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Do these 'Q & A's both make sense? If not, could you tell me how to express them correctly? Options
Maggie Q
Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 9:54:21 PM
Rank: Member

Joined: 5/15/2017
Posts: 52
Neurons: 598
Q: Where did the soldier lie?
A: He lay low to the ground.

Q: How did the soldier lie?
A: He lay low.

Question: Do these 'Q & A's both make sense? If not, could you tell me how to express them correctly? Thank you
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 10:46:34 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 26,248
Neurons: 140,064
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hello again, Maggie Q!

This relates to this thread from yesterday.

They are grammatical - they do not violate any 'rules of grammar' - but those are not the answers you would hear if you asked those questions.
The first one sounds like something you would see in a poem or book - a literary description.
The second does not answer the question, really. It does not make sense as an answer.

More normal answers would be:

"Where did the soldier lie"
"He lay flat on the ground."
"He lay on the ground."

or just
"On the ground."

"How did the soldier lie?"
"On his back."
"On his stomach."
"Quietly."


or something similar.

***********
"He lay low" is nothing to do with actually lying.

One can lie low while lying, but one can also lie low while sitting in a room, or standing.

lie low
1. To keep oneself or one's plans hidden.
2. To bide one's time but remain ready for action.

American Heritage Dictionary

lie low
a. to keep or be concealed or quiet
b. to wait for a favourable opportunity

Collins English Dictionary


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Maggie Q
Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 3:11:24 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 5/15/2017
Posts: 52
Neurons: 598
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Hello again, Maggie Q!

This relates to this thread from yesterday.

They are grammatical - they do not violate any 'rules of grammar' - but those are not the answers you would hear if you asked those questions.
The first one sounds like something you would see in a poem or book - a literary description.
The second does not answer the question, really. It does not make sense as an answer.

More normal answers would be:

"Where did the soldier lie"
"He lay flat on the ground."
"He lay on the ground."

or just
"On the ground."

"How did the soldier lie?"
"On his back."
"On his stomach."
"Quietly."


or something similar.

***********
"He lay low" is nothing to do with actually lying.

One can lie low while lying, but one can also lie low while sitting in a room, or standing.

lie low
1. To keep oneself or one's plans hidden.
2. To bide one's time but remain ready for action.

American Heritage Dictionary

lie low
a. to keep or be concealed or quiet
b. to wait for a favourable opportunity

Collins English Dictionary



Sorry, I mean:

Q: Where did the soldier lie?
A: He lay low to the ground.

Q: How did the soldier lie?
A: He lay low to the ground.

Question 1: which Q & A is suitable for this sentence 'The soldier lay low to the ground?'

Does the following stuff make sense?


First question/answer pair: when you ask where someone is lying, the kinds of answers you expect are along the lines of "on the bed", "in the bedroom", "in his house" "in New York", "In America". You expect an answer that could in theory be expressed in map coordinates. Someone asking "where" does not (generally) expect an answer that describes the subject's vertical position. "Where did the soldier lie?" "In that field over there", that's the kind of answer you'd expect. If you expect an answer of the form "he lay low to the ground" then you'd actually ask the second question. Second Q/A: when you ask "how did the soldier lie?", you mean the same thing as "in what way did the soldier lie?". You could answer "he lay still" or "he lay with his boots pressed together" or "he lay barely breathing" or "he lay on his back with his knees drawn up to his chest". I think that lying implies being low. If someone said "he lay low" then that would make me think of the idiom "to lie low" which means to become inconspicuous in some way. If you're literally lying in wait while hunting then you're "lying low". But if you upset someone and you decide to keep out of their way until they've calmed down and forgiven you then you'd also describe that as "laying low". So the answer "He lay low" seems inappropriate both because being "low" is implied in "lying" and because it makes me think of that "laying low" idiom, which can be applied figuratively to cases that are nothing to do with literally lying.


Question 2 / 1: In 'the soldier lay low to the ground,' the adverbial phrase 'low to the ground' is an adjunct, right?

Question 2 / 2: In 'the soldier lay low to the ground,' we also call 'low to the ground' an adverb of manner, right?
tunaafi
Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 4:12:31 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/3/2014
Posts: 4,135
Neurons: 52,132
Location: Karlín, Praha, Czech Republic
The main problem for me is that 'lay low to the ground' is not natural.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 2:33:01 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 26,248
Neurons: 140,064
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
tunaafi is right.

That long reply you received in another forum is right. It says very similar things to my reply above.

As I said in the other thread (about "the house lay low to the ground") - it is not a normal English phrase.

Maybe you would hear it in a fanciful novel or a poem.

All answers you would normally get to "Where did the soldier lie?" would be normal English sentences.
"On the ground"
"In the field"
"On the bed"

If you asked someone "What does 'the soldier lay low to the ground' mean?", you would get the answer
"It means that he lay on the ground."


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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