word order

Ambiguous modifiers

Tweet Here are some examples of sentences where a better placed prepositional phrase would lead to clarity, but a misplaced one leads to humor. They come from The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language, by Steven Pinker. “I once shot an elephant in my pajamas.  How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know,” […]

SVO-VSO-SOV sentences

Tweet Here is a sampler of sentences in different syntactical configurations, using English as the neutral language to follow the patterns.  English is an S(ubject)-V(erb)-O(bject) language. I am striving to get at the general principle here.  A true linguistic analysis would be more detailed. 1.  English (SVO):   I saw Megan. Welsh (VSO):     […]