Questions and Answers

give me time vs give me a time

Hello! I know that ''time" can be both countable and uncountable, and has different meanings. When I ask someone to give me time, I mean that I need time to think something over, and I don't want to make a hasty decision. In what context can I use "give me a time"? My only guess is when I want to make an appointment and ask the interlocutor to propose any convenient time.Read More...

Use of the word already

Is that a correct usage of the word already in the example sentence given below? Please suggest any other word or phrase if it is better suited here. Example : Give her the prize already! Little bit of context : I was watching a video on Facebook in which a beauty pageant contestant answered a question so well that that I felt like there's no need to ask her any more questions.Read More...

will - are going to

Hello. Could you please help me? Which form is correct or both? Simple explanation please. You (will - are going to) pick up all of those toys right now. This room is a mess! Thank you.Read More...

Present Perfect or Simple past In this sentence?

Could you guys see this sentence and say if I should use Present Perfect or Past Simple? I think it is Past Simple, because it sounds odd using the Present Perfect tense. Although, I think I should use the present perfect tense because there no time expression either here in the sentence, nor in the context. **Furthermore could you tell why it was used Simple Past or Present Perfect?**Read More...
Hello, Harry O'Neil, Stories are always narrated in the past tense, so you should use the Past Simple even if there are no time adverbials: - Once upon a time there was a man who had everything and still wasn't happy => This story is about a man who had everything and still wasn't happy.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

as-would tense

Hello, what is the mood or tense of the following sentence: "she finds the same thrill in playing football as other girls would in dolls or sewing" Is that the conditional or the subjunctive or some other?? thanks!Read More...
Hello, jccohen, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. As far as I know, "would" cannot be used to express subjunctive. It is a modal verb that can be used to express different ideas: future from a past perspective, obstinacy or persistency in the past, express or implied conditions of a tentative nature, etc. In your sentence, an implied condition is involved: - She finds the same thrill in playing football as other girls would in dolls or sewing = She finds the same thrill in playing...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

gap in time between two actions

hi all. Please have a look at the sentence below. Of all the three options, are A had B imply that he went in immediately after gazing, while C suggests there is a gap in time between "gazing" and "going in"? He ________the display for several minutes before re-entering his shop. A gazed at B had gazed at C had been gazing atRead More...
Hi, Robby zhu, In the absence of any further information (context) to the contrary, (A) and (B) do suggest that he re-entered his shop immediately after gazing at the display. Answer (C) does not suggest what you think it might. I see no justification for using the past perfect progressive there, but it works in the following example: He had been running from the authorities for years before getting caught. In that example, the past perfect progressive indicates that his running from the...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Whom question

What is the meaning to the sentence: "Whom should audience members tell about opportunities to work at the paper?" Is it like asking: Who are the people who audience members should talk to, if they want to tell someone about work at the paper?Read More...
Hi, Evy, I agree with Gustavo's answer completely and would simply like to add that "whom" is also possible, in a formal register, in the sentence you used to paraphrase the meaning of the sentence you were asking about. That is, you can say, " Who are the people whom audience members should talk to if they want to tell someone about work at the paper ." "Whom" is the object of the preposition "to," as is more obvious with the preposition fronted: Who are the people to whom audience members...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"for" as conjunction

When used as conjunction, can "for" be put at the brginning of a sentence? such as " In doing so they deserve not only our help and encouragement, but also our gratitude. For their triumphs put our own struggles in perspective and inspire us to rise above our own weaknesses."Read More...
Hi, Pal, "for" can introduce clauses of reason. It is a formal conjunction equivalent to "because" but, unlike "because," "for" does not usually come after a period but after a comma: - In doing so, they deserve not only our help and encouragement but also our gratitude , for their triumphs put our own struggles in perspective and inspire us to rise above our own weaknesses.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Is it future in the past?

The old man sank his face in his hands. “God help me!” he cried. “But I would not have let the young man come to harm. I give you my word that I would have spoken out if it went against him at the Assizes .” The Boscombe Valley Mystery, short story Hi. The context is that the old man was the real murderer but the young man was wrongly charged with murder instead of the old man. The young man was going to be tried by the Assizes. Question: since the young man’s trial is in the future in...Read More...

well-patroled or well-patrolled

Hello, Wondering whether well-patroled or well-patrolled is more acceptable in wriitng? Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Pal, "Patrolled" is the customary spelling. "Patroled" is a variant spelling that is sometimes encountered in American English, according to The Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Interestingly, my computer automatically flags "patroled" as incorrect.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

is - are

Hello. Which one is correct? Half of the ships' crew (was - were) asleep when the ship started to sink. Thank you.Read More...
Both of them work in American English, too. On the COCA corpus there is one (1) result for "half the crew was" and one (1) result for "half the crew were," and zero (0) results for the versions with "of."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

both - all

Hello. We had a great weekend as the weather was perfect (all - both) days. Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed and Ahmed, "All" would certainly be better if the reference were to all the days of the week. In the United States, however, a weekend is normally two days. So we would use "both days," unless it was understood that the "great weekend" being referred to was an extended weekend. Perhaps you have longer weekends in Egypt. We sometimes have three-day weekends -- for example, when there is a holiday. And Thanksgiving weekend is normally four days long. If Ahmed Imam Attia's sentence...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

countable/uncountable

Which are correct: 1) Tom's and Pete's intelligence was put to good use in that project. 2) Tom's and Pete's intelligences were put to good use in that project. 3) Tom's and Pete's talent was put to good use in that movie. 4) Tom's and Pete's talents were put to good use in that movie. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Yes, Navi, I agree with you.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

high-speed

We say "a warm-hearted person", but why not "a high-speeded train"?🤔 Thanks a lot!😛Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng, The mechanisms for word compounding (i.e. the rules for forming compound words) are varied. With parts of the body, we always add "-ed": fair-hair ed , long-leg ged , red-hand ed , blue-eye d , and I think this might be because of the relationship of possession, which is closer if we speak of a person having a warm heart than if we speak of a train having (?) (better: showing, developing, running at) high speed. If you find examples of both types of compounding, you will see...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

such as

Hello, Contributors. Would you please do me a favour? I know Sentence 1 is correct. I am not sure whether Sentence 2 is acceptable according to general knowledge or actuality. I would appreciate it if you could give me an explanation.Read More...
DAVID, MODERATOR , thank you very much for proving me with a clear explanation.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

On hearing of his father’s death, he burst into tears.

Dear Contributors, please do me a favour. I know that the followoing sentence is perfectly logic and idiomatic. However, I am not sure whether it is acceptable to say: Here are more examples: I was hoping you could give me an expanation. Thank you.Read More...
Thank you sincerely, Gustavo.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

ambiguity

ayman
Hi, teachers I'd like to know your opinion concerning this sentence which I found in an outside book: "While on holiday, the thieves broke into our neighbour's flat." The Author of the book asked about "who was on holiday". I think there's some ambiguity as "While on holiday" may refer to 1- the thieves __ 2- the speaker 3- the neighbour I think it's ambiguous as in "dangling modifiers". What do you think?Read More...
The same thought here, bro. Thanks 🌹Read More...
Last Reply By ayman · First Unread Post

Being written in haste,the composition is full of mistakes. (from a grammar)

Dear Contributors. Do me a favour please. I feel puzzled about the following sentence. My questions: 1. Is the composition finished or not when the speaker utters this sentence? 2. Does "Being written" mean the acting of "writing" is being continued? If your answer is yes, then the composition is not finished. If your answer is no, then what does "being" mean? 3. Some say "wirrten" is an adjective in the sentence.I don't think it makes sense,because the adjective "wirrten",usually used...Read More...
According to your interpretation of Quirk, there are not even the slightest chances for the Chinese grammarians (whose position I thought you were defending) to be right about the correctness of "being written in haste." What I understand is that "being examined" can be interpreted as solely passive (in which case it can be reduced to "examined") or as passive progressive (in which case "being" needs to remain): This could be transposed to the original sentence: - The composition written in...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Past & Present Perfect

I was thinking of what's the difference between: I don't understand what you said. I don't understand what you have said.Read More...
Hi Rasha, According to the Cambridge Dictionary*, Both the present perfect and past simple can be used for 'Recently completed events.' On the other hand, Swan** insists that recency for itself is not a reason for using present perfect (Swan, page 457). The reason should be 'connection to the present,' for example, an event with present results or new information. Anyway, I guess that both of your sentences are right since, at the moment, the speaker is confused by the listener's words...Read More...
Last Reply By Yaniv Kimelfeld · First Unread Post

second hand

What exactly does 'second hand coffee' mean? Can the phrase 'second hand' be used to describe something of low quality? Thanks😛Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng, "second hand" means "used," and I don't think anyone would like to buy or consume coffee that has already been used. Are you sure the context does not include some other noun after "coffee," for example "machine"?Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

per capita

1. the per capita disposable income of urban residents 2. the disposable income per capita of urban residents Which one of the two phrases above is correct? Thanks!😛Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng, Both seem to be correct, but (1) might be more usual. Notice that in this site both noun phrases are used even within the same section:Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

half of the staff (is - are)

Hello. Could you please help me? Which one is correct? Half of the staff in my school (is - are) under the age of 40. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed Imam, Both are correct. American English follows the singular pattern. British English follows the plural pattern. See: https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/staffRead More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

every, each

Hello. Which one is correct? There are three glasses, but (every - each) one is a different shape. Thank you.Read More...
Like Ahmed_btm, I prefer "each." The sentence needs improvement, though. It would be better to say that each of the classes has a different shape, or that each of them is of a different shape, or that each of them is shaped differently . It is not the case that each of the glasses is itself a different shape.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Neptune is the planet the farthest from the Sun. Is this wrong?

My native friend says 'Neptune is the planet farthest from the Sun.' is right while 'Neptune is the planet the farthest from the Sun.' is not right. However, she and her about 10 native American family members and friends - some of them teach English couldn't explain why. Could any native English speaker explain plausible reason other than 'we just don't say that.'? Thank you~~Read More...
Dear Mr. Gustavo, thank you so much for your clear answer! My friends also thank you a lot! Native friends said the sentence was wrong because it's too wordy - the and the. But some people argued 'wordy' doesn't mean it's grammatically wrong. Now, thanks to you, we could defeat their argument! I realized learning a language is endless and learned a lot this time. This type of topic was not explained in grammar books. Thank you again for your in-depth knowledge and kindness!Read More...
Last Reply By y2k · First Unread Post

Relative pronouns

Can you tell me (why/what/which/how)you choose the car for What is the correct choice ?Read More...
Hi, Ahmed55, The title is misleading because, although all four words can introduce relative clauses, in the context of an embedded question those wh- words can only be interrogative adverbs/pronouns/determiners: - Why do you choose the car? - What do you choose the car for? - Which car do you choose? - How do you choose the car? As you can see above, combined with the preposition "for" only "what" is possible, and this also applies to the embedded question: - Can you tell me what you choose...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Lay verb doubt

Hello. I can't seem to figure out which verb is the correct one in this sentence: A- He has never imagined that behind her eyes lay something so traumatic. B- He has never imagined that behind her eyes lied something so traumatic. Thank you for your help and time.Read More...
Hello, Mokas, "Lay" and "lied" are the past-tense forms of different verbs that are spelled alike. "Lied" means "told untruths." Does that help you to decide? https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lieRead More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Question about Compound Subordinate Phrase!

Hey, I have a quick question about this sentence: "When I joined the softball league this spring, and I walked onto the hot pitch from the bustling street, I knew something important: It was the start of the season" I am basically using a compound subordinate clause in the beginning of the sentence, but I am not sure how to punctuate it correctly. Should I remove the comma before the "and I walked..."- or is it fine as is (Or do I need to do something else entirely!) Thanks a lot everybody!Read More...
Hi, Trig1968, I don't think that comma is necessary, but it isn't wrong, either. Alternatively, you can say: "When I joined the softball league this spring and walked onto the hot pitch from the bustling street, I knew something important: it was the start of the season." (No capital for "It.") However, I still find some inconsistency between the action of joining the league (which actually seems to be a previous, more embracing event) and more specific and simultaneous actions like walking...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

respected vs respectable

I came across this sentence and I wonder which is the right answer My friend is very polite. He comes from a (respectable/respected) family. Really all people respect them. I've read all related posts, on this topic, here in the forum, which really helped me understand that respected = being respected respectable= worthy of respect whether or not respected However, when I came across the above sentence, I felt that both are correct! So can anyone help me know and understand which answer is...Read More...
ThanksRead More...
Last Reply By Rasha Assem · First Unread Post

Possessive with “number + noun”, “noun + noun” and “adjective + noun”

Can I use possessive with "number + noun", "noun + noun" and "adjective + noun"? 0 I guess this is one man 's shirt. 1 I guess this is two women 's house. 2 I guess this is three boys ' house. 3 I guess this is some boys ' house. 4 I guess these are an ancient man 's weapons. 5 I guess these are a big man 's shirts. 6 I guess this is a giant mouse 's tail. Or have I to use "of": 0' I guess this is the shirt of one man. 1' I guess this is the house of two women. 2' I guess this is the house...Read More...
Thank you for all your help!Read More...
Last Reply By Kimconu · First Unread Post

Relative pronouns

Let's go somewhere ....we can enjoy ourselves and have fun That or when is acceptable here?Read More...
Hi, Ahmed55, This is a good question. "somewhere" (just like "everywhere," "nowhere," and "anywhere") is a pronoun, and has the distinctive feature of combining the noun "place" with the relative adverb "where." Your sentence could be expanded to: - Let's go to some place where we can enjoy ourselves and have fun. However, when you use "somewhere" the relative "where" is included and therefore not needed: - Let's go somewhere we can enjoy ourselves and have fun. ( when would be wrong, but...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

a small nose and a small mouth

Can one say a. He had a small nose and mouth. instead of b. He had a small nose and a small mouth. ? Can one say c. He had a small nose and ears. instead of d. He had a small nose and small ears. ? Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz, Yes, one can. Example (a) is ambiguous, though. In addition to (b), it can mean: "He had a mouth and small nose." No, one can't. The determiner phrase cannot be headed by both "a" and the zero/null article. But "a small nose" is a determiner phrase, and " a ears " is ungrammatical. Therefore, "ears" must be a separate determiner phrase headed by the null article. Example (c) is unambiguous and is equivalent in meaning to this: "He had ears and a small nose." Here are some trees...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

nationalities -ans --ese

Hello, Here is a part of the discussion from the following URL. In sentence 7) above, we can and do say Americans to indicate Americans in general, but we don’t say Japanese to indicate Japanese in general; we use the definite article with Japanese – the Japanese -- but we don’t have to use it with Americans. We can also use the definite article with Americans to indicate Americans in general, and we often do. There are some differences in meaning here – using the with Americans or omitting...Read More...

Going to or will

Meteorologists predict that the temperature ................. during the weekend. a) is dropping b) is going to drop c) will drop d) drops Which one is the correct answer? I prefer (b) because this sentence represents a prediction based on evidence. By "evidence" I mean "Meteorologists" * This question is taken from an ESL book called "The Best" Thanks.Read More...
According to what you said, In the following question, I should use "will" instead of "going to". The doctors predicted that the patient ............... live for a month. a) will b) is going to However, "going" sounds better. Normally, doctors wouldn't predict something like that out of nothing. The same applies to the original question. You're implying that using the subject "Meteorologists" is the same as using any other subject like: "Tom" , "Dick" or "Harry". That's why I respectfully...Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

All of

Is it grammatically correct to say: All of the people left before the end of the film. I'm asking specifically about the preposition "of". Thanks.Read More...
Yama, The short answer is yes. It is also acceptable to omit the word "of" in this context. Here are some examples that sound more natural but convey the same idea: 3: The entire audience left before the end of the film. 4: Everyone left before the end of the film. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Will use or will have used

By 2050,people ..... all the oil in the world and they will need other fuelsRead More...
Hi, Ahmed55, Please ask your question in the text of your opening post. Do not leave us to infer your question from the title of your thread, as you have done here. Here it would be natural to use the future perfect ("will have used") with the particle "up." When we have used something up, none of it is left. (a) By 2050, people will have used up all the oil in the world, and they will need other fuels. Along with the change to the phrasal verb "use up," it would be fitting to change to the...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

That or what

Tell me all ....... you know about this boyRead More...
Ahmed, I agree with both Hussein and David. I would like to point out that if we omit the word "all", both "what" and "that" make sense, but they would mean different things. 8: Tell me what you know about this boy. This conveys the same meaning as the examples David and Hussein presented, which is a request for detailed information about the boy. 9: Tell me that you know about this boy. This is merely a request that you acknowledge that you are aware that there is such a boy. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

washed - was washing

Hello. I think the following two tenses are correct. What do you say? When Hana came home, her sister (washed - was washing) the dishes. Thank you.Read More...
Yes, with the simple past in the main clause ("When Hana came home, her sister washed the dishes"), the natural interpretation would be that Hana's sister began to wash the dishes right after Hana came home. With the past progressive ("When Hana came home, her sister was washing the dishes"), the meaning is that her sister was washing the dishes at the time at which Hana arrived back home. The arriving occurred in the midst of the washing.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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