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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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Where are the replies to old posts?

I've searched the forum for a topic that I've posted before but I can't view the reply. How can I view the replies? An example is the post with the title "Past" At 8:30 yesterday, we were watching TV. I usually see the past cont. used in this sentence and similar ones and I wonder why the past simple is not used. At 8:30 yesterday, we watched TV.Read More...
Here you go, Rasha. Two replies are associated with this thread: Gustavo's excellent answer and your thank-you note to him. For the sake of thoroughness, I am quoting both posts and showing you everything I see on my end. If any member reading this has any idea what "CONTENT TYPE RECIPE CONDITION" might mean, please share your thoughts. That is the category under which all the posts that went "missing" in the transplant are listed. To reiterate, I have reason to believe that "Approve Reply"...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Definite or indefinite article

Hi there, What article would you use in the following sentence: The earth revolves around the sun at a (or the) rate 365 1/4 days per year. I think both the options are possible. Am I wrong? Thank you in advance for your help.Read More...
Hi, Eternal Hope, I would revise the entire sentence: The earth revolves around the sun every 365 1/4 days.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

I am lacking in confidence vs I am lacking confidence

Hi, Please accept my greetings from India. I have been grappling with the usage of the word 'lack'. I have gone through various resources including well-reputed dictionaries to untangle it, however, the ambiguity persists regarding its actual categorization as a part of speech. According to the references, 'lacking' is a participle hence should be followed by the preposition 'in'; 'lack' is a verb (transitive/intransitive) and hence should follow a direct object or proposition for its...Read More...
Durrani, Some of these don't have really easy answers. Sometimes a certain combination of words just sounds better. I hate using that explanation, because it always sounds to me like my mother screaming "BECAUSE I TOLD YOU SO!". For what it's worth, let me offer these suggestions: 5 (as iterated before): The confidence that he lacked cost him the election. 5a (your example): The lacked confidence cost him the election. 5b (new): His lack of confidence cost him the election. So far, I like...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

out

What does it mean? out Eg: In the evening when the school was out, two strangers at the school gate greeted Peter.Read More...
Please! Is it possible to leave Alice Cooper's classic rock anthem "School's Out" (1972) out of this discussion? "School's Out" by Alice Cooper I agree with David, that "out", when referring to school, usually means that there is a holiday break, but it can also simply refer to the end of the day, as in your example. Of course, in the context of the song, "out" can mean "out of fashion", or "unpopular". Bear_bear, you surely have access to a dictionary that can advise you of many meanings of...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Past simple and Present Perfect

ceedhanna
(a)-Where’s your key? (b)-I don’t know. I ............................................ (lose) it. I did German at school but I ............................................ (forget) most of it. I ............................................ (have) a headache earlier but I feel fine now. The police ............................................ (arrest) three people but later they let them go. Where’s my bike? I ....... (leave) it outside the house but now it ............ (disappear)! Oh, I...Read More...
Bitte.Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

punctuation - how would you punctuate this?

I wrote this sentence yesterday and was wondering if I punctuated it correctly: "Headlines today include Don "lashing", "raging" and "slamming." I'm getting tired of this languaging (& behavior)." wondering if the commas go inside or outside the series of quotes.Read More...
So, regarding point 1, I hope you understand and appreciate my suggestions. Regarding 2, it always helps when our members describe what constraints they are under. And, as I said, the language is evolving. It could very well be that in a few years, "languaging" will be considered a perfectly cromulent word. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Find the mistake and correct it

I was doing some questions about "used to" when i saw this question which puzzled me. It said find the mistake and correct it: 1) I would have a white cat . 2) I used to drive to work last year . If any one saw a mistake in these two sentences , please enlighten me Thanks in advanceRead More...
Unlike "used to," which expresses habit by itself, I think that for "would" to work in the second sentence some adverbial of frequency denoting repetition of the action in the past would be required, for example: 1.3) When I lived in the countryside, I would drive to work every morning .Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

a moment that wasn't

The headline of a CNN news of August 11 reads, "In Trump's White House, Charlottesville was a moment that wasn't." What does "Charlottesville was a moment that wasn't" mean?Read More...
Hi, Fujibei: I find the headline extremely unclear with the contraction of "was" and "not" ("wasn't"). I believe that the intended meaning is the one that would stand out if "was" and "not" were not contracted and if "was" were stressed: In Trump's White House, Charlottesville was a moment that was not I think that the simple past-tense form of "be" ("was") is being used in the sense of "exist." In Trump's White House, Charlottesville (i.e., the event that occurred in Charlottesville a year...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

all honey and no sting

Could you tell me the meaning and example of the idiom - all honey and no sting? Even I search through the Internet, but I failed to get the meaning. Thanks.Read More...
I've never heard "all honey and no sting," bear_bear, but it's clearly a reference to bees. Bees make honey (which is good from the standpoint of customary human perception), and bees sting (which is bad from the standpoint of customary human perception). Thus, if someone were said to be all honey and no sting, the idea would be that she is sweet and kind and never causes anyone any harm. Here is a related idiom which is much more common: "all bark and no bite."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

for what he did

Are these sentences correct: 1) He is a bad person for what he did to you. 2) He is not a good person for what he did to you. Does '2' mean the same as '1'? Is it ambiguous? I think it can mean: 3) What he did to you doesn't make him a good person. but I don't know if it could also mean the same as '1'. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Thank you very much, DocV, Your replies are great and are always appreciated. You, Gustavo and David are doing a wonderful job on this forum. You know exactly why I'm asking a question and what I'm looking for. You guys are great. I hope that the old posts will be restored. So many hours of work went into their production. Gratefully and respectfully, NaviRead More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

Usage of definite article "the"

Is it mandatory to use the in the following sentence? If I omit the from the sentence, will that be correct and what difference in meaning will it create? Anyone who has good knowledge of the language please answer. I have asked this kind of question many time on this site, you people helped me a lot, still I have some doubt about the usage of the . Here's the example: As a teacher, I feel disappointed for (the) students who could not pass last year's maths exam. I know I can say "As a...Read More...
Subha, here's my best take on your question: 1: As a teacher, I feel disappointed for a student who could not pass last year's math exam. To me, this means that there is one particular non-passing student that the teacher feels disappointed for, regardless of how many there were that failed. It is also possible to see the article "a" as more encompassing, so that (1) could potentially seen as implying some of these other examples. 2: As a teacher, I feel disappointed for any student who...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Can I say “in force”

Hello, I have agreed to meet someone at particular time and place. It is raining. And I am not sure if the peson will come. Can I ask: ”Is our arrangement in force?” meaning, are we still going to meet as agreed? If “in force”is wrong (which is word for word translation from my native language), how can I express this meaning in English. Thanks.Read More...
Good point, Gustavo. It is certainly true that we can use "in force" in legal contexts. To give a mundane example, a driver might ask himself or his passenger(s), "Is the no-U-turn rule at this intersection still in force at this time of day?" Such traffic laws are sometimes -- i.e., in certain specific places -- in force (and enforced) only during certain time periods. Returning to the topic of how to check whether social plans are still in effect, I wish to emphasize the appropriateness,...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

luxury

Hi, A: Dirty dishes are my least favorite part of cooking. So my husband and kids do the dishes. B: As a single person, I don't have that luxury. What does 'I don't have that luxury' mean in the context? Thank you very much.Read More...
Yes, Yama. In the context, "that luxury" means "the luxury of being able to have my husband and kids do the dishes." The speaker doesn't have that luxury because she is single: she doesn't have a husband and probably has no kids.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Mountain ranges: always a plural verb?

I know that mountain ranges take a plural verb: The Rockies are in the western part of the United States; the Alps are high mountains in Europe; the Appalachians run parallel to the east coast of the U.S., etc. But what about a sentence like this: The Catskills is/ are the New York City watershed? HowardRead More...
Further on "Himalaya(s)": I suspect that English is Pandit's main language. Anyway, the book is published by Harvard University Press, so it should be written in American English, and indeed is- -except for "Himalaya." Probably the editor and author battled it out over this one, and the author won, which in a way (I'm usually author!) I like. Here is what he writes on p. 3, with my comments in square brackets [ ]: "Let me begin by pointing out the use of Himalaya in singular form throughout...Read More...
Last Reply By Jim Seymour · First Unread Post

"present perfect" vs "past Perfect"

Hi there, should I use 'haven't occurred' or 'hadn't occurred' in the context? Yesterday a tragic bus accident happened in Kolkata. At least 60 people died in the accident. The bus driver was found responsible for the accident. It is not that accidents like this hadn't occurred/haven't occurred before but the number of deaths had never risen/have never risen to that point before. In the above context which tense I should use? I think if I use present perfect it mean before now but as the...Read More...
Thank you. I think I have got your point. Suppose, after one year of the accident, if no accident has taken so many lives so far I can use present perfect. If another accident like that occurs and takes more lives I should use past perfect. Am I right? So after a year, no accident like that takes more lives, I can say: Last year , a tragic bus accident happened in Kolkata. At least 60 people died in the accident. The bus driver was found responsible for the accident. Accidents like this had...Read More...
Last Reply By subhajit123 · First Unread Post

Fallen/falling

Hi all GE members and Moderators, "Fallen leaves " are leaves that have fallen on the ground while "falling leaves" are leaves that are still falling down from trees. How about "a falling tree"? Does it mean that a tree has just been chopped and is still in the progress of falling? I asked because I just read an example about present participles used as adjectives and the example given is "a falling tree". Many thanksRead More...
To complete the answer to the question implied by your subject heading, a "fallen" tree is one that is no longer "falling", but is now most likely lying on the ground. DocV PS: Is "TONYCK 2" different from the old "tonyck" that we used to know?Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Past simple & present perfect

Can any one help me find the mistake in this sentence ? It came after an explanation of tenses . She went to a state school before going to a private school , but she didn't like it . Thanks .Read More...

Past and present tenses

Can any one tell me what the mistake is in this sentence . It's in an ESL book to test understanding of tenses . It says : They didn't visit Paris before . I guessed that the writer wanted us to use the present perfect instead of the past simple . However , even if my guess turned out out to be right , I still don't know why it should be so . I need your help . Thanks in advance .Read More...
Thanks for your reply . But , the example you mentioned which said ( " they didn't visit Paris before they got married ." Made another question pop up . Is there a difference in meaning between your example and the following sentence . " they hadn't visited Paris before they got married ."Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

go noodle around

Hi, I’m just going to go noodle / noodling around on the piano for a little while. Should we use go noodle around or go noodling around here and why? Thank you very much.Read More...
Definitely, Kuen. As I said, "go and [verb]" works with most verbs in the simple present. The verbs it works with, however, tend to be verbs denoting activities.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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