All Forum Topics

Mr.Kim's or Mr.Kim is

Is it okay ? Mr.Kim's my teacher. Do I have to say " Mr.Kim is my teacher." thanksRead More...
In conversation, you would probably say, "Mr. Kim's my teacher." Contractions with -'s standing for "is" are very common in conversation. This is one correct way of speaking. You could also use the full form, "Mr. Kim is my teacher," conversationally. In more formal speech and formal writing, you would most likely want to use the full form. RachelRead More...

"It felt as if" and "I felt as if"

I have recently come across the following sentence(1) in an article of a newspaper. Does the phrase "it felt as if" mean something similar to "I felt as if"? This "it" doesn't have a particular meaning. Is that correct? I mean this "it" doesn't refer to anything particular. (1) Sometimes during those rough high school years, it felt as if that little dog was my only friend. AppleRead More...
The difference is not one of formality or regional variation. The difference is that "FEEL as if" conveys a more physical or emotional response than "SEEM as if." It's subjective, implying a physical or emotional sensation ("a feeling") rather than an intellectual perception. How would you teach this construction with "feel"? You could start with one example that has the to-phrase, e.g. I read the rejection letter with disbelief. It felt [TO ME] as if all my dreams had been shattered Then...Read More...

'Do you think'

"What time do you think you leave?" [when do you leave, do you think?] what is the rule for forming such a question within a question? Is this a form of embedded question? Thanks...Read More...
The question is: What time do you leave? An expression like "do you think" or "did they say" or "do you believe" added after the question does not change the structure of the question. It asks about the entire question. However, a phrase like "do you think" embedded inside the sentence does change its structure. The question itself becomes, grammatically, "what time do you think.....," even though the meaning does not refer to the time of thinking; it refers to the time of someone's leaving.Read More...

"Best/the best"

Are both sentences correct? 1.What kind of food do you like best? 2.What kind of food do you like the best? When will we use the phrase "the best"Read More...
Needless to say, "of of" doesn't exist in any dialect of English, as far as I know! Thank you, Apple, for pointing out the typo, which has now been corrected. Marilyn MartinRead More...

"Earlier than her" or "earlier than she"

I am somewhat confused by what is explained in Basic Grammar in Use published by Cambridge university: S1: I can run faster than him. S2: I can run faster than he can. The book says you can say either S1 or S2. I thought "him" is used when comparing objects and "he" is used when comparing subjects. What is really the correct way? In S2, can I omit "can" and just say S3: I can run faster than he. ? Is there a difference between British way and American way of expressing comparative?Read More...
More on Case of pronouns after than A: So far we have looked only at comparatives of adverbs. We need to take a look at pronoun choice with comparisons of adjectives as well as with adverbs. What should we say"” She is older/more intelligent than me or She is older/more intelligent than I? What about pronouns other than I and me? According to Quirk et al. ( A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language , Longman, 1985), "the choice between and [me] [after [i]than ] is a well-known...Read More...

Hyphen in 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation' ?

From the cover of the famous book on punctuation: Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Does the compound word, like zero tolerance, need to be hyphenated here? That is the title should read "Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero- Tolerance Approach to Punctuation." Does the initial capitals in this title render the hyphenation optional?Read More...
You can be quite sure of one thing: Ms. Lynne Truss, the author of the book, did not omit the hyphen arbitrarily. If you get a chance to read the book, I predict that you will find a section in which she discusses the hyphenation or non-hyphenation of compound adjectives. Who knows--she might even refer to her own book title! The available evidence favors the use of no hyphen (but see below for a fuller picture). The compound word "zero tolerance," is used as a noun and also as an adjectival...Read More...

"Finished" as an adjective

Hi. It's been a long time. Would you check out this sentence? I'm not finished eating. Is it okay? I think it needs 'with' after 'finished' thanks a lotRead More...
Your sentence is correct as it is. "I'm not finished" is almost exactly the same as "I haven't finished." "Finish" is a verb that is followed by a gerund, like "eating." _______ Your sentence would also be correct with "with," as in, "I'm not finished with eating." "Finish with" has this definition in the Collins COBUILD*: "Someone who is finished with something is no longer doing it or dealing with it or is no longer interested in it. One suspects he will be finished with boxing. " Rachel...Read More...

"About" with a capital letter?

This question was sent in by Susan McKenzie My question is - is the word "about" in capitals in a heading like this - And Finally... Something about Me and What I Do. About is a preposition but it is 5 letters. Some say about should be lower case and some because it is 5 letters it can be in capitals. Grateful for any assitance.Read More...
Your sentence seems as though it might come from a paper or an essay or perhaps a website. You might be using "headline style" or you might be using "sentence style." Here are some comments from respected references. "¢ The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage* says this about headline style: "...capitalize all nouns, pronouns and verbs, and all other words of four or more letters." "¢ The Guide to Grammar and Writing** has under the heading of "Capitalize this!": "The first, last, and...Read More...

Country with personal pronoun

I realise that we may use a personal pronoun to refer to a country. However, I'm not sure about whether it is usual in business writing or it is just limited to something related to poetry. What is the rule of the usage I should follow regarding this issue?Read More...
While one can find many examples on Google, of course, of "she" and "her" to refer to countries, they are all literary in tone. They are not wrong, but inappropriate and infrequent in some registers, most importantly, in business. All of the countries mentioned in Marilyn's posting appear, for example, in dictionaries like the American Heritage* in passages like this: Po"¢land A country of central Europe bordering on the Baltic Sea. Unified as a kingdom in the 10th century, it enjoyed a...Read More...

Cambridge Grammar of the English Language

I don't know if this is a right place to ask about reference grammars, but does anyone have any comment on this new book: The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language This is a HUGE volume. Is it a good source to turn to when non-native English language teachers like me have problems about grammar? If this question isn't appropriate for this forum, I am sorry and please delete it.Read More...
The question is most appropriate, and I myself would like to know what others think of this reference The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language is a huge and comprehensive work. If your personal knowledge of linguistics and its vocabulary is extensive, you will probably find your way around it easily. If not, you may find yourself puzzled by some of the linguistic terms. I have found the chapters on inflectional morphology and lexical word-formation most interesting. I also appreciate...Read More...

"Follow on from / up to"

I would like to know which of the following is really correct: 1- Following on from our conversation today. 2- Following up to our conversation today. Thank you CyrusRead More...
It is probably an example of British English. The Grammar Exchange has many references that contain British English, but has not found "following on" + a noun clause or a prepositional phrase in any of them. There is, however, the idiom "following on the heels of xx, " which is both American and British English. Coming from the Cambridge International Dictionary as your example does, I am sure that "following on" is correct, although not frequently heard in American English. RachelRead More...

"All / Everybody"

Please advise which one we can correctly use in a sentence: I hope "All is well", or I hope "Everybody is well". Thank you again. CyrusRead More...
There's no way to tell if the sentence is correct because we don't know what "all" refers to. The "all" in "all is well" is a general, indefinite pronoun referring to a situation of some kind. It doesn't refer to anything concrete. You see the same pronoun in sentences like these from Google: --What was all the pain in my eyes compared to this misery? There followed terrible days and even worse nights -- I knew that all was lost . --I was horrified, as was my daughter. When we returned home,...Read More...

"How/why do you know?"

These below are from a Japanese textbook of English. A: Did you visit the folk village there? B1: yes, but how do you know that place? B2: Yes, but why do you know that place? They are both correct. Could anyone tell me if they are different in any way? B1 sounds like the person is interested in the way or the process in which the first person got to know that place. But B2 also is asking the reason. One more question: In case of B1, wouldn't a past tense make it sound more natural? B1: Yes,...Read More...
You are correct in believing that "How do you know the place" asks about the process by which the person has become acquainted with the place. The present tense "know" is OK, since the other person still knows that village. The answer could be "Oh, It's described in my travel books." OR "I was there several years ago on a college trip." "Why do you know that place?" sounds a bit odd. It's not usual to ask someone the reason for being acquainted with something or someone, unless the speaker...Read More...

"Classes" or "hours" at school?

Hello Would you help me with the question about a class? The situation is this: Some schools have five classes in a day. Others have six classes in a day. The number of classes depends on school. One class hour is usually 50 minutes. When I ask about the number of classes Can I use the word" hour" instead of "class"? If so, would you tell me if #1~4 are correct or not? #1 How many hours a day are there in your school? #2 How many hours in a day are there in your school? #3 How many hours...Read More...
Thank you for your kind reply,Marilyn. It helped a lot! LinaRead More...

In the windows?

I came across the following sentence recently: "I sat in the windows on the world restaurant on the 45th floor." I don't understand two points. 1. Why use 'in the windows'? Why not 'by'? Doesn't 'in' mean something like being enclosed by something? 2. Why use 'on the world restaurant'? Why not 'in' here? I'm very puzzled. Can anyone help? Thanks in advance. HenryRead More...
I think it would be possible to be sitting IN the windows of the caf̩. The caf̩ would have bay windows Рthat is, windows in this configuration \__/ , with glass on three sides and inside of which could fit a table and chairs. In this case, people might be sitting in the windows. RachelRead More...

Plural or singular?

Dear All, The following sentences sound natural to me but the grammatical principles appear contradictory. Are the sentences correct? 1) There WERE/ARE John and Mary in the room. 2) There WAS/IS a boy and a girl in the room. 3) There GO John and Mary. 4) There GOES the boy and his sister. 5) Where (Wh-questions) ARE John and Mary now ? 6) Where IS the boy and his sister now ? 7) HAVE John and Mary arrived ? 8) HAS the boy and his sister arrived ? Finally, 9) ARE football and tennis on TV...Read More...
All nine sentences should have plural verbs. All nine sentences have compound subjects. It is true that we often see, these days, sentences like: "There's fifteen people coming." "There's" to refer to a plural subject has become borderline acceptable in informal language. You might also find a singular verb for a subject in which the two items are linked so closely as to be thought of as one unit. The Grammar Exchange addressed this topic in a previous posting: Q: Should a singular or plural...Read More...

"Soybean feed grains"

I hope someone will tell me what "soybean feed grains" in the following sentence. It's a part of an article by Reuters on genetically engineering technology. The company already has successfully commercialized Roundup Ready corn and soybean feed grains and had hoped to spread its herbicide-resistant technology in the vast wheat-growing industry. Is "soybean feed grains" a compound noun? Is "feed" an adjective or a noun? AppleRead More...
A feed grain is a grain used as feed (noun) for animals. Corn and soybeans are feed grains. The passage mentions these two kinds of feed grains--"corn and soybean feed grains"--which are manufactured under the brand name "Roundup Ready." Roundup is an herbicide that kills everything, and these new strains of corn and soybeans are resistant to it. "Corn," "soybean," and "feed" are all nouns used as adjectival modifiers before the noun "grains." The brand name "Roundup Ready" precedes them...Read More...

Compound noun

Which of the following compound nouns is the best word choice? 1. plastic producing factory 2. plastic production factory 3. plastic factoryRead More...
Of your three choices, "plastic producing factory" appears 3 times on Google, "plastic production factory" appears 16 times, and "plastic factory" appears 6,070 times. "PlasticS factory, however, makes the strongest showing; it appears in 8,560 entries. As you know, compound noun phrases are often made with one noun acting as an adjective. Since it is an adjective, it is singular. Examples of this kind of structure are "shoe store," "automobile parts," and "student loan." There are...Read More...

Needless to say...

I've recently had a discussion with my co-worker about the popular phrase "Needless to say..." . He believes that the phrase is not necessary in most, if not all, situations. However, I don't totally agree with him. I think that there must be situations that this phrase is called for. Unfortunately, I cannot come up with the one I am sure of. Could anyone here suggest sentences properly using this phrase?Read More...
"Needless to say" is sometimes used to mean that something should be obvious. Here is a definition from the American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms*: needless to say Very likely or obvious, self-evident, as in Needless to say, the availability of assault weapons is closely connected with crime. Although nonsensical at first glance (if unnecessary to say, why say it?), this phrase is generally used for emphasis. It originated as needless to speak in the early 1500s. Also see go without...Read More...

"Prepare" or "prepare for"

Are these sentences correct? 1.The lawyers asked for 2 more days to prepare for the case. 2.The lawyers asked for 2 more days to prepare the case. 3.Mother is preparing for the birthday cake. 4.Mother is preparing the birthday cake. 5.Mother is preparing dinner. 6.Mother is preparing for dinner What is the difference between prepare and prepare for?Read More...
Are these sentences correct? 1.The lawyers asked for 2 more days to prepare for the case. 2.The lawyers asked for 2 more days to prepare the case. "¢ The first sentence is not correct. You might say "The lawyers asked for 2 more days to prepare for the TRIAL." "Prepare" here means to get ready, to prepare themselves. "For" introduces another thing: the goal. "¢ The second sentence is correct. The lawyers need two more days to prepare the case for the trial. 3.Mother is preparing for the...Read More...

The position of particles in the two-word verb and two objects

Hello, teachers! [1] Would you please tell me if these sentences are grammatically acceptable? I think they are all ok, but I doubt about #5. Is it also acceptable? 1. After grading them, the teacher handed back the students their exam papers. 2. After grading them, the teacher handed the students back their exam papers. 3. After grading them, the teacher handed back their exam papers to the students. 4. After grading them, the teacher handed their exam papers back to the students. 5. After...Read More...
I will begin by saying that the sentences are not grammatically wrong with the pronoun "them" in the first phrase and the noun to which it refers ("exam papers") in the main clause, but usually we mention the noun first, then use the pronoun. (Of course if the sentences were to be rearranged in that manner, the question would not apply.) For purposes of this answer, I will consider only the main clause, except for one of the sentences. 1. After grading them, the teacher handed back the...Read More...

Indirect Object or emphatic 'oneself'

Hi, I have a question about the status of "myself" in the following examples: (1) I found myself a perfectly smooth stone. (2) I'm going to have myself some fun. Are these instances of "myself" to be considered to be indirect objects which happen to be reflexive pronouns or instances of emphatic "myself" as in the following sentences, which happen to sit between the verb and the object? (3) a. I myself found a perfectly smooth stone. b. I found a perfectly smooth stone myself. (4) a. I...Read More...
I see. Now everything is clear to me. Thank you very much. TaroimoRead More...

Prepositions of time.

In the following sentences is the "at" obligatory or optional? 1. Call me at any time after 9:00. I have often heard/seen this sentence with "at". Is the "at" obligatory or optional? 2. He usually comes home at around 6:00. AppleRead More...
Omitting "at" in these sentences shows a less formal style than including "at." Both are correct. RachelRead More...

the reflexive pronoun as a subject

Hello, teachers! - Jack and myself are going to Paris on business next week. Here, I know that the use of myself - reflexive pronoun - is incorrect. However someone says that the use of myself is correct in the following sentence, because it is for emphasis, especially in contrast with another person. - Jack and Jill are going to Paris, but Peter and myself are staying here. IMHO, even though it can be used colloquially, it is still no standard English. Am I right? Today I'd like to express...Read More...
Thank you, Hogel, for your very kind wishes. It was surprising (the second grammatical surprise of the week) to learn from my grammar sources* that using "myself" as subject when it is coordinated with another noun is perfectly correct. It's supposedly correct in all cases, not just when emphasized. You will find thousands of examples of such usage on Google, indicating that it's standard, not just colloquial. Here are a few examples: --We are a small, independent organisation and we see...Read More...
×
×
×
×