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worth or worthwhile doing?

Dear experts, Many thanks for the previous. Now, how would you discriminate between WORTH DOING SOMETHING and WORTHWHILE DOING SOMETHING? Regards, YuriRead More...
I should make it clear that "worthwhile" can't be used in situations where the action is not optional. For example, you would say "”Our homes are worth defending to the death! "”Your physician's advice is worth listening to; your life may depend on it You would not use "worthwhile" in these cases, since it would be much too weak a statement. MarilynRead More...

Reference

What does the word his in the following sentence refer to: Tom found his lost camera. Does it refer to Tom or the camera ?Read More...
As you know, the possessive adjective* – his in this case – modifies the noun that follows it, camera in this case. The information contained in the word his , however, refers to Tom, the possessor. If, for example, the possessor were Mary, the possessive would be her . If the possessor were you and I, the possessive would be our , etc. Rachel _______ *The possessive adjective is included in the description "possessive pronouns" by some grammarians. Quirk, for example, describes them as...Read More...

what did Jack London mean?

peteryoung
(Special thanks to Marilyn for your last kind reply) This is perhaps not a grammar question, but one of interpretation. But then misinterpretation often arises from failures to appreciate subtle grammatical differences, at least for me. So I post here my problem with respect to an excerpt of one of Jack London's works What life means to me , for anyone interested. (This problem may be a little out-of-place here, so I expect not much attention) Below is the text: It is true, these beautifully...Read More...
why do Jack London expects that those ladies to strip off their garments upon hearing those facts? "I" have a naive belief that people are born good and live in a good world. That's why "I" expect others will willingly mend their ways when they are told what is wrong with their ways. There is a sharp conflict between "my" ideals and the reality. The hard fact is that the many clean people "I" come to know are the unburied dead, with the rest being not clean, or being materialistic --...Read More...

damaged

Which of the following is correct: 1-I was driving a car badly damaged. 2-I was driving a car , badly damaged. 3-It was a car badly damaged. 4-It was a car , badly damaged. (This last one seems correct to me but the others don't).Read More...
You're right. The first three sentences are not OK. Sentence 2, with a slightly different adjective, would show the role of the adjective in the utterance: "”I was driving a car, badly wounded The adjective phrase modifies the grammatical subject, not the direct object. Sentence 4 is correct. The adjective phrase can be considered a reduced nonrestrictive relative clause that adds information about the car. MarilynRead More...

'hung up on' and 'hung up about'

This question had been posted by Yuri, and deleted by mistake. Dear experts, Are the expressions BE HUNG UP ABOUT SOMEONE and BE HUNG UP ON SOMEONE interchangeable in both meanings as indicated in: http://www.allwords.com/word-be%20hung%20up%20on%20something.html or should we discriminate between them as follows: be hung up ON someone – (sl.) be strongly attracted by a person: The girl is really hung up on that musician. be hung up ABOUT someone – (sl.) feel worried about a person; be...Read More...
The expressions are often, but not always, interchangeable. "¢ The Longman Phrasal Verbs Dictionary* has this entry at "be hung up on/about sth": " informal to be very worried about or interested in something and spend a lot of time thinking about it, especially when this seems unreasonable: Like most teenagers, I was hung up about my weight and was permanently on a diet " This sentence would also work with "hung up on." _______ "¢ The Longman Idioms Dictionary** has this entry at "hung up":...Read More...

Indirect narration

I know that (4) is not correct. What about others? (2) sounds a bit strange, but I wonder why? How about (5) and (6)? Could anyone help? Mother said, " What's the matter with your eyes?" 1) Mother asked me what was the matter with my eyes. 2) Mother asked me what the matter with my eyes was. Mother said, "Who is it"? 3) Mother asked me who it was. 4) Mother asked me who was it. Mother said, "Who is the author of this book?" 5) Mother asked me who the author of this (that) book was. 6) Mother...Read More...
Sentence 1 is correct, but Sentence 2 isn't. In the expression, "what's/was the matter," "the matter" means "wrong" or "amiss.""What's/was the matter with..." is a set phrase and doesn't follow the rules for word order in included questions. Sentence 3 is correct, but Sentence 4 isn't. The correct word order in an included "who" question with a "short" subject complement (especially a personal pronoun)is who + unknown information + BE Sentence 5 is correct, since it follows the usual word...Read More...

more

Which of the sentences 1 to 5 are correct (they are replies to the first (un-numbered) sentence): -"Mr. Anderson has made 70 films." 1-Then he has made more films than Shapkespeare wrote plays. 2-That's more than Shapkespeare wrote plays. 3-That's more than Shakespeare's plays. 4-That's more than the number of Shakespeare's plays. 5-That's greater than the number of Shakespeare's plays.Read More...
Sentence 1 is correct and shows a sophisticated grasp of sentence structure. Sentence 2 is not correct, since the two things that are compared are not equal. Sentence 3, if "that" refers to the number of films made, is comprehensible but only marginally OK. Sentence 4 is well-formed and natural. Sentence 5 is also well-formed and natural, just more formal. MarilynRead More...

follow-up to "going current'

Dear experts, I have since succeeded in locating the expression GO CURRENT in OED 2-nd where it is listed to mean: be in circulation or in common use; be generally accepted; be received as genuine the meanings seem to be validated by examples I found in: http://www.google.com/search?as_q=&num=100&hl=en&btnG=G..._rights=&safe=images Thank you, YuriRead More...
Oh, good. The Grammar Exchange's conclusions were correct. Thanks for writing, Yuri.Read More...

lexical bundle "as it applies to" hard to crack

peteryoung
A search at Google of the phrase "as it applies to" turns up a astonishing (to me at least) number of 1,860,000 results. And yet having been exposed to it numerous times, I still find it nearly impossible to figure out the meaning, especially regarding the conjunction 'as'. Some examples are listed below: This paper examines the concept of information dissemination as it applies to the role and importance of the receiver in the communication process. An exploration of classical shamanism as...Read More...
"In the way in which" is not a manner adverbial. It's closer to "in terms of the way in which." Let's look at the first sentence (sentence fragment) again: "”To discuss various metal working techniques as they apply to [in the way in which they can be used in] more artistic creations. A technique can be applied to (used in) any number of processes. Metal working techniques can be applied to (used in) any number of processes, including the making of artistic objects. The passage is not a...Read More...

'over time'

peteryoung
A ubiquitous expression, 'over time' nevertheless never gains in dictionary the status of a fixed phrase , as if people can easily figure out the meaning by considering each word separately, when in fact'over' as a conjunction indicating temporal relations has almost invariably been given the senses of 'during' or 'throughout' or 'until the end of', senses which does not seem to fit with the vague noun 'time'. To pin down the exact meaning, I've gathered several examples. 1)database change...Read More...
"Over time" is an adverbial with no single, fixed meaning. The closest glosses that I can think of are "as time goes by," "as time went by," as time will go by," and "as time has gone by," depending on the time frame of the verb it modifies. I think that each of the sentences you present can be paraphrased with one of these. The second question, about this passage, is easier to answer: "”We'll be concern[ed] with how the Chinese have organized their society and government... we'll be...Read More...

It's really a nice place OR It's a really nice place.

I think the following are both correct, but wonder what the difference is. It's really a nice place. It's a really nice place. AppleRead More...
You are right that both sentences are correct. Actually, they are often used interchangeably, with no difference in meaning. However, grammatically, the sentences are slightly different. In the first sentence – It's really a nice place – "really" is an adverb modifying the verb "is." In the second sentence – "It's a really nice place" – "really " is an adverb modifying the adjective "nice." So, you might use each sentence differently in conversations like these: Sentence 1: A: Oh, let's not...Read More...

going current

Dear experts, Could you comment on the phrase GO CURRENT as in: Now what would be nice, is if users of these packages could test them out as much as possible before they go current, so as to make sure they're working OK. Thank you, YuriRead More...
Not having heard or seen the expression "go current," nor being able to find it in references or online except in an expression "let-go current" – obviously with a different meaning than you intend – I can only guess at its logical meaning. It must be that the speaker/writer is a marketer of a product. S/He would like the product to be tested before it goes on the market, before it is presented for sale to the public. Does that fit your context? RachelRead More...

Another Whoever/Whomever Question

Which is it in this sentence? Tell whoever/whomever is in charge that the elevator is not working and needs to be repaired immediately. Thank you!Read More...
The correct form is "whoever." Brian Garner, in Garner's Modern American Usage (Oxford, 2003), gives an easy rule of thumb: 'Here's the traditional rule about the nominative whoever and the objective whomever . If the word that completes the syntax after -ever is a verb, the correct choice is whoever <they praise whoever performs well>"”even if there are a few intervening words < whoever, under these conditions, can deliver the goods on time will win the contract >. If the word...Read More...

a proverb

Dear experts, Are you familiar with the proverb EVERY DOG IS A LION AT HOME? Thank you, YuriRead More...
I'm not familiar with the proverb, but it seems to be well known in some other countries. It may have originated in India or Central Asia and made its way through Europe to the U.K. and the U.S. Here are some references I've found via Google: Akitas, Akitas by Denali, Trainers Diary The Hindu proverb says, "A dog is a lion in his own lane." Don't let a lion sleep in your bed! If you've got no problems being alpha and no problems with ... http://www.akita.com/diary.htm - 21k - Cached -...Read More...

hollaback

I am dying because I need to know what is the meaning and where the word HOLLABACK from isRead More...
Your word, 'Hollaback", might be from a song, 'Hollaback Girl'. I don't know much about that song and the related album. Search in http://www.answers.com for 'Hollaback' or 'Hollaback Girl', and you will have more information. Chuncan Feng Ningbo Institute of Technology Zhejiang University Ningbo, ChinaRead More...

Interrupted clauses

Are these sentences correct: 1-The time is running out for finishing the work. 2-Time is running out for finishing the work. (Meaning: The time left for finishing the work is running out) 3-The tools are here for doing the work. (Meaning: The tools for doing the work are here.) 4-The man is here for driving the car. (Meaning: The man for driving the car is here. The man who has been assigned the task of driving the car is here.)Read More...
This group of sentences illustrates the feature of discontinuity in sentences. Instead of keeping together the entire noun phrase subject, the sentences have an intervening phrase. Both Sentences 1 and 2 are correct. Sentence 2, with no article before "time," is more general, saying that time in general is running out, while Sentence 1, with the definite article, talks about the time that has been allotted for the job. Sentence 3 is correct. For the sake of information flow, however, it...Read More...

"Forget" plus infinitive or gerund

Dear experts, I feel positive you did discuss the difference between FORGET TO DO SOMETHING and FORGET DOING SOMETHING, probably well before my time. Are these constructions never interchangeable? Thank you, YuriRead More...
The two constructions are not interchangeable. The Grammar Exchange hasn't had a discussion of "forget" and its complements, but it does have a discussion of such complements with other verbs, including "remember." Taking the difference of meaning between "remember" and "forget" into account, we can say that the complements of "forget" follow the same pattern as those for "remember." Here is the discussion from 2003: Yuri Member Posted December 22, 2003 03:14 AM Dear experts, Would you...Read More...

having influence

Dear experts, How do we differentiate between: have an influence on someone have influence with someone Many thanks for the previous, YuriRead More...
"Have an influence on someone" means to have an effect on someone and to cause them to act in a certain way, as in these examples from Google and from the New York Times: "¢ Does the name change have an influence on our range of products? Does the name change have an influence on our range of products? Does the name change have an influence on our range of products? ... http://www.e6.com/e6/page.jsp?pageid=600400550 – "¢ Project: Factors that have an influence on the success of the ...Read More...

quality vs. state (and abstract nouns in general)

peteryoung
It seems that lexicographers, esp. those working on Oxford or Merriam-Webster dictionaries, have a liking for using words like 'quality', 'state', and, to a lesser degree, 'fact', when definining abstract nouns ending with -ity or -ness and so on. Here's the usual pattern: importance the quality or state of being important (M-W Unabridged Dictionary) correctness the quality or state of being correct (M-W Unabridged Dictionary) importance the state or fact of being of great significance or...Read More...
You are right in thinking that these terms are very similar and often circular in their meanings. They describe aspects of things that are not easy to define. I'll try to help, but the issue boils down to questions of linguistic philosophy. 1)What is quality, and what is state? Your intuitions about these two words are correct. A quality is intrinsic; a state can change, depending on circumstances. Google examples: QUALITY "”Vidauban, about 15 miles from the sea, has a cinematic quality to...Read More...

verb agreement - majority; each

Hello, Are these all possible and equally good ? 1 A majority of people is in favor 2 The majority of people is in favor 3 A majority of people are in favor 4 The majority of people are in favor 5 A majority of the population is ... 6 The majority of the population is ... 7 A majority of the population are ... 8 The majority of the population are ... * Does a phrase like "a large percentage of" behave in the same way as "a/the majority of"? In the sentences below, I will highlight what I...Read More...
Thank, you, Marilyn. Your examples and the threads you mentioned were extremely helpful. GiseleRead More...

The Procter & Gamble Company

Some business organizations put a definite article before their formal names including the soap giant; The Procter & Gamble Company http://www.pg.com/company/who_we_are/trademark_facts.jhtml The Boeing Company http://ir.shareholder.com/ba/stock.cfm The Carlyle Group http://www.carlyle.com/eng/company/index.html Is there any difference between "X Company" and "The X Company"? If I start a company and name it "The Ken Company", does it sound bogus? Thank you. KenRead More...
You can choose whether or not to include "the" in the title of your company. I was surprised to find that many, many companies do NOT include "the" in their title. Here are a few well-known names without "the" in their titles. I found the examples in text; I did not use the name on the website itself: "¢ Houghton Mifflin Company Headquarters 222 Berkeley Street Boston, MA 02116 617-351-5000 Additional Locations and Phone Numbers "¢ Raytheon Company 870 Winter Street Waltham, MA 02451-1449...Read More...

to

1-Time is running out to save them. 2-The tools are here to repair the door (with). 3-The man is here to do the job. As far as I have understood, the two first sentences are considered correct by native speakers. They are equivalent, respectively to: 1a-Time to save them is running out. (the to clause postmodifying the noun 'time') and: 2a-The tools to repair the door (with) are here. It seems to me that 2 could also have another meaning: The tools are here so that the door may be repaired.Read More...
In the second sentence, "to repair the door with" completes the meaning of "tools," and that meaning – the one you have stated – seems the probable meaning. The infinitive phrase of purpose (to repair the door) does not describe what the tool does. It can describe what an animate noun does: The man is here in order to repair the door; The squirrel buried the nut in order to have food for the winter; The baby cried in order to get attention. You could say, to express purpose in the second...Read More...

Present Perfect vs. Past Tense

Hi, everyone. I have a question about Present Perfect and Past Tense. (I know it have already discussed here) My question is: Which sentence is appropriate to say? (1) "Jane, it started raining," said he. (2) "Jane, it's(it has) started raining," said he. In this situation, it started to rain suddenly and one utters this phrase. As far as I know, (1) is grammartically not good because its tense is past and it is not raining at the point of utterance. On the other hand, (2) is proper, for the...Read More...
The second sentence is correct, but sometimes the first one is too. The second sentence – "it's (it has) started raining" – is perfect since the start of the rain is very relevant to the raining that is occurring now. This sentence might appear in a dialogue like this: 1) A: Shall we leave now, Nigel? B: Jane, it's started raining. I think we should wait until it stops. The first sentence might be used in a context like this: 2) A: Nigel, why did they move the all the tables inside? B: Jane,...Read More...

Which do you like (better)?

Is the following sentence (1) correct and natural? OR does it need "better" after "like"? (1) Which do you like A or B? AppleRead More...
Your guesses are right. In everyday usage, "like [X] better than [Y]" has come to mean " think that [X] is better than [Y]." MarilynRead More...

Adjectives made from nouns and verbs

Hello, I am confused about how to form adjectives from verbs and nouns,especially compound adjectives. From what I understand, if you use a noun as an adjective, you add -ed, for example, hard- shelled crab and winged horse . What about expressions such as red carpet treatment and four-year-old girl ? Are there many exceptions to the -ed rule? Verbal adjectives are challenging to explain too. Do you know where I can find information about how to form them? Thank you.Read More...
The -ed rule pertains to compounds that describe a part of the object, animal, or person. It is used when the noun "possesses" such a part. Thus: a blue-eyed daughter; a four-footed creature; a long-eared dog. Even this "rule" has many exceptions: we say "two-handled bag," but "four-door car" and "three-bedroom house." You will find several threads on this and related topics on the board. Some of them are 1. Two-month waiting list Posted November 20, 2005 04:56 PM 2. Why - a 3-room flat...Read More...
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