> > On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 6:42 PM, Padraic Brown <[log in to unmask]> > wrote: > > > --- On Sun, 11/18/12, Wm Annis <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > > > > > For another example, it turns out a sentence like "a man helped me at > > > the store yesterday" is wildly unlikely in natural speech. We don't > > > expect indefinite nouns to be the subjects of transitive verbs, > > > > We don't? Yet I hear sentences like this regularly, on the news, in > > everyday conversation, etc, etc. We're always hearing how "an armed > gunman > > held up a bank" or "a black SUV barreled into people waiting for a bus" > or > > "a top government official was engaged in an affair". What's odd about > > that? > > > > Why oughtn't we expect indefinite nouns to be the subjects of trans. > verbs? > Writers do all sorts of things that are unusual in spoken discourse. There are reasons for this: writers being clever, readers being able to reread, etc. And, relating this: On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 6:56 PM, Patrick Dunn <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > We rarely see definite nouns as the subjects of existential verbs > > *"There is the book in the box." > There is a book in the box. > My instinct of how "an armed gunman held up a bank" would be rendered in normal speech goes as follows: "So there was this dude at the bank and he walked up to the teller and pulled out a gun and said 'give me everything in the drawers.'" ... or something to that effect.