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EXERCISE: Small grammar exercise

From:Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Date:Sunday, June 30, 2002, 17:56

my wife recently had an English test at school which she showed me, and
I thought it might be an interesting exercise in your conlangs... about
how to ask questions about different parts of a sentence.

The sentences were things such as "Tom goes [to school]" and you're
supposed to ask for "to school": "Where does Tom go?" in English,
showing fronting of an interrogative pronoun, addition of an auxiliary
verb "does", and the changing of the main verb to its infinitive form.
Other conlangs might take different routes (for example, keeping the
sentence structure the same but putting an interrogative word in the
asked-for place "Tom goes where?"). In the spirit of that, here are the
questions. All notes in parentheses are mine.

(Note that most of the vocabulary may not be applicable to your
conworld -- just twist the sentence around and substitute appropriate
things while keeping more or less the same sentence structure.)

Part II
Ask for the underlined words or expressions!
(Note: I replaced underlining with [brackets]. Also, some sentences
have more than one bracketed part, requiring therefore two or more

a) [Tom] goes by Underground.

b) I show [Milly] [my new car].

c) She felt [very unhappy].

d) Miriam likes [strawberry] icecream.
(Note: I can imagine this might call for a question of either "which
(of these available kinds) icecream" or "what kind of icecream (in

e) [My] brother is [twenty years] old.

f) [The children] take the bus to Oxford Circus.
(Note: this is also interesting: In English, the question has to use
the singular "Who takes"; I can imagine that in languages such as
Spanish or Greek, which have plural forms of the interrogative personal
pronoun "¿Quiénes?"(sp?) / "Poioí?" would form the question with a
plural verb if it's clear that the answer will be plural.)

g) [Last year] they spent their holidays [in Italy].

h) He works very hard [because he wants to earn a lot of money].

i) She wanted to buy [a book].


Philip Newton <Philip.Newton@...>


Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...>
Sylvia Sotomayor <kelen@...>