Questions and Answers

Terminology question

I have a question about grammar terminology. There are some adjectives like cold-blooded, absent-minded, kind-hearted, old-fashioned . They look like past participles but very rarely, if at all, carry passive meaning as typical past participles do. Plus, the -ed part never works on their own i.e. blooded, minded, fashioned wouldn’t make sense. Do we have a name for this family of adjectives? Could it be “pseudo-past participles”?Read More...
Hi Gustavo. Thank you for sharing with me your great knowledge. “Noun-based participles” is a subversive, thought-provoking name to me and I like it, subversive because I suppose participles by definition derive from verbs. So if I understand this correctly, “able-bodied” is a modified -ed adjective and “blue-eyed” a bare -ed adjective, which has brought me a new question: How are they different? They both look the same to me as adj + N + -ed, and the root words are “able bodies” and “blue...Read More...
Last Reply By Kinto · First Unread Post

Pluralization help

What is the plural of chef's hat? Sometimes we all wear our Chef's hats. Sometimes we all wear our Chefs' hats. ? Thanks!Read More...
Interesting, thank you. I can see how the "chef's hats" plural means something like we, as non-chefs, sometimes wear the hats owned by our chef. I guess it seems odd to me because chef's hat is a thing like buyer's remorse. There are many ways a buyer can have remorse like they paid too much, the product broke, etc. So we could have multiple remorses (although my grammar checker highlighted remorses here), and hence buyer's remorses, or buyers' remorses. Here, I can see that if we have one...Read More...
Last Reply By Veganismo · First Unread Post

FANBOYS

Notwithstanding the argument that the very idea is a false construct - why are the conjunctions 'as' and 'because' never included as FANBOYS i.e. as ways to form a compound sentence from two simple sentences? What is the difference between, say: I was late for work. The bus broke down. I was late for work, for the bus broke down. I was late for work, because the bus broke down. Or, similarly: I visit the library every week. I love reading. I visit the library every week, for I love reading.Read More...
Hello again, John—You're on the right track in your thinking here, but a little off the mark. Most budding writers of English don't need an alternative to the semicolon, since most budding writers of English have no idea how to use a semicolon in the first place. It's the least common punctuation mark. What budding writers of English do need is the ability to differentiate between dependent and independent clauses. As you know, in conversation, we often hear utterances beginning with...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Why should I use past perfect not past simple?

In November 2001, he ran onto the pitch to play for Inter Milan against Lecce. The fans cheered; he hadn't played almost two years, since he _______ (damage) his knee... He fell down and didn't get up. He___ (injure) his knee again. The answers are: had damaged, had injured . I don't understand. Why can't I just say damaged, injured ?Read More...
Thank you very much. I think I understand now. So it's nothing to do with the verb "damage“. No matter if the verb “damage” can last for a while or not.Read More...
Last Reply By alexandra · First Unread Post

Present perfect tense and Past tense in a single sentence

I'm wondering whether consistency of tenses should apply in the following sentence: I've attended festivals like Coachella and I always felt physically awful. Should "I've" be replaced with "I" to be consistent with "I always felt"? I read that using "I have" means emphasizing the life experience itself (attending festivals) which should be the case for the sentence. But if "I always" would be replaced with "I've always", it would mean that the subject still feels that way until now, which...Read More...
Hello, Clem, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. The example you have asked about is correct; however, it would be good to add a comma before the second independent clause and place "physically" (which clarifies the respect in which you felt awful) at the end with a comma: (1) I've attended festivals like Coachella, and I always felt awful, physically. It is actually the change in tense that does create a logical relationship between the two independent clauses. The sentence has the same...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

every detective's wife

Which is correct: 1) Every detective's wife in every crime movie says the same things. 2) Every detectives' wife in every crime movie says the same things. 3) The wife of every detective in every crime move says the same things. I think in '2' 'detectives' wife' is supposed to work like 'children's book', but I am not sure it does work at all. Maybe 'detective's wife' in '1' works the same way. Not sure. I prefer '3'. '1' makes me feel like the detective is in the real world and the wife is...Read More...
Yes, like Navi, I’d like to hear David point out the ambiguity he sees in sentence (1) too.Read More...
Last Reply By Kinto · First Unread Post

Are there any hard and fast rules literary rules for determining the antecedent when encountering a pronoun?

Is there any help for interpreting a passage written like this? 1. Jane thought the car was ugly. Because she thought it was necessary, Mary washed the car. If I were personally writing this, I would rewrite it to be more clear. But, if I'm not the author, are there any rules to help me determine whether 'she' is Jane or Mary? When trying to find out the answer to this question, I ran across the "last antecedent rule". (I am not a lawyer, or studying to be one.) It is a doctrine for the...Read More...
Thanks, Gustavo. I'm not a lawyer and not studying law. I was trying to learn about rules for determining the antecedent when I ran across the supposed legal rule online. My understanding is that the rule is intended for use in cases where a document is poorly written, it is not guidance for how documents should be written. I found on Wikipedia this morning that the rule is a little less stringent than the post I saw lead me to believe --- the rule is not intended to override obvious...Read More...
Last Reply By cwm9 · First Unread Post

anyone/just anyone/everyone in conditional sentence

1) How would you feel if your dog attacks anyone? 2) How would you feel if your dog attacks just anyone? Is there a difference in the meanings? Isn't '2' basically the same as: 3) How would you feel if your dog attacks everyone it sees? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
How would you feel if your dog attacks someone? ---> 'if your dog attacks anyone, how would you feel?' You think the person wants the dog to not ever attack but is training the dog in a way that could lead it to attack a person. You are not allowing any exceptions, even for robbers or murderers. You donʻt think the dog will always attack; rather, you believe the owner thinks or should think that one attack is an attack too many, and the person attacked would be that one "someone". How...Read More...
Last Reply By cwm9 · First Unread Post

Are nonsense answers to questions incorrect grammatically?

I'm sorry if this has been answered before. Is it grammatically incorrect to answer a question incorrectly? For example if someone were to ask "Would you take the bins out please?" and another answered "The time is quarter past three". It's obviously nonsense and doesn't answer the question, but does that mean it is grammatically incorrect? Even if the separate sentences are grammatically correct individually? Thanks.Read More...
Hello, Wrow, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. To add to what the others have said, I think it really comes down to what one means by grammatical correctness. As a sentence, "The time is quarter past three" is faultless. As a reply to the question "Would you take the bins out, please?," it is what many would call a non sequitur . When I place ungrammaticality asterisks (*) before sentences on this forum, it is because I judge the sentence ungrammatical because of its violation of...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

sign, signal

Hello. I have looked up the words "sign" and "signal" but I can't decide which one is correct to use in the following sentence! - The result of the election is a clear (sign - signal) that voters are unhappy. Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia—The better word to use there is "sign": "The result of the election is a clear sign that voters are unhappy." The word "signal" would work nicely, however, if the sentence were rephrased: "The result of the election signals that voters are unhappy." I omitted "clearly" there; it could be placed in a few different places: before "signals," before "that," or after "are."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

future perfect

President Trump said in his address yesterday, “George Floyd will not have died in vain” as you see in the following excerpt. “Trump vows ‘ George Floyd will not have died in vain ’ as National Guard arrives in Minneapolis. The president urged residents of Minneapolis to honor Floyd's memory, assuring them that his death will not be in vain.” (disrn.com) Is the future perfect grammatically correct in this context when George Floyd is already dead?Read More...
Hi, Fujibei, I agree with Kinto that using the future perfect here is grammatically correct. It simply means that Trump is going to do something concerning this issue at some point in the future. After this point, this man's death or the reasons behind his death will no longer be in vain.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

such that

Hi Sentence: 1. By COREFERENCE we understand a relation between the two noun phrases such that they have the same reference. (CGEL) Can I rephrase it as, 2. By COREFERENCE we understand such a relation between the two noun phrases that they have the same reference. Does "that" introduce a relative clause?Read More...
Hello, Robby zhu—The answer to both your questions here is no. In "such that"-clauses, "that" does not introduce a relative clause, as may be seen by the fact that (a) there is no "gap" in the clause it introduces (namely, "they have the same reference") and (b) "that" cannot be replaced by "which": " a relation between two noun phrases such which they have the same reference ." The correlative "such . . . that . . ." structure you have used in (2) does exist, as you probably already know;...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

meaning of "top" and "exceed"

The following is from The Asahi Shimbun, an English paper in Japan, of May 30. "As the nation remains on alert for a surge in novel coronavirus cases, Tokyo recorded 14 new infections on May 30, the fifth consecutive day the number has topped double digits in the capital. In the southern city of Kita-Kyushu, 16 new confirmed cases were reported, the third straight day exceeding double digits." The number of novel coronavirus cases both in Tokyo and Kita-Kyushu was in double digits and the...Read More...
Hi, Fujibei—You raise an interesting point. I agree with you that topping or exceeding double digits means surpassing double digits, which I suppose means going into triple digits, contrary to the writer's intended meaning. It would have been better if the writer had used "has topped the double-digit mark," "has exceeded the double-digit mark." That is the intended meaning. The double-digit mark is ten. The number of new cases surpassed ten.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Starting a sentence with "An"

I've been asked to proof-read some wording for a website and public documents and something about the wording isn't sitting right with me. I could be wrong, but it reads funny starting with " an evidence-based..." I'd like to be able to support my commentary, but I don't know for sure what, if anything, is wrong grammatically. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated! Variation 1: An evidence-based program that has been adopted by over 20 countries, Mental Health First Aid teaches adults...Read More...
The sentence above, where the phrase in question is in apposition to the head of the subject, also sounds fine. Some might argue that, being somewhat long, it separates "Mental Health First Aid" from the verb a bit too much, but I find it nice too. It is, as you said, a matter of preference.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Article

I know we use the article "an" before a vowel, but this rule wasn't applied to the first sentence. Could anyone please explain why the article "an" wasn't used before the word "individual" in the first sentence and why it was used in the second sentence? 1. As a teacher he tries to give individual attention to his pupils. (Bangla Academy dictionary) 2. In the United States, the National Guard is a military force within an individual state, which can become part of the national army if there...Read More...
Thanks ahmed_btm 💖Read More...
Last Reply By Toaha · First Unread Post

Use of word "Spirit"

Considering current lockdown situation which prevents you from clubbing is the following sentence correct? "I want to dance. Even my spirit is dancing within". Is the usage of the word "Spirit" correct?Read More...
Hi, Angelica—The "sentence" you have asked about is actually two sentences. There is a period at the end of the first sentence. The second sentence begins with "Even." Those two sentences are OK, though the use of "Even" is a bit awkward. I recommend deleting "Even": I want to dance. My spirit is dancing within. The problematic sentence is the one you used to ask your question: " Considering current lockdown situation which prevents you from clubbing is the following sentence correct? " You...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"Fauna and flora" phrase

Hi guys! Could you please help me with my confusion. The phrase "fauna and flora" is an uncountable noun or countable noun, which can be added s into "faunas and floras". Which one is it? Thank you for helping!Read More...
Hi, Moon Le, "fauna" and "flora" are uncountable in the sense that you cannot say *two faunas, *three floras , but can take an "s" to refer to the fauna and flora of different places or times.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

George Floyd

George Floyd cried out for his mother twice while being murdered. His mother died 2 years ago. Let that sink in. I have 2 questions regarding that passage above: 1. What is the meaning of "Let that sink in"? 2. Can I write this sentence: "George Floyd cried out for his mother twice while being murdered" like this way: George Floyd cried out for his mother twice while he was murdered.?Read More...
Wow! thanks for this informative explanation, Gustavo 💖😇Read More...
Last Reply By Toaha · First Unread Post

I went to the hospital

Can I write this sentence: "I went to the hospital and I saw a patient being treated last night" like these ways: 1. I went to the hospital and I saw a patient who was treated last night. 2. I went to the hospital and I saw a nurse treated a patient last night.Read More...
THANKS DAVID 💖Read More...
Last Reply By Toaha · First Unread Post

Present Perfect Simple vs Continuous

I do understand that both tenses, the Present Perfect Simple and Continuous, are used for repeated actions. I started researching the topic a long time ago and found out a lot of differences between the two. The difference that I need to ask you about is the following: This is from Practical English Usage by Michael Swan. I've understood from it that we don't use the Present Perfect Continuous when we say how often we have done something. However, I came across the following sentence,...Read More...
Thanks David. Your examples have clarified everything and answered all my questions I had in my mind. I really appreciate that.Read More...
Last Reply By Rasha Assem · First Unread Post

Perfect tense for completion and duration

Hi, guys. Can we express both completion and duration with perfect tense? For example, "I have run for 30 minutes." Is this construction correct?Read More...
Ok, I don't want to waste anything, thus I will not write in this thread anymore. Soon, I will create a new one, though, asking about the different types of verb phrases. I'm curious about them, and maybe this knowledge will help me understand English tenses better. Thank you, everyone, for contribution to this long thread.Read More...
Last Reply By Lucas · First Unread Post

She always lets me down . OR She always is letting me down

Please help. What is correct way ?Read More...
Hello, Nastassia, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. When you ask questions here concerning example sentences, please include the example sentences in the body of your post, so that readers do not have to refer to the title in order to understand your question. Thank you. Both sentences are correct, though you have "always" in an awkward place in "She always is letting me down." You should place "always" after "is" (the auxiliary verb): "She is always letting me down." There is a...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

have built, have been building

Hello. Which one is correct? Why? - They.........this school for two years now. a) have built b) have been building Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed—Only (b) is correct. "For two years now" tells you that the action of building this school is ongoing. The progressive is needed to show that the action has not been completed.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Deleted

DeletedRead More...
Yes. Unlike "wanted," which can point to the future within the past ( he wanted to have a meeting/meetings ), "liked" expresses a habitual past, and then "so he could not bear to listen" could only be used to express result. This is another possible sentence: - Jim didn't like long meetings so (as a result) he left in the middle of the boring presentation. Note 1: couldn't bear can also be followed by V-ing ( couldn't bear listening to... ) Note 2: Your comment further above should have been...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

The government or governments

Dear sir, I'm practicing writing my essay in English and I'm confused between the noun "governments" or "the government". Which one is correct to use? Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Moon Le, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange: Both "governments" and "the government" are correct, but using one or the other will depend on what you want to refer to (governments in general or some specific government).Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

accustomed to swearing

1) He is accustomed to swearing. Is that sentence ambiguous? a) He is in the habit of swearing. b) He is used to hearing people swear. How about: 2) He is accustomed to swearing at linguists. I think sense "a" is the one that more readily comes to mind, but he might be in a select company that swear furiously at linguists constantly and he is merrily accustomed to such swearing. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi—Yes, (1) is ambiguous in that way. Nice observation. On reading (b), "swearing" is a gerund, i.e., a noun. (Compare: "He has grown accustomed to the swearing in that film, he has seen it so many times.") The sentence says that swearing is something to which he is accustomed. On reading (a), "swearing" is a verb. (Compare: "He is accustomed to swear .") "Swearing" is not a true gerund on this interpretation. It could even be modified by an adverb ("He is accustomed to swearing...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

What is the syntactical function of an interjection? (i.e., what are the names of the syntactical usages of the part of speech that is the interjection?)

Aloha, again, from Hawaii! I realize this is obscure and doesn't really hold much importance. This is mere curiosity. I'm just trying to wrap my head around some definitions to make sure I understand them. Simple definitions of a sentence suggest a sentence should have one or more independent clauses in addition to zero or more dependent clauses. There are two situations my question occurs in. First, consider: "No." This is an interjection, but 'interjection' is a part-of-speech label, not a...Read More...

Can a sentence be "simple complex"?

I've run into multiple definitions of simple, complex, and compound. According to some online sources, a simple sentence has only one independent clause (but they don't say anything about dependent clauses.) These sites state that a sentence with one dependent and one independent clause is a 'simple complex sentence. Other online sources state that a simple sentence must have only one clause that is independent. According to these sources, a complex sentence is not ever a simple sentence,...Read More...
I agree this makes far more sense. I do not like the dichotomy of 'simple/compound'. A child should not be greatly faulted for confusing complex sentences with compound sentences when attempting to infer a relationship from the fact that 'simple' and 'complex' are antonyms. To a child, a 'simple complex sentence' is a lexical nightmare even though the concept is perfectly valid.Read More...
Last Reply By cwm9 · First Unread Post

Does a leading phrase that is not a clause count as part of the predicate?

Greetings, grammar experts! Consider: Under the deep blue sea, fish swam. 'Under the deep blue sea' is not a dependent clause because it has no verb and is therefore not a clause at all. It is an adverbial prepositional phrase modifying swim (I think.) Is this prepositional phrase considered part of the predicate of the sentence even though it has a comma after it? In other words, is the predicate.... "swam" or is the predicate... "Under the deep blue sea, ____ swam." Perhaps I am wrong to...Read More...
Thank you!Read More...
Last Reply By cwm9 · First Unread Post

Differences

Please, would you kindly explain the difference between related to and relating to?Read More...
Hi, Ahmed, Sometimes they are used interchangeably. 'Relating to' is a preposition meaning 'concerning' or 'about' . On LDOCE, you can see: - Documents relating to immigration laws. - Other particular provisions allow parents to be given special information relating to their child. 'Related to' is an adjective meaning 'connected to' or 'caused by'. - Poverty is often directly related to unemployment.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Sentence structure

Hello, Grammar Exchange members! I've run into the following sentence while reading a book titled "The Individual Subject and Scientific Psychology." What I don't understand about the sentence is the bolded part. 1. Successful application of the basic knowledge of psychology in particular concrete situations — be those situations examples of individual or group psychotherapy, of consultation in a business firm, or of dealing with a troubled adolescent — can be consistent only if the basic...Read More...
Thank you, Gustavo. Great help!Read More...
Last Reply By KDog · First Unread Post

under/in any circumstance(s)

Dear friends, I'd like to use the similar expression like in any case , at any point , on any account. So could I use under/in any circumstance? or circumstance is a special word, that under/in any circumstances is commonly used?Read More...
@ahmed_btm @Gustavo, Contributor Thank you very much! Thank you very much!Read More...
Last Reply By Ivana · First Unread Post

Use of an Apostrophe in a heading

Hello, I am wondering which of the following is correct with regard to the use of an apostrophe if you use Players list as a heading with the players names listed below the heading. 1. Players List 2. Player's List 3. Players' List thank youRead More...
Also, "the players' list" would likely be interpreted as "a list belonging to the players" rather than as "the list of players."Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post
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