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tenses

1. They have been lucky to have beaten the other team in all the previous events. 2. They were lucky to have beaten the other team in all the previous events. 3. They are lucky to have beaten the other team in all the previous events. Which of the above sentences is correct?Read More...
2 and 3 sound OK to me, but 3 is better. You could also say They were lucky to beat...Read More...

would do

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! "Her nanny used to take her to Baby Gap, but she'd just cry and cry." I just heard the above sentence in a movie and it reminded me of a question I've been meaning to ask you. Can we also say "...., but she just cried and cried" instead of using "would + verb"? I notice native speakers like to use the "would + verb" form to talk about things happened in the past, but I am just not sure about the correct usage of it.Read More...
The use of would in this context tells the listener that it's something the person usually did or that it was characteristic of the person to do that in the past. Just using the simple past doesn't convey this idea. So the sentence with would means that every time the nanny took the little girl (or baby?) to Baby Gap (which I assume is a clothing store), the baby had the habit of crying.Read More...

invitations??

Hi Is the "what" VS "which" ditinction really observed in invitations with "would like"? e.g: 1- Which would you like to eat? A hamburger or a hotdog? 2- What would you like to eat? A hamburger or a hotdog? Which question should I use to be on the safe side?Read More...
Richard, it is typical of you to be so specific and sensible when answering questions. Thank you so much!Read More...

might

engfan
hello merry christmas he might be late, mightn't he ? is the tag question right? i know it is grammatically right but it is not used by native speakers so please how can i pronounce mightn't?Read More...
hello rachel so you agree that it is a correct tag question can i say might he not?Read More...

NICE JOB!

emma
What's the meaning of "Nice Job"? Is it related to this expression "more power to your elbow"?Read More...
Thanks for your meaningful answer.Read More...

static

He is the man having played eight games so far because of the knee injury. Is the sentence static? Thank youRead More...

stream

Can one say: a. The particles were moving in stream. I think it should be "in A stream".Read More...
Thanks very much for that explanation, Azz. I've done some searching around and have found that in stream is used solely as the descriptive element of a noun adjunct. In that respect, it should be hyphenated ( in-stream ). You can find lots of examples if you click on the link below to Google: http://www.google.com/search?h...-1&q=%22in+stream%22 As for what you heard in that song with the line about the piranhas, the word a should be used. I have a hunch that the singer may say "in a...Read More...

used to

I used to drink milk. Does the sentence above necessarily means I don't drink milk any more?Read More...
Thank you, Rachel, for your explanatory post.Read More...

Understand and sympathize

- I'm having a meeting with my company right so I can't answer your phone / I can't answer your call. I'll call you back as soon as I can. Hope you can understand and sympathize with me. - Are these sentences natural? Thanks very much to moderators! NamcoolguyRead More...
The last sentence about understanding and sympathizing doesn't fit at all. The rest of the message is business-like. This last sentence is too personal, too emotional, and just un-business-like. It should be removed.Read More...

you and yours

Hi there Rachel/Richard. First of all let me wish both of you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2010 ! This question has to do with Christmas wishes. Is it natural for native speakers to send a Christmas card with the greeting, "Merry Christmas to you and yours!"? Just curious to know why 'you and yours' is used... Thank you. GilbertRead More...
Okey Dokey... Thank you guys as you have helped yours truly understand the use of yours truly better. Thank you Richard. Thank you Okaasan. Thank you Mido. And to everyone on the GE: " HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010! " May all your dreams come true! All the best! GilbertRead More...

have seen them defeated

a. I have seen them defeated. Can't this sentence mean two different things? One would be that I have seen them get defeated (I saw the match or the fight). The other, that I have seen them after they were defeated; I have seen them as defeated people; at a time when they were defeated people.Read More...
Yes, both interpretations can work here, but without sufficient context, it's very hard -- if not impossible -- to know which meaning applies here.Read More...

must you know

Can one say: a. Two things must you know about him: he is old and he is wise. Maybe this is an archaic way of speaking? It sounds strange to me.Read More...
The natural-sounding sentence is There are two things you must know about him: he is old and he is wise. Out of context, it's hard to know whether must means the speaker's logical conclusion or the speaker's what's important for the other person to know. CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING!Read More...

knock

engfan
hello when can i use... knock at the door? knock on the door?Read More...
They can both be used, Engfan, but if you go by Google, knock on the door is more commonly used.Read More...

have ramifications

But I do think the argument can be made that Avatar’s newly-cemented status as a Best Picture frontrunner along the lines of The Hurt Locker and Up in the Air does have ramifications for other contenders that push similar buttons Can you explain what is 'ramification'? I looked at the dictionary. I don't get it using on the sentence about. Thank youRead More...
Ramifications means results or consequences that you haven't thought will happen when something is done. These results may be good or may be bad. The writer is saying that giving the motion picture Avatar such a high status in this competition (perhaps the Academy Awards?) is going to have results or consequences that will affect similar movies that may be vying for an award.Read More...

like/just as

Which are correct: 1-I do my work as you do yours . 2-I do my work just as you do yours. 3-I do my work just like you do yours. 4-Just as you do your work, I do mine. 5-Just like you do your work, I do mine. I think all of these sentences mean: I do my work in the same way you do yours. But 1, 2 and 4 could also mean: I do my work at the same time you do yours. In the first three sentences, a comma after work would change the meaning into: You do your work AND I do mine. The idea of the...Read More...
Sentence 2 and 4 would not mean 'during the same time' if you have 'just.' 'Just as' in these sentences would not indicate two events happening at the same time. You might say 'just as' for time, like this: It started to rain just as we got out of the taxi. Just as they said 'I do' in the marriage ceremony, the roof collapsed. I got to the gate just as the plane was pulling away. In these three sentences above, 'just as' indicates that one action happened immediately after another. And, at...Read More...

passive

engfan
hello why do we say" the high dam took 10 years to build? is " the high dam took 20 years to be built " wrong or right ?Read More...
Both sentences are good. 'Ten years to build' refers to how long it took people to build it. 'Ten years to be built' refers to the action done to the bridge, but has no reference to any people.Read More...

quotation and 'do you'

The question is do you want to go to the movie. 1) Do I need to put quotation between 'do' and 'movie'? 2) Can I not use the invert 'do you'? I just put 'you do'. Thank youRead More...
Here's how you can put this: The question is, "Do you want to go to the movie." The question is whether or not you want to go to the movie. The normal question word order appears in the first sentence above. "You do" would not be correct, except in an emphatic statement like this: You do want to go to the movie, don't you?Read More...

Health is gold

- You should pay attention to your heath. When you have a good health, you can do anything. Our ancestors used to say "Health is gold". - Are these sentences grammatical? Thanks a lot to moderators! NamcoolguyRead More...
This is good except for the extra article. 'Health' is a noncount noun, and does not have 'a' in front of it. The sentence should be this: When you have good health,.... Other than that, fine!Read More...

the

joan
Mrs. Wang made us stay late again after class today. Does class need the in front of it in the case above?Read More...
No, 'the' is not necessary before 'class' here. A few nouns, like class and school , and a few others, omit the article when the word refers not only to a place, but to time and to a routine. It would be possible to use 'the class' here, but this would mean after one special class, not after the routine and regular classes that you always have.Read More...

break into

engfan
hello break into is a transitive noun so it can be changed into passive a thief broke into a shop a shop was broken into by athief how can i know that a phrasal verb transitive or intransitive? for example look after... run on run into? thanks a lotRead More...
That's a very good question about something basic that language learners need to know, Engfan. By the way, notice the goof in your first sentence: "... a transitive noun verb ..." There are two ways to know if a verb -- any verb, whether phrasal or otherwise -- is transitive or intransitive: 1. If you see it in a sentence, does it have a direct object following it? If so, it must be transitive; if not, it's intransitive. The sun rises in the east. (No direct object after rises , so it's...Read More...

accompanied takes by, not with

mengxin2009
accompanied takes by, not with—e.g.: — "A ripe fresh fig is so intensely sweet and rich it should be either eaten out of hand or sliced in half and accompanied with [read accompanied by] no more than a small scoop of ice cream. — "The book, inspired by his No. 1 song 'Butterfly Kisses,' features pictures of various fathers and daughters accompanied with [read accompanied by] short essays on growing up together." --- Garner's Modern American Usage, 2e (2003) My question is, Can accompany be...Read More...
I agree with Garner. It must be accompanied by . I'm not sure if you're understanding Garner correctly here. He shows the wrong usage and then the correct one in brackets. Sometimes hard to read or understand this way.Read More...

advise

engfan
what did he advise you? what did he advise you to do? which is right? i think the first is not complete?Read More...
They're actually both fine, my friend.Read More...

from place to place

engfan
hello i moved from place to place i moved from place to another are both correct? thanksRead More...
Almost, but not quite, Engfan: I moved from place to place. I moved from one place to another.Read More...

quite a character

When people say 'you are quite a character.' what does it mean? Is it derogatory or compliment? Thank youRead More...
Here's what the Merriam-Webster Dictionary says to define this expression: " quite a character: a person marked by notable or conspicuous traits" The way this definition is set up, Welkins, it shows that the expression can be derogatory or complimentary, depending on how the speaker uses it. With the help of context and the tone that the speaker uses when saying it, the expression can have either use.Read More...
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