October 2019

[it rained] or [it has rained]

I have made up the example below. (1a) Today is very sunny. For the past two days, it has rained a lot. My non-native English speaking friends think the tense used for "rain" is wrong. Their revised sentence is given below. (1b) Today is very sunny. For the past two days, it rained a lot. Which tense of "to rain" is correct? Thank you very much for your time and help.Read More...
How about if I wanted to make a distinction between the past two calendar days and the past 48 hours till now? To give a little background let me explain here. "Last week" without "the" signals the calendar week and takes the simple past. So we say: It rained a lot last week. (Simple past) The same is true for: -last month/ last year/ last decade/ last century But when we add "the" to "last week" the meaning changes to the past seven days from today and here we use the present perfect...Read More...
Last Reply By Hussain · First Unread Post

Mass-enablement Campaign

Mass-Enablement campaign or Mass-enablement campaign or Mass enablement campaign And why? AP standards if that matters.Read More...
Hi, I think that "mass" is a adjective in "mass enablement" (meaning "large-scale enablement") and will, as such, do without a hyphen. Other examples: - mass media - mass demonstrations - mass destruction - mass hysteria - mass tourism - mass education - mass meeting - mass exodus - mass audience There may be some cases where hyphenation is allowed as an alternative, for example mass market or mass-market. As for capitalization, we can capitalize the name of the team (as we would if it were...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

the simple present tense or the present continuous?

Dear Contributors! Would you please do me a favour? 1. Covering 75% of the surface of the earth is the vast stretch of water. (✓) 2. The vast stretch of water is covering 75% of the surface of the earth. ( ×) 3. The vast stretch of water covers 75% of the surface of the earth. (✓) We have known that Sentence 1 and Sentence 3 have the same meaning, and that Sentence 2 is wrong with the present coutinuous tense. Now, I have a question that is most intriguing: Is "covering...is" in Sentence 1...Read More...
Thank you a lot, GUSTAVO . Your explanation is extremely convincing.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

Skills or Skill?

Hi all GE members and moderators, Listening, speaking, reading and writing skills are the four important skills in learning English. In my opinion, listening skill is the most the difficult skill of the four. Is the word "skill" correctly used in the above sentence? Someone tells me that "skill" should be "skills" in this case. I have had a look in some dictionaries and I see that when it comes to a particular skill, the word skill is plural. If I want to express a singular skill, how should...Read More...
Thank you so much Gustavo and David for you information.Read More...
Last Reply By tonyck 2 · First Unread Post

when two prep "to " meet

its context: https://www.economist.com/busi...e-luxury-goods-firms Grammatically,you need to have " clues to which..." and " to which... belong ". So is "to" double duty here? (My guess is that "clues to to which " is redundant, so the writer left out one "to")Read More...
Thank you,GUSTAVO . I was not confident enough to say the writer was wrong.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

Capitalisation

I work in law, and when referring to an order made by a specific judge, we sometimes give it a name/description. For example, if Justice Caddick makes an order, we might refer to it as the Caddick Order and/or the Caddick J. Order and/or the Judge Caddick Order. Would one capitalise those names/descriptions? On the one hand, one could argue those are descriptions, not names. One could also argue that Caddick Order is shorthand for Caddick's order, which would not be capitalised. Also, is...Read More...
Many thanks.Read More...
Last Reply By wpc205 · First Unread Post

all - half

Hello. Which one is correct? - I baked a cake. I gave (all - half) of it to my sister. Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia, "Half" is the better choice: I baked a cake and gave half of it to my sister. "All" doesn't work well there, because you could just use "it": I baked a cake and gave it to my sister. If you want to emphasize the cake in its wholeness, use "the whole thing": I baked a cake and gave the whole thing to my sister. "All of it" would, however, be natural in eating contexts: I baked a cake and ate all of it myself. There you could also use "the whole thing."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

a great technique to keep in mind

a. This is a great technique to keep in mind when arguing with narcissistic people. Is that sentence slightly ambiguous? Is it a great technique per se which is to be used when you are arguing with narcissistic people? ( [a great technique] which is to be used...) Maybe it is also a great technique for arguing with other types of people. Or is it a great technique only when arguing with narcissistic people? Would a comma after 'a great technique' change anything? b. This is a great technique...Read More...
Hi, Azz, I understand (a) as asserting only that it is a great technique when arguing with narcissistic people. However, asserting only that does not imply that one is asserting that it is a great technique only when arguing with narcissistic people. It may be a great technique in other contexts, too. Let's look at an analogy. If I said, "These are great shoes to have when going camping," I would not be implying that they are not great shoes at other times. I mean simply that it is great to...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Difference between "rains" and "rain"

The following is an excerpt from the Washington Post article of Oct. 25 regarding Tyhoon Hagibis which struck Japan on the same day. Heavy rains flood areas of Japan recovering from typhoons Torrential rain caused flooding and mudslides Friday in towns east of Tokyo, leaving one dead and two missing and expanding damage in areas still recovering from recent typhoons. The headline referrs to "heavy rains" and the body mentions "torrential rain." I wonder if there is any rational using the...Read More...
Hi, Fujibei: There is no incompatibility between "heavy rains" and "torrential rain." We sometimes speak of rains, snows, winds. This tends to have a literary quality. Perhaps you've heard of the Hemingway book The Snows of Kilimanjaro . You can understand "heavy rains" as referring to heavy/torrential rain showers, or to periods of heavy/torrential rain. Whether we speak of heavy/torrential rain showers as doing the flooding, or of heavy/torrential rain as doing the flooding, it amounts to...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Capitalistion

What are people's views on capitalisation in constructions such as the HSBC Letter or the WeTransfer File? On the one hand, they could be argued to be common nouns (as in one could imagine saying an HSBC letter or a WeTransfer file). One does not normally capitalise a common noun simply when we add a definite article. On the other hand, one could treat them as the name of a specific thing if we plan on using them to only refer to that letter (as in one could use it to only refer to that HSBC...Read More...

Hamza

............................others might have been satisfied, Hamza had higher ambitions. 1-when 2-where 3-if 4-whoseRead More...
One more thing, Abo Hamza. The subject heading of the thread should be specific to the grammar question that you are asking about. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Relative word: as or that?

Hi everyone! Some grammarians argue that "as"can also introduce a relative clause. Questions: 1,So in the following sentence, which word should I choose, as or that ? Or both are possible? We should respect such people as/that have made great contributions to the world. 2,If I replace "such" with "the": We should respect the people as/that have made great contributions to the world. Will answer be the same? I have received a lot of help from you experts. Your answers have always been so...Read More...
I get it .Thanks.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

that

Hello, In the following sentence, what is the function of "that"? Is it an error or is there a function that I overlooked? "In some places holidays are celebrated that , although named differently, share similar themes: contact with the spirit world involving the spirits of the dead, fairies, witches, and even the devil and demon angels. " https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/g201309/truth-about-halloween/ appleRead More...
Ah, now I see the construction. Thank you, DocV and Gustavo. appleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

Future

Hurry up! Your train (leaves _ is going to leave) in five minutes. What is the best answer here?Read More...
Hi, Emad, This is considered a timetable and the model answer here is: 'leaves'. As I have said before (see: https://thegrammarexchange.inf...topic/future-forms-3 ), there is more than one possible answer here, but I guess now you know the expected answer in our exams.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

to work without (a) salary, to ask for (a) salary

He worked without (a) salary for three months. He worked as a volunteer for three months but then he asked for (a) salary. Is "salary" countable or uncountable in these contexts? If it can be both, would there be any difference in meaning?Read More...
Thank you! As I see it now, "salary" is like "table" in respect of its countability, and "pay" is like "furniture" .Read More...
Last Reply By Alexey86 · First Unread Post

Subject-verb agreement question

Hi there, I'm proofreading a text and I have a quick question... The text reads: "Your generous gift will support community health care and research that makes breakthroughs for people like Chris possible." My question is about the verb. Makes. It sounds okay in passing, and passes grammar checks with online tools, but should the "makes" not be "make" since there are two subjects to the verb (health care and research)? Thanks! JTRead More...
Thank you Gustavo, that's very helpful! I like your formulation much more and will propose it to the client. Cheers, JayRead More...
Last Reply By Jay_Tee · First Unread Post

Too or enough

The sea isn't ..... to let your brother swim in it (Too calm/calm enough)Read More...
Hi, Ahmed55, I agree with Ahmed_btm. If the sea isn't calm enough , then it is too choppy and, in those conditions, it wouldn't be safe for the guy to swim there. "enough" with an adjective in the negative is equivalent to "too" with the opposite adjective in the affirmative: - This boat is n't safe enough to sail = This boat is too unsafe to sail.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

To infinitive: modifier or clause of purpose

Greetings. 1,Let's find more things to put in the machine 2, You could follow some tips to make your delivery easier. (I re-word it from "there are some tips you could follow to make your delivery easier"to discuss easier.) I am puzzled by the question: Does the to-infinitive serve as a modifier or a clause of purpose in each of the sentence? Could you please help me to distinguish them?Read More...
That's a good point. Parsing (not "pharsing") sentences does help most times. You are certainly welcome to dispel your doubts here. If you understand the grammar, learning the language may be a lot easier.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

GRAMMAR (TENSE DIFFERENCES)

Dear, I work as an ESL teacher and I have stumbled upon these sentences that I need to elaborate on with my students. I understand the differences among tenses, but when it comes to really minute details, I need to consult natives to check how they understand the context or someone who is a real aficionado in the field. 1. a) When Joe arrived, I was making coffee. b) When Joe arrived, I had been making coffee. 2. a) He spoke Japanese because he had lived in Japan for 2 years. b) He spoke...Read More...
Gustavo, thank you, it helped a lot. Enjoyed reading such a thorough explanation.Read More...
Last Reply By Haris · First Unread Post

such......as to do.

Hello. Could you help me choose with simple explanation? Mr Ashraf is such a good father (as to - that) provide everything his daughters need. Thank you.Read More...
Yes, David, that sounds more natural, and that is -- I think -- because all good fathers provide whatever their daughters (or children) need. When I said: I was thinking of "such" as an intensifier leading to a potential result , and the interpretation would be: - His goodness as a father could go to the extent of providing everything his daughters need. But, again, every father who can be regarded as a good father would do that for his daughters. "as to" would be more suitable if the result...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

comparative and superlative

Since in comparative we compare two things or people or groups ,are these sentences correct? I am taller than the others. My phone is more expensive than my friends'. Jane has more toys than Her friends. Mathew is more couragious than Danny and Flint. Thanks in advance.Read More...
Hello, Massi, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. The sentences above are correct (except for the spelling mistakes I corrected). As you said, in comparative we compare two things or people or groups . You can compare two things, two people, one thing with a group of things, one person with a group of people, or two groups of things or people. If instead of using "than" to introduce the reference against which the comparison is being made you mention the group by using a preposition like...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post
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