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If you have (any) questions

Do I need to use any in the following sentence? Does any change the meaning in the following sentence? And as an English speaker will you leave any out? If you have (any) questions on the subject, feel free to ask me.Read More...
Hi, Subhajit, You can use either "if you have any questions" or "if you have questions." The determiner "any" is optional. English speakers use both constructions with almost equal frequency. From the Corpus of Contemporary American English: "if you have any questions": 210 "if you have questions": 345 The effect on meaning that "any" has is that it emphasizes that there need not be many questions at all in order for the condition to be fulfilled; indeed, "if you have any questions" implies...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Reply by David, Moderator

Hi, Ruifeng, Yes, (1) is correct. Sentence (2) is odd. Most people would say this instead: (2a) Not knowing of recent political...
David, Moderator

Reply by David, Moderator

Hi, Freeguy, I don't have my copy of Swan nearby, as I have been away from home for Christmas. Thus, I need to speculate as to why Swan...
David, Moderator

reflexive not used?

Hello, While I was reading the book "Practical English Usage, 3rd edition, page 477, I came across an example, wherein the writer, Michael Swan, of worldwide fame, made a strange claim. Why strange? Because I firmly believe in this very section he's trying to explain things using decontextualized examples. He says sentence (a) below is wrong: (a) Suddenly the door opened itself. Although I believe the above sentence is less common than the version with no reflexive pronoun, I don't think...Read More...
The two examples where intransitive "open" appears in Swan are provided under sections 493 (item 9) and 609: I have to say I don't like the examples under item (9) above, where it says Some other verbs which do not normally have reflexive pronouns... While it is true that those verbs will not take the reflexive form, it is also true that speakers and students of English will not readily understand why verbs like concentrate, feel and hurry should be reflexive at all. Section 609 is, in my...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Reply by Emad Ragheb

Really, I can't express my deep thanking to you for your continuous help .

unaware or unknowing

1. Unaware of recent political developments, he was taken by surprise upon his arrival in the capital. 2. Unknowing of recent political developments, he was taken by surprise upon his arrival in the capital. I think the first one is correct, but what about the second one? Thanks.:)Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng, Yes, (1) is correct. Sentence (2) is odd. Most people would say this instead: (2a) Not knowing of recent political developments, he was taken by surprise.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Reply by David, Moderator

Hello, Menem, The word I would use isn't listed. I recommend using "holidays": Christmas is one of the main holidays in/on/of the...
David, Moderator

Reply by navi

Thank you very much, Gustavo and Merry Christmas to you too!

Reply by David, Moderator

Both choices are unnatural in that context, Subhajit, because the last sentence is redundant; it communicates nothing that the second to...
David, Moderator

Reply by subhajit123

Hello, I think I should not have written the last paragraph. I think I unintentionally have hurt Guastavo's feelings. David, Hello...

Reply by ruifeng

I wish every teacher and member on this forum a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Reply by Former Member

Merry Christmas to you, DocV and Gustavo and members

Reply by David, Moderator

I'm glad you commented on this, Gustavo. I share your sentiments completely. Subhajit, if you continue to make such totally unnecessary...
David, Moderator

Reply by Gustavo, Contributor

Hi, Emad, " not very good at fishing" is a euphemistic way of saying " bad at fishing." Therefore, the comparative you need is worse : -...
Gustavo, Contributor

To be... sequin/sequined/sequinned?

I'm doing some proofreading for a client's post about sequins (she's a fashion blogger). The first line starts, "'Tis the season to be... sequin." Is this correct? My gut says it should be "sequined or sequinned." Any insight would be appreciated! Thanks!Read More...
Mwr829, I'm sorry that I've been unable to respond to your post. I've been under the weather. I think that your client was attempting to be clever by using the semi-assonant rhyme combination of "season" and "sequin". It doesn't work for me, at least out of context. I agree with your preference of "sequined" or "sequinned" (both spellings are accepted). I'm curious though. Was there a precedent or subsequent line that ended in a word that was supposed to rhyme with "sequin"? I'm imagining...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Reply by subhajit123

No No That does not what I meant to say. Sorry if I have hurt your feelings or you have felt insulted. Please Please forgive me. 😃

Reply by Gustavo, Contributor

Hello, Navi, More than difference in meaning, I'd speak about difference in usage. I find (1) and (2) to be similar in meaning, but I'd...
Gustavo, Contributor

Reply by Gustavo, Contributor

Hi, Emad, As you know, "be used to" refers to the state of being in a certain habit, while "get used to" refers to the process of...
Gustavo, Contributor

an injured man

1) We have a man injured. 2) We have an injured man. What is the difference in the meanings? 3) There was a man injured, lying on the balcony. 4) There was an injured man, lying on the balcony. What is the difference in the meanings? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
I agree with Gustavo. I definitely think that the comma should be omitted in (4). Of course, omitting the comma in (3) changes the meaning entirely. Best of the rest of the year and the next, DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Used to

Can we say "He will be used to driving." or we must say "He will get used to driving."Read More...
Hi, Emad, As you know, "be used to" refers to the state of being in a certain habit, while "get used to" refers to the process of acquiring a habit. We can imagine contexts in which both "will be used to driving" and "will get used to driving" can work, for example: He is still afraid of driving, but I imagine that in a couple of months from now he will (already) be used to it (to driving). He is afraid of driving, but I bet he will get used to it (to driving) after some practice.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Had met/have met before.

Which is correct, "Had met before" or "have met before", in the following context: Hey mom, Today, I met a man named Sunil Das. He said he knew me and he said many things about me that were true. But I can't remember if I had met him/have met him before.Read More...
Both choices are unnatural in that context, Subhajit, because the last sentence is redundant; it communicates nothing that the second to last sentence has not already communicated. However, if you deleted "It was the best match I have ever seen," then you could use either "I have never seen a match like that before" (present perfect) or "I had never seen a match like that before" (past perfect). Again, you are talking about an experience that is still fresh, even though it is in the recent...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Reply by David, Moderator

Hi, Kis, Yes, they are both correct. Although I prefer (a) to (b), the correctness of (b) stands out when ellipsis is involved. Then...
David, Moderator

Reply by David, Moderator

Hi, Ruifeng, When someone is talking too loud(ly), we can say that he is being noisy or making too much noise. We don't say, in that...
David, Moderator

loud, loudly and noise

1.When someone is talking too loud, we say they are making noise, making a noise or making noises? 2.Talk loud or talk loudly? What's the difference? Thanks.:)Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng, When someone is talking too loud(ly), we can say that he is being noisy or making too much noise. We don't say, in that context, that he is making a noise or making noises. If the person were not talking but hooting, whistling, squealing, etc., then we could say that he was making a noise or making noises. There is no difference. As an adverb, "loud" means "loudly." I know that I find it more natural, as a native speaker, to say "talk loud," though I sometimes use "talk loudly"...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

He was almost hit.

a. He was almost hit. b. He almost was hit. Are they both correct?Read More...
Hi, Kis, Yes, they are both correct. Although I prefer (a) to (b), the correctness of (b) stands out when ellipsis is involved. Then "almost" needs to come before "was": A: Was he hit? B: He almost was. (NOT: * He was almost. ) Another interesting observation that can be made here is that, with the "get" passive, "almost" likewise must come right after "He": He almost got hit. NOT: * He got almost hit.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Reply by subhajit123

Merry Christmas, everyone. I too celebrate this day with my friends. 😃

restrictive/non-restrictive

1) The islands lie along the Florida Straits, dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest, and defining one edge of Florida Bay. "The islands" are the Florida Keys. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Florida_Keys 2) 1) The islands lie along the Florida Straits, dividing the Atlantic Ocean , to the east , from the Gulf of Mexico , to the northwest, and defining one edge of Florida Bay. Sentence '1' is from the Wikipedia article on the Florida Keys.Read More...
Hi, Navi, Your version is technically (i.e. grammatically) more correct than the one in Wikipedia. However, I think the omission of commas in this particular case is more common because the phrases in question ( to the east and to the northwest ) are reminiscent of similar phrases used to describe boundaries, in which case using the comma would be wrong: - The islands are bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and by the Gulf of Mexico to the northwest .Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

a reduction in thickness above

Architecture A ledge or recess in a wall formed by a reduction in thickness above; a setoff. Definition of "offset" in the American Heritage Dictionary Source: https://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=offset Does "above" modify "thickness" or "a reduction"? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Oh, it looks as though I was composing when Gustavo replied. My reply and his are compatible. We are saying the same thing in two different ways. The main difference is that I have described "above" as an intransitive prepositional phrase and he has described it as an adverb. I am OK with either classification. Whether it is a lexical adverb or a lexical preposition here, it is acting as an adverbial. Another slight difference is that Gustavo has described "above" as modifying "reduction in...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"anyone" vs "anyone else"

What the difference between anyone and anyone else in the following sentences? Should I leave out else? John loves me more than anyone in the world. John loves me more than anyone else in the world. In 20 years John has earned more money than anyone has done. In 20 years John has earned more money than anyone else has done.Read More...

Reply by David, Moderator

Thank you so much, Coco. Merry Christmas to you, too, and all members here who celebrate it. If our Muslim members have a holiday around...
David, Moderator

Reply by David, Moderator

Nice explanation, Gustavo. Yes. Another example that comes to my mind is "in a bind" versus "in difficulty." The two phrases are...
David, Moderator

MERRY CHRISTMAS

cocoricot
Dear teachers, Christmas is coming nearer and nearer. I am full of joy. I wish all of you, our beloved teachers, MERRY CHRISTMAS. Coco. :)Read More...
Tara, Ruifeng, Cocoricot, Subha, Thank you all. May you and your families be blessed in the coming year. This also goes for my many other friends that I've had the privilege of getting to know on this forum. Peace and love, DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Reply by David, Moderator

Hi, Subhajit, While all four sentences are correct, I strongly prefer (3) and (4). The "if"-clauses of the first two sentences could...
David, Moderator

Usage of "any"

Hi there, are the following sentences correct? As an English speaker which one would you prefer? I admit I have asked many questions regarding any . Still I have some doubts. If any student is interested in joining the programme, he or she is requested to contact the authority. If any students are interested in joining the programme, they are requested to contact the authority. Any student interested in joining the programme is requested to contact the authority. Any students interested in...Read More...
Hi, Subhajit, While all four sentences are correct, I strongly prefer (3) and (4). The "if"-clauses of the first two sentences could easily be used in a context in which the "if"-clauses are not defining who is requested to contact the authority -- for example: 1a. If any student is interested in joining the program, please let us know. 2a. If any students are interested in joining the program, they are welcome to. Between (3) and (4), I prefer (3). With (3), there is the sense that there...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Reply by Doc V

And David, I'm truly sorry if it appeared that I was disagreeing with you. I took Tony's response to mean that he believed that you...

Reply by Doc V

Tony, With all respect to David, I believe he is being too generous here. I stand by what Gustavo said. Please note that in (1), we are...

Reply by Doc V

Tracy Ha, Welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I would only use the preposition "on" in this context. Similarly: A: Henry's car runs on...

PREPOSITION GOES AFTER RUN

I have a question about the preposition that follows the verb " run " in this sentence: - some calculators run ......... solar power. As an English learner, I may use "by", but I wonder if there is any preposition used by native speakers? I am looking forward to any of your explanation with an answer to the given question. Many thanks.Read More...
Tracy Ha, Welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I would only use the preposition "on" in this context. Similarly: A: Henry's car runs on gasoline, but Jimmy's runs on solar power. We could use the phrase "is powered by" instead of "runs on", but I would then want to use a different noun as the object of the preposition in order to avoid a redundant sound: B: Jimmy's car is powered by solar energy. I hope this helps. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

New Member

Once time had been gone? VS Once time was gone : which one is correct

This is a very very important question to me. Let me repeat the question again: which sentence is correct?(I hope the both are correct) 1. it taught the students that it could never be recovered once time had been gone. 2. it taught the students that it could never be recovered once time was gone. Thanks for the helpRead More...
Suesteem, Welcome to the Grammar Exchange and thank you for your question. Unfortunately, neither of your examples make grammatical sense. If you are quoting from a published source, please provide a link if possible, or at least cite the title and author. Otherwise, I'll at least need to know the context in which the sentence occurs. What does "it" refer to? Please provide at least a paragraph or two to help us understand what is going on with "time". Thanks, DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

I 'shall/would' be highly obliged if you 'would' take immediate steps in this regard.

Hi there, can anyone please tell me what the difference between two underlined sentence is? To The Chief Engineer, Telephone Bhawan, Kolkata - 700091 Sub : New telephone connection Dear sir, I would like to state that I applied for a new telephone on 05.02.2016. Though more than two years have passed since the application, I have not received the new connection yet nor have I been informed at what stage my application for the connection is at present. Kindly let me know when I can expect the...Read More...
Hi, Subhajit123, I find both sentences to be correct. The only difference I find is that in the first sentence the writer seems to be more certain that the company will solve the problem (that is why a Type 1 conditional is used). Instead, the second sentence is a Type 2 conditional that sounds sligthly less probable but at the same time more polite, mainly because of the use of the second "would." Actually, a typical conditional of this kind would use past simple in the condition: - I would...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post
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