All Forum Topics

Polishing my English

Hi, I heard someone say - I want to polish my English. This reminds me of polishing shoes. Why is I want to polish my English wrong? Thanks. SivaRead More...

Contraction of "What is it?"

"What is this?" can be contracted to "What's this?" Can "What is it?" be contracted to "What's it?" I don't think so. But could anyone tell me why? AppleRead More...

"because," "as," and "since"

Hello I have a question about the expression of the reason. #1 Yuki was very sleepy that day, because she had stayed up late the night before. When we explain the reason of something, can I use " as / since / " instead of "because" ? I 'd like to knw we can use them interchangeably or not. Thank you.Read More...

Perfective aspect in -ed clauses

On page 1265 of Quirk et al, the authors state that "As with -ing clauses, there is usually no perfective aspect in -ed clause." Ex: The food which has been eaten was meant for tomorrow. (ok) The food having been eaten was meant for tomorrow. (not ok) I wonder if the rule above can be applied to another sentence given earlier in the same page: 1. The train which has arrived at platform 1 is from York. (ok) 2. The train having arrived at plarform 1 is from York. (?) To my ear, the sentence #2...Read More...

when and while

Hi teachers, I don't know how to use when and while correctly in my writing. Can I replace while in this sentence? Why? -When the phone rang, I was taking a nap. Can I use either when or while in this sentence? Why? The boy collided into the stop sign while he was riding his bicycle. Thank you for your time.Read More...

Omitting 'that is'

Hello, teachers! Can we omit 'that is' in this sentence? If not possible or not advisable, may I ask you why? - You are not at all the type [that is] attractive to women. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

Omission of relative words

Apologies for the long post. I wonder if such an omission of a relative pronoun or adverb is desirable in normal context, by which I mean, for example, in standardized tests, in usual written English. If it is extremely informal or colloquial, then I'll have to tell my students that they should avoid it in normal context. 1a. There's a man at the door () wants to see you. 1b. There is something () keeps upsetting him. 2a. I have said all () there is to say. 2b. The number of mistakes ()...Read More...

Referring to weekly and monthly periodicals

Hello I'd like to know how to say such a magazine. The magazine has two types, monthly and weekly but they are called the same name. When someone want to buy one of them, how can he/she describe it? Say that the name of the weekly magazine is "XYZ" and the date of issue is Jan. 20, what does he call it? "Jan. 20 XYZ"? And how about the monthly one? Thank you.Read More...

when and while

Hi teachers, I am confused to use when and while in the progressive tense correctly. Could anyone help me to understand these two words? Thank YouRead More...

Omitting 'being' in the participial construction

Hello, teachers! In the sentences below if we use 'being', they mean on-going actions, and if we don't use 'being', they mean finished actions. Am I right? 1. (Being) Carried to the ambulance, he told the fire-fighter that there were some more people in the fire. 2. (Being) Beaten by them, he promised to himself that he would certainly make them pay for that. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

Non-restrictive relative clauses as sentences

I found two "strange" illustrations of nonrestrictive relative clause in two OUP books reprinted in China by a Chinese publishing house with permission by OUP. * The hotel is very expensive. Which is a pity. ** I didn't enjoy the work. The weather was atrocious. I felt thoroughly homesick. And the locals were unpleasant. Which is why I have never been back there again. I was taught that a nonrestrictive clause is separated by a comma, not a full stop. And the two books involved here are...Read More...

No vs Not

Is there any difference between these sentences in either meaning or acceptability? 1a. He wrote not a single paper the whole term. 1b. He wrote not one single paper the whole term. 2a. He wrote no single paper the whole term. 2b. He wrote no one single paper the whole term. 3. Not a/one single paper did he write the whole term. 4. No (one) single paper did he write the whole term. Thank you. Chuncan Feng Ninbo, ChinaRead More...

please rest assured that ....

How would you explain the construction of the bold part of the following sentence? What is the function of the word "rest"? Is "assured" a past participle? please rest assured that all information will be kept strictly confidential. AppleRead More...

Word order with as-clauses

Eve's very tall, as was her mother. I voted Labour, as did my wife. Q1: Is the inverted word order compulsory in such as-clauses? Q2: Can we move such as-clauses to, for example, the beginning of these sentences? Q3: What about using "which" instead of "as" here? Thank you. Chuncan Feng Ningbo, ChinaRead More...

"be certainly to"

The day when his dream will be realized is (certain/certainly) to come. the answer key is "certain". but I looked up the following sentances in the BNC. - Improvements are certainly to be expected. - TNCs are certainly to be found in a wide variety of economic sectors. I don't know what is the right key.Read More...

Addicting vs. Addictive

I recently came across the following admonition: "Warning: This game is addicting!" Would the meaning change if "addictive" replaced "addicting" in the above sentence?Read More...

The meaning of a phrase

Could you help me understand the bold part of the following sentence? Next, let me say to you that, if I understood you, with a trespass of credibility that excels your best, you said that our position had changed since I spoke here the other day because of the pressures of world opinion and the majority of the United Nations. AppleRead More...

The function of "that" in "in that"

What is the function of "that" in the following sentence? Does it have a grammatical term to refer to? The virus named after the late Princess of Wales is "one of the few nice" computer viruses in the world in that it doesn't destroy material stored in computers. Thank you for your helpRead More...

past participles used as adjectives

i recently read an artcle with some students and came across this sentence ',for what he and Brad did showed maturity beyond their years.' Is the word 'showed' used as a past participle adjective or as the functioning verb?Read More...

Restaurants or theaters

Would you please tell me which is the most idiomatic expression? 1. I love dressing up and going out to restaurants or theaters. 2. I love dressing up and going out to restaurants or the theater. 3. I love dressing up and going out to a restaurant or the theater. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

That-clauses as adverbial or nominal

Q1. In the sentence 1, the of-phrase is an adverbial, isn't it? Then, in the sentence 2, is the that-clause an adverbial or a nominal? Can we think of it as either an adverbial or a nominal? 1. He assured me [of its success]. 2. Her doctor assured us [that she would be fine]. Q2. Does this sentence make sense with or w/o 'of'? 3. What did he assure you [of]? Q3. In the sentences below, is the that-clause an adverbial or a nominal? 4. I'm happy [that I see you here]. 5. I'm sure that you will...Read More...

Me or I

Which is correct, me or I? - A bunch of boys and [me, I] were sitting on the grass. < A bunch of [boys and me] > or < [A bunch of boys] and [I] > Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

Other words for "realize"

Hello Would you help me with this expression? #1 Then he realized that he had made a big mistake. I'd like to know how to express instead of using the word " realize." #2 Then he found that he had made a big mistake. Can I rewrite #1 to #2? Would you give me other expressions? Thank you.Read More...

eat and have

Hello Would you help me to know how to use "have " and "eat"? #1 Have you ever eaten this dish? #2 Have you ever had this dish? I know both words are used interchangeably. Which word is preferable when "have " has been already used in the sentence ? Or does this make any difference when deciding which word to use? Thank you.Read More...

active, passive

Here are four sentences in active voice. When written in passive voice, the sentences are like 5.6.7.8. below. But sentence 8 is quite mouthful. Is sentence 8 actually used? Does it sound natural? Or can 7 be substituted? 1. Someone is following you. 2. Someone was following you. 3. Someone has followed you. 4. Someone has been following you. The passive voices of the above sentences are: 5. You are being followed by someone. 6. You were being followed by someone. 7. You have been followed...Read More...
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