More Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know
(because they aren’t actually true)
gathered at great personal risk of
psycholinguistic harm from actual student tests
by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira
This second collection of students’ pearls of wisdom, laboriously digitised from hand-written test answers (with italics added for clarity), demonstrates once again how students new to the study of language speculate about grammar after having imperfectly absorbed what their teachers think they have taught them.
Explain whether the demonstratives belong to the same part of speech in this sentence:
That tastes nice but this curry is cold.
- Both the demonstratives that and this refer to curry but differ in different types of curry.
- Yes. That refers to a certain dish whereas this refers to the curry. Both of them are referring to the different dish of food in this case.
- This and that do not belong to same part of speech because they appear in different clauses.
- That and this are different parts of speech because the first clause that tastes nice is contrasted with the curry that is cold. Thus the first clause acts to subordinate the second, though there are two demonstratives here.
- This would probably be in a situation where some form of gesture would be carried out. ‘This curry’, in proximity, would be nearer to the speaker.
- There are two clauses, linked by coordinator, therefore independent of each other. Hence, they belong to the same part of speech.
- That and this refer to two different things, as but is a coordinator (both are independent clauses).
- They belong to the same part of speech because the two clauses give additional information.
- The part of speech of that is a subject in itself.
- Although both demonstrative determiners appear to refer to the same thing, it does not. For ‘this’, it is clearly the determiner for curry and the co-reference that it is cold. But for ‘that’, the subject is hidden.
- the word ‘this’ itself can be seen entirely as a pronoun whereas ‘this’ cannot stand on its own.
- ‘this’ is part of a restrictive relative clause as its meaning is solely restricted to the curry.
Explain whether fast belongs to the same part of speech in this sentence:
Mary is a fast runner and she usually speaks fast as well.
- Yes, the fast in both case refer to some part of speech. The first one modifying that she is a fast runner and the second she speaks fast both referring to speed.
- fast runner is attributive but speaks fast is a predictive adjective, both acting as adverbials.
- fast as in fast runner is an adjective while fast in speaks fast is also an adjective.
- When linked by conjunctive adverb ‘and’, they formed a sentence. The fact that Mary is a fast runner and speaks fast as well stand. So they are of same part of speech.
More to come...