All Forum Topics

where does "for" go?

Are they both correct? 1. How many years have you learned English for? 2. For how many years have you learned English?Read More...
Sorry, can I ask one more question? Does the from make sentence number 2 any different from number 1? 1. Where do you get it? 2. Where do you get it from ?Read More...

how to say it in english

There is something that I really don't know how to say in English, can anyone please help? When a colleague tell me that her only son is in college now, what I want to say to her but don't know how to put in decent and native English is: 1. Wow! In college already? He will be able to start off his life and make a living himself soon. And then, 2. Congratulations. You, as a parent, will be free again and get back your life soon. It is very weird to ask this question in English, hope I make my...Read More...
If you really want to compliment your colleague, say "Wow! In college already? You don't look old enough to have a kid in college!" I know because I do have kids in college.Read More...

preposition

Does out in the following sentences make any difference? 1. Let's get on the boat and go to the sea. 2. Let's get on the boat and go out to the sea. 3. I like to be in the sea. 4. I like to be out in the sea.Read More...
Sentences 1 and 2 are not right. 1 - You don't go to the sea unless you mean to go to the shore by car (for example). Also, we don't usually use the article here. LDOCE gives a little difference in meaning. Out to sea means away from the land. Go to sea means to go to work on a ship. Also put to sea means to make a boat go out to sea. So it would be best to say Let's get on the boat and go out to sea. or Let's get on the boat and put to sea. As for 3 & 4, 3 could mean that you like to be...Read More...

restrictive/non-restrictive again

In this sentence, who is dressed a grey suit? 1-He is talking to the manager, dressed in a grey suit. 2-He is talking to his brother dressed in a grey suit. Does 2 imply that he has more than one brother? Is 'dressed in a grey suit' restrictive?Read More...

ask a question

If I see a middle-aged woman, and I want to ask if she has a job or she is a homemaker. What do I ask? 1. Are you working? 2. Do you has a job?Read More...
That would be Do you [I]have[/] a job? I think either would be OK.Read More...

slang

Dear experts, The dictionary definition of GET ONE'S TICKET PUNCHED - 'die' or be 'killed' apparently does not cover all other meanings associated with this slang expression as demonstrated by numerous examples listed in: http://www.google.com/search?h...&as_nhi=&safe=images Could you comment. Thank you, YuriRead More...
Hello, Yuri: I don't know this slang expression, and so have nothing of substance to say here. I do see, though, at least one example on those pages in your link with the literal meaning: to have the conductor -- on a train, for example -- punch a hole in your ticket. I hope someone more knowledgeable about this expression will post something on this thread.Read More...

Indefinite articles and names of jobs!

mohamedhassan
Dear Moderators, Could you shed some light on the meaning and function of indefinite articles before the names of jobs? I know that when we say, for example, I need a pen this means that I need just one pen and any pen i.e not a specific one. But what about a sentence like the one below. He is a builder . Does the "a" here have the same meaning as the "a" in my earlier sentence? I wish I could make myself clear.Read More...
You are right in sensing ambiguity, Alexwlh. If we use 'builder' here, we don't know whether John Smith was the only builder or not. Here's a place where it would be much better to use an article: 'the' builder if he was the only one, and 'a builder' or 'one of the builders' if he was one of a group. If the adjective phrase is expanded to an adjective clause, in this case we would have to say 'was,' since John Smith died. But in another sentence: John Smith, who is/was a/the builder of...Read More...

ALL

I remember when I asked about "everyone" before, Rachel told me it would be better to say "everyone opens their mouth" than "everyone opens their mouths", for everyone has only one mouth. I wonder when it comes to "all" do we still use the singular forms of things like left hand? Thank you. 1. Please raise your left hand if you have any questions. 2. Please raise your left hands if you have any questions. 3. Please all put down your left hand. 4. Please all put down your left hands.Read More...
Yes. That's right.Read More...

tab

Hello, "Even though pilot tests have yet to be conducted, the nation’s new test will have a significant impact on students waiting in line to write college entrance exams. The reality of the matter is one of the major illnesses ailing the nation’s students is English education. Believe it or not, out of school lessons for English take up nearly half of the tab for private lessons." What does 'tab' mean here? Thanks a lotRead More...
In this context (and thank you for the context), tab means "the cost" or "the bill." By the way, some stores, bars, etc. have arrangements with individual customers that allow the customers to buy things and the prices are kept on a list which the customer will pay at the end of each month. This is called a tab or a running tab . After having some drinks or buying something, the customer would say to the server, "Please put it on my tab." It's not a common practice anymore, but you might...Read More...

commas

Hello all, I was writing to a travel agency regarding my previous booking this morning, and I wrote this in the beginning of my email: "My name is Alex Wang, my email address is alexw517@yahoo.com, and my booking reference is YIKDY4." Did I use the commas correctly? I wonder if there is a simpler and better way to write it.Read More...
Thanks, Richard. I was just afraid it might look awkward before.Read More...

have to/ought to/ must

He believes that the earth is flat. 1-Then he has to be crazy . 2-They he should be crazy. 3-Then he ought to be crazy. 4-Then he must be crazy. Are all of the sentences 1 to 4 acceptable in response to the first sentence.Read More...
I had never noticed that difference either! Thank you both.Read More...

think president!

mohamedhassan
Hi, When I think President , I think figurehead; someone who is respected and looked up to by the masses as a leader of the people, and a vessel through which the people speak and are heard by the government. Is the part in bold above OK? I guess it needs either "of" or "about" after think .Read More...
Dead clear! Thank you so much, Richard.Read More...

belated

I sent him a card. 1-Yes but it was belated . 2-Yes but it was belatedly . Are sentences 1 and 2 acceptable in this context?Read More...
Thanks a lot Richard.Read More...

tidy up my bed

Hi, I don't know exactly how to express this in a very natural sounding way. I would like to say that I always put my blanket and pillows in an orderly way when I get up in the morning.I tried to come up with a sentence down here. Please give me other ways to express this. When I wake up in the morning, I always tidy up my bed. It is always quite complicated to express things sometimes, I am so happy I have you guys to help me on this, thanks a lot. Thanks a lot!^^Read More...
You could say either - or you could also say 'I have to make up my bed now' Sleep well! TessaRead More...

Mosque & Mohamed

mohamedhassan
Dear Moderators, Does the word mosque have another meaning rather than a place where Muslims perform their prayers? Because I have received an email recently saying that it can also mean a house for mosquitoes which astonished me so much. Hence that sender asked me urgently not to use such word i.e mosque again and use Masjid instead. In addition to that, the abbreviation for the Arab Muslim name Mohamed shouldn't be Mohd as it means a small dog with a big mouth . Is this true? I hope I can...Read More...
For all who may still be interested, here's the picture attached.Read More...

Having commutes

- We both have cars and are accustomed to having commutes. - "to be accustomed to having commutes" means "it would be pretty annoying when we don't have cars to move around 'cause we're used to having cars to move around", right? Thanks a bunch! NamcoolguyRead More...
The person is saying that he and somebody else is has cars and they are used to using their cars to drive to and from work ( have commutes ). The main use of the verb commute means "to travel to and from a place of work."Read More...

more again?

Hi Where is the correct position of (more) in the following please please: - You care more for your pleasures than anything else. - You care for your pleasures more than anything else. - They sell more cars than they do fans. -They sell cars more than they do fans. - They sell more cars than you scored goals. -they sell cars more than you scored goals.Read More...
Hi Richard, I was the one who initially posted the "drive cars" sentence. I know what you mean about the balance, and I'd also thought of that. However, the sentence was not actually one I created -- it was part of a longer sentence I found in COCA and I decided to leave that part just as I found it.Read More...

obliged

At the baseball conference, some managers felt it is obliged to congraulate John beacause his team won the World Series this year. Am I correctly using 'obliged'? Thank youRead More...
This needs to be tweaked a little, my friend: ... some managers felt obliged to congratulate ...Read More...

If labour could be measured adequately

If labour could be measured adequately in simple homogeneous units of time, such as labourhours, ----. A) it covers many other kinds of areas as well, such as social security and worker satisfaction B) a change in the organization of the community’s labour would be likely to increase the annual production of wealth C) earlier economists failed to find a simple relation between the value of a product and the quantity of labour that it embodied D) different uses of the available supply of...Read More...
Simply because (B) isn't a logical continuation of the basic idea set up in the first part of the sentence, whereas (E) accomplishes this.Read More...

Spoken vs. written English?

Hi, Spoken English is different from Written English. Yet, I wonder how much it is different. Please give your answer in percentage.Read More...
Well, that certainly clarifies things a little, Izzy. Thanks. I don't have the statistics at my fingertips, but there's no doubt that we use many fewer words in conversational language than in written and/or academic language. Notice I've said language , because this isn't only applicable to English. And, of course, the more educated a speaker is, the broader his word base and use of vocabulary. I hope that helps, Izzy.Read More...

determiners

I drove a van for the Teamsters for a while, even worked ---- as a lifeguard. A) some B) a little C) most D) any E) much F) a lot Which ones are acceptable?Read More...
First off, I'm not happy with the punctuation. I think there should be a semi-colon, not a comma, or there should be two separate sentences. As for choices, this is my take: A) This is okay in very informal or conversational English. The use of some in this context means "a little" or "a short time." B) This is fine. C) Not acceptable. D) Not acceptable. E) Not acceptable. F) Technically okay, but not what one expects to hear in a sentence constructed like this. The first part of the...Read More...

Charging

- I read this sentence in an English book: "The statue shows the charging soldiers" - What does "charging soldiers" mean? Thanks so much to moderators! NamcoolguyRead More...
This 'charging' has nothing to do with money, Namcoolguy. In this context, it means that the soldiers went forward to aggressively attack their enemy. Here is this definition of 'charge' from the LDOCE: attack [intransitive and transitive] to deliberately rush quickly towards someone or something in order to attack them: Then, with a final effort, our men charged the enemy for the last time. charge at/towards/into The bear charged towards her at full speed. _______ Your sentence means that...Read More...

verbs agreement

joan
It remains to be seen whether the operation was successful. Why can the verb tense of the dependent clause disagree with the one of the main clause above?Read More...
Good point, Rachel. Of course, in the original sentence, we're led to believe that the operation already took place, but the results aren't known yet. Your sentence would place the time of the operation in the future.Read More...
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