All Forum Topics

Not in it!

Dear experts, could you comment on the phrase NOT IN IT as used here: Have you seen his new BMW? - The old Opel isn't in it! Is this expression current? Thank you, YuriRead More...

Parentheses

1. My voicemail box, and 70,000 other boxes in Austin, is down until tomorrow. 2. My voice mail box and 70,000 other boxes in Austin are down until tomorrow. What are the differences between the above two? Can parenthetical verb phrases be added? _____Read More...

As

(1) As virtually all the nation's 50 busiest airports are, New York's were built for an age of propellers. (2) New York's were built for an age of propellers, as virtually all the nation's 50 busiest airports are. Can the (2) be written as (1)?Read More...

Taking stands

Dear experts, 1. Would you agree that the expressions below are interchangeable in only ONE and not both meanings (simple YES/NO would be fine): take a stand on something take the stand on something take a stand on something - (also: take one\'s stand on something) adopt a firm position concerning smth.; assert one\'s point of view: He sent a selection of newspaper pieces to the authorities with the request that they take a stand on the matter. take the stand on something - 1. vouch for...Read More...

Tense sequence or conditional ?

Dear all, Please take a look at the following sentence : "The article reported that Britain's most famous museums and art galleries might lose their government grants unless they MANAGED to attract more visitors from ethnic minorities and low-income families." Question : Is it 'managed'( past tense ) because the writer is following the "tense sequence" or because it is "conditional" ( in that the museums and galleries have not attracted more visitors from the ethnic minorities and low-income...Read More...

Prepositional phrases in appositives

The net is filled up with saying that appositives are nouns. Quirk and Greenbaum[1] made an interesting observation: Prepositional phrases may thus be non-appositive or appositive, and in either function, they can be restrictive or non-restrictive: This book on grammar (non-appositive, restrictive) This book, on grammar(non-appositive, non-restrictive) The issue of students grants(appositive, restrictive) The issue, of student grants(appositive, non-restrictive) I am interested in seeing...Read More...

Cause-effect

What is the difference between 1 and 2? 1. About twice a month, having accumulated enough evidence , the police would feel obliged to stage a raid. 2. About twice a month, on having accumulated enough evidence, the police would feel obliged to stage a raid.Read More...

Part of speech of "Come"

Consider the sentences below: Come Christmas morning, some women will find more than a little sparkle beneath the Christmas tree. Come Christmas Eve, he will visit four churches between 4 and 11 pm to participate in services. I wonder what is the part of speech of come in these situations.Read More...

May you stay longer?

Hi - I was looking at the older postings and came across the one below (page 11). Goodbye, George. May you and John be together forever. How can "may you" be explained? We tell our students, when discussing modals, that "may you" does not exist. We use ""May/Can I?" and "Could/Can/Would/Will you?" Is it incorrect to say the following? (permisison or possibility) 1. May you come to the party tonight? 2. May you sing with us? 3. May she stay? 4. May they leave their bags here? ThanksRead More...

Gerund vs. Infinitive?

Dear experts, Would you confirm that the use of gerund or infinitive in the sentences below is not random (i.e. gerund and infinitive are not interchangeable there) without detriment to the meaning: regret doing something regret to do something regret doing something - feel sorry to have done smth.: I don't regret leaving my last job at all. regret to do something - be sorry that one must do smth.: Dr. Wimpole regrets to say that he cannot answer readers' letters. remember doing something...Read More...

Meaning of "keep its peace"?

Dear experts, When the expression KEEP ITS PEACE is used with reference to a country does it refer to keeping peace inside the country or to refrainig from warfare, or both meanings may be possible? What about: Mr. Izetbegovic keeps convincing the public that the rejection of the Belgrade agreement was his great victory, since Bosnia has kept its peace. Thank you, YuriRead More...

Dated or current euphemism: "on one's way"?

Dear experts, Is the euphemistic expression ON ONE'S WAY familiar to contemporary speakers: on one's way - pregnant (also: on the way): The party is gone, fellow Hector, she is gone; she is two months on her way. Thank you, YuriRead More...

"Get" and "be"

Hi, I'd like to know about the difference between get and be. 1)I'm nervous. I'm excited. 2)I got nervous. I got excited. Thank you.Read More...

Syntactic category of "it"

What syntactic category does IT in the following sentence belong to? I am fine with the meaning of the sentence. I just want to be able to explain what that IT is when asked. How do you like it here? mitsukoRead More...

Which tense when talking about someone who has died?

Hello, I'm sorry to ask a question about a sad topic, but which tense do I use when talking about someone who has died. I ask this because in obituaries,I often see the past and present tense being used. For example : The following sentence is from Elvis Presley's obituary: "Sources close to the Presley routine said he has recently been a heavy cocaine user." Why is it 'has' and not 'had' as Elvis is already dead? We also read 'He is survived by his wife and daughter.', but we say "He had 2...Read More...

Sharing a meaning: "get onto someone" and "get to someone" ?

Dear experts, Many thanks for the previous and I'd rather you relied more on your native speaker's 'feel' and not so much on dictionary data which, as often as not, lags behind the actual usage and is mostly prescriptive in nature, whereas I am after describing 'what is' and not what 'should be'. Now, would it be right to assume that the expressions below share only ONE meaning in common? Just try substituting one for the other and see in which cases it may 'jar' on the 'sensitive native...Read More...

"Was" or "am" or both ?

Hello, Please take a look at the following sentence - 'You must have seen that I WAS no longer the thoughtless person who had urged you to do selfish things ?' I'm inclined to use 'AM'. What do you think ? Many thanks. Regards, RickyRead More...

"In" and "for": interchangeable?

In the following examples I have gleaned from the corpus, are IN and FOR interchangeable? In (2) only In seems to sound natural, but in others both seem to sound acceptable. Any comment would be appreciated. (1)Many hostages hadn't eaten in days and were immediately given dinner, Russian Television reported. (2)ISI says the system is particularly valuable in accelerating cash flow. An invoice that once was processed in days or even weeks can be processed within minutes after delivery has...Read More...

"To" -- part of infinitive phrase or not in these examples?

In the following sentences, are the phrases beginning with "to" examples of infinitive phrases? 1. The president is to arrive this evening. 2. You are to finish the report by tomorrow. 3. Our new ads are to be seen in all the newspapers. 4. After their fight, John and Mary were never to see each other again. 5. If you are to sell products, you must be an aggressive salesperson. Thanks!Read More...

Noun + Passive Present Participle(PPP) & Absolute Phrase

The main difference between Noun + PPP and Absolute Phrase is that the former can function as object or subject in a sentence, object of a preposition, whereas the latter is independent of mainclause, though Noun+PPP and Absolute Phrase have same forms. Comments are appreciated.Read More...

Not only...but also

Is it necessary that when "Not only"... is in the beginning of the sentence, an inversion of subject must follow? What do you think of the following sentences? Not only the constant silence but also the refusal to even provide us some small measure of assistance in our quest for justice reflects the strong interests behind the fire. Not only the CBI but all crime detection forces and prosecutors need to be independent of the administration.Read More...
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