Impossible English Grammar

While I was in Mexico, I was walking to the store with a friend, who is also a fellow linguistics student. He was telling me a story. In the course of that story a naturally occurring sentence flowed “out of his mouth”. After he said that sentence I let him finish his thought and I asked him if the sentence was gramatical.

Here is the sentence:

Yesterday, I saw the latin version of one of my friend’s husbands in Sorinana.1

My contention was that the “s” on “husbands” was ungrammatical.

Of course, if the sentence is read:

Yesterday, I saw the latin version of one of my friend’s husband in Sorinana.

The sentence sounds awkward. Perhaps it is not a well formed sentence. But is it ungrammatical? What is the violation which makes the sentence sound awkward? Is it the constrained unit [one of my friend's] which is embedded in another gramatical unit, which is apparently unconstrained [the latin version of...]?

We tried to move the gramatical units around and did not find a satisfying solution.

Yesterday, I saw the latin version of the husband of one of my friends in Soriana.

Yesterday, I saw the latin version of one of my friend’s husband in Soriana.

Yesterday, I saw a man who looked like my friend’s husband in Soriana.

Yesterday, I saw a man who could have passed as the latin version of one of my friend’s husband in Soriana.

Yesterday, I saw a man who could have passed as the latin version of the husband of one of my friends in Soriana.

Yesterday, in Soriana, I saw a latino version of my friend’s husband.

Yesterday, I saw a the latin version of the husband of one of my friends in Soriana.

Yesterday, I saw in Soriana the latin version of the husband of one of my friends.

All this variation in options of for information ordering has led me to ask three questions of English:

  1. How is Time, Manner and place naturally ordered in English?
  2. What is the prominent element of information in each option and why?
  3. What are the Elements?

Notes

  1. ↑1 Sorinana chain of stores in Mexico.

4 thoughts on “Impossible English Grammar

  1. The problem here is that the apostrophe is incorrect on “friend’s.” It should be “friends’.”

    “Yesterday, I saw the latin version of one of my friends’ husbands in Sorinana.”
    Now, the grammar is not impossible. 

  2. “one of my friends’ husbands” should be considered as “one of the husbands of my friends.” From that perspective the singular husband is not impossible.

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