1. 'Rest', in terms of muscle relaxation and so on, can be achieved by a brief period lying, or even sitting down. The body's tissues are self-repairing and self-restoring to a degree, and function best when more or less continuously active. (New Concept English)
Is "a brief period lying "a variant of "a brief period's lying", just like, several weeks(=weeks') vacation？ I don't think so, because "period's" seems impossible there. How do you analyze this phrase? Thank you.
Hi, Robby zhu,
"A brief period lying" is certainly more idiomatic and frequent, but I don't think "a brief period's lying" is wrong. This construction has called my attention since I was a student (decades ago!), because, semantically speaking, it seems to work both ways: a brief period of lying, lying during a brief period. With other nouns, "of" appears in both combinations: several weeks of vacation, vacation of several weeks.
There are interesting, mind-boggling syntactic matters to consider here, such as why (1) below is fine and (2) is extremely awkward, if not ungrammatical:
(1) What do you have difficulty washing?
(2) *? What do you have a job washing?
An interesting couple of examples, David. As Raymond said, there seems to be a semantic difference, according to which "washing" defines the area where somebody has difficulty, or the subject-matter, in (1), while it defines the job itself in (2). With (2), the what- question does not seem to work, but it does if "job" is used differently, doesn't it?:
(3) What are you having quite a job washing?
While in (1) and (3) "washing" admits a direct object, it does not in (2) because it forms part of the same object with "job."