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New Member
Hello everyone,

I have an exercise in my syntax assignment which I can't do because we haven't even studied it, yet. Anyone could help me?

Thanks in advance!

Explain why the examples marked * are ungrammatical.

(i) a *The discussion of the match was more animated than the one of the riots.

b The discussion at the match was more animated than the one in the bar.

(ii) a The discussion of the riots in the bar was full and frank.

b *The discussion in the bar of the riots was full and frank.

(iii) a The discussion was rather misleading in the document.

b *The discussion was rather misleading of the document.
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Welcome to the forum,!

    We can't do your homework for you, but if you have a specific question about a word or phrase in one of your sentences, we'll be happy to help.


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It is impossible to explain why they are ungrammatical, because they are not ungrammatical. :)

    Of course in all three examples the (a) and (b) versions have different meanings.
    Let me just focus on example (ii).
    Version (a) means there had been riots in the bar, and later there was a full and frank discussion of those riots. We are not told where this discussion took place.
    Version (b) means there had been riots somewhere, and there was a full and frank discussion of these riots. This discussion took place in the bar.
    There is an unfortunate juxtaposition of the two prepositional phrases "in the bar" and "of the riots" which, on first reading, could give the impression that they are talking about a "bar of the riots", but if this interpretation is unlikely, the reader will back-track and re-parse to get the correct meaning.
    Actually, the "unlikely" interpretation is not impossible -- it could mean that a discussion on an unspecified topic took place in the bar where there had previously been riots.
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