All Forum Topics

"-ing" ending: noun or verb?

My first query relates to these sentences: I am doing the ironing. I am doing some jumping. Are the words "ironing" and "jumping" in the above sentences nouns or verbs? I think nouns but I'm not completely sure. JonRead More...

About article usage

I have a question about the use of article in front of a proper noun. Consider the following sentence: An angry Bush condemned the Jerusalem bombing and called for all countries "to fight off terror, to cut off money to organizations such as Hamas... Is it grammatical to use article "an" in front of a famous name like "Bush"? In this sentence, can "the" be replaced "an"? If yes, does the meaning change?Read More...

Sequence of tense

One of the rules for sequence of tense states that if the verb in the independent clause is in the past or past perfect, the past or past perfect must be used in the dependent clause (except in the case of general truths). With this in mind, please consider the following : A.I realised that she HAD committed the crime. B.I realised that there ARE more good people than bad. C.I got the impression yesterday that she WANTS to end her life. My question is this : does the rule apply in the...Read More...

"That" as relative pronoun after quantifiers

And one more question :-) Most grammar books say that after quantifiers like all, every, some, any, only and so on, we usually use the relative pronoun 'that'. What I'd like to know is: She is the only girl in the class that can play the violin. When I use who instead of that in this sentence, is it unacceptable in standard English? According to the books I've read, I thought we do not necessarily need to use 'that' in this case. I just want to make sure. I'd appreciate your kind reply :-)Read More...

"Both...and"

Glad to meet you. I hope I can learn lots of good English and have fun, too. I'd like to know if 'not...both' structure can be used to mean 'one of them is not...' I read in some books that we can't use 'both...not' and that we instead use 'neither'. The sentence 'Both of them are not here.' is incorrect, isn't it? Then, can I say "Not both of them are here." to mean "One of them is here, and the other is not."?Read More...

Reported speech

Hello everyone. Here in England, I've been told that if the meaning is unclear, we do not backshift in reported speech. For example, ' I enquired at the medical centre if they did blood tests.' - this could mean that I wanted to know if they did blood tests in the past rather than in the present. So, to avoid misunderstanding, I should say instead ' I enquired at the medical centre if they DO blood tests.' Another example : 'I was told when I joined that I had to teach first year students...Read More...

Usage of "another"

Is the use of "another" in the following sentence grammatical? The campaign will cost the airline 400 million dollars, in addition to another 600 million to be spent promoting the country and the airline as Sars-free. In my understanding, another in this sentence would be correct if it reads another 400 million. Can "another" be used with unequal referent?Read More...

"Responsible" -- can it be used as a noun?

Dear Grammar Exchange, Could you tell me if "responsible" can be used as a noun? If not, which generic term could be used for a person responsible/responsible party or entity Ex. somebody (a person/a company) is responsible for a damage. Can I say: the responsible will be charged with the costs incurred? Many thanks in advance for your help. HenriRead More...

"Been" and "Gone"

One last question: Is "been" ever considered the past participle of the verb "go"? I know that "go-went-gone" is usually considered correct, but though "been" is the past participle of the verb "be", can it be considered as the past participle of the verb "go"? I have been (gone) to Disneyland many times. Thank you in advance. Any answers or explanations you can offer will be very much appreciated. (This question was the second part of a query posted by "Confused Canadian." The Grammar...Read More...

Present perfect or Present perfect Continuous

Hi, Please could you tell me which of these two sentences is correct: 1) My family gave us quite a lot of helpful advice when we bought the house. 2) My family were giving us quite a lot of helpful advice when we bought the house. Which one is correct and why? Thanks in advance.Read More...

"Only but"

Can you explain the meaning and usage of the phrase "only but" in this sentence? The Government can only but reiterate its absolute condemnation of Israel's policy of extra-judicial killings.Read More...

in/on the bed

Which is correct : I sleep in my bed or I sleep on my bed ? Some native speakers told me that both sentences are correct. If both are correct, what's the difference ?Read More...

Using "How much" to ask for price...

Can we say "How much will it be to buy a house in this part of New York?" instead of "How much will it cost to buy a house in this part of New York?" How about the following pair? It is $9oo,000 to buy a house in this part of New York. Vs It will cost $900,00 to buy a house in this part of New York. Are both grammatical?Read More...

'based as it is on...'

How would you interpret the 'as' in 'based as it is on...' in the following sentence? Can 'as' in this usage be equivalent to either 'though' or 'because' in meaning, depending on the context? (1) There remain ample grounds for judges to continue to sustain a belief in the common understanding doctrine as applied to eyewitness behavior, based as it is on the two premises. In other words, can the relevant part be paraphrased as either of the following? (2) a. ... because it is based on the...Read More...

"Not that I know of"

In colloquial English, you say "Not that I know of" in reply to a yes-no question when you think the answer is in the negative but you are not 100% sure. I was wondering about the function of "that" in this expression. What is this? Is this the same 'that' (a subordinate conjunction) as in "I know that he is coming to the party"? Or is it the same as 'that' (a relative pronoun) in "This is the person that I talked to you about"? Or is it something else? Thank you in advance for your help. ...Read More...

The use of "wish" in the past tense

I have question regarding how to use "wish" in its past tense. I know you use "wish" to say that you want things to be different from what they are. For example, if you are poor, and if you don't want to be poor, you might say "I wish I were rich. " If you said something stupid and you regret it now, you can say "I wish I hadn't said that." How about if you were poor in the past and you didn't like to be poor back then but you don't mind being poor now. Can you say "I wished I had been rich"...Read More...

Issues with tense

Some times different tenses are used in very similar contexts. For example, in the following sentense: If it should fail for any reason other than physical abuse, we will replace the part free of charge. The first part can be also written as: If it fails for any reason... If it has failed for any reason.... Or the following two sentences: Anticipating his arrival, she cleaned up her place. Having anticipated his arrival, she cleaned up her place. Are there any significant differences between...Read More...

'Much"

(Originally posted May 10, 2003 02:10 AM) S1 Have you been in Paris much these late years? S2 I am sure you are tired, if you've been out much this wet relaxing day. S3 Come to think, I HAVEN'T seen her out much this season. Is "much" semantically related to the preceding adverbial ("in Paris"; "out") or to the following time expression ("these late years"; "this wet relaxing day"; "this season")? Thanks. Chuncan FengRead More...

A questionable PSAT question

There has been a debate about a sentence in the PSAT test. The sentence is: "Toni Morrison's genius enables her to create novels that arise from and express the injustices African Americans have endured." Could the pronoun her be used to refer to the adjective, Toni Morrison's? .Do you think that this sentence is a gramatical glitch? You can read the entire news at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51947-2003May13.htmlRead More...

point of view

I have come across both "from my point of view" and "in my point of view"; the first much more frequently than the latter. According to traditional "textbook" grammar, is it okay to say "in my point of view"? Does the same apply to "viewpoint"? If we just use the noun "view" or "opinion", we would say "in my view" / "in my opinion", right? Thank you for any comments. Gisele São Paulo BrazilRead More...

"Wood" or "wooden"?

What´s more common to say: a wooden bench or a wood bench? Thanks Gisele São Paulo BrazilRead More...

Do nouns in English have gender?

Hello everyone I am writting to you from Portugal. I studied for several years English in scholl and college. I´ve always learned that nouns in English are mostly considered as having no gender, except on cases where there is a diference, such as "boy-girl", "widow-widower", "actor-actress". Recently someone who has studied English Linguistics told me that certains nouns in English can be considered "masculine" and "feminine". She gave me the example of "car", which she says it´s masculine...Read More...
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