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Regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic

David, Moderator
Dear Grammar Exchange members, As we continue our grammar discussions, I want you to know that I am aware that we are all struggling in various ways as a result of the current pandemic and that my heart goes out to all of you. I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. Although we may not know each other personally, we all know that there is much more to us than the English grammar issues we discuss here. This post is devoted to the dimensions of you and your lives that I know...Read More...
Encouraging words. Thank you.Read More...
Last Reply By Toni · First Unread Post

Topics

Pain

I'm having cramps? Or I have cramps? Which one do I use when i'm feeling the pain right now? Thank you.Read More...

read

Hi, My mom always knows when I'm lying. She can read me like a book . Can I use 'read me very well' in the sentence above instead of 'read me like a book'? Is there any subtle difference between them? Thank you very much.Read More...

an infinitive after superlatives

Sally's Sweet shop is one of the oldest businesses in town to be located on one of the main streets of Millersvile. What's wrong with this sentence? (Source: Iran's university entrance exam)Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, Judging from the title of your opening post, your doubt seems to revolve around the use of the infinitive (in this case, the passive infinitive) after a superlative. There's nothing wrong with it, but according to this source I found on the Internet Iranian examiners would prefer, according to your claim, option (1) to (4): Both (1) and (4) are grammatically correct. See how in this other version of the same exercise (which is also superior because they revised the inconsistent...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

What does "it" refer to ?

Hi. I want to know if it refers to the non-progressive in the following sentence: The non-progressive suggests a schedule or plan: perhaps I regularly phone her on the first Sunday in the month, or perhaps the call is part of some larger plan or arrangement – it’ s hardly possible if I’d simply said, casually, I’ll phone you tonight.Read More...
By the way, how would you read symbols like [21iia]. Is it okay to read "twenty one two a"?Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

"In loving memory also of..."

Hello all, I'm looking for grammatical advice on a proposed inscription. The inscription follows an earlier one, that ends with "Beloved husband and father". The proposed inscription is "In loving memory also of...". The alternative, obviously, would be "Also in loving memory of..". The latter strikes me as grammatically safer, but the meaning seems potentially subtly different. It could be read as "Also, in loving memory of.." (i.e. the loving memories applying only to the person that...Read More...
Personally I still prefer "In loving memory also of...". It seems to me that the grammar here reinforces the sentiment (even if "Also in loving memory of.." would be read the same way in this conetext). This is all rather interesting, though. We think of grammar (syntax) and semantics as seperate, but in English at least they interact in many subtle ways. English isn't a computer programming language!Read More...
Last Reply By Neeb · First Unread Post

What did I tell you would happen if you got him a gun?

Hi, I have watched this subtitle from a drama: Modern family. • What did I tell you would happen if you got him a gun? I guess a basic sentence for the above question would be like this. • I told you this would happen if you got him a gun. If my reasoning is right, could I say like these? a) What did you notify Mary would happen? b) What did you know would happen? c) What did you suggest Mary (should) do?Read More...
Thank you David.Read More...
Last Reply By TaeBbongE · First Unread Post

Future perfect continuous vs. Future perfect

Is there a difference in meaning between the future perfect continuous and the future perfect tenses in the following sentences? Next week I shall have taught this class for ten years. Next week I shall have been teaching this class for ten years. I understand that both are used to indicate that the action occurred for a duration up to a certain point in the future. Thanks.Read More...

Background and context

What is the difference between, just to give you a bit of background and just to give you a bit of context?Read More...
Hi, Tony—When asking about words or phrases in another sentence that refers to those words or phrases, you should use quotation marks around those words or phrases, or place them in italics, so that it is clear that those words or phrases are not being used in the sentence but are being referred to. Background and context can be the same thing, but they can also be different. When the context is the background, they are interchangeable. Background involves the past. When the context is...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

IS or ARE??

Hi, Could you please help with this question? When you are talking about the whole faculty of a college, would you say "The faculty IS not a monolith" or "The faculty ARE not a monolith"?? Not sure why I'm struggling with this one! Thanks.Read More...
Thank you SO much!! I had to get the report in, and luckily my intuition was correct. I love this forum, I just found out it existed.Read More...
Last Reply By AChapstick · First Unread Post

cumulative /coordinate

a. He told me a good improbable story. b. He told me a good , improbable story. c. He told me a good and improbable story. Are all of the above grammatically correct and correctly punctuated? Is there a difference in the meanings? It seems to me that (b) and (c) mean the same and they mean that the story was good and it was improbable. (a) seems to be saying that as improbably stories goes, his story was a good one. Maybe it was not good per se. It was good when compared with other...Read More...
Hi, Azz—While I agree with your analysis in principle, I do not like any of the sentences. The only one that has a chance of sounding natural is (a), but only with special emphasis on "good" and a context that works for it—e.g.: a1. Generally, when I hear an improbable story, it's a bad story. This was different. He told me a good improbable story. It is not an accident that "good" is in italics in (a1). As for (b) and (c), we can fix (b) by placing "albeit" before "improbable" and adding...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

The present perfect

Consider the sentence of which the verb is in the present perfect tense,'I have never met your sister.' Why does it also have the additional meaning of 'I have never met your sister (up to NOW).'? ThanksRead More...

Preposition to use with "fit"

Which propositions should I use with fit? 1- I fitted a door to/in my house. 2- I fitted a TV on/to the wall of my house. 3- They fitted smoke alarms to/on the ceiling.Read More...
Hi, Subhajit—Normally, (2) would be "I mounted a TV on the wall," and (3) would be "They installed smoke alarms on the ceiling." Regarding (1), what are you trying to say? "I fitted a door in my house" would mean that you managed to accommodate the door in your house. Is the door gigantic?Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"can help set"

I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system," Bush told Norah O'Donnell on "CBS Sunday Morning" over the weekend . https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/20/politics/george-w-bush-republican-party/index.html 1. Is the use of "can help set" in the sentence above appropriate? Why? 2. Is "set" a verb or a noun?Read More...
Yes, they mean the same thing. The difference arises when a V-ing is used, for example: if you help (to) make the bed, you help somebody (to) make the bed; if you help (by) making the bed, you help somebody with the housework and the specific task you assume to do on your own is making the bed.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Adjective : superlative or comparative? Which one? Why?

Of the two courses he had for the last term, John thought that physics ...... interesting. A) were the most B) was the most C) were the more D) was the moreRead More...
Hi, Habiboullah, and 'Happy Ramadan', Since there are two courses, then ' d ' is the correct answer.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

alone

1) John alone cannot carry that suitcase. 2) John , alone , cannot carry that suitcase. I think '1' means: a) Only John cannot carry that suitcase. and '2' means: b) John cannot carry that suitcase by himself. Would you say that is correct? Gratefully, NaviRead More...

To Comma or Not to Comma, that is the question!

Hello grammar nerds. I have a question regarding a fun catchphrase someone I know says. Would it be "Cone of Silence Lifted" or "Cone of Silence, Lifted"? Thanks!Read More...
Hello, aliciaballerina, The comma is used to mark the absence of the verb, as in: - I use this microphone and you, the other. In: "Cone of silence lifted" I don't feel that "is" is omitted so, in my view, no comma should be used. See how the comma is also omitted in this similar construction: "Everybody ready to speak."Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Topic sentence

Hello. Could you help me with the following question? I think sentences "a" and "c" could be a topic sentence, right? Choose the correct answer: - In an essay about "Education", which of the following sentences can be a topic sentence ? a) Education enlightens, empowers and creates a positive development. . b) As explained, there are three distinct types of Education. c) Education is a process of learning through which acquire knowledge. d) Therefore, it is highly important to educate the...Read More...
Hi, Ahmed, I don't think this question is related to grammar. However, I will give you a clue. C) is ungrammatical. However, if you include a proper subject before 'acquire', it will be the topic sentence. Now, if you want to start a paragraph, which one will be the topic sentence and which one will be the supporting sentence? Apparently, 'c' is more general and expresses the paragraph's overall subject. a) could be a supporting sentence which develops or explains the topic sentence. Anyway,...Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

not boring and....

a. His play was not boring and original. b. His play was not boring, and original. c. His play was not boring and very original. d. His play was not boring, and very original. Are the above sentences grammatically correct and correctly punctuated? The 'not' is supposed to modify 'boring', but not 'original' or 'very original'. Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz—Yes, the intended interpretation is grammatically possible in each sentence. However, in view of the fact that a "not both" interpretation is also possible (creating ambiguity), as well as the fact that all the sentences are awkward and could easily be rephrased, why settle for any of them? Try this: e. His play does not induce boredom and is (very) original.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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