October 2018

somebody/anybody

Is there a difference between the meanings of these two sentences: 1) The insinuation that he has been paid by somebody is ridiculous. 2) The insinuation that he has been paid by anybody is ridiculous. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi, Sentence (2) expressly has in mind more than one possible payer. I think that "anybody" needs to receive emphatic stress for (2) to be acceptable. The two sentences could actually be combined, with (2) amplifying the message of (1): (3) The notion that he has been paid by somebody— anybody —is ridiculous.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

So or such

There were .......... few people around, the streets were almost deserted. a) too b) enough c) so d) such I think (d) is the right answer because the space is followed by ( adjective + noun ). But, I often hear " so few " and " too few ". In case my guess was right, can you tell me why (a) and (c) aren't suitable? Thanks. P.S. I took this question from an outside book called " the best ".Read More...
Thank you all very much. This has been very helpful.Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

small vs. little

a. What he had in his pocket was not real money. It was small money. It came from a board game probably. b. What he had in his pocket was not real money. It was little money. It came from a board game probably. Are both versions acceptable? Many thanks.Read More...
Azz, I don't like either of your examples. The size of the notes or coins doesn't necessarily indicate whether or not they are real. I've seen low-denomination notes from Indonesia that were smaller than some postage stamps. In many countries, the size of the notes and coins is reflective of their value. For example, in France prior to the adoption of the euro, a five-franc note was much smaller than a hundred-franc note. If I were to describe someone as having little money in his pocket, I...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

present perfect or past tense?

a. How many girlfriends have you had? b. How many girlfriends did you have? c. How many girlfriends did you have before you got married? Let us say I'm talking to John, who is now married. I know that he is a faithful husband and the assumption is that John and his wife will live together till the end of their days. But John had girlfriends before he got married. Now which of the sentences (a), (b) and (c) could I use when talking to John? Many thanks.Read More...
Azz, The simple past is used to refer to states or actions at a specific instant in time in the past or during a specified period of time that ended in the past, so (c) clearly refers to the period that ended at the time john got married. You must have known this, since you said "John had girlfriends before he got married", not "John has had girlfriends before he got married". The present perfect refers to states or actions that continue up to the present, so (a) would include any...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

{homeless} as a nominalized adjective

grammarcrazed
Hello everyone: Can I use 'homeless' as a nominalized adjective in the following sentences? a. I spotted three homeless in this area this morning. b. Three homeless were arrested for trespassing on private property. ThanksRead More...
Otto Jespersen noted in the early nineteen-hundreds that the construction was once used but is now "generally avoided": Jespersen also notes: Poutsma says: It's interesting that he mentions the military. I believe that even today one can, in a military context, speak of, say, thirty wounded instead of thirty wounded men or thirty wounded soldiers . Then we have the King James Bible, which contains some of the most beautiful English ever written. I am confident that, given enough time, I...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Drive someone up the wall vs. give someone gray hair(s)

grammarcrazed
Hello everyone: Is there a difference in connotation between these two expressions? My kids have been driving me up the wall since we moved here . My kids have been giving me gray hair(s) since we moved here . ThanksRead More...
Grammarfan, Both of these expressions are, of course, figurative. Kids can't literally drive a man up a wall, and, although there is evidence that prolonged stress can cause premature graying, there is no way for someone to be aware in the short term that the process is occurring. There is considerable overlap between the two expressions, in that both of them indicate that the kids are causing the speaker a great amount of stress. My general sense is that (1) conveys the sense that the...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

this group of

This group of chemicals .... believed to be harmful to people with asthma. 1) is 2) are Me: #1 Answer key: #2 My take: "This group of chemicals .... believed to be harmful to people with asthma." I take out "of chemicals", it is just a modifier. "This group .... believed to be harmful to people with asthma." Now it is clear the missing work must be [is]. Correct me if I am wrong. (Two separate sources that contradict each other, though: 1. you know, this is a democratic party, who just...Read More...
The transcript of Ben Collins on Tucker Carlson Tonight has a few inaccuracies. What he actually said was: The fact that he said "this group the democrats" rather than "this group of democrats" does not contradict David's point, but rather reinforces it. Earlier in the passage, he speaks of "the democrat party, who just recently now was raising their arms up". As David says, singular collective nouns can sometimes take a plural verb, and "party", in this sense, is such a noun. You can't have...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

in any country

Are these sentences correct: 1) Not all people are wealthy in any country. 2 ) Not all people, or even a majority of people, are wealthy in any country. 3 ) Not everyone is wealthy in any country. 4 ) Not everyone, or even a majority of people, are wealthy in any country. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
No, I think you're right. This makes perfect sense to me. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

people do that

Are these sentences all correct: 1) People scuba dive in Spain. 2) People do scuba dive in Spain. 3) People do scuba diving in Spain. 4) People do do scuba diving in Spain . Do they mean: a) That there are at least some people who scuba dive in Spain (maybe only tourists do it!) b) There are a lot of people who scuba dive in Spain c) Scuba diving is a common activity in Spain. It is widespread d) Everybody scuba dives in Spain Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Navi, for what it's worth: With regard to your examples (3) and (4), I have never heard anyone say "do scuba diving" before, and can find very few examples of it in print. I'm not saying it's incorrect, but it sounds awkward to me. "Scuba dive" is certainly used often enough that I would say there is no question as to its acceptability, but I can find more instances of it being used as a noun phrase (as in "to perform a scuba dive") than a verb phrase. Furthermore, it doesn't seem to lend...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

active voice + by

Hey, Is this sentence natural? - The company transports the products by the best vans in the market. I would say: The products are transported by the best vans in the market.Read More...
Hello, Freeguy, I don't like the preposition "by," because it seems to be introducing an agent when the sentence is in the active and therefore has a subject that performs the action. I'd use "by means of" (also "by using") or the causative "have" or "get." Also, we generally say "on the market," not "in the market." The company transports the products by means of/by using the best vans on the market. The company has / gets the products transported by the best vans on the market. The...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

another 'only' question/negation+only

Which are correct: 1) Only on Wednesdays did he not work. 2) Only on Wednesdays didn't he work. 3) Only on Wednesdays he didn't work. 4) He didn't work only on Wednesdays. Could '3' be used instead of the others? Is '3' ambiguous? Do the sentences imply that he didn't work on any Wednesday? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi, I find the contraction in (2) to be highly awkward, but the other three sentences are fine. My preference, however, would be to speak of his taking or having the day off on Wednesdays rather than of his not working on Wednesdays: 1a) Only on Wednesdays did he have/take the day off. No. To me, it unambiguously means: "But he didn't work on Wednesdays." It doesn't say anything about the other days. It doesn't have the same meaning as the others sentences. Your ignoring the...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

How to backshift in the following case?

Hi all GE members and moderators, "We haven't seen each other since we left school." A/ She said that they had not seen each other since they HAD LEFT school. B/ She said that they had not seen each other since they LEFT school. The question is: which is the correct sentence, A or B? Many thanks.Read More...
Hello, Tony, Yes, that's right. Given that both (A) and (B) are correct, neither should be marked as incorrect. Therefore, if both are listed as answer choices on a test, there should be a third choice saying "both (A) and (B)." I don't think I had noticed Ahmed_btm's post when I made my first post above; we must have been posting at roughly the same time. My answer is not contradicted by the Longman editor's views. The editor at Longman is NOT saying that the past perfect is incorrect.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Noun Phrase

Hey there, I have some question about noun phrases in the examples: 1. There is so much about languages I would like to understand. --> Is 'so much about languages I would like to understand' a noun phrase? 2. Jack has played the guitar for more than five months. --> Is 'more than five months' a noun phrase (as part of a prepositional phrase?) And if yes, is 'more' or 'months' the head of the noun phrase? 3. With my sister playing the piano all the time, it's hard to focus on my...Read More...
To tell you the truth, NPEXP, I'm not sure myself. Even in the question "How far is the house from the school?" (which I used to try to show that the prepositional phrase could be separated from the rest of the noun phrase), from the school can be connected with how far: How far from the school is the house? "only a 5 minute bike ride" and "from the school" work as a unit, in this case as an adverbial of place of the past participle "situated." The whole structure is a reduced relative...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

How to use the word "The"?

I. In the following sentences, I know that I should repeat "they", "they", "she", "he" and "it" instead of using "the <noun>" in the second part. But can I use 'the <noun>' if I introduce something using the verb "be" then talk about it with the second sentence directly following the first, not later on, and can the hearer understand that "the <noun>" mean "the noun I called it earlier"? Ex: 1 This is a letter. The letter is written in spanish. (Does "The letter" mean "the...Read More...
Hello, Kimconu, The definite article "the" is in fact used to refer to something or somebody you mentioned before. Most of your sentences do not sound natural because of the proximity between the first reference to the noun (with "a") and the second reference with "the," but your conception of "the" being used when referring to something or somebody that is already known is correct.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Over or above

I saw this question in an " outside book " called " the best ". 320 kilometres .............. the earth, a space station will orbit the earth. a) over b) on c) above d) in I don't think it's (b) or (d). If I were to guess, I'd choose (c). But, I can't say why it's better than (a). Please, let me know what you think. Thanks for your help.Read More...
This was very helpful. thanks.Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

feel

cocoricot
Dear teachers, I am always confused about how to use the verb "feel''. Sometimes when it is used with the present continuous is considered wrong; sometimes it is correct. For example in the sentence: How do you feel/ are you feeling now? Better than before? I think the present continuous is better? Am I right? Please explain to me. Thanks a lot.Read More...
Thank you, DocV, for your help. It is easy to understand.Read More...
Last Reply By cocoricot · First Unread Post

Wish

Hi there, Just want to double check something here. Q. Write a sentence with 'wish'. I don't get enough exercise. I wish I could lead a healthier lifestyle. But, is 'I wish I lead a healthier lifestyle' possible? Could is better in this case because there is a possibility of it being true? What are your thoughts?Read More...
Kes, thank you for the background information. My niece used to teach ESL in Japan also. We'll look forward to seeing you again. As this is a forum, helpful comments are welcome from all members. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

prefer that a stranger be the star

"We may prefer that a stranger 'be' the star of the show than a friend whose success we'll be reminded of all too soon." Is 'be' correct here? Is something omitted in front of 'be'? When do you use it like this? Thanks!Read More...
Hi, Kis, I agree with DocV that the present subjunctive ("be") is correct there. "Prefer" is a verb that commonly takes the present subjunctive in "that"-clause complements, especially in American English. Here is an example from A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language , by Quirk et al. (1985): (2) "I prefer that she drive ." (p. 1014) In British English, the "that"-clause commonly contains "putative should ": (3) "I prefer that she should drive ." ( ibid .) Perhaps that is what you...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

So or such

Help me with this question taken from our school book. It's ........... hot outside that I can't go shopping. a) enough b) too c) such d) so I think the answer is (d). But one of my colleagues told me the answer was (c) because" it Is " or " it was " should be followed by " Such ". Please, let me know which is right. Thanks.Read More...
Thanks for your help.Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

Both or each

grandmother says that my brothers and I can ........... take a cake from the kitchen. 1- each 2- every 3- both 4- either I guess the suitable answer is (1). But, I'm not sure. If I'm right, I don't know why (3) isn't suitable. Thanks in advance.Read More...
Thank you both.Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

Are both or both are

Which sentence of these two is more correct? 1- There are two restaurants by the park and they are both very good. 2- There are two restaurants by the park and they both are very good. Let me know which one is right. If they both are correct, let me know if there is a difference in meaning. As usual, I really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.Read More...
Thanks for your help.Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

below the hills

a. Under b. Below c. Beneath d. Underneath Which of these necessarily means directly under in such a way that a vertical line can connect the two objects? We do say 'below sea level', but not 'under sea level'. Could one say 'The city was below the hills' ? Could one say: ' The city lay below the hills '? Could one say: ' We were standing below the mountains '? Could one say: ' Romeo was standing below Juliet's window '? (My feeling is that here we need 'under' because he is directly under...Read More...
Thank you so much. Amazing replies! Very thorough! I loved them! Just amazing. I don't know how to thank you. I really appreciate all the work you have put into this. This is the best grammar site! David, DocV and Gustavo, the three musketeers of grammar! Many thanks.Read More...
Last Reply By azz · First Unread Post

Leave or omit object?

cocoricot
Dear teachers, 1. "The coffee is too hot for me to drink the coffee." I know that I can omit the second "the coffee" because it is redundant. There is no need to repeat it because it is clear that everyone knows it. -> The coffee is too hot for me to drink. 2. "Peter is too young to take care of himself." Is it a similar case? Does it mean that 'himself' can also be omitted? Please explain to me. Thanks.Read More...
Thank you, David and Doc V, very much. Your explanations are very helpful for me and others to study English. Thanks again.Read More...
Last Reply By cocoricot · First Unread Post
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