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Is this an OK usage of "except in the event"?

We don’t know what will happen in the spring. But given the Russian performance so far, it’s hard for me to imagine another Russian offensive to capture Kyiv or Odessa, except in the unlikely event that Western support for Ukraine were to cease altogether.Read More...
Hi, Andrew, Yes, it is. See it here: https://ludwig.guru/s/except+in+the+event+thatRead More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

keep at arm’s length

Hello: What is the exact meaning of "keep naval support at arm’s length" in the following passage? Does it mean "avoid using naval support for trade"? or, does it mean "making naval support available for trade"? It is from the book The East India Company in Persia by Peter Good, p. 22. "By manipulating the Company through the Farman , adding or removing individual rogums, Nader Shah was demonstrating the importance of these privileges to the Company. Reciprocally this indicates how careful...Read More...

It does not matter whether/if..

Which one is correct? 1- It doesn't matter whether/if you like him or not , he is a famous person. 2- It doesn't matter whether/if you like him or not . He is a famous person.Read More...
Firstly, to subhajit123: I apologise for leading you (and me ) astray! Secondly, to David: thank you greatly for this clarification. I have always, shall we say, "warred" with "whether [or not]", and I am relieved to be finally straightening out my understanding of its usage. So, I indeed overlooked a crucial detail when studying Brian McElroy's explanation: in all his examples, we are only dealing with one sentence. This oversight led to my misanalysis. In Brian McElroy's examples, the (a)...Read More...
Last Reply By MlleSim · First Unread Post

Date and time

Have I used the word date and time correctly in the below sentence? Just let me know the date and time that suits you best for a brief phone call and I will confirm my availability (Please note: I am not available this Wednesday & Thursday)Read More...
Yes, Tony, your use of "date" and "time" is correct in that sentence.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Should there be a hyphen on "drama-free"?

See here from the NYT : https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/15/opinion/mccarthy-republicans-coming-apart.html When Bernie Sanders lost in 2016, he became part of Schumer’s Senate leadership team, and when he lost in 2020, he blessed a unity task force with Biden. Nancy Pelosi led House Democrats from 2003 to 2022, and the handoff to Hakeem Jeffries and Katherine Clark was drama free.Read More...
I would use a hyphen there. However, when such an adjectival compound appears in predicative position (i.e., as the subject complement of a linking verb like "be"—"was" is a form of "be"), the hyphen is often not required. I think we may suppose it is the NYT 's policy to drop the hyphen in that circumstance.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

School or school's?

Hi, and a belated happy new year 2023 to everyone. Should I use school or school's in the sentence below? The __________ bookshop will be closed for two days beginning tomorrow. Thanks for your help.Read More...
Ahmed, Gustavo, TheParser and David, thank you so much for your thoughts, opinions and awesome examples. It's been a great help to me. I suppose both versions work, depending on the circumstances and it would require some sort of a judgment call to decide which one works best. Thanks again.Read More...
Last Reply By gilbert · First Unread Post

“Whether or Not” – Superfluity of “Or Not”?

(Source of the following text: the English Language Help Desk ) Whether or not means “regardless of whether”: (11) I will complain whether or not the committee accepts my application . ( = no matter what the committee does, I will complain.) In all other cases, “or not” is superfluous. (12) We’ve been wondering whether or not to apply for this grant. [bad language] (13) Let me know whether or not the printer still jams. [bad language] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -...Read More...
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Gustavo! I agree with you and am glad to have sought an outside opinion.Read More...
Last Reply By MlleSim · First Unread Post

The need to use "types"

is the word "types" necessary in the below sentence? Our fee depends on the sources of income/ sources of income types that you received during the last financial year. The more income types you received e.g. employment income, investment income (dividend, shares) and any foreign source income, the higher the fee.Read More...
Hi, Tony, You don't receive sources or types of income, but income from different sources or of different types. I think you should revise the text above as follows so that "received" refers to "income": Our fee depends on the sources of income / types of income that you received/earned during the last financial year. The more the types of income you received/earned e.g. employment income, investment income (dividend, shares) and any foreign-source income, the higher the fee. The relative...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Can a person be "within" a country?

I hope not. Because I want to use the bold in place of "in", since "in" might mean that Zelensky (a person) is in Ukraine. Has Zelensky genuinely become more of a hardliner or is he just responding to hardline forces within Ukraine?Read More...
I don't think the possibility of Zelensky being in Ukraine is ruled out by saying that he is responding to hardline forces within Ukraine. To me, "within Ukraine" seems to modify "hardline forces" rather than specify the place where Zelensky is responding to them: - Zelensky is responding to [hardline forces within Ukraine].Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Thank you for introducing

Hello, Someone introduces a client to us, which of the below sentence is correct or they can be used interchangeably (the same)? a. Thank you for introducing us to your uncle, we are happy to assist. b. Thank you for introducing your uncle to us, we are happy to assist.Read More...
Hi, Tony, Both are correct. Using one or the other may depend on who is introduced and who that person is introduced to. What do you mean by "we are happy to assist"? We are happy to be of assistance? "Assist" is a transitive verb and should take an object.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Regarding date ranges, is it OK to pair "from" with an en-dash?

Regarding the bold, is it OK to pair "from" with an en-dash or does "to" have to separate the two dates? For one thing, a long-term ceasefire—as in the Donbass from 2015–2022 and as in Kashmir—will doubtless be interspersed with episodes of violence.Read More...
Hi, Andrew, Yes, there should be a "to" before "2022" for "from" to make sense. Otherwise, I think you should say "in 2015-2022." I also think there should be some time reference for the Kashmir ceasefire for the sake of textual balance.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

too much of a coincidence

Hi: What is the exact meaning of the words in bold in the following passage? Many Armenians from influential families are shown by his research to have moved to Madras and Calcutta; indeed, Aslanian suggests these as possible foci for a new commercial circuit around which the Armenians could rebuild their wealth and society. Both of these cities were governed by the Company, which seems too much of a coincidence to avoid comment , though Aslanian does not mention this specifically in his...Read More...
Gustavo's explanation is very clear. What he meant to say is that there was so much of a coincidence as to arouse comment. (literal interpretation of "too much of a coincidence to avoid comment) People were doubtful about the coincidence; there has to be a reason for that which should be accounted for. If it were merely coincidental, it wouldn't be necessary to explain anything.Read More...
Last Reply By f6pafd · First Unread Post

past or past perfect

Please read the following passage. I remember the morning that I first asked the meaning of the word, “love.” This was before I knew many words. I had found a few early violets in the garden and brought them to my teacher. She tried to kiss me: but at that time I did not like to have any one kiss me except my mother. Miss Sullivan put her arm gently round me and spelled into my hand, “I love Helen.” “What is love?” I asked. About the sentence: I had found a few early violets in the garden...Read More...
Thank you for the answer. And I appreciate that you understand what I mean. But I think that it is past perfect. Because if you use 'and' in that way, simple past should also be used for 'found.' I remember the morning that I first asked the meaning of the word, “love.” This was before I knew many words. I found a few early violets in the garden and brought them to my teacher. She tried to kiss me: but at that time I did not like to have any one kiss me except my mother. Miss Sullivan put...Read More...
Last Reply By mmaassuu · First Unread Post

we knew not

1) There was this professor among us who had written we knew not how many books about linguistics. 2) There was this professor among us who had written we didn't know how many books about linguistics. Do these sentences imply that we knew, or thought, that he had written a relatively great number of books on linguistics? Could they be followed by: "Maybe he hadn't written any."? Gratefully, NaviRead More...

Is a comma necessary after "After that"?

There's an anti-comma tendency where I see people eliminate the comma in situations like this: In the book he writes about dogs. There's no comma after "book", which is nice, since you want to streamline the text and not needlessly slow things down. What about the bold, though? Should there be a comma? Why or why not? After that, the assumption was that Russia would at least conquer the whole of Russian-speaking eastern and southern Ukraine—essentially half the country. But instead Russia...Read More...
Hi, Andrew, Yes, the absence of the comma can be justified by the fact that "in the book" is an adverbial of place modifying "writes," that is, it is an adverbial within the predicate. In this case, I feel that the comma is at least convenient because "after that" is linking a previous sentence with the current one. Although "after that" is the time of the assumption, you need to place that adverbial at the beginning of the sentence (unlike the previous case, where you could say He writes...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

meaning

Dear all: What is the function of "on" in the following passage? Does it mean the bill was signed by Sultan David. The text is about nearly 300 years ago. The incident is first mentioned as a simple transaction for cloth, which was paid for by a bill on Sultan David in Madras for the sum of 14,800 rupees. This is a considerable sum, representing the wages of the Company’s Agent in Persia for twelve years, demonstrating the trust in and durability of financial instruments agreed between...Read More...
Dear Gustavo, thanks very much. I got it. Thanks endlessly.Read More...
Last Reply By Pars · First Unread Post

Embedded Negative Interrogatives

This might be a very simple question, but I am having a hard time finding a satisfactory answer in my grammars... What would the indirect/embedded form be for the following question: "Isn't Jane coming tonight?" / "Is Jane not coming tonight?" i.e. "I was asked if..." and (for example) "I started wondering if..." I personally want to keep the negative construction, but, at the same time, I have the feeling that many speakers drop the negative nowadays (hence why it sounds somewhat...Read More...
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Gustavo. As always, much appreciated.Read More...
Last Reply By MlleSim · First Unread Post

Is this sentence ambiguous?

What does the bold attach to? Does the bold attach to "avenue" or solution"? I quote the sentence that the bold includes...so I might need to adjust things to eliminate any ambiguity. We are under no illusions regarding the difficulties involved in engaging Russia given its outrageous and illegal invasion of Ukraine and its decision to make additional illegal annexations of Ukrainian territory. However, if there is a way to end the war while preserving a free and independent Ukraine, it is...Read More...
Syntactically, it is possible for it to modify either one. Because of the word "such," my natural assumption is that it modifies "every diplomatic avenue."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Does "as for" differ from "regarding"?

Suppose I say: There are two reasons to play basketball. First, it's fun. Second, it's good exercise. Let me support each points. Regarding the fun aspect, you can really enjoy the game. [17 more paragraphs of support for the first point] As for the exercise aspect, you really can work up a sweat. Regarding the bold, it would be bad to put "Regarding" there, right? Because "As for" somehow better signals a shift between topics, right? So there is a distinction, correct?Read More...
It may be worth noting that "as to" is also possible ("As to the exercise aspect"), as well as the very informal "as far as X goes" ("As far as the exercise aspect goes"). Participial synonymns of "Regarding" are "Concerning" and "Touching."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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