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January 2022

Present perfect & past simple

Tom (graduated _has graduated) from university this month. I have come across this sentence. The model answer is "graduated" Myself, "has graduated" is better . Did the model answer imply that the past simple is correct as the action will not take place again.Read More...
Hello, Wael Shaltoot and TheParser, In The Grammar of the English Verb Phrase Volume 1: The Grammar of the English Tense System: A Comprehensive Analysis , Renaat Declerck refers to "this week" as a "multi-zone temporal adverbial," that is, an adverbial that can combine with either the past simple (at some past time during this week) or the present perfect (this week which has not not yet finished). He says that the choice of tense depends on the speaker’s temporal focus. I think both...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Happy New Year!

David, Moderator
Dear Grammar Exchange members, May the new year bring happiness, health, and prosperity to all of you! I am looking forward to another year on the Grammar Exchange. Every year, I invariably encounter a handful of questions that challenge and enlighten me as I try to answer them, or see the answers posted by others, especially the answers of my expert Co-Moderator, Gustavo. Please know that everybody's questions are valued, whether we have seen the same type of question countless times before...Read More...
I'd like to wish a late happy new year to David, Gustavo, Navi and all the others here! May you all be happy, healthy, successful and curious! Long Live Grammar Exchange!Read More...
Last Reply By azz · First Unread Post

dictionary symbols

Hello. Could you help me, please? I'd like to understand the arrows (↔) symbol in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. What does it mean or guide us to? blow somebody ↔ out There is an attachment of a page from the dictionary. Thank you.Read More...
As a general rule, when the object is pronominal it must be placed between the verb and the particle: - I was ready to blow him out but I let him have his day. (from The New York Times ) NOT to blow out himRead More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

"It’s like a science podcast meets a period piece meets a mystery."

"It’s like a science podcast meets a period piece meets a mystery." It's from 60-SECOND SCIENCE , Scientific American. (04:02-04:09) Is this sentence grammatically correct? What's the grammar function of "meets a mystery"? Thanks!Read More...
Hi, Barry—This informal construction with "meets" is commonly found in descriptions of movies or novels that seem to the describer to be hybrids of other films. Typically, at least one specific film or novel is referred to in the construction. Also, "meets" is generally only used once. In your example, no specific works are referred to, but only types of works; and "meets" is used twice. I analyze the construction as one in which a sentence is used as a noun , and, in a common variation of...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Think + N + Adj

Hello everyone. 1. Can you think yourself young? https://amp.theguardian.com/sc...ng-ageing-psychology Is the structure similar to that of this one? 2. He roared himself hoarse. Thanks in advance.Read More...
Thanks Gustavo, for the story and for those annotations! I think I have actually watched a film with similar plot, where the selected people were gathered in a room and they had to vote for one of them to die, and then the machine guns did their job, something like that.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

Phrasal verb; give up

Hello. Could you please help me? Which of the following sentences is correct and which isn't? Why? 1- The match ended when one of the two players gave up to the other. 2- The match ended when one of the two players gave up. 3- The match ended when one of the two players gave to the other up. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed Imam Attia, I'd go with '2'. 'Give up' here means to 'admit defeat'. I think '1' could work if you use 'gave in'. '3' doesn't work at all.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

a village or the country?

Essam Nasr
Choose: I live in a city and my grandparents live in ( a village - the country) among the fields. Is this a reasonable question, or both choices can work here? Please explain if there is a difference. Thanks in advance.Read More...
I agree with Gustavo that " in a village among the fields " is better than "in the country among the fields." Since to be among the fields is to be in the country, I think the other version needs a comma: " in the country, among the fields ." Incidentally, if this weren't an exercise, but were an actual attempt to communicate, it is possible to speak of living " in a country village ." We can even speak of living " among the fields in a country village ."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Will & Be + going to

Hi there I'd like to know which form is more accurate: (1) He is clever. He will pass the exam. (2) He is clever. He is going to pass the exam. According to what I read in Swan's PEU, I think WILL is more accurate. He says: " We prefer will for predictions when there isn't such outside evidence- when we are talking more about what is inside our heads: what we know, or believe, or have calculated." PEU 39-2 4th edition What do you think ?Read More...
Hi, Dr Ahmed—From a native-speaking standpoint, both answers are perfectly fine; neither of them is more accurate than the other. They can be used interchangeably: " You have nothing to worry about. He is clever. He {will / is going to} pass the exam. "Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

You are the weatherman, so take it

Weather forecast . . Weatherman: Well, oh, listen and be quiet. Man: Oh, I’ll listen and be quiet. Weatherman: And don’t interrupt. Man: Oh, yeah. I won’t interrupt. Weatherman: Will you sit down? Man: I’ll sit down. Weatherman: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Here is today’s weather forecast. It’s not very good; I’m afraid there’s a storm coming up. Man: Oh, you said, you predicted there would be sunshine for the rest of the week. Weatherman: Well, you can never be sure what’s going to...Read More...
Hi, David Thank you so much.Read More...
Last Reply By rezabc · First Unread Post

Do you say "set" or put" in this context?

I have no idea if it's preferable to say "set X on a firm foundation" or "put X on a firm foundation. See below. https://join.substack.com/p/could-mark-goodcare-help-illuminate the proposal is that historians need to adopt a methodology that will prevent errors and set the field of history on a firm logical and mathematical foundation.Read More...
Thank you again, Andrew, for your kind words. At the moment we have 17,687 members, but I think there are many guests who don't register and pass unnoticed. Since we moved from our old platform a few years ago, member nationalities have expanded immensely, which makes me think we are even more visible than we were in the past. We take this very seriously, but you should note that we do it on an unpaid basis and that, with those of us who answer questions being so few, it's really hard work.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

At the lobby versus in the lobby

Can someone explain the rationale of using different preposition for the word "lobby" We can meet at the lobby I am in the lobby at the moment waiting for youRead More...
Yes. Although "at" would not be incorrect, I find "in" to be more precise — the delivery guy will know for sure where to leave the parcel.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

into and onto - prepositional phrase

I am very confused with the use of the prepositional phrase "into" and "onto". For example: 1. Please provide your details as I need to add you into or onto our clients portal. 2. I will login to your PC or I will logon to your PC. Thank you in advance!Read More...
Thanks David! With the example given, should I conceptualize my electronic system as something that I open and put information into or as an object whose exterior I put information onto? Why cant I just say: Please provide your details as I need to add you in our clients portal.Read More...
Last Reply By Tony C · First Unread Post

When do you put quotes when defining an acronym?

1: Do I need quotes around the acronym below? Interestingly, I don't think that the NYT would deploy quotes in such a context! https://join.substack.com/p/quick-thoughts-on-rationality I’ll use the shorthand “RD” 2: Do I need quotes around the definition below? https://join.substack.com/p/quick-thoughts-on-rationality to refer to a “rational discussion with someone about one or more specific political issues”Read More...
The quotes are optional in each case, but be consistent.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Do you write "mid-70s" or "mid-'70s" when referring to the middle of the 1970s?

I checked the NYT, and they seem to go back and forth on this. I like the apostrophe myself. See below my sentence: I’d say that most linguists—even those who work within the mentalist Chomskyan tradition—understand MP to have abandoned the learnability/acquisition concerns that drove much of the research from the mid-’70s to the mid-’90s. But see here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/09/movies/the-capote-tapes-review.html The movie opens with onscreen texts referring to “a journalist’s”...Read More...
Hi, Andrew—Do you aspire to follow a specific code of style conventions, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago? If so, you should consult the respective style manual. If not, either orthographical form is fine, as you have already discovered. I myself dislike the apostrophe there; however, if you like it, I can respect that. If you want to avoid the issue, you can simply write "mid-nineteen-seventies," as the New Yorker does. I consider it the best-punctuated magazine in the U.S.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Subjunctive

How can the present and past subjunctive be used for the second person? I wish she were not married. I wish you were not married. Whether she be right or wrong, she will have my answering support. Whether you be right or wrong, she will have my answering support.Read More...
Okay, thank you, David.Read More...
Last Reply By David Toklikishvili · First Unread Post

Do you put "a" or "an" before an acronym when you would SAY "an"?

Let's say that the first letter in the acronym begins phonetically in such a way that you'd say "an" before the acronym. Do you then write "an"? Or do you just ignore phonetics and write "a"? Thanks so much! I've long wondered about this issue!Read More...
Hi, Andrew—Technically, an acronym is a word whose letters each stand for another word. For example, "SCUBA" stands for "Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus," "WASP" for "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant," and AIDS for "Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrom." We use articles with acronyms like the above just as we would with ordinary words like "apple," "car," etc. However, I assume that you mean to ask about initialisms like USA, FBI, CIA, etc. With these, article usage generally varies...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Reported second conditional

If I go to Moscow, I'll see the Red Square. (first conditional) George said if he went to Moscow he would see the Red Square. (reported First Conditional) If I went to Moscow, I would see the Red Square. (second conditional) George said if he went to Moscow he would see the Red Square. (reported Second Conditional) Reported first and second conditionals are identical in form, which is confusing. Does anyone know how to report Second Conditional in a different way? ThanksRead More...
Hi, David Toklikishvili, There is another possibility here. You can keep the time frame without any change if the proposition is still true. - George said if he goes to Moscow he will see the Red Square. From 'A Comprehensive Grammar Of The English Language', page 1031: "The past subjunctive or hypothetical past is backshifted to hypothetical past perfective if there is a change in time reference. Backshift is optional if the proposition is still valid." - "If I were in England, I would...Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Would have....

Can anyone explain the grammar behind this sentence: He would have been a little boy then. It's not hypothetical. He was actually a little boy then. This use of "would have" refers to situations when people reminisce about the past.Read More...
Hello, Alka, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I agree with Ahmed that "would" is the past of "will" in this type of usage and relates to expectation/prediction/presumption, and with Gustavo that "would" is more tentative than "was" or "were"; indeed, it is more tentative than "will." If someone was using my cell phone, and informed me, "Your phone just dinged" at a time when I often get texted by someone (John), I could say, "That must be John texting me." Or I could say, " That will be...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

season's greetings

Hello, Happy New Year to all. I have been wondering if "seasons greetings" without an apostrophe instead of "season's greeting" with an apostrophe is becoming common. I have often seen the title of the book, street signs, sings in the shop window without an apostrophe. I found several books in Amazon without an apostrophe. One of them is a "Seasons Greetings: poems about seasonal depression. The author writes as follows in the description of the book, using "Season's". Season's Greetings is...Read More...
Hello again, Apple—Coincidentally, I received an e-mail this morning (from a sales manager at a textbook publishing company) with a sign-off that I had never seen before but really liked. It ties in with your thread. I'll demonstrate it. Season's best, DavidRead More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

causative have

Hello. Could you please help me? What is the difference in form and meaning of the following sentences? 1- Did you have anyone to help you? 2- Did you have anyone help you? Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia—In (1), the causative structure is not being used; "to help you" is an infinitival relative clause, and the meaning is "Was there anyone that you had to help you?" / "Was there anyone who could help you?" In (2), the causative structure is used; the meaning is "Did you cause anyone to help you?" The implication could be "Did you make anyone help you?," "Did you pay someone to help you?," or "Did you ask someone to help you?"Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Five times three

Hello, everyone. 1. Five times three equals 15. 2. Five multipled by three equals 15. I always thought "times" is a verb( with a somehow special usage) before I encountered "twice three" today. So sentence (1) means five "three"s are 15, whereas sentence (2) means three "five"s are 15. They are basically different. Do I get it right?Read More...
Thanks for the analysis, David. Yes, when I saw "Twice three is six", it pushed me to think that it's simply a variant of "Two times three is six." Therefore, "two times three" has the same structure as "twice three"-- "three" being the head, "two times" a dependant. "Two times" is a noun phrase, with "times" being the head. I didn't realize they could be semantically the same, but syntactically different. I think of a way to test it: 1* 5=5 One times five equals five. (not "time", I assume)...Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post
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