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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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Vocab

Can someone kindly explain the difference between: 1- sportsmanship spirit 2- sporting spiritRead More...
Hi David! I have a problem with which word will give the meaning implied in the following: 1- Those we have a good sportsmanship are able to deal with failure better. 2- The spectators attacked the opponent which shows that they lack sportsmanship. Are these sentences awkward? Can I replace sporting spirit with sportsmanship in the second sentences?Read More...
Last Reply By rashaassem · First Unread Post

impossible in only one country

Which are correct: 1) The establishment of such an economic system is impossible in one country. A few countries have to participate. 2) The establishment of such an economic system in one country is impossible. A few countries have to participate. 3) The establishment of such an economic system is impossible only in one country. A few countries have to participate. 4) The establishment of such an economic system only in one country is impossible. A few countries have to participate.Read More...
Hello, Navi: I wouldn't say that any of those four sentences is incorrect, but I would say that none of them is ideal. (I used the singular twice in that sentence just for you, Navi. ) I think it would be much better, in the first sentence, to use extraposition, thereby ushering the predicate ("is impossible") to the front of the sentence. Along with that change, we can change the nominalization "establishment" to a verb phrase. Then, in the second sentence, we can have recourse to a useful...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

participle

Some (depressed, depressing) teachers' explanation can make their students confused. Q. I wonder which participle are correct in the sentence above.Read More...
Hi, Jiho: The sentence will be incorrect no matter which you choose, because "explanation" needs to be plural. If you change "explanation" to "explanations," you can use either "depressed" or "depressing." The sentence will be awkward either way, but it won't be incorrect. What you need to ask yourself is whether you want to say that the teacher is depressed or whether the teacher depresses others. If the teacher is depressed, used "depressed." If the teacher depresses others, use...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

offensive to hear

Can one say a. That is a word I would never use but won't be surprised to hear. b. That is a word I would never use but won't find offensive to hear. c. That is a word I would never use but won't find it offensive to hear. ? Many thanks.Read More...
Hello, Azz, I find all three sentences correct. The main grammatical difference between (a) and (b/c) is that in (a) "surprised" is a subject complement (referring to "I") while in (b/c) "offensive" is an object complement. There is a subtle difference in meaning between (b) and (c), which I'm sure you are well aware of: While the nonoffensive nature is attributable to the word in (b): I won't find the word offensive to hear (= I won't find the word offensive if I hear it) that quality is...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

When/While

ceedhanna
When/While When could we use (when & while) interchangeably? And in this example: When she was cleaning the room, she found her ring. She was cleaning the room when she found her ring. Do both sentences have the same meaning? Is it possible to use (while) instead of (when)? Thanks.Read More...

Appeal/Appeal To

ahmad
Hello, everyone, 1. The mayor appealed to the people. 2. The mayor appealed the people. Which of the two means: A. The mayor made an appeal to the people. B. The people liked/admired the mayor. Thanks.Read More...
Hi, David, I am equally (perhaps more) happy to be here once again. A lot has been going on in my life lately, and as such I could not post earlier. As usual, I am delighted to have the answer, and am sincerely thankful to you for your great help. PS: My current situation reminds me of Thomas Gabriel telling John McClane in Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard: "When I'm finished here -and I promise it'll be soon -I will focus all my attention on you." You can replace 'you' with 'grammar' in my...Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

Adjective categories

Hi, I'm using the third edition of the Basic English Grammar book and in chart 14-2, it is mentioned that they are as many as 18 adjective categories but the book doesn't go that far as to mention all the categories. My students are very curious and want to know all the other categories; I did a bit of online research but I cannot seem to find them. Can you please help me with the rest of the categories? Thank you CeciRead More...
Hi, Cecilia, I'd put them at the end of the list, next to the noun head: large yellow school bus tasty fried fish clever hunting dogRead More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

"In" vs "during"

Hi there, what's the difference between in and during ? Which one is correct in the following sentence? Here's the sentence : John's total business income during/in March is fifty six thousand dollars.Read More...

a lot of people, but not everyone

Which are correct and make sense (assuming we are talking about a single monogamous marriage and not a series of them): 1) She can marry a lot of people, but not everyone. 2) She can marry a lot of people, but not anyone. 3) She can marry a lot of people, but not just anyone. 4) She could marry a lot of people, but not everyone. 5) She could marry a lot of people, but not anyone. 6 ) She could marry a lot of people, but not just anyone. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi: I see the point you seem to be trying to make, and I agree with it. The sentences that are really in question are (2) and (5). Whereas (2) is absurd and not equivalent to (3), (5) can be understood to be equivalent to (6). So the variation from "can" to "could" does seem to make a difference. That said, it is obviously safer to include "just" than to leave it to your reader to divine that meaning. Thus, I prefer (6) to (5), even though I find (5) OK. The latter part of (1) and...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

can't buy many cars

Can one use: 1) I can't buy many cars. 2) I can't buy a lot of cars. instead of: A) There are a lot of cars I can't buy. ============= Can one use: 3) I can't remember many things from that night. 4 I can't remember a lot of things from that night. instead of: B) There are a lot of things from that night I can't remember. (Maybe there are a lot of other things I can remember.) Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi: Yes, one can, provided one emphasizes "many" and "a lot of," respectively; otherwise (with normal stress), (1) and (2) will not mean (A) but, rather, that the speaker can't afford to purchase a large number of cars. Here, too, yes, one can, provided one emphasizes "many" and "a lot of," respectively; otherwise (with normal stress), (3) and (4) will not mean (B) but, rather, that the speaker has little memory of that night.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

stressed or stressful

Parents' responsibility for their children has increased in industrial societies, making parenthood more ______ . a. stressful b. stressed Are they both correct? Thanks! I think i need some time to be used to this new format.:)Read More...
Hi, Kis, It's nice to see you here again. So do we... I agree with Yoongliat that the correct answer is "stressful" because "parenthood" is a job or a condition, and activities can be stressful, not stressed. Those who do stressful activities can feel stressed : - Parents' responsibility for their children has increased in industrial societies, making parents more stressed .Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Social Expression

Do you think are these correct social expression? 1 A: (i) Can you play badminton with me? (ii) You want to play badminton? B: Sure. Let me get my racquet. 2 A: Do you want some more chicken? B: (i) Sure. / Yes. (ii) Sure, thanks, mum. / Sure, Mum. / Sure. Mum (iii) Sure. Give me 1 more chicken. (iv) Sure. I want some more chicken. 3 A: May I take your order? B: (i) Yes. / Sure. (ii) I want one more cheese sandwich. Thank you very much.Read More...
Both "Sure." and "Yes." work as affirmative responses to the question. "Sure, Mom. Thanks." (I don't know anybody who says "Mum.")Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"could not" vs "could not have" and "would not" vs "would not have"

Hi there, can anyone please tell me what the difference between "could not + verb" and "Could not have + past part participle" is and What the difference between "would not + verb" and "would not have + past part participle" is? I have given some examples please tel me which is correct in the following sentence. Here are the examples: 1- John, thank you for the reference book you gave to me last week. Without the book, I could not complete/could not have completed the project. 2- I started a...Read More...
Hi, Subhajit: Here the choice hinges on whether you have completed the project. If you have, use "could not have completed": you would not have been able to complete the project without the reference book. If you haven't, use "could not complete": you would not be able to complete the project without it. If you understood my explanation of (1), you should understand which to choose. If you use "could not pick up," the sentence will be an explanation of why Ram was not able to pick up the...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

any/just any

1) I don't believe he's able to crack any code. 2) I don't believe he can crack any code. Can '1' and '2' have two meanings: a) I don't believe he's able to crack just any code. b) I don't believe he's able to crack a single code. ----------------- ----------------- 3) He is unable to crack any code. 4) He can't crack any code. Can '3' and '4' have two meanings: c) He can't crack just any code. He can only crack some codes. d) He can crack no code. Gratefully, NaviRead More...

Past continuous

Before there was a bus to their village , Adam and John ...... to school. ( were walking / had always walked )Read More...
Hello, Egyptian2017: Both choices are possible, but I can guarantee that you're supposed to choose "had always walked." With the past progressive ("were walking"), the suggestion would be that they had a temporary habit of walking to school, and the notion of temporariness conflicts with the "before"-clause situation: Adam and John would have walked to school from the day they started school until there was a bus to their village. Therefore "had always walked" is the only sensible choice.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

tense in answering a question about prose or poetry

Hi there, can anyone please tell me if I am asked questions in present tense from a prose and poem, should I give answers in present tens e or in past tense ? Here is the poem 'The Owl' by Edward Thomas from which A question was asked in my exam: Downhill I came, hungry, and yet not starved; Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof Against the North wind; tired, yet so that rest Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof. Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest, Knowing how hungry,...Read More...
Hi, Subhajit: When we speak about events in novels and poems and films, we generally do so in the present tense. No matter when the novel or poem or film was created, its events will continue to take place forever; they never move into the past. So, yes, it is perfectly fine for the question about the poem to use the present tense, and it is also perfectly fine for you to use the present tense in your response. Yes, it is OK to use the past tense there. Here you are adopting the perspective...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

in order to not...

Which are correct: 1) I went out in order not to be with him. 2) I went out not to be with him. 3) I went out to not be with him. 4) Not to be with him, I went out. 5) To not be with him, I went out. Gratefully, NaviRead More...

could scarcely

Which are correct: 1) You could barely touch his knee and he'd scream in pain. 2) You could hardly touch his knee and he'd scream in pain. 3) You could scarcely touch his knee and he'd scream in pain. The idea is that the slightest touch would make him scream. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi: Only (1) and (2) work with that meaning. "Scarcely" isn't used with the "slightest touch" sense. One can't say, "I am scarcely touching your knee right now, but you are acting as if I had it in a vice." Now, if you changed "and" to "but," (3) would be correct, but with a different meaning: " You could scarcely touch his knee but he would scream in pain " means "You could scarcely touch his knee without his screaming in pain." The same thing can be done with (1) and (2). With...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Words order

husseinhassan
Good morning, our teachers, hope that all of you are fine. In " 25 Biggest Mistakes Teachers Make and How to Avoid Them " book, I found the following sentence: "Once you become a screamer, you will forever a screamer be. " Is it syntactically correct, i.e. why is "be" at the end of the sentence? Shouldn't it be: "Once you become a screamer, you will be a screamer forever ." Or: "Once you become a screamer, you will forever be a screamer." I also wonder if "Once you become a screamer, you...Read More...
Thank you so much, David. It seems that English is flexible.Read More...
Last Reply By husseinhassan · First Unread Post

What size

Could you tell me if the part between brackets is correct or not? Correct or not: What (size skirt) would you like to buy?Read More...
Hello, Sedo: The part between the brackets is correct, as is the rest of the sentence. In noun phrases like "what size skirt," which may be compared to "that size shirt," the grammatical items "what size" and "that size" function as what Huddleston and Pullum, in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002), call minor determiners . We do not need "of" in such phrases; indeed, it is better to omit it. Interestingly, Google Books shows 326 results for " What size shirt do you wear?"...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

have a cold

Hi all members and moderators As I know, for illnesses, "have" must be used as a state verb. However, can "have" be used as a dynamic verb in the following sentence? Don't come close to me. I am having a bad cold . Many thanksRead More...
Thank you so much David for your very detailed explanation. I was a bit surprised at the new platform and luckily I didn'd forget my password to log in as Tony_CK. Once again thanks for your help.Read More...
Last Reply By tonyck 2 · First Unread Post
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