Re: report on how kids can't write (nouns etc)

Subject: Re: report on how kids can't write (nouns etc)
From: Andrew Smith <soa -at- CIX -dot- COMPULINK -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 1994 07:42:18 GMT

> The problem with this definition is that it will not allow you to pick
> allthe nouns in English. Depending on how you define "thing", you may or
> may notinclude "behavior" in the sentence "I was appalled at his
> behavior".

No problem here: 'behavior' is definitely a noun. The definition needs to
be syntactic at least as much as semantic. If it will fit in a sentence
in a place where nouns go, it's a noun.

> If you do,it is difficult to see how you can exclude "behave"
> in the sentence "I wasappalled at how he behaved." "Behavior" is in any
> model a noun; "behaved" onthe other hand is a verb. A definition which
> fails to include words whichbelong to the catefory defined or which
> includes words which do not belong tothat category cannot be adequate.

You're cheating slightly here - the part of your 2nd example sentence
that is equivalent to 'behavior' is not 'behaved' but 'how he behaved'. I
could go on for ages about this, but I won't. Have a look at
'Introduction to the Grammar of English' by R Huddleston, published by
Cambridge University Press (in the UK, but they have a NY office),
especially the chapter on Parts of Speech and the problems with


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