All Forum Topics

Featured Topics

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...

Topics

not three

-Three people witnessed the murder. a. -No, not three people witnessed the murder. Four people did. b. -No, it wasn't three people who witnessed the murder, it was four people. c. -No, three people didn't witness the murder. Four people did. In this context, which of the sentences a-c work? (c) would normally mean that there were three people (out of a group) who didn't witness the murder. But in this context, the speaker is repeating something that has already been said. I am not sure (c)...Read More...
I agree with David's comments. In particular, David's point was the unstated reason behind my rejection of (a), and I suspect it was Gustavo's reason as well. Azz's (c) and my (c1) must both be understood to mean that three people have been positively confirmed as not having witnessed the murder. It would perhaps be better stated as: c2: We definitely know of three people that cannot possibly have witnessed the murder. We also know of three people that were definitely there at the scene, and...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

knit hats vs make hats by knitting

I have made up two sentences below. (1) You know how to knit hats. (2) You know how to make hats by knitting. I think (1) sounds OK. Does (2) sound natural to native speakers? I really appreciate your help.Read More...
Hi, Ansonman, Both sentences sound natural, but (2) takes a special context, and I would prefer (2) with "them" at the end: "You know how to make hats by knitting them." Don't use (2) unless you wish to draw attention to the fact that there are other ways of making hats and that you are only making a claim about one of them.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

get there vs go there

I have heard of these questions asked. (1) How do you get there? (2) How do you go there? I don't understand the difference in meaning between the two questions. Could you please explain the difference? Thank you very much for your help.Read More...
I like that, DocV. "How do you get there?" could of course be used as an inquiry into mode of transportation, as well, but "How do you go there?," which seems a bit unusual to me, does naturally lend itself to that interpretation. I would tend to use "How do you go there?" in unusual circumstances. For example, if I were on an elevator of a skyscraper and needed a floor for which there wasn't a button on the elevator, I might say, "How do you go to Floor 99?"Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Must

1- I really ..... visit my grandmother in Alexandria more often. ( needn't - have to - need to ) 2 - listen to me ! You ...... get a new pump for the fish tank soon. This one doesn't work well. ( must - needn't - need to ) 3- the doctor says I ..... lose 10 kilos. ( must - needn't - have to - need to )Read More...
Hello, Egyptian2017 and Ahmed, I support your recommendations, Ahmed. "Need to" works in (1) ("I really need to visit my grandmother in Alexandria more often"), and "must" works in (2) and (3): "You must get a new pump for the fish tank soon"; "The doctor says I must lose 10 pounds." It's unfortunate that the most natural and common native-speaking choice for all three sentences -- "should" -- is not even an option provided by the test makers! "Must" also works in (1) -- "I really must visit...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"not a" vs "not any"

Hi there, are both not a and not any sound natural in the following examples? Yesterday was mothers' day but I did not post any photos with my mother on social media. I think importance of my mother to my life cannot be described by just clicking pictures or posting them on social sites on mother's day. Yesterday was mothers' day but I did not post a photo with my mother on social media. I think importance of my mother to my life cannot be described by just clicking a picture or posting it...Read More...
Subha, I like (4) better than (3). There are so many things wrong with (1) and (2) that I'm not even going to begin to talk about them. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

"I probably will" VS "I would"

Helen: Would you attend my party tomorrow? John: I probably will. Helen: Would you attend my party tomorrow? John: I would. Does the answer 'probably will' equal to 'would'? If not, what's the difference?Read More...
Wemcho, I think that with a present tense verb in the first sentence, as you have in (#8), I would want to see either a future tense verb or something akin to a conditional in the second sentence. 8a: It's five o'clock now. Sooner or later, Peter will finish his homework. 8b: It's five o'clock now. Sooner or later, Peter must finish his homework. By the way, Gustavo, thanks for your support in your earlier post. You make an interesting point with (#6). DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

is looking or looks

Hi These are two examples from the book Grammar in Use. Why in the first sentence both continuous and simple are used but in the second only simple? 1. I hear you're having your house repainted. How 's it looking? (or How does it look?) 2. I bought this new dress today. How does it look?Read More...
Sorry DocV, I just wanted to test whether we can send an empty post or not. Then I deleted the empty post. I was not offended at all. I know it was only a joke.Read More...
Last Reply By tara · First Unread Post

Word order

1. Mr James Parker in his book “Over the Rainbow” suggested that a successful business has the following characteristics. 2. In his book “Over the Rainbow”, Mr James Parker suggested that a successful business has the following characteristics. 3. Mr James Parker suggested in his book “Over the Rainbow” that a successful business has the following characteristics. which one is correct? And which one do you prefer? It seems to me that 1 and 2 are correct. Where should “in his book xxx” be...Read More...
I am in complete agreement with David here. The indicative "has" and the subjunctive "have" both work, and the choice of which to use changes the meaning of the sentence entirely. I neglected to make that point clear in my previous post. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Word Order

ahmad
Hello, everyone, A. Approval is accorded to the change as requested for. B. Accorded is approval to the change as requested for. C. The change as requested for is accorded approval. 1. Are any of the above sentences acceptable? Thanks.Read More...
Gustavo, thanks a lot for your help. DocV, it is great to hear from you. During my unfortunate absence, I immensely missed the ever-ready helpful responses of Gustavo, the enlightening and unrivaled erudition of David, and of course, that inexpressible joy that I feel hearing from you. Thanks.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

In/of

ahmad
Hello, everyone, Merriam Websters Dictionary defines Contraband among other ways as: "illegal or prohibited traffic in goods" https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contraband 1. Why is there an in and not an of before goods ? Thanks.Read More...
Thanks, Gustavo. It really helped.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

comparative

A. It took three times longer than I expected. B. It took three times as long as I expected. A controversial question. Do the above sentences have the same meaning?Read More...
That's a fair question. As with many such expressions, many speakers don't really think about the literal meaning of the words they're saying. Another common example in English began with the expression "I couldn't care less", which is intended to convey the idea that the speaker does not care at all, so it would be literally impossible for him to care any less than he already does. Another similar expression is the more sarcastic "as if I could care", whereby the speaker implies that it is...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

remain;remains

1.Where they came from and why they disappeared __________ an open question. a. remain b. remains Are they both correct? 2. Where they came from and why they disappeared ____________ open questions. a. remain b. remains Are they both correct? Thanks!Read More...
Thank you very much, David, for sharing that quote. It's an extraordinary coincidence that you should have found that text. Personally, I'd opt for the singular above, as "unclear" clearly refers to the content of those questions and not to those clauses as questions. With the verb "be," the best proof is, I think, extraposing the subject: - What he thought of it and what he suffered was unclear. - It was unclear what he thought of it and what he suffered. That's a clever remark. With...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Do you have 'any' books? 'vs' Do you have books?

Hi there, do I need to use any in questions and negative sentences when using plural nouns? Is it necessary to use any in the following sentences? I have found a site Do you have children? vs. Do you have ANY children? Is there a difference? | Ask The Editor | Learner's Dictionary that says It is not necessary. If I omit any will that be grammatical? Here are some examples: Hey John, do you have any books? Last month, I visited a rain forest. I did not see any animals there. To me It seems...Read More...
I wouldn't say it is mandatory, but usual. I did not see animals there sounds as if the person saw something else, that is, anything but animals.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Zero Article/Definite Article/Indefinite Article

ahmad
Hello, everyone, 1. Which of the following sentences is/are correct? A. Someone in this room has been to hospital today. B. Someone in this room has been to a hospital today. C. Someone in this room has been to the hospital today. Thanks. PS: I am taking it to be the case that there are more than one hospitals in the area, and that there is no prior reference to or any mention of any hospital etc.Read More...
Thanks, David.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

Intend

ahmad
Hello, everyone, A happy new year to all of you. A. The event intended to introduce students to broader perspective and scope of Management Studies. B. The event was intended to introduce students to broader perspective and scope of Management Studies. 1. Are both the sentences correct? 2. Do I need to put 'Management Studies' in lower case? Thanks.Read More...
Thanks a lot, David. I have been unbelievably busy for last few months, which is why I replied so late.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

Singular Or Plural Nouns With "No" When "Except" Is Used

Should I use singular countable nouns or plural countable nouns with no along with the word except ? There is no scientist who is as renowned as Einstein except Stephen Hawking. There are no scientists who are as renowned as Einstein except Stephen Hawking. I have no book except this red one. I have no books except this red one. I know it is more natural to use no with countable plural nouns in general. So we would generally say "There are no scientists in the hall." and "I don't have any...Read More...
The reason might be that you are contrasting a plural noun with a singular one. However, I have to say I like none of those sentences, and would resort to "only" to express those ideas in a more natural way, for example: - The only scientist who is as renowned as Einstein is Stephen Hawking. - This red book is the only one I have.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Spaghetti and meatballs is/are my favorite dish.

Hello, Spaghetti and meatballs is/are a good meal. Spaghetti and meatballs is/are a good dish. Chicken and biscuits is/are a good meal. Chicken and biscuits is/are a good dish. My question is - Is “is” or “are” correct in these situations? ThanksRead More...
I know, DocV. I used it as a joke. Speaking more than one language is something one acquires. Also, I used "born" as attached to the verb "be," not as an adjective for "polyglots": We were born / polyglots // They were born / poor.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

A/the tiger

Hi there, suppose in an exam I am told to write a paragraph about "tiger"? Should I start with a or the ? A/the tiger is a ferocious animal. It eats flesh. It has four legs. Its skin is yellow with black stripes on it. Do they both sound natural? Can I say "A cheetah is faster than any other animal."? Or should I say "The cheetah is faster than any other animal."?Read More...
Hi, Subhajit: In each case, "a" is possible, but "the" is much better .Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Save

What is the best answer in this sentence :"Good swimmers (save - do) their power for the last distance.Read More...
Hello, Emad, "Save" is the better answer, of course. "Do their power" is meaningless. The sentence is a bit awkward. Here is a better way to phrase the idea: Good swimmers save their energy for the last part of the race.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

long OR hard

He did a lot of exercises in the club. What a .......... day! long - hard I think both answers are correct.Read More...
I agree with Hussein that "hard" is the better answer, and I agree with Mr. P that both are correct. Either way, the sentence appears to be sarcastic. Doing a lot of exercises in a club does not make one's entire day hard or long. It could be that he was lazy for most of the day, even though he managed to do a lot of exercises in the club. Perhaps that was the only thing he managed to do all day!Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Grammar

1. I have been used to working here since last year. 2. I had been used to working here until jenny showed up. Plz tell me what does it mean,when i use 'have been used 'to or 'had been used to' in a sentence.Read More...
Hello, Hasib Rahman, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! We're happy to have you with us. In the future, when you ask a grammar question here, please give the thread a title that is descriptive of its grammatical contents so other members and visitors will have a sense of what the thread is about. This thread could have been titled "had/have been used to," for example. In "used to V-ing," "used" is an adjective meaning "accustomed." Sentence (1) means "I have been accustomed to working here...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

apart from that one

Which are correct: 1) There are other good books about Kennedy's assassination than that one. 2) There are other good books about Kennedy's assassination besides that one. 3) There are other good books about Kennedy's assassination apart from that one. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Navi, I'm kind of OK with (2). To me, the use of "than" in (1) demands a more obvious comparative: 1a: There are better books about Kennedy's assassination than that one. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

of vs in

1. This problem is more difficult than that one. Actually, this is the most difficult problem of the book . 2. Sharks are more dangerous than whales. They are the most dangerous animals of the sea . I am not happy with "of the book, of the sea". Shouldn't they be: in the book, in the sea? (Source: Iran's English Coursebooks, grade 12)Read More...
Hello, Freeguy -- I am not happy with them, either. Yes, they should, at least from the standpoint of idiomaticity. "Of the book" is technically OK in (1), but there is the distracting sense that the problem may belong to the book. You could, however, use the possessive and speak of "the book's most difficult problem." That would naturally be interpreted as referring to the most difficult problem in the book. As for (2), you could use "of" and "in": "the most dangerous animal of all the...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
×
×
×
×