January 2020

will vs. going to

He hasn't studied hard enough. He won't / isn't going to pass the exams. The plate is very hot. If you touch it, you will burn / are going to burn yourself. What are the best choices, please? Thanks!Read More...
Both choices are possible in all your questions, especially (1) and (2). You are pushing towards 'is going to' but the problem with your questions is that my knowledge of his studying hard doesn't represent clear evidence for his success. Concerning the third question, I see that if the focus is on 'anything', the better answer will be 'isn't going to'. However, 'will' works well in all your questions, as well.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

(The) use of articles in/with. (The) article use in/with

Hello! I'd like to know if I should use "the" in the noun phrases above. I was sure that we need no article before "use of articles/article use or usage in English" when speaking in general. But I've found an article about article usage entitled " The Use of Articles in English Writing ". Its subtitles, such as “Use of Articles in Science Writing” and “Use of Articles With Plural Nouns VS. Single Count Nouns," have no article. Why is it so? Is "the" necessary or optional in the title? Is...Read More...
Sorry for the confusion. I'll take note of your remark. Thank you for your help!Read More...
Last Reply By Alexey86 · First Unread Post

Tenses

It (rained /was raining) for three days. The farmers were happy to water their land. What is the right answer?Read More...
Yes, thank you. I apologize for the delay. Please allow a day or two for a response. While I like to monitor the forum fairly continuously when not asleep, my various responsibilities do not always permit me to do so. When I have to choose between the forum and things which I get paid to do—or which affect loved ones in my life, or which impact my future—the forum takes a back seat. Yes, I agree with you, Mr. Musa, that that sentence works. While I appreciate Ahmed_btm's commentary, and his...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

I wish I would

Hi Two days ago, I read here a sentence concerning " wish " , which made me confused because I have always known that we can't use " would " if the subjects before and after " wish " are the same. Your sentence was, I Wish I WOULD dream of her when I fall asleep. Please explain this point and It will be generous of you if you provide me with a reference which supports this point. Thanks in advance.Read More...
"I wish I would" is perfectly correct in the right context -- not only in American English but in other varieties as well . Here is one context that would be fitting for "I wish I would dream of her when I fall asleep." Let's suppose that the speaker has been having a lot of bad dreams, or nightmares, so many that he can predict that he will continue to have bad dreams in the foreseeable future. His dreaming is, as Ahmed_btm indicated, out of his control. He wishes he would dream of her when...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

[have been asking] or [have asked]

(1a) A lot of students have asked Professor Brown how to solve the most difficult physics problem in the textbook. So, he will show the solution next class. (my example) (1b) A lot of students have been asking Professor Brown how to solve the most difficult physics problem in the textbook. So, he will show the solution next class. (my friend's revision) (2a) A lot of people have been asking me how old I am. I don't want to tell them. (my example) (2b) A lot of people have asked me how old I...Read More...
Thanks.Read More...
Last Reply By ansonman · First Unread Post

the choice of articles; if any

Hello! I am reading an article now entitled “Count, mass, definite, specific, generic? What determines the choice of articles in Standard English.” I have three questions: 1. Does “the choice of articles” mean a particular type of choice, not a particular type of article choice? How will it affect the meaning if I replace "the" with "a"? 2. The author says, “It is important for all L2 learners of English to understand the count vs. mass distinction, as it is one of the factors that determine...Read More...
I got it! She asked shortly before, "How does the hearer acquire familiarity with the referent?" So, it's an actual occurrence of the definite article that helps the hearer, not the abstract category. But we can also say any way (= a way) in which we select articles may be based on more than one factor. I still can' t see the necessity of "the" here. I would understand your point if you implied "at any given moment".Read More...
Last Reply By Alexey86 · First Unread Post

wrong, wrongly

Hello. In the following sentence, can I use "wrongly" instead of "wrong"? I can't differentiate between them. - He answered the questions wrong. He got low marks. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed, Yes, you can. Grammatically speaking, when the adverb comes before the verb we always use ' wrongly' . Michael Swan (page 27) says: "'Wrong' can be used informally instead of 'wrongly' after a verb." Compare: - I wrongly believed that you wanted to help me. - You guessed wrong. Also, "wrongly" is much more formal than 'wrong', but there are certain expressions with wrong such as: ' go wrong', 'get something wrong', 'don't get me wrong' and 'get/have it all wrong'.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

definite articles

Hello. Could you please help? I'm really confused about articles. Which one is correct or both? - (A - The) station is a place where passengers can get on or off a train. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed Imam Attia, Unless the noun being defined is a proper name or a noun of which there is only one of the kind, we tend to use "a" to define singular count nouns.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

what=whatever/anything?

Hello, Here is a sentence: Service is what customers care about most. My teacher says the sentence can not only be rewritten as a1 or a2: a1. Service is that which customers care about most. / a2. Service is the thing which customers care about most. but also be rewritten as a3 or a4: a3. Service is whatever customers care about most. / a4. Service is anything that customers care about most. I doubt a3 and a4 are acceptable. I can't seem to think of any context in which a3 or a4 is possible.Read More...
I think both "is" and "will be" work finely. That's very clear, David. I hadn't realized that "what" reads differently from the other options.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

try to do / try doing

Hello. I wanted to advise my friend but I got confused about which form I should use after "try". Could you help me? - Why don’t you try to drink less coffee if you want to be healthier? - Why don’t you try drinking less coffee if you want to be healthier? Thank you.Read More...
If you suggest a solution to a problem, then "Try doing" will be the answer.Read More...
Last Reply By Wael Shaltoot · First Unread Post

a OR the language barrier

(1a) One of the greatest challenges new immigrants face is a language barrier. (my version) (1b) One of the greatest challenges new immigrants face is the language barrier. (my non-native English speaking friends' version) Who is correct? Thank you for spending time giving me helpful feedback.Read More...
Thank you, Gustova, for your explanation. Before I created this post here, my non-native English speaking friends had posted the same question on two other English language forums. We would like to see other native English speakers' perspectives and feedback on the same inquiry. Very often, we receive a variety of responses, which at times show different opinions. On the other forums, all the members except one advised us to use "challenges" instead of "barriers", as shown in (1b). (1b) One...Read More...
Last Reply By ansonman · First Unread Post

Provided that and supposing

You can go to the park ....you are home at 8 o'clock (provided that/as long/supposing/in case)Read More...
'Supposing' is mostly used with counter-factual situations and when you use it, you imagine the result. The speaker here isn't imagining anything. He is giving permission but has one condition, which is that the addressee must be home at 8 o'clock.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

laughter

Which are correct: 1) I couldn't speak because of laughing. 2) I couldn't speak for laughing. 3) I couldn't speak from laughing. 4) I couldn't speak because of laughter. 5) I couldn't speak for laughter. 6) I couldn't speak from laughter. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi—None of the sentences works for me. I recommend this revision: 7a) I was laughing so hard I couldn't speak. 7b) I couldn't speak, I was laughing so hard.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

became (the) champion

I have written down the two similar examples below. (1a) At the world championships, he defeated his opponent and became the champion. (1b) At the world championships, he defeated his opponent and became champion. (my friends' revision) My non-native English speaking friends think the sentence sounds more natural without the definite article for "champion". Are they right? Thank you very much for your time and help.Read More...
Hi, Ansonman—I agree with your friends and with Ahmed that the sentence is better without "the" before "champion." The omission of this article often happens when there is a position that only one person fills at a time. I thought you might find the following statistics interesting. From the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA): "Reagan became president": 26 "Reagan became the president": 0 "Clinton became president": 21 "Clinton became the president": 0 "Bush became president": 26...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Noun-noun agreement (I think?)

Which of the following is correct: John and Mike are excluded as the sources of the single hair. John and Mike are excluded as the source of the single hair. Thanks.Read More...

Tenses

I (was sitting - had sit - had been sitting) in the boat for two hours when I caught a huge fish. Which one is correct?Read More...
Hi, You need "had been sitting" there as Ahmed told you because you need to express that, by the time you caught the fish, you had already been sitting in the boat for two hours (past before past). Without the "for"-adverbial, "was sitting" would be fine: - I was sitting in a boat when I caught a huge fish.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

About pronoun..

Even before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in central South America, the Inca had begun to suffer from the European arrival in the New World, for the Europeans brought diseases with them that peoples in the Americas had no immunity to. Is it wrong if I use 'themselves' instead of them? I thought 'them' means Europeans. Who or what is the 'them'?Read More...
The reflexive indicates that the action affects or reverts to the subject. That's not the case with "bring sth with you." From the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English : bring somebody/something with you For some reason, Jesse had brought a tape recorder with him.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

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...
Okay, I understand. I think that's another angle, but both angles give the same result.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

Question about double adjective on appositive...?

So, I know the rule about using a comma between two adjectives for a single noun, but I don't know what to do when the noun itself is in an appositive clause, as in the following sentence: "I found the king, a tall, fair man." I suppose I could change the comma to an "and," but I generally don't like how this changes the rhythm of the sentence. Any advice on what to do besides this? Thanks!Read More...
Hi, Trig—I don't know if this sentence is your own or one that you have found, but the verb ("found") makes me question whether the appositive was intended as an appositive. "I found the king a tall, fair man" would mean the same thing as "I found the king (to be) tall and fair." If, however, the appositive was intended as such, then the comma between "tall" and "fair" is perfectly fine, as it is in the following sentence: "She likes John, a tall, fair man." If you find the first comma...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

subject-verb agreement

First impression and how effective it can be plays an important role in communication. ... It's a sentence from a mock exam held in Iran. To me, the sentence is not well written. Here's my revision: A first impression (or First impression s ) and how effective it can be play an important role in communication. Well, It's a compound (plural) subject, consisting of two distinct things, the impression and how it is received. So the verb should be plural. One of my colleagues, however, disagrees...Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, I agree with your friend about the verb being fine in the singular, based on this (taken from The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style ):Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

most beautiful

a. Tina is most beautiful in her class. b. Tina is the most beautiful in her class. c. Tina is best. d. Tina is best in her class. Are the above sentences are grammatically correct? If (c) is correct, is there a difference between (c) and e. Tina is the best. ? Many thanksRead More...
Hi, Azz, (c) does not make sense to me. You need to specify where Tina is best. (e) is fine (the place or area where she is the best can be implicit in the context when the relative superlative -- with "the" -- is used). However, when "best" is used as an absolute superlative you need to specify the area where the person shows their best version.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

the secrets to long life in

Hello! The Wiki article about "After Many a Summer" by Huxley has the following sentence: "Stoyte hires Dr. Obispo and his assistant Pete to research the secrets to long life in carp, crocodiles, and parrots. " I have three questions: 1. Is "to long" an infinitive or a part of the prepositional phrase "to long life in..."? I think it's an infinitive, otherwise there would be "a" before "long life". 2. Why is "carp" used in a singular form with no article? Shouldn't it be "in carps"? 3. Can I...Read More...
Thank you for your clarification!Read More...
Last Reply By Alexey86 · First Unread Post

More than one+ singular noun

Greetings! Sentence: Complex lexical bases are those composed of more than one morphological element. Questions: Could you explain why the singular "element" is used? I know it should be singular, but what's the logic behind this? I'm thinking "more than one" means, for example, 2 or 3 or more. That's plural, right?Read More...
Okay, I get it.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post
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