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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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start

Hi, Which sentence is correct? How do we use 'start' in a situation like this below? 1. He starts every other dog in the neighborhood to barking. 2. He starts every other dog in the neighborhood to bark. 3. He starts every other dog in the neighborhood barking. Thanks a lot.Read More...

past or present perfect

Could you please answer this question? He is walking to work as he ....................................... his car since last Monday. (sold/has sold )Read More...
Hi, I think both options are wrong. Only these would work, in my opinion: - He is walking to work as he has sold his car. - He is walking to work as he sold his car last Monday . - He has been walking to work since last Monday , when he sold his car. - He sold his car last Monday , and has been walking to work ever since / since then.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Use of comma

Should I use a comma in the next sentence? The police could not find the source of the fire, nor could the fire chief.Read More...
I agree. I'd say that it is the inversion following "nor" that causes a break between both coordinate clauses. A comma is required between a clause in normal order and an inverted one. Here are some more examples taken from the Longman Dictionary: - I don’t expect children to be rude , nor do I expect to be disobeyed. - They couldn’t understand it at the time , and nor could we . - Worrall was not at the meeting , nor was he at work yesterday . The same happens if the second clause is...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

a little money

1) Money is better than absolute poverty. 2) A little money is better than absolute poverty. 3) Some money is better than absolute poverty. 4) No money is better than being heavily in debt. Which of the above are grammatically correct and make sense? Which are idiomatic? Which are acceptable in formal English? . Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Thank you very much, DocV, I do appreciate it, but I wasn't sure it was really there. Respectfully, NaviRead More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

in 1973

1) “I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia in 1973,” singer Roger Daltrey said in a statement to Rolling Stone . Source: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/detail-first-album-13-years-161130863.html Quadrophenia was an album that came out in 1973. It was the only album by that name. The question is whether the sentence quoted in '1' is correct and, if it is, how should 'in 1973' be parsed? The meaning of the first sentence is: “I think we’ve made our best album since...Read More...
Wow! It is good to have DocV around! I had completely forgotten the soundtrack album! Thank you all very much! NaviRead More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

"A/an" vs "one" vs "you" vs "someone"

Hi there, can anyone please tell me what the difference between a/an , one and you in the following sentences? Are they all correct and do they mean the same? One should be careful around one’s stove to avoid burning oneself . You should be careful around your stove to avoid burning yourself . A person should be careful around their stove to avoid burning themselves . And.......... 4. How to tell if one has diabetes? 5. How to tell if you have diabetes? 6. How to tell if someone has...Read More...

Use of hyphen

Which of the following is correct? 1) de-operationalize 2) deoperationalizeRead More...
Hi, Shivam Raj, That word is not in any dictionary that I know of, though I don't want to discourage you from using it. Prefixes can often be added to verbs. Both ways of spelling the word are correct, and there is another option as well. You could use a diaeresis above the o : deöperationalize.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

dangling modifier

Hi, teachers I'd like to know whether this sentence in the attachment Ok or not. I think it is a misrelated participle. By the way, it is from our text book for secondary stage in Egypt.Read More...
To clarify what the Longman editor meant, it is not that such sentences are ungrammatical. They are perfectly grammatical. But they are grammatical with respect to a meaning that the speaker did not intend. Analogously, the sentence "He punched him" is perfectly grammatical, provided that the referent of "him" is different from the referent of "he." It is ungrammatical if "him" is to refer to the same person as "he": He punched him. ≠ He punched himself.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Why is the simple present?

--"You bring news, I trust?" (Harry Porter) Why not the simple past instead? Thanks😀Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng, The simple past would have a totally different meaning. The speaker means to refer to the present, not to the past. The simple present is being used instead of the present perfect ("You have brought news") or the present progressive ("You are bringing news"). The usage of the simple present here is the same as the one that we often hear in live sports commentary. It is a specialized use of the simple present. He shoots! He scores! The crowd goes wild!Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

best/the best

Which are correct: 1) We have a lot of colors to choose from. Which color would you say is best? 2) We have a lot of colors to choose from. Which color would you say is the best? 3) We could use one, two or three colors. One color is best. I don't care which one is used, but one color is best. 4) We could use one, two or three colors. One color is the best. I don't care which one is used, but one color is the best. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Thank you very much, DocV, I thought that '4' might mean the same as '3' as well as being a self-contradictory statement. Apparently it has only one meaning and that meaning is self-contradictory. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

Prepositions

Hi, Which is or are Ok? 1-"Many websites allow people to upload videos from their computers." 2-Many websites allow people to download videos from their computers."Read More...
Hello, Ahmed and DocV, I would think that we can use two other prepositions in context NO. 2; 2b: Many websites allow people to download videos on their computers. 2c: Many websites allow people to download videos onto their computers.Read More...
Last Reply By Hussein Hassan · First Unread Post

Prepositions

Hi, "Sara has got a new job. She works.........computers." A- with B- onRead More...
Ahmed, I'm sure I've seen this question before. Both are correct but they mean different things. (A) can mean that she does programming, editing, data entry, etc, and uses computers to facilitate her job. (B) means that she is a technician who builds and tests the computers themselves, repairs them, or performs maintenance on them. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

a long way

a. There is a long way to go for women to be treated equally with men. Can one say whether the women have to go that long way or society or....? Who is going to cover that long distance? Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz, "for women to be treated equally with men" is an event, and the passive renders the first interpretation unlikely. I think the sentence can only be interpreted as meaning: - There is a long way for this to happen.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

make life bearable

Hi, What does 'make life bearable' mean in this sentence? "To me, peanut butter is the only thing that makes life bearable." Thanks a lot.Read More...
Hi, Kuen, The speaker is saying that, to him, life would be unbearable without peanut butter. "Life" refers to the burdens of life, or to the burden of life itself. An unbearable burden is a burden that cannot be borne. "Make life bearable" here means "make an unbearable burden (or unbearable burdens) bearable." Grammatically, the structure is the same as the one we find in sentences like "He made it red," "She makes him happy," etc.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Using 'for' with time

Hello, In my area (in the UK) we regularly use 'for' as a preposition of time. For example, "Could you finish this for 5?" (as in, "Could you finish this by 5?"), a non-native English speaker corrected me and said 'for' can't be used as a preposition of time. I have tried to research this, but it seems like it's something that isn't technically correct. So, I'm wondering if this is just a dialect quirk of where I live, if it's a British English thing, or if this is actually correct but isn't...Read More...
Hello, Lauraaliali, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I don't think the difference between "for" and "by" in adverbials of time indicating deadlines is a BrE/AmE issue. Both are correct but slightly different. While "for" introduces the due date on which some task needs to be completed, "by" means "no later than": - Could you finish this for 5? ( Delivery is expected to take place at 5.) - Could you finish this by 5? (Delivery is expected to take place anytime no later than 5, or at 5 at...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

The Devil spawn or Devil's spawn?

Hi there! I'm a bit confused and I need help with this. I've seen both "The Devil spawn" and "The Devil's spawn" Which one is correct or are both correct?Read More...
Sadude, Welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I can't help but wonder why this question should be so important, but I'll answer it anyway. "Spawn" here means "child" or "offspring", and as such needs a proper possessive: "the Devil's spawn". DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Countability of "turnover" and "income"

Hi everyone! Could you please explain to me in what sense "turnover" and "income" can be countable? Cambridge Dictionary gives the following examples of "turnover" use: "Large supermarkets have high turnovers (= their goods sell very quickly)." "The business has an annual turnover of £50,000." Would it be incorrect to say that large supermarkets have high turnover , and the business has annual turnover of £50,000 ? And here are examples for "income": a high/ low income additional / extra...Read More...
Thank you for your help anyway, Gustavo!Read More...
Last Reply By Alexey86 · First Unread Post

After I (got - had got) to the stadium, I realized that the match had already started

Hello. Which tense is correct or both? After I (got - had got) to the stadium, I realised that the match had already started. Thank you.Read More...
No, but using past perfect there would make the sentence unnecessarily heavy.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

checkered past

Hi, According to urban dictionary online, 'checkered past' means "bad history of someone due to unreputable actions from the previous years." Does it mean the person has a checkered past because he committed a crime before or not necessarily? Can it be used in a positive way? Could you please give me some examples of it? Many thanks.Read More...
Kuen, As the Urban Dictionary says, the person has a history of unreputable actions. Not just one action, but actions plural. They might not have been crimes per se ; they may have been acts of dishonesty or betrayal that were unethical but still within the law. The point is that because of his checkered past, you should take extra care when deciding whether or not to trust him. I can't imagine any way that this term could be used to mean something positive about a person. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

They had been staying with us (since - for) the previous week.

Hello. In the following sentence, Which one is correct? If both are correct, what is the meaning of both? They had been staying with us (since - for) the previous week. Thank you.Read More...
Ahmed, 1: They had been staying with us since the previous week. Meaning: At the time of the event in question, they were staying with us, and had been since some time during the previous week. 2: They had been staying with us for the previous week. Meaning: At the time of the event in question, they were no longer staying with us, but had stayed with us the entire previous week. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Ahmed was left (to dream - dreaming) about his new life as a teacher.

Hello. Which verb form is correct? Ahmed was left (to dream - dreaming) about his new life as a teacher. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed Imam Attia, IMO, both are grammatically correct. Using 'dreaming', the emphasis lies on the progressive meaning, i.e. it refers to a present state then. Using 'to + inf.', the emphasis lies on something that would happen (in the near future).Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post
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