Two sentences

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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Two sentences

Post by pdh0224 » Thu Oct 28, 2004 11:27 pm

Dear teacher,

The scene inside was a study in controlled chaos as customers giddily combed the racks of 70's maxi dresses and doublets from the 40's, army fatigues, tuxedo pants, wedding dresses, Victorian gowns, peasant frocks, flamenco skirts, tweed blazers, trench coats, Boy Scout uniforms and much, much more. Customers purchased empty shopping bags for $20. By afternoon, as the inventory dwindled, the price of the bags was cut in half. Yesterday's shoppers got what little was left for $5 a bag. The event raised nearly $50,000.

Q1 : "Customers purchased empty shopping bags for $20."

Does "for $20" modify "bags" or "purchased"? I think it is "bags".

Q2 : "Yesterday's shoppers got what little was left for $5 a bag." I think "little" modifies "left" as an adverb, and "for $5" specifies "what". But I believe "a bag" refers to "what". Why was a word meaning same used twice?

All the best,

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Post by Alan » Sat Oct 30, 2004 9:12 am

1. Either construal is reasonable.

2. 'What...left' is a nominal clause standing as object of 'got' and introduced by the relative determiner 'what', which relates to the nominal adjective 'little' (standing here for ''little food"), the subject of the verb-phrase 'was left'. 'For $5 a bag' is an adverbial modifying 'got', which here has the sense 'bought'.

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