List of linguistic example sentences

Via wikipedia – List of linguistic example sentences

From the “grammar is fun” section of wikipedia, the page includes sentences that explain:

Lexical ambiguity:
Will Will will Will’s will to Will? (Will Will [a person] will [bequeath] Will’s [second person] will [a document] to Will [a third person]? Alternatively, “Will Will will Will’s will?” Also, why do all these guys name Will know each other and can’t someone go by Bill and someone by William? Or maybe Larry?)

Syntactic ambiguity:
I saw the man with the binoculars. (Who has the binoculars? Me, or the man?)

Syntactic ambiguity, incrementality, and Local Coherence:
The boat floated down the river sank. (As in – the boat which had been floated down the river sank.)

Scope ambiguity and anaphora resolution:
Somewhere in Britain, some woman has a child every thirty seconds. (Every thirty seconds, a woman somewhere in Britain has a child. But not the same woman over and over, because that would be really weird.)

The rat the cat the dog bit chased escaped. (The cat the dog bit chased the rat that escaped. I think.)

Order of adjectives:
The red big balloon. (Yeah, why does big always go first?)


Parataxis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Parataxis is a literary technique, in writing or speaking, that favors short, simple sentences, with the use of coordinating rather than subordinating conjunctions.

Perhaps the best-known use of parataxis is Julius Caesar’s famous quote, “Veni, vidi, vici” or, “I came, I saw, I conquered”. An extreme example is the immortal Mr. Jingle’s speech in Chapter 2 of The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.

‘Come along, then,’ said he of the green coat, lugging Mr. Pickwick after him by main force, and talking the whole way. ‘Here, No. 924, take your fare, and take yourself off—respectable gentleman—know him well—none of your nonsense—this way, sir—where’s your friends?—all a mistake, I see—never mind—accidents will happen—best regulated families—never say die—down upon your luck—Pull him UP—Put that in his pipe—like the flavour—damned rascals.’ And with a lengthened string of similar broken sentences, delivered with extraordinary volubility, the stranger led the way to the traveller’s waiting-room, whither he was closely followed by Mr. Pickwick and his disciples.

Perhaps an even more extreme proponent of the form was Samuel Beckett. The opening to his monologue “Not I” is a classic example:

” . out . . . into this world . . . this world . . . tiny little thing . . . before its time . . . in a godfor– . . . what? . . girl? . . yes . . . tiny little girl . . . into this . . . out into this . . . before her time . . . godforsaken hole called . . . called . . . no matter . . . parents unknown . . . unheard of . . . he having vanished . . . thin air . . . no sooner buttoned up his breeches . . . she similarly . . . eight months later . . . almost to the tick . . . so no love . . . spared that . . . no love such as normally vented on the . . . speechless infant . . . in the home . . . no . . . nor indeed for that matter any of any kind . . . no love of any kind . . . at any subsequent stage” and so on.

Although the use of ellipses here arguably prevents it from being seen as a classic example of parataxis, as a spoken text it operates in precisely that way. Other examples by Beckett would include large chunks of Lucky’s famous speech in Waiting for Godot.