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Use of Quotes

David, Moderator
Our Policy on the Use of Quotations We understand that members occasionally desire or need to ask grammar-related questions about sentences or phrases that were written by others, and it is perfectly acceptable for you to do so. However, if you wish to include sentences or phrases in a post that were not originally written by you, you must do two things: 1) You must show punctuationally that they are not your words. 2) You must cite what you have taken the text from. The easiest way to...Read More...

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Responsibility demands by men

Hello! I was watching The X-files and came across the following dialog: - You've never seen one (an alien) before, have you? It’s shocking at first. The acceptance of the idea... it’s something only children and fools believed in. But then you come to understand. - Understand what? - The responsibility that this knowledge demands by the men who have it. As I see it, the responsibility is demanded by the knowledge. Then, shouldn't it be, "The responsibility that this knowledge demands from...Read More...
Hi, Alexey, "from" would work, as you propose, to introduce those from whom something is demanded, expected, or required . However, "by" also works to introduce those who hold the responsibility . The sentence in question would thus be interpreted as follows: - The responsibility by the men who have this knowledge that this knowledge demands. If you search the Internet for "demand responsibility by," you will find some interesting sentences, like these ones: - Freedom of the press demands...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Which article to place in front of a currency?

We normally put “the” in front of a currency, like “the yen is getting stronger”. But, we say “A strong yen would not harm the Japanese economy”. When to use “the” vs “a” when referring to a currency?Read More...
Thank you. I was confused as there was only one Japanese currency, the yen. I did not understand why we could use “a” in some instances.Read More...
Last Reply By PJ · First Unread Post

maybe i need a chill pill?

I recently joined an international nonprofit in public relations. One of the vision statements that is printed in most of our hardcopy and online messaging is written in a way that makes me bite my cheek every time I hear it. I brought it to the attention of my boss, who said it was done by higher-ups before she arrived and she's not doing to ruffle any feathers...I pointed out to her that a publication that printed a news release I sent changed the wording so it made grammatical sense. To...Read More...
Hello, happyday, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I understand you want to keep the name and other specific details confidential, but unless you provide us with further linguistic context it will be hard for us to help you. You can write XXX where you feel you need to hide a name, but at least one full sentence will be required for us to understand and try to solve your problem.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

The perfect continuous tenses

Dear Rachel & Richard Would you please expalin to me - with examples if possible - why it is not possible to use the perfect continuous tenses in the passive ? Thank you very much for your kind help. With my sincerest wishes for a happy new year. SayedRead More...
Sayed might also want to consult Quirk et al. "A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language", which I think can be considered as a reference for the description of the English language. Chapter 3, section 3.64 "Voice defined" mentions the active form "has been kissing" and its passive equivalent "has been being kissed". The fact that such complex forms aren't frequent doesn't mean they're not part of the language.Read More...
Last Reply By Marie · First Unread Post

apostrophe s

What does apostrophe s mean? 1 The actor’s fall from grace was due to his foul mouth and poor timekeeping. 2 The finance minister's fall from grace gave his enemies great satisfaction .Read More...
Indeed it is, or at least a character from the sequel to Alice in Wonderland, titled Through the Looking-Glass . Native-speaking children tend to learn the nursery rhyme on its own around the time we learn to talk. That's why it took a special intellectual effort for me to realize that someone might not understand that "fall" can be a noun as well as a verb. Humpty Dumpty's origin is fascinating (see here ).Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

choose the correct answer :

Could you answer this question, please?Read More...
Hi, Abo Hamza, I agree with Ahmed_btm's answer. However, I have three comments to make: two about the thread you have started here and one about your question. The title "choose the correct answer :" is not an appropriate title for a discussion thread at the Grammar Exchange. A thread's title should relate to its content. The body of your opening post, "Could you answer this question, please?," is not appropriate either. Ask your question in the opening post, not in an attachment. The...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Empowers or empower

Hi everyone :) Please help! Which one is correct? 1. Effortless website navigation combined with shorter hold times empowers your users and increases engagement across all your digital platforms. OR 2. Effortless website navigation combined with shorter hold times empower your users and increase engagement across all your digital platforms. Thanks!Read More...
Hello, Zizi, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I agree with Ahmed_btm's answer: the singular verb is needed in each case. Grammatically, "combined with" does not function like "and." Of course, if you replaced "combined with" with "and," you would need plural verbs: 3. Effortless website navigation and shorter hold times empower your users and increase engagement across all your digital platforms. As Ahmed pointed out, however, the combined with phrase modifies "website navigation," as...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

thinking about John

1) I couldn't sleep thinking about John. 2) I couldn't sleep, thinking about John. 3) Thinking about John, I couldn't sleep. 4) I was unable to sleep thinking about John. 5) I was unable to sleep, thinking about John. 6) Thinking about John, I was unable to sleep. Do '1' and '4' mean: I couldn't sleep while I was thinking about John? Maybe I stopped thinking about him and managed to go to sleep. Do '2', '3', '5' and '5' mean: I couldn't sleep because I was thinking about John? Gratefully, NaviRead More...

adjectival modifier vs adjective.

Is there a difference between an adjectival modifier and an adjective? The distinction was mentioned in the answer to another person's question earlier on this forum regarding decades being used as adjective. I looked it up on google but couldn't find an answer. I'm confused because I thought an adjective was, by its very nature, a modifier. Thank youRead More...
Thank you for the clear answer.Read More...
Last Reply By Mrchuffie · First Unread Post

It all comes of trying to be kind to Heffalumps.

This is a sentence from “Winnie-the-Pooh” by Miln. He and Piglet planned to lure the Heffalump into the Cunning Trap by putting honey into it. After returning home Winnie found there was no honey left, got upset and lamented, “Bother!” “It all comes of trying to be kind to Heffalumps.” Is "come of" an old-fashioned construction, or it's still in use? I could find only "come from".Read More...
Thank you for such a detailed answer!Read More...
Last Reply By Alexey86 · First Unread Post

"Deceptive" or "deceiving" ?

Hello, Which is correct please ? 1) Appearances can be deceptive. 2) Appearances can be deceiving. Many thanks. RickyRead More...
This controversy first came up on this site about 17 years ago and I must commend the efforts some scholars have put up to help us understand these words and their uses. My opinion: Participles, generally, are words formed from verbs or verbs themselves, which are used as adjectives or nouns (gerunds). Example: *Amuse (verb) *Amusing joke (adj) *Amused tourists (adj) *Amusing people is my hobby (noun) *I like amusing people (ambg) *I like amusing myself (verb) Deceptive vs. Deceiving Any...Read More...
Last Reply By Bellwether · First Unread Post

rel. pronoun

The puffin is the only know animal whose brain only fills half of its skull. or The puffin is the only know animal whose brain only fills half of whose skull. Between the two, which one is correct? Do I have to change 'its' ?Read More...
Thanks always..Read More...
Last Reply By sly · First Unread Post

Using a decade as an adjective

Hi! I'm struggling to find out whether it's possible to to use a decade as an adjective. For example, '1920s New York' or '1980s Russia'. Thanks!Read More...
Hello, Onethrusix, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. Phrases like "1920s New York" and "1980s Russia" are grammatically acceptable. In such phrases, the decade functions as an adjectival modifier, not an adjective. "1920s New York" = "the New York of the 1920s" or "New York in the 1920s." Examples also abound with "music"; e.g., "eighties music" = music of the 1980s.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

so influenced

1) It is not surprising that such ideas are so perpetuated in those circles. 2) It is not surprising that such ideas are perpetuated so much in those circles. Are both correct? Do they mean the same? ------------------------------ -- 3) I was so influenced by him. 4) I was influenced so much by him. Are both correct? Do they mean the same? Gratefully, NaviRead More...

wish

Hi, is there a difference between the following two sentences? 1- " I wish I knew where my keys .........now." a- are b- were 2- " I wish I lived in New York but I ........ " a- don't b- didn'tRead More...
You can use "was" there, Robby zhu, but not "were." "Were" would be ungrammatical: (1a) I wish I knew where my key was now. (1b) * I wish I knew where my key were now . The past subjunctive is used in the clause complementing "wish," NOT in the clause contained by the clause complementing "wish." (P.S. I agree with the answers that Ahmed_btm has given to Ahmed.A.A.'s questions above.)Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

<is/was> supposed to have done

Hi, Sentence: 1. She is/was not supposed to have been angry about that. What the difference between "was" and "is"? I feel there is no difference. They all convey the idea that she shouldn't have been angry, but she indeed was. Am I right?Read More...
That's partly right. The problem is that you seem to understand "be supposed to" as a passive construction, and it is not naturally understood that way in examples like these. If I say, "It was supposed to be sunny today," I am not reporting on someone's past supposition: " John supposed it to be sunny today "; " It was supposed by John to be sunny today ." No, "It was supposed to be sunny today" just means "It should be sunny today." The sentence is neutral about whether it really is sunny...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Comparative construction

Hello! Sentence: And today, almost twice as many voters identify themselves as independents than as members of either the Democratic or Republican parties. Questions: From a grammar standpoint, we need to have "more(or -er) ...than...", but I don't find a "more" to collaborate with "than", so is the sentence ungrammatical?Read More...
I agree with you, Gustavo, that the original sentence is flawed, and I like your fix. Nevertheless, the fix that comes naturally to me here is slightly different: Almost twice as many voters identify themselves as independents as those who identify themselves as members of either the Democratic or Republican parties/party. The basic structure of that sentence is this: Almost twice as many Xs do Y as those [Xs] who do Z. And the meaning of that structure is different from the one Gustavo...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Just saw it.

Is it correct to use the word forgetting in the sentence after the word never? E.g: Never forgetting to remember......... Thanks for the instant responseRead More...
I think the person who wrote that was referring to themselves. Colloquially, you could do without the subject and say: Will never forget the roots of ... or Will always remember the roots of ...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

made her seem

a. She was a better person than she was made to look by her detractors. b. She was a better person than she was presented by her detractors. c. She was a better person than her detractors made her seem. Are the above sentences grammatically correct? Are they natural? Many thanks.Read More...

The definite article 'the'

Hussein Hassan
Hello, everyone, With regard to the "definite article," I've taught my students the following rules: 1. Use 'the' for the range of mountains, e.g. the Alps, the Himalayas, the Rockies, BUT "Everest" without 'the' as it's just one mountain. (Or Mountain Everest) 2. Use 'the' with unique things, e.g. the Nile, the sun, etc. One of my students said: "It's ONLY one Everest, Mr. Hussein, right? so it's unique, and you told us to use 'the' before unique things, so why it's "Everest" not "the...Read More...
Thank you.Read More...
Last Reply By Hussein Hassan · First Unread Post
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