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In the course of time

 
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Forgorin



Joined: 30 Oct 2008
Posts: 16
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:40 am    Post subject: In the course of time Reply with quote

Just a quick question regarding the Subject.

They slowly died out in course of time. or They slowly died out in the course of time.

Which is correct and why?

Thanks,

Michael
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3012
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first is incorrect, as the main use of 'of' is to help form noun phrases (the 'of' and the noun that follows it make a prepositional phrase postmodifying the preceding noun), which is what it is doing here. (One could also have ?They slowly died out in (the) course time, in which 'course time' is more obviously a noun yet fine without an article, and seems to be describing a truly deadly boring English course or something LOL).

If we replace the 'of' with e.g. 'in', we are left with two synonymous and therefore conflicting prepositional phrases, one of which would be redundant (a bit like saying ??in December in winter).

That's not to say that 'in (due) course', and obviously 'in time', don't individually occur without the article, but the context here is of a two-part noun phrase whose first noun needs an article/needs to be "counted" (as would 'passage', 'passing', etc).

By the way, I am not sure why you have queried Subject. The functional elements of this clause are as follows:

They=Subject
slowly=(A)dverb(ial)
died out=Verb
in the course of time=Adverbial

Anyway, FWIW maybe try out parsers like the following. Wink
http://tomato.banatao.berkeley.edu:8080/parser/parser.html
http://nlp.stanford.edu:8080/parser/
http://www.link.cs.cmu.edu/link/submit-sentence-4.html


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:23 am; edited 3 times in total
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Forgorin



Joined: 30 Oct 2008
Posts: 16
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As usual fluffyhamster, a wonderful answer.

Thanks a whole bunch!
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3012
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, you're very welcome, Mike!
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