Questions and Answers

play them off against one another

Is there a difference between: 1) Play them off against one another and 2) Play them against one another If yes, what is the difference? Gratefully, NaviRead More...

not where

Are these sentences correct: 1) He was supposed to write a short story, but not like this, not where one has to know a lot of history to understand what the story is about. 2) You're supposed to write a short story, but not a complicated one, not where the writer has to be an expert in history. If they are, what does 'where' refer to in them? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hi, Navi, I wouldn't say that "where" is incorrect but only vague. As a teacher or editor, I think I'd correct it as follows: 1) He was supposed to write a short story, but not like this, not one in which one has to know a lot of history to understand what the story is about. 2) You're supposed to write a short story, but not a complicated one, not one in which the writer has to be an expert in history. I prefer (2) because in (1) "not like this" refers to the manner, not the subject-matter...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Nouns

Hello, I’d like to know why these nouns use the -ing form instead of the simple form. I’d appreciate any help. ej. “A dress fitting” instead of “a dress fit.” “A drinking problem” instead of a “drink problem”. But, this example use the simple form: “Dance floor” instead of “dancing floor”. Thanks in advance.Read More...
Hello, P.J., and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! In: "fit" does not work as a noun to mean what "fitting" denotes (the act of trying clothes on to check whether they fit). In: "drinking" refers to the action of drinking, while "drink" refers to one particular drink or act of drinking. Just as we speak about "eating disorders" (NOT "food/meal disorders"), we speak about "drinking problem." This: is perhaps the hardest to explain and, therefore, the most idiomatic. I think it has to do with...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Each vs both

The following sentence is from New Hello, Third Secondary, Egypt. My parents ….. have a mobile phone. a) all b) each c) every d) both The model answer is both, but I wonder if 'each' is also a possible answer. However, is it necessary to use commas if 'each' is another possible answer, i.e My parents, each, have a mobile phone? Thanks for anyone who can help me out!Read More...

done/finished doing something

I have made up an example below. (1) I have finished cleaning the room. Most of my non-native English speaking friends think my sentence is wrong. So, they revised it to make the two sentences below. (2) I am done cleaning the room. (3) I am finished cleaning the room. They have heard a lot of people say (2) and (3). I don't think they are grammatical. I could be wrong. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ (A) Is...Read More...

"within' + a preposition that is not "of"

I know 'within" means before a certain period of time has passed. I have trouble using it correctly. I have written a few examples below with it. (1) Everyone will receive a raise within five days after the management and the union reach an agreement and complete all the paperwork. (2) John asks me, " Within what period from the date of purchase do you choose canned foods that are safe to eat?" I reply, "I usually choose canned foods that expire within one year of the date of purchase." Some...Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, "within" can in fact be used with the preposition "of," as in this example from the Longman dictionary: - Within an hour of our arrival Caroline was starting to complain. Example (1) is fine to me. "of" and "from" could not be used in this case in which a clause follows. The present perfect could be used in the time clause: (1') Everyone will receive a raise within five days after the management and the union have reached an agreement and completed all the paperwork. In (2),...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

come here for three days vs come here three days

I have made up two similar sentences below. (1) Tom will come here for three days next week. (2) Tom will come here three days next week. Some of my non-native English speaking friends and I think "for three days" means three consecutive days . The second sentence without "for" means three days that are not consecutive . But, my other friends think (2) is grammatically wrong when it is missing "for". Please help me. Thank you very much for your help.Read More...

I am wanting

Hi What is the difference between "I'm wanting something" and "I want something"? I read in the thread below that : "'I want him to go to nursery school.' has a subtle difference in meaning from 'I'm wanting him to go to nursery school.' The first is a simple statement of fact - and expresses a feeling you have that you have no doubt about. The second is more refelctive: you have had internal doubts - or possibly you think someone may challenge or be surprised at your view. " Can you please...Read More...
Thank you both very much About this that you said" If you'd like suggestions as to how to make your presentation even more elegant, send me an e-mail.", Sorry, "state verbs express states or conditions which are relatively static .", how can we use them to express a temporary condition?Read More...
Last Reply By tara · First Unread Post

Lack Of Parallelism Or Something Else?

1. Roozbeh is a crazy sleeper. He often talks in his sleep. One time, I heard him say, “More wings! More wings! More wings!” Sometimes he looks right at you, talks to you, even asking how you are , but he never remembers it in the morning. 2. Roozbeh is a crazy sleeper. He often talks in his sleep. One time, I heard him say, “More wings! More wings! More wings!” Sometimes he looks right at you, talks to you, even asks how you are , but he never remembers it in the morning. My student thinks...Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, Your reasoning is good, except for one thing: it doesn't account for the use of "even," which wants to introduce a grammatical structure of the same type -- in this case, another finite verb phrase in the simple present. I would add "and": 2a) Sometimes he looks right at you, talks to you, and even asks how you are, but he never remembers it in the morning. Your interpretation would work with "even" if the participial modifying phrase were a member of a series or at least a pair...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

shamming a transaction

I have made up an example below. (1) John and I went to an antique show yesterday. We noticed that one seller and one buyer were shamming a transaction to make others think his vases were very rare and valuable. Is it correct to say "shamming a transaction"? Thank you for your time and help.Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, "sham" does not work as a verb. You could say that they were (1) feigning a transaction, or (2) bargaining over a transaction. While (1) implies that they were just pretending so the transaction was a fake, (2) means that they were actually discussing the price, presumably to make others believe that the pieces were expensive.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

cold like they have been ... or as cold as if they have been .... or as cold as when they have been

My city is very cold in winter. If I leave drinks outside my door for ten minutes, they'll get very cold. You don't even need a refrigerator to make them cold. I am going to make up three similar sentences about that. (1) The drinks are very cold like they have been refrigerated. (2) The drinks are as cold as if they have been refrigerated. (3) The drinks are as cold as when they have been refrigerated. I am not sure how to say this in the correct way. Please help me. Thank you very much for...Read More...
This brings back memories of winter at Kent State University when I was seventeen. Those of us that lived on the upper floors of the dormitories and didn't have refrigerators would set our beers on the outside windowsills to keep them cold. The problem was that some students were very adept at knocking the beers off the sills with snowballs, so I always kept mine on a tether. None of your sentences is incorrect, but I prefer 4: The drinks are as cold as if they had been refrigerated. DocV...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

7pm before I AND before I did at 7pm

(1) John got here at 7pm before I. (2) John got here before I did at 7pm . Is it wrong to put a specific time + "before" in one sentence? Thanks a lot.Read More...
Ansonman, Both sentences are awkward. (1) at the very least needs a comma after "7pm", and I would add "did" at the end. Even so, I hope you understand that the two sentences mean different things. I would suggest these rewordings for clarity: 1a: When I arrived, I found that John had been here since 7pm. 1b: When I arrived, I found that John had been here at 7pm. 2a: When I arrived at 7pm, John was already here. 2b: When I arrived at 7pm, John had already been here. In (1), (1a), and (1b),...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

"past perfect" vs "present perfect"

Should I use present perfect or past perfect in the following context? Are they both correct? Jason, did you see yesterday's match between Liverpool and Chelsea? What a match it was! I have never/had never seen a match like that before. I think both are correct but I am not sure. I think If I use past perfect it mean "before yesterday's match" and If I use present perfect it brings my experience to the present day.Read More...
Hi, Subhajit, You have already asked this question, in the bottom segment of the thread below. You have duplicated your example word for word : https://thegrammarexchange.inf...2#590585063423918172 Was there something you didn't understand in the answer I gave you there? It was just three months ago.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Past perfect

The following sentence is in the school book: "I had waited until my car was repaired." What is the difference in meaning between the previous sentence and the following one: "I waited until my car had been repaired"Read More...
Hello, Ahmed A., Your use of "the" in "the school book" is worth considering. By using the definite article there, you are presupposing that your readers (I and others) will know which school book you are referring to, whereas none of us has any idea which book you are referring to. Thus, it would have been better to use "a school book." Of course, we would prefer to know the name of the book and who wrote it. There is very little difference in meaning as far as the "until"-clause is...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

family

The Smith family is/are from the U.S.. Which one is correct, is or are? I think both are fine. It depends on whether you consider them separately or as a whole group. Thanks.Read More...
Yes. The old thread below didn't come to my mind automatically, as it occurred a few years before I joined GE, but it came up when I used the Search function: https://thegrammarexchange.inf....cc/topic/the-family Here are a couple of other old threads dealing with this eternally recurring grammatical topic: https://thegrammarexchange.inf...pic/my-family-is-are https://thegrammarexchange.infopop.cc/topic/family-4Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

your assignment to complete tonight/infinitive question

Which are correct: 1) These are my shoes to wear at home and those are my shoes to wear at work. 2) These are my shoes for wearing at home and those are my shoes for wearing at work. 3) This is your assignment to complete tonight. 4) These are my books to take to my office and those are my books to take to my girlfriend's place. 5) These are your forms to complete and hand in by Tuesday. I don't think there is a 'for + gerund' form possible for 3, 4 and 5. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Navi, I don't have a problem with any of your five examples. I agree. I could imagine a "which" clause, though: 3a: This is your assignment, which is to be completed tonight. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

noise

Stop making ( ). The students are studying. A. noise B. noises C. a noise Which is correct? I am confused. I have asked about "noise" before, but I still don't know what rules my choice should be based on. Thanks.Read More...
Ruifeng, "Noise" works as both a mass noun and a count noun. The best answer is (A), where it is a mass noun, but it is also possible to use (B). (C) doesn't work because it means "a single instance of noise", but if someone were making the same obnoxious sound for a prolonged duration, you could say: D: Stop making that noise . DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

in & from

You can learn about China ( ) books. A. in B. from I think both work here. I need your opinion. Thanks.Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng: I share DocV's preference ("from"), but you are right that both work. The reason "from" works so well is that it gives the sense that the books act as teachers. Compare: You can learn about China from Ruifeng. That sense implies that the addressee can be taught things about China by you. That is how he will learn about China. With "in," the sentence could be used in answer to the question " Where can I learn about China?" Compare: You can learn about China in films and books. It...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

meaning of "a humbling experience"

What does Sir Kazuo Ishiguro mean by a humbling experience in the following? ”Humbling" in this context cannot mean "something makes him feel insignificant or inferior" as some dictionaries define, can it? Sir Kazou, 64, was today knighted for services to literature by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. Speaking afterwards, the best-selling author described it as 〈a 'humbling experience'〉. He added: 'It is all part of my story of coming from a different country and growing up in this...Read More...
Re: meaning of "a humbling experience"Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

past perfect

I am sorry that I _____ before I _____ the explanation. 1) had stopped – finished 2) stopped – had finished Answer key: 2 The PAST PERFECT TENSE indicates that an action was completed (finished or "perfected") at some point in the past before something else happened. What I understand is the first action is "stopping" and the second is "finishing". So, why not #1?Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, I agree with the answer key. Given those two choices, (2) is the only option that works. It would also be OK to use the simple past in both clauses: 3) I am sorry that I stopped before I finished the explanation. Additionally, we could reduce the "before"-clause such that it would have a nonfinite verb phrase with an implied subject: 4) I am sorry that I stopped before finishing the explanation. If we're using a finite "before"-clause, though, the past perfect works particularly...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Reflexive vs object pronoun

Hello, Micheal Swan believes after prepositions of place , we often use a personal pronoun (me, you etc) if the meaning is clear without a reflexive. Compare: (1): She took her dog with her. (NOT ... with herself.) (2): They divided the money among them. (NOT ... among themselves) (3): Close the door behind you. However, I wonder why the following, although using a prepositions of place, is correct: (4) He placed his little dog beside himself on the couch. As a matter of fact, I don't know...Read More...
It means that each case is different, so you will have to decide which pronoun to use according to the specific circumstances.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Odd or something

Q1: When we describe a figure or number between 20 and 30, we can say twenty odd or twenty something. Are there any other expressions with similar meanings? Q2: Do we need to add a hyphen ie twenty-odd, twenty-something? I guess the use of a hyphen is optional. Is it true? Q3: Is the above use confined to any particular use only? For example, in the use of an approximate age of a person, is it restricted to twenty something or, in other words, can “xxx something”, in fact, be used in any...Read More...
Many thanks, DocV.Read More...
Last Reply By terry · First Unread Post

"the" before the superlative

Hello, I was reading a multiple choice quiz on the following URL. http://global.oup.com/us/companion.websites/9780190270995/stud/ch1/mcq/ Question No.9 asks, Which of the following is closest to the meaning of “Sartori's Ladder of Abstraction”? Don’t we need “the” before “closest” the superlative? Is this a simple typing error? In question 3, “the” is before “best”. Which of the following is the best social scientific question?, BTW, the title of this page says Mutiple Choice Quiz, but it’s...Read More...
By the way, Apple, please notice that "the" is optional in (d).Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

less number / a less number of people

Hussein Hassan
Hello, there, Would you please help me? Which one/s of the following sentences is/are CORRECT? You should have hired less number of people because too many cooks spoil the broth. You should have hired a less number of people because too many cooks spoil the broth. You should have hired a few number of people because too many cooks spoil the broth. You should have hired fewer number of people because too many cooks spoil the broth. Many thanks ...Read More...
Greetings, all. First of all, let me say that I am in complete agreement with Gustavo. I find all of Mr Hassan's examples unequivocably ungrammatical. I would find his example "•" (as opposed to his other examples, "•", "•", and "•") acceptable if "less" were changed to "lesser". The word is not commonly used except in certain set phrases (eg, "the lesser of two evils"), but because of such phrases it is commonly understood. Mr Hassan, was there something in particular that made you not want...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Without

Without looking where he was going , the man ......... into a tree . ( would walk - would have walked )Read More...
Frankly, I don't like either option. They are grammatical, but I can't imagine any native speaker of English phasing a conditional that way. David's examples "If he hadn't looked ... " and "If he didn't look ... " are much more natural. The only option that works for me is simply "walked": Without looking where he was going, the man walked into a tree. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

is finishing; has finished

As the term ________ next week, the school will hold a special assembly for all students. a. is finishing b. has finished _______________________________________ from a Korean English book Are they both correct? Thanks!Read More...
Hi, Kis, No, they are not both correct. The "as"-clause would make no sense with the present perfect, which refers to the past. Something in the past can't be in the future ("next week"). With "is finishing," the "as"-clause is ambiguous in meaning. It could mean that the fact that the term is coming to a close is the reason for holding the assembly, or that the assembly will be held while the term is coming to a close.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Stative passive vs participial adjective

http://www.victorianlondon.org...kens/tale-0006.shtml "Good day!" said Monsieur Defarge, looking down at the white head that bent low over the shoemaking. It was raised for a moment, and a very faint voice responded to the salutation, as if it were at a distance. Q1: Is “it was raised for a moment” a stative passive rather than a participial adjective? If I add the word “very”, “it was very raised for a moment” does not sound right. Hence, “it was raised” is not a participial adjective. Q2:...Read More...
Thanks, Gustavo.Read More...
Last Reply By terry · First Unread Post

Future simple or present continuous?

"When he finishes his exam, he ...........to London." A- will travel b- is traveling I think "is travelling" is correct as it shows that he has arranged to travel to London, but I have never seen a present simple and a present continuous in one sentence.Read More...
Please see my comments in this thread .Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

present continuous or be going to

Hello, teachers I found this question in an outside book "not a school book" __ He has filled up the bucket with water. He ........the car. ( a- is washing / b- is going to wash). My choice is "is going to". As far as I understand, both the progressive form and be going to are sometimes interchangeable (when they express the future). Yet, the present continuous implies arrangements while the "be going to" form refers to intentions or decisions in addition to "present reality". That's why I...Read More...
Thanks a lot, sir. I see eye to eye with you. I didn't like sentence either. I was asked to give my opinion about it, that's why I preferred asking yours.Read More...
Last Reply By ayman · First Unread Post

shoulders is/are

Hi all, I just wanna make sure. "Shoulders are the target." Is this correct? Or is the target or, i dont know, somehow i have doubts evn though it is easy. I just hear ppl using is even when plural, and you cannot always explain it with an existed rule. Thank you.Read More...
Aria, Welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I can't think of an instance where I would ever say "shoulders are the target". If you are talking about shooting, I would say "aim for the shoulders". I could imagine saying: 1: My shoulders are the source of the pain. This is a similar construct to your example in that we have a plural subject linked to a singular predicate noun, and the verb agrees in number with the subject. But if we reversed the two, I would say: 2: The source of the pain is my...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

to as a preposition?

Learning to take good notes is very important. Good notes can help you remember and review a text you have read. There is no magic formula to taking notes when reading.You have to find out what works best for you. (Source: Iran's English Coursebooks) I wonder why we have "taking" (a gerund) after "to". Is this "to" a preposition? I've checked a couple of dictionaries. The common combinations are: (1) formula for: a formula for the withdrawal of US forces from the sea (2) formula that: There...Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, Yes, "to" is functioning as a preposition there; "taking notes when reading" is a gerund phrase that is functioning as the object of the preposition "to." However, "to" is not the idiomatic preposition to use in this context. Native speakers tend to use "for": There is no magic formula for taking notes when reading. In the somewhat rare cases when "to" is used after "magic formula," it is as the stem of an infinitive: "There is no magic formula to take notes when reading." There...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

plural and singular used in the same sentence

Hello, I was reading THE KANSAS CITY STAR, which I suppose is an American online paper. I came across an article where the following sentence appeared. “I do find that the victims in this case, in particular, were more an aggressor than a participant in the criminal conduct,” My question: “the victims” is a plural, (two young girls). Is it acceptable to use a singular “an aggressor, a participant” to refer to the girls? Or is it not problematic because an aggressor in this case means just...Read More...
Thank you so much, David, for elaborating on my question. You went so far as to search other sources. What a respectable expert! I really appreciate your answer. It made everythihg very clear. appleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

Using on condition that and provided that in conditional sentences

Is it correct to say: Michael could go to the theatre on condition that / provided that he was home by six. Or these two expressions(on condition that/provided that) are only followed by present tenses in conditional sentences?Read More...
Mr Bendary, I completely agree with David's answers, in regard to the questions you actually asked. However, I'm not entirely sure that what you asked was really what you meant to ask. 1a: Michael could go to the theatre on condition that he was home by six. 1b: Michael could go to the theatre provided that he was home by six. Both of your examples refer to events or states in the past. What Michael is allowed to do today doesn't enter into it. If we want to talk about what Michael wants to...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

using of understand.

Think about I am talking to someone and I am saying “Two month ago, I started to study English again and I understand I am good at it” ”I started to study English again and I understood I was good at it” Which is correct? I got confused because in this situation I was good at English and I am good at it nowRead More...
Hello, Mrtkrdmn, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! Unfortunately, it is ungrammatical in English to use clauses as objects of prepositions. Instead of saying * " Think about I am talking to someone ," you could say, "Let's suppose I am talking to someone." Another problem is that " t wo month " should be "two month s ," because "month" is a count noun. As for the use of the present tense ("understand") or the past tense ("understood"), the whole part of the sentence in which the word...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

during this year

The following link believes that the sentence "We have moved five times during this year ." is wrong. https://www.grammar-quizzes.com/preps_during-in.html Many native friends of mine confirms the claim, saying that "during" is redundant. I don't understand why the sentence given is wrong, and it should have been written as: We have moved five times this year. Thanks.Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, Yes, the sentence would be much improved by the deletion of "during." You could, however, use "during the last year" or "during the past year": We have moved five times during the last year. We have moved five times during the past year. Those sentences measure a year from the time of speaking to one year ago, whereas your sentence technically applies to the calendar year.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

1st or 2nd conditional?

A: The cake's delicious. Have some. B: No, thanks. If I .........., I .......... get fat. 1) do - will 2) did - would .......... Me: Both Answer key: 2 What do you think?Read More...
>>Since we do not know, as readers, how resolute the speaker is about not eating sweets, we can't tell how remote a possibility his eating the cake is. << Absolutely. Meanwhile, in Oxford Grammar book, we have an additional part which says: Rachel: Would you like some cake, Jessica? Jessica: No thanks. If I ate cake, I'd get fat. Rachel: But it's delicious The last line confirms that it's somehow a remote possibility. Without it, as shown in my test, we cannot clearly decide...Read More...
Last Reply By Freeguy · First Unread Post

Can or may?

If you have a cold, eat healthy food and drink eight glasses of water in a day. Chicken soup with lemon juice is good for you. Vitamin C is also good for a cold. If you have a running nose and a sore throat, see a doctor. It can be the fl! To me, "can" should be replaced for "may, might, could". It doesn't work for me. What about you? (Source: Iran's English Coursebook) Thanks.Read More...
I am sorry. Yes. I meant "flu". Thanks.Read More...
Last Reply By Freeguy · First Unread Post

look at, look up

Hello, We can say, "Look at the word" but not "Look the word at". However, we can say "Look up the word " and "Look the word up" or "Look it up". Why is this? I've read somewhere that "at" is a preposition but "up" is not but adverb, but this doesn't solve my problem I almost always decide wether or not I can put the word between the verb and the preposition just by a hunch. Could anyone tell me how to explain this point of grammar? Thank you.Read More...
Thank you very muchRead More...
Last Reply By tara · First Unread Post

which will be great for them

a. They won the championship, which was their fourth time. b. They are trying to win the championship, which will be their fifth time. c. They are trying to win the championship, which is their fifth time. d. They won the championship, which was great for them. e. They are trying to win the championship, which will be great for them. Which of the above sentences are grammatically correct? Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz, The only correct sentence that I see there is (d). You could fix (a), (b), and (c) by changing the "which"-clause to a "for"-phrase, and (e) by changing "will" to "would": a'. They won the championship, for their fourth time. b'. They are trying to win the championship, for their fifth time. c'. They are trying to win the championship, for their fifth time. e'. They are trying to win the championship, which would be great for them.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Future tenses

"By eight o'clock I......back at home" A-will be b-will have been What do you think?Read More...
Thanks for revising the question. It would still be better if you would do more than simply give an exercise. The answer to your question is that either answer is possible, but the test or exercise maker probably wants you to choose (A). "By eight o'clock I will be back home" indicates that home is where you will be at eight o'clock. "By eight o'clock I will have been back home" says not that home is where you will be at eight o'clock, but that you will HAVE BEEN there by then.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Past perfect and past simple

Here is a sentence from the student book year 2 secondary: He wasn't feeling well yesterday as he had been working hard all weekend. He had been trying to do the homework which the teacher ..........him last week. A- gave b-had given The answer in the book is "had given" How can we use two past perfect clauses in the same sentence?Read More...
Yes, it's OK. The only requirement is that it must make sense to do so.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

can usages

Hello, Here is an explanation from Michael Swan: We normally use can and could to say that things are possible in general: people are able to do them, the situation makes them possible, or there is nothing to stop them. May and might are not used in this way: These roses can grow anywhere. Can gases freeze? I think I understand the point. My question is: Does the following sentence fall into this category? Does it show "a general possibility"? Every year, about one billion tourists travel...Read More...
Hi, Freeguy: Yes, "can" does indicate a general possibility right there. The sentence means that when tourism is spoken of, it is possible that either domestic tourism or international tourism is being spoken of.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Us All or Us Each?

Can we use ‘us’ with ‘each’ in a sentence? Does it sound idiomatic to a native? For example, which one(s) is/are correct? It's an insult to us each. It's an insult to us all. The manager gave us each a task. The manager gave us all a task. Please note also that ‘all’ can mean either every member or part of — used with a plural noun or pronoun to mean that a statement is true of every person or thing in a group OR the whole number or sum of — used with a plural noun or pronoun to mean that a...Read More...

will

Hi Can you please explain "will"? Why isn't it "is"? "That is, instead of performing eight recursive multiplications of n/2* n/2 matrices, it performs only seven. The cost of eliminating one matrix multiplication will be several new additions of n/2 * n/2 matrices, but still only a constant number of additions."Read More...
Thank you very muchRead More...
Last Reply By tara · First Unread Post

malign your job

This is slightly related to one of my previous posts. Suppose that you make a lot of negative comments about your job. You are always saying bad things like: long work hours, low pay, no breaks, strict workplace rules, terrible manager, and so on. (ex) You are maligning your job. Is it correct to say "malign your job"? Thanks for your time and help.Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, No, "malign" is not being appropriately used in that sentence, and I think you understand why; otherwise you wouldn't have said that this is related to one of your previous threads. Why not use one of these sentences instead? You are complaining about your job. You are whining about your job. You are looking at the minuses of your job. (cf. "the pluses and minuses")Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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