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 Post subject: I have a question about english(american) grammar-so natives
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 12:00 am 
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I tries to find the answer to this question on the internet, but it was in vain. So i had to other place to turn then beloved osdev :)
What is the difference(or how do i say it correctly)(what senteces are completely wrong)
He only had to show that ...
He had only to show that ...
He had to only show that ...
He had to show only that ...
He had to show that only ...

Thanx.


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 Post subject: Re: I have a question about english(american) grammar-so nat
PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:00 am 
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austrian here... not bad at english... doing my best :)
Anton wrote:
He only had to show that ...

right
Anton wrote:
He had only to show that ...

wrong
Anton wrote:
He had to only show that ...

completely wrong
Anton wrote:
He had to show only that ...

depends on what the sentence should express
Anton wrote:
He had to show that only ...

depends on what the sentence should express

greets, hartyl


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 Post subject: Re: I have a question about english(american) grammar-so nat
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2004 12:00 am 
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thanx


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 Post subject: Re: I have a question about english(american) grammar-so nat
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2004 12:00 am 
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Anton wrote:
What is the difference(or how do i say it correctly)(what senteces are completely wrong)

Well, I'm not American, but I'm a native English speaker and subject to the considerable influence of the American cultural hegemony.
Anton wrote:
He only had to show that ...

This is good grammar and means that he could demonstrate conditions sufficient for the purpose at hand.
Anton wrote:
He had only to show that ....

This is also good grammar and is subtly different in meaning to the above, in that it implies that he could demonstrate a condition that was both necessary and sufficient, in the mathematical sense.
Anton wrote:
He had to only show that ....

This is a split infinitive and is frowned on by some grammatical authorities but is in general use and is accepted by the more enlightened. It is identical in meaning to the above. For another use of split infinitive, watch the opening of the original Star Trek series, in which the voiceover proudly states that their mission is "to boldly go...."
Anton wrote:
He had to show only that ....

Correct grammar, and could be interpreted identically to the above or, alternatively, indicates that what he had to show was restricted in some way. The exact meaning would depend on the context.
Anton wrote:
He had to show that only ...

Grammatically correct, but because the antecedent of the adverb is something in the objective phrase following the verb, there are two possible meanings. One is pretty much identical to all of the above ('had' is used as an auxiliary when conjugating 'to show' in the past tense), the other is in the imperative voice with a completely different meaning. Only context would allow you distinguish.

English is very much like the perl programming language. There are several ways to express the same idea, and all of them are confusing for non-experts. In the above examples, none of the sentences are completely wrong and most native Americal English speakers would consider them having identical meanings (most Americans did not study mathematics at the university level and have no idea about the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions).

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