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October 2020

Comma usage

I posted these examples on another grammar site awhile back, and I just want to get a second opinion. Is my comma usage correct in the following examples? "The parties were awarded joint custody, with the mother having primary residence and the father having visitations." "The mother is filing against the father for custody of the subject child, in that temporary custody shall be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation shall be suspended."Read More...
If I wanted to use "such that" when there is already a current custody agreement, am I correct in writing the following: "The mother is filling against the father for a modification to the current custody order concerning the subject child, such that temporary custody shall be with the mother and the father's rights of visitation shall be suspended."Read More...
Last Reply By Jacob B. · First Unread Post

a lot / very much

Hello, I know that we use much for uncountable nouns and many for countable, plus a lot of / lots of can be used in both cases informally. My question, though, is when "a lot of" can replace "very much"? This question popped up when I was trying to write the sentences below and for some of them both sound ok to me, but some others sound odd to me, and I couldn't fine a precisa explanation on that. - She studies a lot. / She studies very much. - He likes chocolate very much / a lot. - Does...Read More...
It sounds odd because, as I said in the explanation I transcribe below, "very much" works better with transitive verbs in any form (affirmative, interrogative and negative), but only in the negative with intransitive verbs:Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

object or prepositional phrase?

Hello, In the sentence The house stood on the hill . is "the hill" the object of the verb? How would you analyze this sentence? Thanks in advanceRead More...
That question asks about the object of the preposition. Some people would say that "him" in "to him" may be considered the indirect object in "I told the story to him." I reserve the term "indirect object" for the placement of "him" in "I told him the story," which means the same thing as "I told the story to him." Another name for the structure found in "I told him the story" is the double-object construction. Generally, when I am blogging for people such as you, who are tempted to call...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

What does that make you then?

My friend called me Chinese even though I'm not. Since he was South Asian too, I said: "What does that make you then?" Was my sentence correct? Do we use 'make someone' this way? Another example: "If your father won the lottery, that makes you the son of a millionaire."Read More...
It means: " What, accordingly, does that (i.e., that fact) imply that you are? "Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Why do we wish in the past tense

I know 3 languages (Turkish, Persian, English) and in all 3 of them when we are wishing for something, we do it in the past tense. I would like to know if there is an explanation to this. Why do we wish in past tense?Read More...
Hello, Chante, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. "were" in both sentences (as well as other verbs in the past in similar constructions) is a case of what we call "unreal past," or "past subjunctive": verbs in the past tense that express present or future time .Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

A problem concerning the use of 'the'

Could someone check my reasoning for my answer to the following exercise (from C.E. Eckersley's 'A comprehensive English Grammar', Chapter seven, the definite article, exercise II, part 13)? Insert the definite article where necessary for the following: ___ world opinion is against ___ aggression My answer is 'the world opinion is against aggression'. My reasoning is that 'aggression' is uncountable and used generically and thus doesn't require 'the', while 'world opinion' is used...Read More...
Great find, Gustavo. I just found a pdf of the book itself here . Yes, and the applicable Eckersley rule for this exercise is Rule 1 at the bottom of page 58: " [The definite article is not used:] Before abstract nouns used in a general sense, e.g. - Life is very hard for some people (NOT: 'the life'). We will have freedom or death (NOT: 'the freedom,' etc.). " I agree. Incidentally, it is much more common now, at least in American English, to speak of "public opinion" instead of "world...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

can/could/might

1) Your child can do better with a different teacher. 2) Your child might do better with a different teacher. 3) Your child could do better with a different teacher. Do they all sound correct?Read More...
(1) expresses a real possibility. (2) and (3) express a remote or hypothetical probability.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

The definite article

Insert the definite article where necessary and give reasons: 'Monkeys are intelligent animals. Buy they are not the most intelligent of all ___ animals' '___ world opinion is against ___ aggression' '___ pen is mightier than ___ sword'Read More...
P.S. An answer key to your 60-year-old grammar book does exist (click here ) and can be purchased from some sellers who carry obscure out-of-print books.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

I'd rather

I came across this sentence; I'd rather you didn't do that yourself. I understand it indecates preference in the past. But what if I want to talk about preference in the present or future? Can I say I 'd rather you don't do that or won't do that.? ThanksRead More...
Yes, that is also possible. I am simply reporting on a usage pattern that, as a native speaker, I am aware exists and is quite prevalent, whether or not grammar books have recognized it. I have seen no condemnation of the usage. Here are some examples from The Corpus of Contemporary American English : "It almost sounds as if you'd rather he not go ." "We should tell him. I'd rather he learn about the Borg from us ." "There's a file on there I'd rather she not see ." "I'd rather it not come...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

did - had

Hello. Which one is correct? - Now fewer children and mothers have health problems than they (had - did) 100 years ago. Thank youRead More...
That's very interesting, and I agree with you that the numbers or quantities of children and mothers having health problems now and 100 years ago are being compared. I think this also works, doesn't it?: 2.a. Now fewer children and mothers have health problems than those who/that had health problems 100 years ago. Excellent find, David. Your search couldn't have been more thorough. The sentence above sounds to me as if "more" had been moved from an adverbial to an adjectival position: -...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

The pronoun" they"

This sentence has been discussed before but I'd like to comment on using the pronoun "they" Now fewer children and mothers have health problems than they had (did) before. I think it is better to put children and mothers instead of the pronoun " they", and it would be completely meaningful and acceptable ( Now fewer children and mothers have health problems than children and mothers had ( did ) in the past. What is your opinion? Read More..Read More...
I apologize for disturbing you, but I wrote my comment below below the thread I referred to but I thought you hadn't read it, so I wrote my comment on a new post, I repeat my apology for you.Read More...
Last Reply By Ahmed towab · First Unread Post

I needed people to share my life (with)

Are the following sentences both correct? Do they mean the same thing? I felt lonely at times. I needed people to share my life . I felt lonely at times. I needed people to share my life with .Read More...
"I needed people to share my life" does not mean "I needed people to share my life with." "I needed people to share my life" can mean either (a) or (b): (a) The speaker needs for people to share his or her life (with others). (b) The speaker needs people to accomplish his or her purpose of sharing his or her life (cf. "I needed people in order to share my life"). There is a sense in which reading (b) may be seen to imply "I needed people with whom to share my life." But it's on a pragmatic,...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Mix of past tense and present tense (sometimes is confusing)

I understand when we refer to something that occurred in the past, we use past tense. However, if it is a matter of fact/actual fact we use present tense. Could you please kindly explain the use of the following two sentences? Please note it is a matter of fact that the contract date and the settlement date are 1 January 2020 and 1 March 2020 respectively. (a) You provided a settlement worksheet showing the property is contracted/exchanged on 1 January 2020 and settled on 1 March 2020. (b)...Read More...
Any other thoughts?Read More...
Last Reply By Cristi · First Unread Post

The definite article with words used in a general sense

Which one of these words used in a general sense, must be preceded by the definite article, 'the'? Why? Milk, butter, cheese, eggs, cows, cow. My textbook doesn't give an example for when words used in the general sense must be preceded by 'the'.Read More...
Hi, May123, The rule is simple: count nouns (e.g. cow, egg ) can be used generically in the plural (with the zero article) or in the singular with the indefinite or the definite article (the indefinite one being more usual), while non-count nouns (e.g. milk, butter, cheese ) can only be used generically with the zero article. - Milk, butter and cheese are dairy products. - Cows give us milk, and hens give us eggs . - A cow (or the cow ) is an animal.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Which

Hi, What kind of dependent clause are the ones in the following sentence? adjective clause or adverb? if it is an adverb clause, is the "which" subordinating conjunction? He forgot their anniversary, which made her very upset The Internet contains a lot of jobs websites, which people can use to start a careerRead More...
Thank you very much. Completely got it.Read More...
Last Reply By Reza95 · First Unread Post

a book to improve your Italian

a. I am sending you a book to improve your Italian. Would you say that sentence corresponds to: 1. I am sending you a book to improve your Italian with . (you are going to improve your Italian using the book) or 2. I am sending you a book which is to improve your Italian. (the book will improve your Italian) ? I think one can't tell, but at the end of the day, it doesn't change anything. 1a. I am giving you a pen to sign the papers (with). 2a. I am sending you a repairperson to repair your...Read More...
Like you said, sentence 1 means both (a) and (b) - those are just different ways of saying the same thing. The book can only improve your Italian by being used. 2b is unneccessary. 'Who is' is not needed.Read More...
Last Reply By ForTheLoveofWords · First Unread Post

Confused about possessive nouns

I recently confused with using "apostrophe and s" versus using "of". From section 6.4 of the Bety Azar Grammar book, for non-living things we should use "of". I see the word often but I see that in scientific papers, people more follow Grammar book. However, in many cases, I cannot decide which one is better or correct. For example: The identity of the molecule or Molecule's identity? The complexity of the model or the model's complexity? The ratio of a chemical mixture or chemical mixture's...Read More...
Another way of looking at it is that for academic writing, phrases are more often written out, rather than using shortcuts. Apostrophe + s showing possession is a shortcut. To be safe, it's good to write things out. Gustavo gives a good answer. I'd say it's also about particular fields of study; in scientific fields, there are certain ways to express things. So even though it might seem to you like showing possession with an apostrophe + 's' would also work, there's a form for expressing...Read More...
Last Reply By ForTheLoveofWords · First Unread Post

Past Perfect vs Past Simple

I was thinking of the following sentence: Her leg (break) the day before the exam. I'm wondering whether it's 'broke' , ' had broken ' or both. Can someone help me know the correct choice of tense? THANKS TO THIS GREAT FORUMRead More...
Hello, Rasha—Both the simple past and the past perfect are possible. In the absence of context, the simple past is the default choice. "The day before the exam" picks out a particular day in the past. If the exam was April 4, then "the day before the exam" was April 3, and the sentence "Her leg broke the day before the exam" is equivalent to "Her leg broke on April 3." Below is a context in which the past perfect would work: She was very prepared for the exam. However, she was unable to take...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Preposition at page or on page

In general, we normally say, on page 25 of your story book, it discusses.... Do I use at/on for the sentence below? In your submission dated 1 January 2020 at/on page 25 (which also refers to submission dated 2 August 2020 at/on page 20.Read More...
Hi, Tony—You have used the phrase "the sentence below"; however, what you have displayed is not a sentence. To make matters worse, it is missing a closing parenthesis. To answer your question, though, you can use either "on" or "at."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

'Look In My Eyes' Vs 'Look Me In The Eyes'?

What's the between the following two sentences? Are they both correct? 1- Look in my eyes and tell me what you think about me. 2- Look me in the eyes and tell me what you think about me. Two other examples:- 3- The doctor looked in my eyes to check whether he could see any sign of infection. 4- The doctor looked at my eyes to check whether he could see any sign of infection.Read More...
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