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Use of Quotes

David, Moderator
Our Policy on the Use of Quotations We understand that members occasionally desire or need to ask grammar-related questions about sentences or phrases that were written by others, and it is perfectly acceptable for you to do so. However, if you wish to include sentences or phrases in a post that were not originally written by you, you must do two things: 1) You must show punctuationally that they are not your words. 2) You must cite what you have taken the text from. The easiest way to...Read More...

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the secrets to long life in

Hello! The Wiki article about "After Many a Summer" by Huxley has the following sentence: "Stoyte hires Dr. Obispo and his assistant Pete to research the secrets to long life in carp, crocodiles, and parrots. " I have three questions: 1. Is "to long" an infinitive or a part of the prepositional phrase "to long life in..."? I think it's an infinitive, otherwise there would be "a" before "long life". 2. Why is "carp" used in a singular form with no article? Shouldn't it be "in carps"? 3. Can I...Read More...

Unattached Participle

Hi, Sentence: Discussing the question, some times ago, with an old friend, she gave me her never-failing remedy for sleeplessness, which was to imagine herself performing some trivial action over and over again, until, her mind becoming disgusted with the monotony of life, sleep drew the curtain. Question: Is "discussing the question" an unattached participle? I think the implied subject of it is , Instead of the subject of the sentence, the speaker. Is that acceptable?I know the meaning is...Read More...
Got it, thanks, Gustavo.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

The year of the Rat

“This year is the year of the Rat”. There are many years of the Rat, 2008, 1996, 1984, this year being only one of many possible years of the Rat. Why don’t we say “This year is a year of the Rat”? Why “the”, not “a”?Read More...
Hi, PJ, "the year of the Rat" forms part of a cycle and, as such, the use of the definite article is fine. Within a Chinese zodiac cycle, you have the year of the Rat, the year of the Ox, the year of the Tiger, the year of the Rabbit, the year of the Dragon, the year of the Snake, the year of the Horse, the year of the Goat, the year of the Monkey, the year of the Rooster, the year of the Dog, and the year of the Pig. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_(zodiac) ). The same applies to...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Choose the correct answer

- It .............. for three days. The farmers were happy to water their farms. A- is raining B- rained C- has been raining D- was rainingRead More...
Hi, Mr President, 'Rained' is the best answer here. It is more normal than 'was raining'. In fact, I totally agree with David's answer here: https://thegrammarexchange.infopop.cc/topic/tenses-51Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

limited edition and first edition

I have made up some examples using 'limited edition' and 'first edition' separately. (1a) The colourful vase is a limited edition. (1b) The colourful vase is limited edition. (1c) This is a limited edition vase. (2a) The grammar book is a first edition. (2b) The grammar book is first edition. (2c) This is a first edition book. My non-native English speaking friends think both (1b) and (2b) are wrong and the rest are good. Could someone please explain why those two are incorrect? Thank you...Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, I agree with your friends. The point is that, unlike other similar compound adjectives that are hyphenated and form a single word, like "first-class" or "world-class," "limited edition" and "first edition" have not evolved into adjectives proper and, having remained strongly nominal, only accept the attributive position (before nouns) when their function is adjectival.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

[what I did] vs [what I did wrong]

Sometime ago, I asked a question about something like example (1a) below. (1a) Jack, how did you fix the dvd drive in my computer. I replied, "What I did was that I took it out, found a crack in it and put some glue to close the crack." Gustavo, thanks for correcting my example similar to the one above, and you suggested correcting it, as shown in (1b). (1b) Jack, how did you fix the dvd drive in my computer. I replied, "What I did was take it out, find a crack in it, and put some glue to...Read More...
Interesting question, Ansonman. I'm afraid your assumption above: is not correct. The word "wrong" after the verb "do" in sentence (2a) allows for the use of a content clause in the predicate of the pseudocleft sentence. Its absence forces you to use a nonfinite clause in (1b). My impression is that "do wrong" forms a lexical unit, which is not the case if some other word more loosely connected with "do," like "then" or "there," is used, as I'll show below. I've made some changes in your...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Is my sentence grammatically correct?

Hello fellow members, I am trying to improve my writing skills. I would greatly appreciate it if you took a look over my short paragraph that I wrote and correct any mistakes you spot. Also, if you could, please correct the post as well if you see any errors. Thanks in advance. Although I knew what a noun was back in the day, I never knew or had forgotten there were different nouns such as common and proper nouns. Common nouns are words used to name general items. Proper nouns, however, are...Read More...

Last month, I just...

I have made up (1a) below. (1a) I have been working for my company for ten years. Last month , I just got a promotion. (1b) I have been working for my company for ten years. Last month , I got a promotion. (ny friends' revision) My non-native English speaking friends think you can omit "just". Is it wrong to include it? Please help me. Many thanks.Read More...
In the absence of further context, "just" means "recently" and clashes with "last month."Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

He sat at the table (,) reading the paper.

Hi! I have a question about the presence/absence of a comma. Some type of intransitive verb may be followed by a present participle. In that case, I think a comma may or may not appear in front of the participle. I made up the following pair. (1) He sat at the table, reading the paper. (2) He sat at the table reading the paper. I am wondering about this kind of pair. Would you think the comma there is grammatically optional? Is there any semantic difference between sentences like (1) and...Read More...
Thank you so much, Gustavo and David! I understand. So, the comma in question seems to be not a matter of grammar but more of style or reader-friendliness? I should look at the question raised by Robby zhu and its discussion.Read More...
Last Reply By yasukotta · First Unread Post

'On' vs 'in'

Hi there, ' on ' or ' in ' which one is correct in the Following questions and sentences? 1- How can I download videos in/on my pc through/on/in Uc browser. 2- When I was messaging my Mom yesterday, something appeared on/in my phone. 3- How can I stream videos in/on the chrome browser?Read More...
Hi, Subhajit—Disregarding the "Uc browser" phrase, I would use "on."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

usage of "write-up"

I think the word, write-up, refers to anything you write. I am going to make up two examples with it. (1a) Thank you for your birthday. I really enjoyed reading your write-up in it. (2a) We had a great trip to the USA. After that, we had reflections on our experience there. When I read my friends' write-ups about their experience, I found out that we had very different opinions about the trip. Am I using the word correctly? Thank you very much for your valuable time and help.Read More...
Hi, Ansonman—No, you are not using the word "write-up" in an idiomatic way. Your sentences would be more natural with "account" or "report" instead of "write-up." Perhaps you would like to study the definition that The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) gives for "write-up" along with the examples it provides:Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Paragraph formation

Does the below paragraph make sense or is it clear enough to understand ? Imagine if life was smart enough to know the ongoing onion market price and generously threw us some onion over lemons to make millions out of onion trade,surely that whole onion trade would have changed the old well known saying to "When life gives onion we should start our onion trade"Read More...
Hello, Subie and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. If you have a question about English grammar, please feel free to ask it here. We will be happy to answer it and/or discuss it with you. The Grammar Exchange is not a copy-editing service.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

[at university] or [in university]

I have written two sets of examples below. I made up the A version and my non-native English speaking friends did the B version as a revision. (1a) May is currently studying in university. (1b) May is currently studying at university. (2a) Jack met his wife when they were in university. (2b) Jack met his wife when they were at university. My friends seem to like "at" more than "in". Please give me your opinion. Thanks a lot.Read More...
Hi, Ansonman—In American English, an article is used before "university," so all your sentences sound strange to me because of that. (In American English, we say "in/at college" but "in/at a/the university.") However, in British English, the article-free usage of "university" is normal. Whether "university" is preceded by an article or not, I prefer the sentences with "at," though the sentences with "in" are not grammatically incorrect. From the Corpus of Contemporary American English...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

the past of 'must'

Hi everyone! If I'm using 'must' to give advice, what will be its past form? Can I use 'had to'? Thanks everyone. I'll be ever grateful to this great forum. Hope I can be of use in the future and pay forward the help I get here!Read More...
They are different. "You should have studied" is used as a reproach to mean that your son did not study as expected. "You had to study" expresses a past obligation that was fulfilled.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

usage of eschews: [.... eschews contracted form]

Every week, my non-native English speaking friends and I meet to learn English from one another. Someone made the comment below. (1a) A few of our non-native English speaking friends seem to be more interested in English as a text-book exercise, rather than a living language to help people communicate. They never use contracted forms. Any sentence - unless in a textbook - which eschews contracted forms is automatically not good. Most of my other friends think you can't use "eschew" this way...Read More...

The usage of gerund

Hello, I have two questions about the use of gerund. The first thing is that gerund can have articles when they are used as noun. Also, I wonder if they can have articles before the noun when they are used to make a compund noun. 1) Ms. Fell's experiencing makes her an ideal candidate. 2) Carefully examining the problem is important. 3) All commercial catering businesses refrigerate perishable food to prevent it from spoiling. Finally, I have read some explanations from a TOEIC book that...Read More...
Hi, Jiho, Your question is really confusing. Where have you taken these sentences from? Only (3) is fine. (1) and (2) should be fixed, for example as follows: 1a. Ms. Fell's experience makes her an ideal candidate. 2a. Examining the problem carefully is important. 2b. A careful examination of the problem is important. 2c. It is important to examine the problem carefully . (My favorite.) It's unclear what you mean by "compound nouns." In "catering businesses," catering is a present participle...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Sentence Structure Help

Hello, I’m severely dyslexic, in the 60’s it was missed in school. My son a while back asked me to put down on paper some of the things we did and saw in the late 70’s, while I was in the 82nd. Now that technology has essentially done away with dyslexia, I wanted to try my hand at writing some of these stories. Which I did, and they are a complete mess. So now I have to go back and learn how to form a correct sentence, any help with that would be appreciated. Before searching out live help,...Read More...
To write a dash on this forum we need to write two hyphens together. There's no other way.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

pp as adjective

Excuse me! I will ask a common question. If he broken a cup, I want to "where is the cup"? Which of the following is OK? (1) Where is the cup?->This is very simple and clear. (2) Where is the broken cup?->This focuses on the status of the cup. (3) Where is the cup which is broken?->This is the full sentence of (2). (4) Where is the previously -broken cup?->This focuses on the action of breaking. (5) Where is the cup which was broken previously?->This is the full sentence of...Read More...
Hi, Levy—A broken cup is a cup that has broken or that has been broken by someone at some earlier time . Modifiers like "previously" are totally unnecessary. Incidentally, your post contains a number of severe grammatical errors.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

[in my learning centre] or [at my learning center]

I have made up the A versions of the sentences below. (1a) Low student enrollment in my learning centre has reduced the work assigned to all tutors. (1b) Low student enrollment at my learning centre has reduced the work assigned to tutors. (my friends' version) (2a) Low student enrollment in my learning centre has reduced the work assigned to some tutors. (2b) Low student enrollment at my learning centre has reduced the work assigned to tutors. (my friends' version) My non-native English...Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, I agree with you. You could also find "most tutors." The workload reduction can affect all, most, or only some tutors. If you just say "tutors," all tutors will be understood to be affected. I agree that both are correct. In some cases, "in" may sound more like "inside (a building)" while "at" can be used to refer to an institution rather than a physical location. That's why I personally prefer: - Low student enrollment at my learning centre has reduced the work assigned to tutors.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

maybe i need a chill pill?

I recently joined an international nonprofit in public relations. One of the vision statements that is printed in most of our hardcopy and online messaging is written in a way that makes me bite my cheek every time I hear it. I brought it to the attention of my boss, who said it was done by higher-ups before she arrived and she's not doing to ruffle any feathers...I pointed out to her that a publication that printed a news release I sent changed the wording so it made grammatical sense. To...Read More...
Thank you, that's helpful! I was curious if others saw it as poorly written, since I seem to be the only one bothered by it in my office. (I'm guessing others are used to it since no one has complained? )Read More...
Last Reply By happyday · First Unread Post

[the original price] or [its original price]

(1a) I bought the computer on sale for $300. The original price was $700. (1b) I bought the computer on sale for $300. Its original price was $700. Which one sounds more natural to native speakers: "the" or "its"? Thank you very much for your time. I really appreciate your help.Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, Both are correct. My impression is that the possessive is perhaps a little excessive. Having mentioned the computer in the preceding sentence, by saying " the original price" it is quite clear that reference is being made to the price of the computer.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

[have been asking] or [have asked]

(1a) A lot of students have asked Professor Brown how to solve the most difficult physics problem in the textbook. So, he will show the solution next class. (my example) (1b) A lot of students have been asking Professor Brown how to solve the most difficult physics problem in the textbook. So, he will show the solution next class. (my friend's revision) (2a) A lot of people have been asking me how old I am. I don't want to tell them. (my example) (2b) A lot of people have asked me how old I...Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, I think both the present perfect simple and the present perfect continuous are possible. The continuous form merely emphasizes their insistence on asking the same question once and over again.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

The difference between"specially"/"especially"

IT'S....... important to help mother with the houseworkRead More...
Hi, Ahmed, With adjectival forms, ' especially' is the better choice, especially in American English as it is more formal. See here: https://www.dailywritingtips.c...cially-vs-specially/ As for the difference between those two adverbs, see what Michael Swan and other dictionaries say on the following two links: https://thegrammarexchange.inf...especially-specially https://thegrammarexchange.infopop.cc/topic/especially-speciallyRead More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Grammar

Hello, I'd like to ask which of the grammatic expression is correct between these 2 expressions. 1. "The dose of phytase in study 2 was 3-fold of the dose in study 3" 2. "The dose of phytase in study 2 was 3 folds of the dose in study 3" Thanks.Read More...
Hello, BonnieHong, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. Adjectives like twofold, threefold, etc. are used before nouns or after the verb be but are not followed by "of"-phrases. They are used to mean that there is more than one aspect or feature involved, or that something is twice, three times, etc. as big as something else. I think what you want to say is: 3. The dose of phytase in study 2 tripled the dose in study 3.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

just since September

Which are correct and make sense: 1) They can't have been working on this project since September. They must have started working on it much earlier. 2) They haven't been working on this project since September. They must have started working on it much earlier. 3) They haven't worked on this project since September. They must have started working on it much earlier. Could one say ' only since September'? Or 'just since September'? Is it necessary to do so? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
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