Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Your syntactic toolkit, I: Two tools for Turkey Grammar

Last year I posted a Turkey Math problem; this year it’s time for Turkey Grammar.

Here are your two syntactic tools:

Tool #1: Inversion:

Some sentences contain phrases that can be moved to the front, inverting the subject and verb. For example:

People make pies out of pumpkins only here in America
Only here in America do people make pies out of pumpkins.

Tool # 2: “Tough movement”:

Sentences containing words like “easy” and “difficult” allow a variety of possible word orders. For example:
Cooking turkeys thoroughly without drying them out is notoriously difficult.
It is notoriously difficult to cook turkeys thoroughly without drying them out.
or
Turkeys are notoriously difficult to cook thoroughly without drying out.

Exercise 1: Invert the second sentence to make it link up better with the first one:
Some people think that soaking a turkey in brine overnight makes it tastier. The idea of cooking it in a bag is even more ridiculous.

Exercise 2: Sharpen this sentence via tough movement.
Overstuffing the turkey makes the stuffing come out dense and makes it quite difficult to properly cook the turkey.

7 comments:

C T said...

Inversion is common in German. Is that where the English version comes from?

Adelaide Dupont said...

1. Cooking turkey in a bag is a ridiculous idea.

2. Properly cooking the turkey is difficult when it is overstuffed.

Katharine Beals said...

Thanks for your submissions! Keep'm coming. I'll post answers on T-day.

Katharine Beals said...

C T--yes, the pattern in English matches the verb-second pattern of inversion in German. I'd guess it reflects shared DNA of Germanic languages.

Hainish said...

Exercise 1 is throwing me because it seem to imply that the idea of brining is, itself, ridiculous (which I don't think is a common perception). Given that brining is ridiculous, I'd edit to:

Some people think that soaking a turkey in brine overnight makes it tastier. Even more ridiculous is the idea of cooking the turkey in a bag.

Barry Garelick said...

Stuffing comes out dense and it is quite difficult to properly cook when a turkey is overstuffed.

Barry Garelick said...

Oops, I did that wrong. Let me try this again:

"Stuffing comes out dense and it is quite difficult to properly cook a turkey when a it is overstuffed."