meant by "the women".

    I don't understand what you mean by "unless words are added to give it that meaning". What words are you talking about?
    Q3: Are any women turning 18 today? Are some women turning 18 today?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Doji, I'm intrigued by JungKim's question too.

    Can you think of any context in which
    (A) There's a person-or-thing doing something
    would be more naturally translated by
    (B) There's a person-or-thing that is doing something; or (C) There's a person-or-thing that does something
    rather than
    (D) A person-or-thing is doing something.
    ?

     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Can you think of any context in which
    (A) There's a person-or-thing doing something
    would be more naturally translated by
    (B) There's a person-or-thing that is doing something; or (C) There's a person-or-thing that does something
    rather than
    (D) A person-or-thing is doing something.
    ?
    As a standalone sentence?
    I can only think of something which would not fit the 'is' in 'person is verbing', like
    There are people stalking celebrities whom I respect more than I do you!
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Interesting, siares! Yes, I think you're right: "people stalking celebrities" in your sentence would equate to JungKim's NP(new women turning 18) rather than his NP(new women) + VP(turning 18).
     

    karlalou

    Banned
    母国語:日本語
    Interesting, siares! Yes, I think you're right: "people stalking celebrities" in your sentence would equate to JungKim's NP(new women turning 18) rather than his NP(new women) + VP(turning 18).
    Do you mean "People are stalking" is wrong? [I got this one. Siares's example means "the stalking people", and means different. :)]

    Is there a way to modify the 'new women' in the 'There are' structure with 'turn' other than in '-ing' form?

    Is this -ing form suggesting progression here?

    The water being boiling is for you. Is this correct?

    There are new women turning 18 every day.
    (1) There are new women who turn 18 every day.
    (2) There are new women who are turning 18 every day.
    (3) New women are turning 18 every day.
    How about (4) "New women turn 18 every day"? Is this irrelevant to your question, JungKim? I've been wondering what is your problem here.
     
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    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Is this -ing form suggesting progression here?
    Continuation rather than progression, I think..as JungKimsays:
    When it comes to the construction 'There is something/someone -ing ...', I think it means 'Something/someone is -ing ...'. That is, the present participle has a continuous meaning to it.
    But here in the OP's sentence, I'm not sure if a continuous reading is necessary or even possible.
    As in:
    There's people swimming. = People are swimming.

    I think the continuous meaning is partly influenced by presence and position of everyday...
    Every day there's new women turning 18 sounds OK to me.
    How about (4) "New women turn 18 every day"?
    I would also choose this one, because of 'every day'.
    edited.

    Even less continuous feel with verbs not used continuously:
    - I would never put fish which smell less than fresh on the display.
    - Are you kidding? Every day there's fish smelling funny! / There's fish smelling funny every day! / There's fish smelling funny right now!

    Is there a way to modify the 'new women' in the 'There are' structure with 'turn' other than in '-ing' form?
    I can't think of example of that...Only with a different verb, a passive, with implied 'being':
    "helmets don't prevent accidents ... in Michigan, there's more people killed wearing helmets than without."*

    The water being boiling is for you. Is this correct?
    No, it's got to be passive construction the water being boiled. But that's different from OP, it doesn't have There is at the beginning.

    *Michigan motorcycle fatalities dropped in 2014
    edited out a tangent
     
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    JungKim

    Senior Member
    Korean
    As a standalone sentence?
    I can only think of something which would not fit the 'is' in 'person is verbing', like
    There are people stalking celebrities whom I respect more than I do you!
    There are people stalking celebrities whom I respect more than I do you! :confused:
    Shouldn't it be "...whom I respect more than I respect you"?
    There are people stalking celebrities whom I respect more than I respect you!

    Interesting, siares! Yes, I think you're right: "people stalking celebrities" in your sentence would equate to JungKim's NP(new women turning 18) rather than his NP(new women) + VP(turning 18).
    So, I guess you are both saying that the sentence cannot mean "People whom I respect more than I respect you are stalking celebrities," but it can only mean "There are people who stalk celebrities whom I respect more than I respect you."

    On the other hand, the same sentence without the relative clause (There are people stalking celebrities.) cannot mean "There are people who stalk celebrities," or "There are people who are stalking celebrities," but it can only mean "People are stalking celebrities."

    Am I on the right track?
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    the same sentence without the relative clause (There are people stalking celebrities.)
    But what about in the negative? Cause the wrong verb is negated.
    There aren't people stalking celebrities. = People are not stalking celebrities.:confused:

    Because I have been thrying very hard to hear the 'there exist' meaning, I hear this now as there are people-stalking celebrities!
    (I also keep seeing: There are people stalking celebrities whom I respect...)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I don't think I'd say There aren't people stalking celebrities as a stand-alone sentence, siares.

    What I'd say is There aren't any people stalking celebrities, which would translate to No people are stalking celebrities.

    Or, more likely, There isn't anyone stalking celebrities > No-one is stalking celebrities.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Sorry I wasn't able to respond sooner.
    Why is it a mistake to call a verb phrase a verb phrase? :confused:
    Any phrase having a verb as its head is a verb phrase. As far as I know, the phrase turning 18 has a non-finite verb turning as its head and 18 as the complement of the verb. Therefore, it's a verb phrase, a non-finite verb phrase, to be exact.
    Normally we label as verb phrase something that is the main verb in the sentence (plus stuff that goes with it, like adverbs, objects, etc.), and is often called the predicate. In the OP sentence this is not really the case.
    It would be a verb phrase if the sentence did not use "There are" but was simply "New women are turning 18 every day."
    Now I don't want to go as far as to call it a mistake to call turning 18 a truncated relative clause "who are turning 18", but it's certainly not congruent with your earlier reading of the OP's sentence:
    I mean, when you agree that the OP's sentence means neither (1) nor (2) but (3), how come you could call turning 18 a truncated version of "who are turning 18" through a whiz-deletion? If you were to call it a truncated relative clause, shouldn't have you opted for (1) or (2)?
    I think I see what you mean, because (1) and (2) explicitly re-introduce the dropped "who" that makes it a relative clause. My problem with (1) and (2) is that they seem to present too strong a link between "turning 18" and "every day". For me, the "every day" really attaches to "there are", since otherwise you would have women who turn 18 more than once. Somehow, option (3) does not make this suggestion as strongly as (1) and (2) do.

    My "truncated relative clause" idea should be seen as only "who are turning 18" (as I said in #24) without "every day" being considered part of that clause.
     
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