Skip to main content

Questions and Answers

Pain

I'm having cramps? Or I have cramps? Which one do I use when i'm feeling the pain right now? Thank you.Read More...

read

Hi, My mom always knows when I'm lying. She can read me like a book . Can I use 'read me very well' in the sentence above instead of 'read me like a book'? Is there any subtle difference between them? Thank you very much.Read More...

Future perfect continuous vs. Future perfect

Is there a difference in meaning between the future perfect continuous and the future perfect tenses in the following sentences? Next week I shall have taught this class for ten years. Next week I shall have been teaching this class for ten years. I understand that both are used to indicate that the action occurred for a duration up to a certain point in the future. Thanks.Read More...

What does "it" refer to ?

Hi. I want to know if it refers to the non-progressive in the following sentence: The non-progressive suggests a schedule or plan: perhaps I regularly phone her on the first Sunday in the month, or perhaps the call is part of some larger plan or arrangement – it’ s hardly possible if I’d simply said, casually, I’ll phone you tonight.Read More...
By the way, how would you read symbols like [21iia]. Is it okay to read "twenty one two a"?Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

IS or ARE??

Hi, Could you please help with this question? When you are talking about the whole faculty of a college, would you say "The faculty IS not a monolith" or "The faculty ARE not a monolith"?? Not sure why I'm struggling with this one! Thanks.Read More...
Thank you SO much!! I had to get the report in, and luckily my intuition was correct. I love this forum, I just found out it existed.Read More...
Last Reply By AChapstick · First Unread Post

cumulative /coordinate

a. He told me a good improbable story. b. He told me a good , improbable story. c. He told me a good and improbable story. Are all of the above grammatically correct and correctly punctuated? Is there a difference in the meanings? It seems to me that (b) and (c) mean the same and they mean that the story was good and it was improbable. (a) seems to be saying that as improbably stories goes, his story was a good one. Maybe it was not good per se. It was good when compared with other...Read More...
Hi, Azz—While I agree with your analysis in principle, I do not like any of the sentences. The only one that has a chance of sounding natural is (a), but only with special emphasis on "good" and a context that works for it—e.g.: a1. Generally, when I hear an improbable story, it's a bad story. This was different. He told me a good improbable story. It is not an accident that "good" is in italics in (a1). As for (b) and (c), we can fix (b) by placing "albeit" before "improbable" and adding...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

an infinitive after superlatives

Sally's Sweet shop is one of the oldest businesses in town to be located on one of the main streets of Millersvile. What's wrong with this sentence? (Source: Iran's university entrance exam)Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, Judging from the title of your opening post, your doubt seems to revolve around the use of the infinitive (in this case, the passive infinitive) after a superlative. There's nothing wrong with it, but according to this source I found on the Internet Iranian examiners would prefer, according to your claim, option (1) to (4): Both (1) and (4) are grammatically correct. See how in this other version of the same exercise (which is also superior because they revised the inconsistent...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Background and context

What is the difference between, just to give you a bit of background and just to give you a bit of context?Read More...
Hi, Tony—When asking about words or phrases in another sentence that refers to those words or phrases, you should use quotation marks around those words or phrases, or place them in italics, so that it is clear that those words or phrases are not being used in the sentence but are being referred to. Background and context can be the same thing, but they can also be different. When the context is the background, they are interchangeable. Background involves the past. When the context is...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

The present perfect

Consider the sentence of which the verb is in the present perfect tense,'I have never met your sister.' Why does it also have the additional meaning of 'I have never met your sister (up to NOW).'? ThanksRead More...

Preposition to use with "fit"

Which propositions should I use with fit? 1- I fitted a door to/in my house. 2- I fitted a TV on/to the wall of my house. 3- They fitted smoke alarms to/on the ceiling.Read More...
Hi, Subhajit—Normally, (2) would be "I mounted a TV on the wall," and (3) would be "They installed smoke alarms on the ceiling." Regarding (1), what are you trying to say? "I fitted a door in my house" would mean that you managed to accommodate the door in your house. Is the door gigantic?Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"In loving memory also of..."

Hello all, I'm looking for grammatical advice on a proposed inscription. The inscription follows an earlier one, that ends with "Beloved husband and father". The proposed inscription is "In loving memory also of...". The alternative, obviously, would be "Also in loving memory of..". The latter strikes me as grammatically safer, but the meaning seems potentially subtly different. It could be read as "Also, in loving memory of.." (i.e. the loving memories applying only to the person that...Read More...
Personally I still prefer "In loving memory also of...". It seems to me that the grammar here reinforces the sentiment (even if "Also in loving memory of.." would be read the same way in this conetext). This is all rather interesting, though. We think of grammar (syntax) and semantics as seperate, but in English at least they interact in many subtle ways. English isn't a computer programming language!Read More...
Last Reply By Neeb · First Unread Post

What did I tell you would happen if you got him a gun?

Hi, I have watched this subtitle from a drama: Modern family. • What did I tell you would happen if you got him a gun? I guess a basic sentence for the above question would be like this. • I told you this would happen if you got him a gun. If my reasoning is right, could I say like these? a) What did you notify Mary would happen? b) What did you know would happen? c) What did you suggest Mary (should) do?Read More...
Thank you David.Read More...
Last Reply By TaeBbongE · First Unread Post

alone

1) John alone cannot carry that suitcase. 2) John , alone , cannot carry that suitcase. I think '1' means: a) Only John cannot carry that suitcase. and '2' means: b) John cannot carry that suitcase by himself. Would you say that is correct? Gratefully, NaviRead More...

Adjective : superlative or comparative? Which one? Why?

Of the two courses he had for the last term, John thought that physics ...... interesting. A) were the most B) was the most C) were the more D) was the moreRead More...
Hi, Habiboullah, and 'Happy Ramadan', Since there are two courses, then ' d ' is the correct answer.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

"can help set"

I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system," Bush told Norah O'Donnell on "CBS Sunday Morning" over the weekend . https://edition.cnn.com/2021/04/20/politics/george-w-bush-republican-party/index.html 1. Is the use of "can help set" in the sentence above appropriate? Why? 2. Is "set" a verb or a noun?Read More...
Yes, they mean the same thing. The difference arises when a V-ing is used, for example: if you help (to) make the bed, you help somebody (to) make the bed; if you help (by) making the bed, you help somebody with the housework and the specific task you assume to do on your own is making the bed.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Topic sentence

Hello. Could you help me with the following question? I think sentences "a" and "c" could be a topic sentence, right? Choose the correct answer: - In an essay about "Education", which of the following sentences can be a topic sentence ? a) Education enlightens, empowers and creates a positive development. . b) As explained, there are three distinct types of Education. c) Education is a process of learning through which acquire knowledge. d) Therefore, it is highly important to educate the...Read More...
Hi, Ahmed, I don't think this question is related to grammar. However, I will give you a clue. C) is ungrammatical. However, if you include a proper subject before 'acquire', it will be the topic sentence. Now, if you want to start a paragraph, which one will be the topic sentence and which one will be the supporting sentence? Apparently, 'c' is more general and expresses the paragraph's overall subject. a) could be a supporting sentence which develops or explains the topic sentence. Anyway,...Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

me either, me neither

Hello, When you agree with someone about something positive, you say, me too. When the statement is negative, you say, me either. But a lot of native speakers say me neither. I know it's easier to pronounce. Is "me neither" grammatically correct? AppleRead More...
Oh, it certainly was an opener for me. Thank you, David. AppleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

To Comma or Not to Comma, that is the question!

Hello grammar nerds. I have a question regarding a fun catchphrase someone I know says. Would it be "Cone of Silence Lifted" or "Cone of Silence, Lifted"? Thanks!Read More...
Hello, aliciaballerina, The comma is used to mark the absence of the verb, as in: - I use this microphone and you, the other. In: "Cone of silence lifted" I don't feel that "is" is omitted so, in my view, no comma should be used. See how the comma is also omitted in this similar construction: "Everybody ready to speak."Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

believed - had believed

Hello Team. Could you please tell me which form is better in the following sentence without any more context? - I said I (believed - had believed) in magic when I was young. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed, Although both sound grammatically correct, I see that time backshift is not necessary here, so, I'd go with ' believed ' which, I think, is the model answer here.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Adjectives order

Mr ahmed lives in a big old traditional flat . Could we say lives in a traditional big old flat . If the word traditional is a descriptive word .why don't we start with itRead More...
Hell, Mister Mohamed, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. Yes, both of those orders are possible. "A big old traditional flat" indicates that not all traditional flats are big, but the one the speaker is referring to is. "A traditional big old flat" indicates that traditional flats are characteristically big.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

not boring and....

a. His play was not boring and original. b. His play was not boring, and original. c. His play was not boring and very original. d. His play was not boring, and very original. Are the above sentences grammatically correct and correctly punctuated? The 'not' is supposed to modify 'boring', but not 'original' or 'very original'. Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz—Yes, the intended interpretation is grammatically possible in each sentence. However, in view of the fact that a "not both" interpretation is also possible (creating ambiguity), as well as the fact that all the sentences are awkward and could easily be rephrased, why settle for any of them? Try this: e. His play does not induce boredom and is (very) original.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Mr Ali and Miss Ola's offices, Mr Ali's and Miss Ola's offices

Hello Team. Is the following sentence correct? If so, I think it means that Mr Ali and Miss Ola are partners in more than one office. Is that right? - Mr Ali and Miss Ola's offices are being painted at the moment. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed—Yes, an apostrophe- s following two names indicates joint possession. If you mean to indicate that they have separate offices, then you should use the apostrophe- s after each name.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

wish could would

Choose : - We're going to be late. I wish you ......... hurry. (would - could) Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed, In such a case, ' would ' is the better answer. If you wish that something would happen, you want it to happen, and you are annoyed because it has not happened already. (See this link: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/wish ). It is possible to use 'could' here, but that would mean that the addressee is not able to hurry because of an injury or something.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

difference between at/ in school & at/in hospital

Hello, Can you please tell me the difference between in the school X at the school & in the hospital X at the hospital? Also, do I need to use "the", or is it optional? Thank you so much in advance. Regards, JessyA.Read More...
Hi, JessyA—Please see item 6 in our Guidelines . Your post is missing examples.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

serious money

Hello. Could you help me? I have just read the following sentence: - You can earn serious money working as a professional footballer. Is it correct to describe "money" using "serious"? If so, what is the meaning? Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed, See definition 10 here: https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/seriousRead More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

subjuctive or indicative mood?

Hi, everyone, If you had to write a math equation, you probably wouldn’t write, “Twenty-eight plus fourteen equals forty-two . ” It would take too long to write and it would be hard to read quickly. You would write, “ 28 + 14 = 42. ” Chemistry is the same way. Chemists have to write chemical equations all the time, and it would take too long to write and read if they had to spell everything out. So chemists use symbols, just like we do in math. A chemical formula lists all the elements that...Read More...
Hi, Gustavo, Appreciate your additional explanation, which has made me to be fully understood the point. RGDS,Read More...
Last Reply By deepcosmos · First Unread Post

Assuming Yesterday I Met Your Brother, I Would Say...

Person A: What is the meaning of "bump into someone"? 1) Person B: If I met your brother somewhere unexpectedly, I would say, "I bumped into him yesterday." Here I'm only interested in sentence (1). Is this a valid second conditional where the sentence in quotes uses "real" past tense (bumped into), with yesterday referring to the time of meeting? ( Both "met" and "would" are unreal ) Or Does the condition clause of (1) assume a real past situation where the speaker met your brother, and the...Read More...
Hi, Language learner, (1) is a valid conditional sentence, though not the canonical type I conditional where the condition expresses an unreal situation. The condition refers, as you say in the second part of your post, to a real past situation. "Would" is used to express tentativeness, not a hypothetical meaning as in a typical conditional sentence: - If if is the case that I met your brother somewhere unexpectedly (if this is what happened), I (will) say "I bumped into him (yesterday)."...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

'it' in 'whether it is ~'

Hello! It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, writing a book, winning a championship, or achieving any other goal, we put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about. (from "Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way...Read More...
Yes, it can. However, I don't think this sounds right: - Whether (the) massive success / massive action is losing weight, building a business, writing a book, winning a championship, or achieving any other goal, we put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about. My understanding is that each of those actions (count noun) are significant improvements (count noun) that will demand massive action (non-count noun) and in turn result in massive...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Use comma before the conjunction of "But"

I believe if you use a conjunction e.g. "but", there is no need to put a comma before but. Can you let me know in what circumstances, we can put a comma (,) before but. Thanking you in advance.Read More...
Hello, Cristi—In general, you need to use a comma before "but" when "but" introduces a second independent clause , but you don't always need need to use a comma before "but" when it conjoins other types of phrase: None but the brave deserve the fair. It was warm but very windy.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

I wish I(were - had been) rich,

Hello. I think both choices are correct, right? - I wish I (were - had been) rich, I wouldn't have borrowed money from others. Thank you.Read More...
Hello, everybody—I agree that both choices are correct. As I see it, the choice depends on context, and I interpret the addition of "from others" as being opposed to, say, "from a bank." A: Are you rich? B: If I were rich, I wouldn't have borrowed money from others. A: Why did you borrow money from others? B: I regret doing so. If I had been rich, I wouldn't have borrowed money from others. But I really needed the money and didn't see any other way.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Compound Nouns vs. Adjectives

Greetings to all of you, I'm a new member on this page. I'd like to ask about the difference between a compound noun (e.g., ice cream) and an adjective preceding a noun (cold water). Question 1: Is it a matter of form modification of the noun that makes it an adjective? (such as hot water, lukewarm water) Or is it about classification that makes it an adjective? (in water there are many types distilled water, purified water, mineral water) There are many rules and exemptions in those rules,...Read More...
Hello, troubled_clown, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. While the attributive noun (the first noun) in a compoun-noun structure has an adjectival function, an attributive noun should not be mistaken for an adjective. You can recognize adjectives by their ability to be intensified by "very" (e.g., " very cold water "), a property not shared by nouns (" a very water bottle "). Also, unlike nouns, adjectives can appear in predicative structures in which the meaning of the attributive...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Usage of "one" and "ones"

Which of these sentences are grammatical? 1- I have shirts of many colours in my shop. Which shirt would you like, a blue one, a red one or a green one. 2- I have shirts of many colours in my shop. Which shirt would you like, a blue, a red or a green ? 3- I have shirts of many colours in my shop. Which shirt would you like, a blue shirt, a red shirt or a green shirt . 4- Which ones are your favourite fruit, apples or mangoes ?Read More...

"What kind of" vs "which kind of"

Which one is correct? 1- What kind of movies do you like? action ones or comedy ones? 2- Which kind of movies do you like? action ones or comedy ones?Read More...
Hello, Subhajit I would think that we use "what kind" if there are many possible answers or the answer is not expected, for instance: What kind of books do you prefer to read? On the other hand, "which kind" is used when the answer is expected or there are only a few answers, for instance: Which type of essays are you writing, the argumentative, the persuasive or the informative? So, I would think the second one is more acceptable as you mentioned two options.Read More...
Last Reply By Hussein Hassan · First Unread Post

Let the truth reveals itself

The sentence above is incorrect. I do not understand why is it incorrect? Can you explain what is wrong with the above sentence? The correct way of writing the above sentence is "Let the truth reveal itself." I am confused. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Grama, Please always include the sentence in question in the body of your post. You can read our Guidelines here . Let the truth reveal s itself is wrong because the verb "let" is always followed by an object and a bare infinitive , as in "let it be ," "let him go ," etc.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Affect vs Effect

I was wondering if many people still use the word affect, or if it has fallen out of use/ become archaic. I just feel like I don't see the word ever anymore.Read More...
Hello everyone Could anyone please help me with my little problem as I’m not English speaker. I’m looking for YouTube channel name. One what came to me is *resteffect* or *rest effect*. Could you please tell me does it make any sense or it’s completely stupid. Channel going to be for relaxation purposes like nature sounds. Thank youRead More...
Last Reply By A.K. · First Unread Post
Post
×
×
×
×