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Past perfect vs. simple past

Please see if 'had eaten' in this sentence can be replaced with 'ate'. I got food poisoning because of the food that I had eaten at lunch. The reason I ask this kind of question is, I read that the past perfect tense is not necessary(though it can be used) when talking about two events that happen one after the other. (Like "After he (had) finished his exams he went to Japan for a month.) I think that we can see clearly that the two events in the sentence(getting food poisoning, eating food...Read More...
The simple past is fine. Actually, if the time sequence is clear and unambiguous, only very careful speakers use the past perfect to mark the time distinction. In the example "After he (had) finished his exams he went to Japan for a month" the past perfect is not necessary at all, since the adverb "after" makes the time sequence absolutely clear. Sometimes the past perfect is necessary to exclude the idea that the action or state might be understood as being at the same time as the past...Read More...

Infinitive phrase with preposition at end

Hello, teachers! Which is better, with or without the preposition? 1. The weather was too horrible to play the match (in). 2. She gave him money enough for his family to live a half year (with). 3. The knife is too dull to cut meat (with). 4. The amusement park is too large to find a missing child (in) without Lost & Found. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
1. The weather was too horrible FOR US to play the match (Or ...to play the match IN) Neither version sounds right without "for (NOUN)." We do say things like "The humidity was too high to play the match IN." IN doesn't sound right, however, in TOO-constructions with the noun "weather," without a "for (NOUN)" phrase. 2. She gave him money enough for his family to live a half year ON (not usually "with") 3. The knife is too dull to cut meat WITH (people can't cut meat with it) OR The knife is...Read More...

"Aim at" and "aim for"

A newspaper heading reads "Kerry aims for super Tuesday knockout. How would the meaning change if "for" were "at"? To me "aim at" sounds stronger than "aim for". Any other take on this verb phrase? There are many more hits of "aim at" than "aim for" on corpus. There are about 5 times as many instances of "aim at" than those of "aim for". appleRead More...
"Aim at" and "aim for" have slightly different meanings. If you aim AT something, you aim a weapon or object towards a target; you may or may not hit it: "¢ In archery, aim at the bull's eye in the center. "¢ When Johnny got angry, would throw things. One day he aimed a book right at his teacher, and it injured her. _______ If you aim for something, that something is your goal. You hope or plan to achieve it: "¢ Smith was aiming for the world's record in the marathon. "¢ We're aiming for...Read More...

"Develop" vs. "invent"

Hello, teachers! Could you please tell me which is the correct verb in these sentences? 1. The World Wide Web was developed/invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. 2. Aspirin was developed/invented by Dr. Felix Hoffman in Germany in1899. 3. Calculus was developed/invented by Isaac Newton in 1669. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
Since "develop" refers to an action which occurs over a period of time, it is probable that "develop" in not the appropriate verb for any of these. All of these sentences have dates; "invent" refers to the appearance of something new which probably had been being developed for some time. "Invented" would be appropriate in all sentences. RachelRead More...

"Busy" or "busily"

The following question has been asked by Ricky: Which is correct : a) "I was busy criticising a friend." OR b) "I was busily criticising a friend."Read More...
Both versions are correct, although they are both a bit strange, given their content. "Busy" + present participle means "fully engaged in": Yesterday I had a horrible accident. I was busy talking on my cell phone when a deer ran across the road in front of the car a. May I speak to Dr. Cohen, please? --I'm sorry, she's busy seeing a patient b. The implication is that the activity described has the person's full attention. "To be busily doing something" describes the (energetic) manner of...Read More...

same ... as, same ... that

Which one of the following is correct? 1. The book was written in the same year that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published. 2. The book was written in the same year as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published.Read More...
Stylistically, if I were writing the sentence, I would probably omit both the preposition 'in' and 'that'/'as': The book was written the same year The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published. I think the length of the book title is a confounding factor; to me the sentence sounds much better if I say: The book was written the same year Huckleberry Finn was published. KarenRead More...

Will & shall [as a promise]

Hello, teachers! - You [will, shall] get the brand-new cell phone tomorrow. When I want to mean that [I will buy you ...], can I use either "will" or "shall"? If both are possible, Is there any difference in meaning between "will" and "shall"? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
In terms of variation in use/meaning of You [will/shall] get a new cell phone tomorrow. I find the most common and least "forceful" possibility is the contraction: You'll get it tomorrow. Somewhat more forceful (varying also depending on which word receives the stress) is You will get it tomorrow. In American English, I would only use 'shall' if I were emphasizing the modal as a way of emphasizing in the extreme my promise to you - say: We've promised and promised, you still haven't gotten...Read More...

"Been" without auxiliary?

Is the following correct? A historian attempting to predict in the 1870's which nation would take over world leadership from the British probably would have guessed Bismarck'sPrussia and been quite wrong.Read More...
The guessing and the being wrong would have been simultaneous, not sequential. That is, the historian making the guess would have been wrong in the very act of guessing "Bismarck's Prussia." Marilyn MartinRead More...

Related, relating, & relative

Hello, teachers! Please let me know which is the correct or natural expression? - You can get the information [related, relating, relative] to the festival on the Internet. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
information [that is] related to the festival.Read More...

"Since...ago" acceptable?

I know (1) and (2) are correct. How about (3)? Is it safe to tell the students (3) is grammatically acceptable? (1) I have known him for 5 years. (2) I have known him since 1997. (3) I have know him since 5 years ago. appleRead More...
The expression "since (X) years ago" occurs quite frequently with the present perfect in English. Here are some examples from Google: Since 12,500 years ago, Glacier Peak has produced only a few ash eruptions, all of small volume. In small companies (those with 100 or fewer employees), almost half say loyalty has increased since two years ago, with most of the others saying there was no change. The tone of the press concerning woman's rights meetings had changed greatly since thirty years...Read More...

Proper noun & article

Hello, teachers! * 'Market Garden' was a high risk operation that failed. Can I use these terms in the place of 'Market Garden'. - (The) Market Garden - (The) Operation Market Garden - (The) Market Garden Operation - The Market Garden operation/campaign Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
Market Garden, Operation Market Garden, and Market Garden Operation are apparently proper nouns; each is the name of the activity that failed. As nouns, there would be no article in front of the phrases in most contexts. However, in the last example – The Market Garden operation – the phrase "Market Garden" does not serve as a noun, but as an adjective. The noun is "operation" or "campaign." These nouns are singular count nouns and need the definite article in front of the modifying phrase...Read More...

Relative clause or not?

Hello, teachers! 'Market Garden' was a high risk operation that failed. Can I rephrase this sentence using 'a failed high risk operation' in place of 'a high risk operation that failed' 'Market Garden' was a failed high risk operation. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
It's possible. However, "high-risk" needs a hyphen, so the sentence would be this: "¢ Market Garden was a failed high-risk operation. The sentence is a little smoother, though, in this way: "¢ Market Garden was a high-risk operation that failed. RachelRead More...

Kinds of aircraft

Hello, teachers! If a company make planes and the number of plane types is 10, which is/are the correct expression(s)? 1. The company produces 10 kinds of airplane/airplanes. 2. The company produces 10 aircraft/aircrafts. 3. The company produces 10 different aircraft/aircrafts. 4. The company produces 10 different types of aircraft. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
1) airplanes 2) aircraft 3) aircraft 4) [What is the problem in this sentence?] 1) With "kinds of" – that's the plural form of "kind" – use the plural form of a count noun. 2)and 3) "Aircraft" is both the singular and plural form of "aircraft." "Aircrafts" – with the –s plural – does not appear in the American Heritage Dictionary or in the Collins COBUILD. There are, however, 97,400 appearances of "aircrafts" on Google. RachelRead More...

How frequently used is the continuous?

Hello Experts, A native english speaker told me that the continuous tenses are not frequently used in day to day english, they are used mainly in written form, and learning them in detail is useless. I find that very hard to believe..how far is this person right? I know that the present tense is the most used tense..but what about the continuos tenses? Any clarification? I use the Headways and there the continuous tenses are dealt with in detail. Thanks a lot.Read More...
The native speaker who told you both of these things is poorly informed. (Note: The continuous. or progressive, is an aspect . We have present progressive aspect (I'm feeling much better) and past progressive aspect (They were quarreling again).) Of course the progressive and the perfect aspects are less common than the simple tense forms. Biber et al.,* in Section 6.3.1 state: "The ...progressive aspect [conveys] specialized kinds of meaning and hence [is] less commonly used than simple...Read More...

"Made from" or "made out of"

Hello, teachers! Which preposition is correct? 1. We made all of them [from, out of] jade. 2. They're all made [from, out of] jade. 3. They're all hand-carved [from, out of] jade. Thank you very much. Enjoy the sudden cold weather after rain.Read More...
And another from the Newsgroup in 2002: _______ A rule of thumb: The easier it is for one to recognize the original material(s) in the finished product, the more likely "of" is to be used; The more difficult it is for one to recognize the original material(s) in the finished product, the more likely "from" is used. Cf. a house made of stone; a wine made from grapes. Chuncan Feng ChinaRead More...

"Be careful of / with"?

What's the difference between the two phrasal verbs: be careful of/ be careful with? Thanks!Read More...
"Careful about," in the Collins COBUILD*: "If you tell someone to be careful about doing something, you think that what they intend to do is probably wrong, and that they should think seriously before they do it. I think you should be careful about talking of the rebels as heroes... It is important, I think, for everyone to be careful about claiming victory. " Rachel _______ *The Collins COBUILD English Dictionary. Harper Collins. 1995Read More...

"start my day stretching"

Hello, teachers! Would you please tell me which expression is correct or preferred? 1. When the day breaks (in the east), I start my day stretching myself 2. When the day breaks, I start my day by stretching. 3. When the day breaks, I start my day with stretches. Thank you very much. Enjoy the spring frost after rain.Read More...
Sentences 2) and 3) are good. Sentence 1) is awkward. It could be changed to: Stretching every muscle, I start my day at daybreak. Stretching myself to the greatest degree possible, I start my day at daybreak. RachelRead More...

Restrictive or nonrestrictive clauses

This question is from Lina. ___________________________ Hello, I'd like to ask two questions about the following sentence (#1) , which I found it in the answers of exercises. #1 I lost my gloves which my sister had bought me only the previous day. Question 1: I think "my" should be "the" or something because there is no comma before "which." Is it OK to use "my gloves" before restrictive relative pronoun "which"? Is that because "I" have many gloves? Or is this answer incorrect? Question 2:...Read More...
Yes, your sentence with "just" -- #2 – clarifies that what happened the day before refers to your father's buying the watch for you: "¢ I lost the watch which my father had just bought me the day before. A way to indicate that you lost the gloves on the previous day could be: "¢ On the previous day, I lost the gloves that my father had given me. RachelRead More...

What is the subject of this sentence?

What is the subject of the following sentence? In one of the bloodiest battle of the Civil war, fought at Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1982, four times as many Americans were killed as would later be killed on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day.Read More...
The construction itself is an appositive. It's not a full clause, since it does not have a grammatical subject or a main verb. It's a noun phrase, with the pronoun "many" standing for "many computers." The full form of the sentence would be There is now one microcomputer for every thirty-two pupils, [which is] four times as many [computers] as there were four years ago Marilyn MartinRead More...

Past participle only or "being" + the past participle?

Hello, teachers! [3] Which is better/correct, with or without "being"? I think we should omit the unnecessary "being." Am I wrong? - The gas station (being) run by Jack's father is the cheapest around here. [* The gas station is being run by Jack's father.] Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
"The gas station run by Jack's father" is the one he always runs. It's his usual activity. "The gas station being run by Jack's father" is the one that Jack's father is running at the present time--maybe "these days" or "for a few days" while the owner is out of town or on vacation. The use of "being" implies that the activity is temporary. It's better to have just the past participle, unless the activity is temporary. Marilyn MartinRead More...

Comparison

Is the following ambiguous? rice has a protein higher in quality than wheat.Read More...
It's not ambiguous; it's a faulty comparison. You compare things that are equal: rice and wheat, or the protein of rice and the protein of wheat. The sentence in its full form would have a full relative clause, which would show the comparison very clearly. The correct form of comparison for the sentence, therefore, is Rice has a protein [that is] higher in quality than that of wheat Marilyn MartinRead More...

The proper preposition: "specialist in/on." "book in/on"?

Hello, teachers! Which is the proper preposition in each sentence? 1. He is a world-famous specialist on/in geology. 2. This is a world-famous book on/in geology. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
Good guess, Ven. "Specialist in geology" and "book on geology" are both correct. The person is a specialist IN the field of something, and the book is ON the subject of something. RachelRead More...

The doer of the gerund

Hello, teachers! Are thess all acceptable as the doer of the gerund as a subject? Paul/Paul's/Him/His rejecting the offer was very reasonable. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
The subject of the gerund should be possessive. Hence Paul's and His are correctRead More...

The position of adverbial clause

Hello, teachers! [1] Is there any difference or preference? 1. They didn't give him the job because his experience was insufficient. 2. Because his experience was insufficient, they didn't give him the job. [2] Can we also use these adverbial phrases instead. 1. because of his insufficient experience 2. because of his lack of experience Thank you very much. Enjoy the sunshine.Read More...
Sentence 1 is ambiguous. It could mean that the reason for his not getting the job was that he didn't have enough experience. If this is the case, a comma is desirable: They didn't give him the job, because his experience was insufficient. In Sentence 1 boith statements are "new" information. Sentence 1 could also mean that his not having enough experience wasn't the reason--that there was a different reason. They didn't give him the job because his experience was insufficient; it was...Read More...

Is this a clause following a preposition?

A Nobel laureate in economics wrote as follows. Worse still, it is now clear that Bush never had a plan for when the war ended. "when the war ended" looks to me a clause. Can a clause follow a preposition "for"? I used to think only nouns or noun phrases can follow prepositions, as in " a plan for the future" or "a plan for the party". appleRead More...
"When the war ended" has an ellipsis. The full form would be ...a plan for [the time] when/at which... The wh-word stands for a noun plus a relativizer. Compare: I was thinking about where we might go for our honeymoon (where=the place where/to which) Do you approve of how he's doing his job as president? (how=the way in which) I don't know anything about who[m] she's seeing these days (who[m]=the person whom) The objects of the prepositions look like noun clauses, but they are nominal...Read More...
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