Hello everyone,

I need urgent help with the following exercise:

"Account for the ungrammaticality of the following sentences. Refer to the specific describtive apparatus (rules, principles, constrains, etc.)"
a. *The writer was booed of poetry by his students.
b. *Bill read the analysis with pie charts of the economic situation.
c. *John criticized at the meeting.

Thanks in advance,

a. I don't know what they're getting at with this one. It should be because of his poetry. Or maybe booed by his students of poetry, which is some kind of word order problem, but check your textbook for the specifics. Maybe someone else can help.
b. Possibly that adjuncts like "with pie charts" can only occur after complements like "of the economic situation". That is, the analysis of the economic situation with pie charts is the correct form, because it puts the complement before the adjunct.
c. criticize is a verb that requires an object complement. (It cannot be used "absolutely".) This complement is missing in the example. Your teacher may want you to explain it in terms of arguments of the verb or in terms of transitivity.

The problem with "accounting for the ungrammaticality" of a sentence is that its ungrammaticality lies in the structure that a person imposes on it, not in the string of words themselves. How the structure deviates depends not only on the "target", as it were, but also on what structure you imposed on the sentence.

I find of poetry in (a) unexpected because I read nothing that it could be an object of. Of poetry cannot be the object of boo because the writer, the subject of the passive, is already the object of the verb.

I am not convinced that (b) or (c) is ungrammatical. I can imagine contexts where both are meaningful. For (b), the analysis with pie charts may be being contrasted with analyses without pie charts. For (c), criticise can be used without an object, and what John did at the meeting may be being contrasted with what others did at the meeting. To justify calling (b) or (c) ungrammatical, you would need to say what structure you imposed on the sentence.