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fastest/the fastest

Are both sentences correct? 1.Peter runs fastest in the class. 2.1.Peter runs the fastest in the class.Read More...
You need something more in the sentence to make the superlative "fastest" work. You can say "” Peter runs fastest of anyone in the class "” Peter runs the fastest of anyone in the class "” Peter is the fastest runner of anyone in the class MarilynRead More...

fruit

Which one is correct? My favourite fruit is mango. My favourite fruit is the mango. My favourite fruit is mangoes. My favourite fruits are mangoes.Read More...
The first three sentences are grammatically and logically correct, but the two most natural are "” My favorite fruit is mangoes "” My favorite fruit is mango It's possible to say "My favorite fruit is the mango," but that's a formal generic, which is not common in everyday speech. If you say "my favorite fruits...," you are referring to more than one kind of fruit. You could say "” My favorite fruits are mangoes and strawberries MarilynRead More...

On lawyers and criminals

Dear experts, May we assume that while criminals are ON TRIAL their lawyers are IN TRIAL? Thank you, YuriRead More...
Well, yes, pretty much. Of course, the whole point of the trial is to determine whether the defendant is guilty or not, is a criminal or not. It's not the criminal who is on trial, it's the defendant, or John Smith, or Martha Jones. So he or she is on trial, as you say. "On trial" refers to the official process of determining guilt or innocence. "In trial" refers to the activity and the venue. It describes, as you note, what the principals are doing and where they are – in a courtroom for...Read More...

On being punctual: 'on time' and 'in time'

Dear experts, Many thanks for the previous. How would you differentiate between IN TIME AND ON TIME as in: The train was 20 minutes late. I got to the station just before it departed. I wasn't on time, but I was in time! I entered the business meeting on time at 3pm - they were just about to start. Best regards, Yuri P.S. Sorry I seem to have lost the source for GIVE SOMEONE THE BIG EYE.Read More...
"To be on time" means to do something at the arranged or scheduled time. So if you are on time for a class, a doctor's appointment, or a meeting, for example, it means that you arrive at or even before the time that has been set. Interestingly, about the method of transportation – usually the train or plane is "on time" or not; the passenger is not said to be "on time." Your sentence would be more natural like this: "¢ The train was 20 minutes late. I was late, too, so I got to the station...Read More...

nervous of / nervous about

Hello. Which of the following two sentences are correct? I'm really nervous about the test tomorrow. I'm really nervous of the test tommorow. In the key it says " nervous about". When do we use "nervous of " ? Example : I am nervous of exams. Is the above sentence correct? Thanks as always you guys do a splendid jobRead More...
Both prepositions are correct. A dictionary search suggests that "nervous about" is more common in the U.S. and that "nervous of" is more common in the U.K., although the two expressions show up in citations on Google from both major linguistic communities. The Longman Advanced American Dictionary (2000) gives these example sentences for "nervous": "” I didn't know him and was really nervous about having to work with him | Job cuts are making auto workers very nervous about the future In...Read More...

"who is", or "which is"

When we compare two persons, should we say "who is taller?" instead of "which is taller?" Is the "which" version somehow impolite? What about "which of you is taller"? AppleRead More...
If the two persons are already identified, either "Who is taller?" or "Which [of them] is taller?" is correct. If they are not already identified, it's correct to say "” Who is taller, Mike or Freddie? but not "” *Which is taller, Mike or Freddie? It is also correct to say "” Which of you is [the] taller? MarilynRead More...

read to me

Hello, teachers! Please help me with this sentence, please! - One day an older friend read [to] me news reports from the Spanish-American War. This is from a textbook for 8th-grade in Korea. I heard that even though we usually don't use "to" in this kind of sentences, the use is not incorrect. Then, in these sentences, can we use prepositions, too? - She sang (to) us a beautiful folk song. - She sent (to) me a car at the airport. - She bought (for) me a luxurious, expensive long coat. etc.Read More...
The textbook sentence and the three further examples are not typical of English. With the verbs "read," "sing," "send," and "buy," the indirect object comes next, without a preposition, and is followed by the direct object. The sentences should be: "” One day an older friend read me [some] news reports from the Spanish-American War "” She sang us a beautiful folk song "” She sent me a car at the airport "” She bought me a luxurious, expensive, long coat One might encounter the version with...Read More...

Going over the wall

Dear experts, Would you agree that the expression GO OVER THE WALL can be used to convey two opposite meanings as in: go over the wall – 1. escape from prison: Us guys... pull wires to get jobs as guards, and you convicts go over the wall whenever you can. 2. go to prison: He would be observed ˜going over the wall' or ˜going to stir' (going to detention prison). Thank you, YuriRead More...
Yes, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, Volume XIX, pages 848-9. The entry under "wall", number 20, states: "to go over the wall" and var.: (a) to go to prison; (b) to escape from prison; (c) to leave a religious order; (d) to defect to another country). Hence (e) over the wall adv. phr., escaped from prison; in prison. slang." Additionally, the entry illustrates how the word has been used in various publications from 1917 to 1976 and its various meanings. RachelRead More...

the future tense

Hello I'd like to ask about the expression of the future. Sometimes present tense can be used for the future. Would you take a look at the following sentences? Is the present tense approprriate to this sentense? Or should I use " will"? #1 Our train leaves Tokyo Station at 8:00 tomorrow morning. #2 Our train will leave Tokyo Station at 8:00 tomorrow morning. Thank you.Read More...
Both sentences are perfectly correct. The present tense, as in # 1, is often used to refer to schedules, and this is a good example. Other examples: "¢ Be sure to be home by 9:00. "Law and Order" starts its new season tonight. "¢ Classes start early next semester, on January 2nd instead of the 12th or 13th as they usually do. "¢ Sorry I can't join you tonight. My plane leaves at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow, so I have to go to bed early. _______ You can use "will," too. You can also use the present...Read More...

Polite requests

Hello I'd like to ask about the expression of a request. I heard that " Will you ~?" sounded strong and it was like an order. Is that right? I know " Would you ~?" or " Could you ~?" are more polite. And there is another way of " Will you ~?" like " Will you try this cake?" I wonder in what situation and to whom you use " Will you ~?" for requesting. Would you help me to understand this usage? Thank you.Read More...
Yes, "will you" does sometimes sound strong. For example: Mother: Will you please turn off that loud music! Son: OK, mom. The son would probably not address his mother in the same way. The conversation would be more like this: Son: Mom, could you please pick up my shoes at the shoe repair shop today? Mother: Sure. _______ Chart 9-3 in Understanding and Using English Grammar* shows this: "The meaning of would you and will you in a polite request is the same. Would you is more common and is...Read More...

"that" as non-restrictive relative pronoun

Hello, again!!! I came across the following sentence in a newspaper: "The brown soy sauce is produced by crushing a mixture of soybeans and wheat that then undergoes yeast fermentation in saltwater for several months." I believe the "that" in bold is a nonrestrictive relative pronoun. However, as far as I know, relative "that" is not usually used in nonrestrictive use. I wonder if this is a sort of exception and if so, I would like to know if there are any regularities in this use. Please be...Read More...
There are relative clauses that can be perceived as either nonrestrictive or restrictive; your example sentence is one of them. The sentence is correct as it is, with the restrictive relative clause beginning with that . In this case, the mixture is identified by describing the yeast fermentation process that it will undergo. The sentence is also correct with a nonrestrictive clause beginning with which . In this case, the mixture is perceived as already identified – the mixture of soybeans...Read More...

phrase after "about"

I came across the following sentence in Fortune magazine. It's from a caricature cartonn showing a group of the Founding Fathers drafting the Constitution. "Can't we put in something about rich white guys don't have to pay taxes?" I have trouble with the sentence construction. My question is: Can a phrase follow a preposition "about"? Can this sentence in question be rephased as "Can't we put in something about rich white guys not having to pay taxes?" or "Can't we put in something so that...Read More...
OK, glad to know I wasn't alone in this. AppleRead More...

Rarely vs. Seldom

Hi, thank you for clicking this artcle. Today, I encountered this question on a test at school: San Francisco is usually cool in the summer, but Los Angeles ( ). 1, is seldom 2, is scarcely 3, hardly is 4, rarely is The answer was "4." I surely erased 2 & 4 at first because they do not express the frequency. I left 1 and 4... But each of them are almost the same meaning, right? Why is the 4 right? Are there any rules? Please explain it... Thank you.Read More...
The choices here involve frequency, just as you said in your post. "Seldom" and "rarely" mean more or less the same. The former is more formal than the latter, and is usually used in written English. To express frequency, "hardly" and "scarcely" would need "ever": "hardly/scarcely ever" means "almost never". Finally, the right choice IS 4, with one more detail to know. That is, words of frequency are not used to end a sentence. With the verb "be", we say "Los Angels rarely is" (but "Los...Read More...

the Spanish-American War

Hello, teachers! Please help me again with this sentence, please! - One day an older friend read me news reports from [the Spanish-American War]. It sounds more natural to me to say "the Spain-America War" (or maybe "the Spain-Inca War") than "the Spanish-American War." Is there any reason for the writer to name it "the Spanish-American War"? Is it because it wasn't all America that was involved in the war? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
The name of that war really is "the Spanish-American War." It's not the writer who named the war; that is the generally accepted name of that particular war. The war was fought between Spain and the United States, also known as "America." In this case, the adjectives for the two countries are used: Spanish and American. There is, though, ambiguity in the meaning of "America." One meaning is all the land in the western hemisphere, that is, all of North, Central and South America. Another...Read More...

being CUT during a telephone conversation

Dear teachers, Are the following sentences correct? While I was talking to Ann over the phone the line was CUT. While I was talking to Ann over the phone the line was CUT OFF. While I was talking to Ann over the phone WE WERE CUT OFF. Thank you. Aneeth PrabhakarRead More...
The last sentence is correct: "¢ While I was talking to Ann over (or, ON) the phone, we were cut off. "Cut off" specifically refers to phone conversations. It describes the connection between the two people who are talking, and expresses the fact that the connection was terminated accidentally (or possible intentionally in crime dramas). Here, "cut off" means that the two people talking were separated from each other. It is used as a passive construction, usually, although it would be...Read More...

'Follow up'

I would like to know which one is correct: 1- In a follow up to our conversation. 2- In follow up to our conversation. Thank you. CyrusRead More...
"Follow up" can act as a verb or as a noun. In your phrases, "follow up" is a noun and it is a singular count noun. Therefore, it needs an article or other determiner. The correct phrase is: In a follow up to our conversation... _______ Other ways you might use "follow up" in an introductory phrase are As a follow up to our conversation... Following up on our conversation... To follow up on our conversation... RachelRead More...

Giving someone the eye

Dear experts, Would you agree that the expression GIVE SOMEONE THE BIG EYE can only replace GIVE SOMEONE THE EYE in its first meaning as in: give someone the eye – 1. look at smb. with a more or less open display of romantic interest: He was standing with his friends over by the bar, and kept giving me the eye. 2. look at smb. in a way that shows that you are angry with the person: It was time to go – Dave was tired and I was sure the nurse was giving me the eye. Thank you, YuriRead More...
"Give someone the eye" does mean, as you state, to look at somebody with a more or less open display of romantic interest. "Give somebody the big eye" has 428 examples in Google. 424 of them show the lyrics of "Blues in the Night," of which these words are a part: My mamma done tol' me, When I was in knee pants, My mamma done tol' me, "Son! A woman'll sweet talk, and give ya the big eye, But when the sweet talkin's done, A woman's a two-face, A worrisome thing who'll leave ya t' sing The...Read More...

Phraseological variants: 'get away/ out/ along with you!'

Dear experts, Would you say that the expressions: GET AWAY WITH YOU! GET OUT WITH YOU! GET ALONG WITH YOU! are all similar in meaning and can be used interchangeably in identical situations? Thank you, YuriRead More...
My source for British English tells me that "get away with you" is a response that expresses skepticism of something a speaker has just said. For example: A: There isn't any global warming at all. It's just a conspiracy by people who want to control the world. B: Get away with you! All the scientific evidence proves that the climate of the world is indeed warming. _______ The British source says that "get along with you" is similar, but it dismisses with good humor something that the speaker...Read More...

Phrase: 'Here it is.'

Hello Would you help me to understand the following phrases? #1 Here it is. #2 Here you are. #3 Here you go. #4 Here we are. I suppose you use #1-3 when you give someone something. (Is that right? ) Do you use them in the same way? Or differently? Besides that I don't understand how you use #4 well. I'll be happy if I get some examples. Thank you.Read More...
You should say: "Here it is." "It" could refer to "money," which is a noncount noun. Or, to the bill, as you say, which is a singular count noun. Even if there are several single dollar bills or notes in other currencies, or several coins, you still use "it" to refer to the payment. In any case, the only referent for "it" would be singular.Read More...

On having experience

Dear experts, Could you comment on the difference in meaning (if any) between EXPERIENCE IN SOMETHING and EXPERIENCE OF SOMETHING Thank you, YuriRead More...
To have "experience in something" is to have knowledge or skill of a particular job or activity as a result of having done the work or the activity many times in the past or for a long enough time in the past. In addition, it can be assumed that the skills and knowledge will continue in the future. For example: "¢ Katrina should win the skating competition. She has had a lot of experience in skating before crowds, while her opponents have had very little. "¢ The company is looking for a...Read More...

according to / be based on

I'm a bit of confused about the two phrases. Can they be used interchangeably when referring to "what happens is influenced by other facts or events"? Is it correct to say "according to the decision,....."? Thank you very much!Read More...
The two expressions are not interchangeable. ACCORDING TO The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (Third Edition, 2003) states, about "according to," "according to ... prep "1 As shown by something or stated by someone... "2 in a way that depends on differences in situations or amounts... "3 in a way that agrees with a system or plan, or obeys a set of rules: The game will be played according to rules laid down for the 1992 Cup. | Everything went according to plan, and we arrived on...Read More...

Wilhelm Wundt

Here is a sentence from Anne Lander's column. 'I bet I'll be on probation before you can say "Wilhelm Wundt"'. I can see that "before you can say Wilhelm Wundt" means "very soon", but is there a story behind this German psychologist? AppleRead More...
Thank you, Rachel, the response mades a perfect sense in the context from which the sentence comes from. The speaker is a student who just keeps pugging in, but is about to fail. Thank you again. AppleRead More...

at an interview

Dear teachers, Are the following sentences correct? I have to be AT an interview next week. I have to GO TO an interview next week. I have to ATTEND an interview next week. She was asked to COME FOR an interview here on October 15, 2004. She was asked to COME FOR an interview here on December 28, 2004. Thank you. Aneeth PrabhakarRead More...
All of the sentences are correct, although "ATTEND an interview" could imply that someone other than the speaker is being interviewed, and that the speaker will be there as either an observer or as a participant on behalf of the company or other entity that is doing the interviewing. "BE AT/GO TO an interview" have a similar potential for ambiguity, but it's very small. A very common way of telling about one's upcoming interview is "” I have to GO FOR an interview next week OR "” I have an...Read More...

how about you?, what about you?

Suppose you are in a restaurant with a friend. You are going to have pizza. You ask your friend, "How about you?" Can "What about you?" be used as well? Google search yeilds more examples of "how about you?" Any difference? AppleRead More...
"How about" and "what about " are very similar, and can often be used interchangeably. For example, when making a suggestion about participating in an activity you could say: "How about tennis today?" or "What about tennis today." However, in this case, in the restaurant, you are not suggesting an activity, but instead, you want to find out what the person wants. In this case, "How about you" is the better phrase. The Collins COBUILD*'s entry for "how about you" is: "¢ If you ask someone...Read More...

adverb phrases or ?

This sentence is from the Advanced Focus on Grammar - Checking the children, Reg and Maggie found them still sleeping peacefully on the back seat. "Checking the children" is a phrase reduced from an adverb clause. Is "still sleeoing peacefully on the back seat" also a reduced clause? If not, what is it? I have read there is an overlap in function of -ing particilpes (cf Swan) at times - is this one of them? I'm a little confused! Thank you!Read More...
Yes. You have made a good analysis.Read More...
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