Mass Shooting

Mass Shooting

mass shooting

Two friends discuss guns. The Grammar focuses on Adverbials and Infinitive Complements.

Haines: “I want to buy a gun.”
Ramos: “What kind?”
Haines: “Just a handgun, like a Smith.”
Ramos: “So, you mean a .38?”
Haines: “I guess so. I don’t know all the numbers.”
Ramos: “Well, a .38 will give you some protection. A .45 is better.”
Haines: “Why, what does a .45 have that a .38 doesn’t?”
Ramos: “Power. You can stop a grizzly bear with a .45. Maybe not with a .38. It’s a very powerful handgun.”
Haines: “What about the price?”
Ramos: “You’re looking at five hundred and up. Or a thousand, or more. It depends on what you want.”
Haines: “And a .38?”
Ramos: “Maybe two hundred and up.”
Haines: “I want a holster so I can carry it around with me.”
Ramos: “That’s a little extra, not much.”


Carry around means to keep something in one’s possession (on one’s person).
Holster means a case of leather or similar material into which a pistol fits snugly and which attaches to a belt, strap, or saddle so that it may be carried or transported.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Complements

“I want to buy a gun.” This is a typical simple sentence with an infinitive complement functioning as the object of the verb in the main clause, with the subject “I.”


New Idioms are “Pulling my leg” and “Nutjob.” The Grammar focuses on when “as” is an Adverbial Subordinator.

Alice: “So how do we talk about this?”
Bonnie: “Yesterday, or the day before, a nutjob blew apart a gay bar in Colorado Springs with an AR-15, killing five people and injuring 20 more. Today at a Walmart in Virginia another fine citizen killed another half-dozen people and is dead himself, too.”
Alice: “The really important statistic was given today by the Gun Violence Archive: 601 mass shootings this year.”
Bonnie: “You’re pulling my leg.”
Alice: “I’m not pulling anything. This is how it is here.”
Bonnie: “How do we talk about it? There are too many guns and no effective control or restrictions on who has them.”
Alice: “I’ve got a thought for you: poverty.”
Bonnie: “What about it?”
Alice: “Our middle classes are disappearing, as more and more people are driven into utter poverty while a tiny percentage at the top has all the money and resources. Life at the bottom becomes intolerable.”
Bonnie: “Simple answers. Too simple.”
Alice: “And as life becomes intolerable, people go crazy.”
Bonnie: “I want to run away to Shangri-La.”
Alice: “I’ll settle for Cloud-Cuckoo-Land.”
Bonnie: “We’re supposed to be impartial newscasters.”
Alice: “That’s why they put us on the graveyard shift. Everybody’s asleep.”


Nutjob is slang for a crazy or eccentric person. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Pulling my leg means kidding or teasing someone; deceiving someone playfully. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Shangri-La is a fictional place in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon. It was mystical and harmonious. It means an earthly paradise, or Utopia. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Cloud-Cuckoo-Land means a realm of fantasy, dreams, or impractical notions. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Graveyard shift means a work shift that runs between midnight and early morning. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Prepositions/Adverbial Subordinators

“And as life becomes intolerable, people go crazy.” In this sentence, the word “as” functions as an adverbial subordinator. It is followed by the Clause “life becomes intolerable.”

When is it not an adverbial? In many equative constructions (e.g. “Jack is as tall as Mary” or “She has as many cats as me”), the Complementizer “as” is followed not by a clause, but by a Noun Phrase or a Reduced Clause (“She has as many cats as me” instead of “as many as I do.”). Native speakers in informal speech are here treating the Complementizer as a Preposition (they say “as many as me” instead of “as many as I”), using “me” as the object of a Preposition. This is also seen in comparatives with the word “than” followed by a Reduced Clause, for example “She has more cats than me,” whereas if it’s a full Clause they would say “She has more cats than I do.”

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