Saturday, April 14, 2007

Verbless clauses with garden paths

will begin recalling 38,500 PT Cruiser sedans next month to
replace rear quarter glass with defective fasteners that can
allow the glass to fall out.
With can be a complement to the verb replace in the form replace x with y. It can also occur as a comitative adjunct ascribing a property to another entity. In other words, it can mean x that has y. The latter is certainly the intended meaning, but it wasn't the one that first jumped to mind.

I often suggest to lower-level students that they combine two sentences, such as those below, using with.
  • I have a nice watch. It has three buttons on one side.
  • Becomes: I have a nice watch with three buttons on one side.
Generally, you can do this with a simple sentence that has have as the main verb. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls these "verbless clauses" because they have subject + predicate structure.

Clearly, though, it's not always the best choice, as Chrysler's recall notice shows.

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