Nothing explains everything

‘Nothing explains everything’ – a FB friend posted this interesting sentence on his status update. 

This reminds me of how different grammarians would respond to a sentence like that. Traditional grammarians would be keen to label each part of the sentence: what kind of sentence it is; the subject and the object; the tense of the main verb, etc. Transformational-generative grammarians would be curious about the deeper-most constituents and the most basic rules for generating similar sentences and whether all this tells us anything about the human mind (BTW, did you notice the double meaning of the sentence? How come we are able to ‘see’ and produce the double meaning?). Functional grammarians would start to find out the context, the communicative purpose of the speaker, why he/she has chosen to say it that way, and whether there is a way to arrive at some kind of generalisation about these relationships.


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