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October 2020

Not only...but also...

I'm thinking about the "not only X but also Y" pattern, so I've just made up these two sentences: a. The new employee soon proved not only that he was capable, but also that he could be trusted. b. The new employee soon proved that not only was he capable, but also that he could be trusted. Are the two sentences natural? Or which one sounds better?Read More...
Thanks, David. I get it.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

Ask questions

can I ask this kind of question? 1 Q (a) What did you buy a dress for? (b) For what did you buy a dress? A: I bought a dress for a party. 2 Q: What / Where did he carry the money in? Q: In what / Where did he carry the money? A: He carried the money in the bag. 3 Q: What / Where did he take the book from? Q: From what / where did he take the book? A: He took the book from the desk. ThanksRead More...
Thanks again!!Read More...
Last Reply By bear_bear · First Unread Post

like one of his friends

1) He treats me like one of his friends. Isn't that sentence ambiguous? a) He treats me like he treats all of his friends. b) He treats me like a specific friend of his (whom he might treat badly). Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi—I agree with you that the sentence is ambiguous. Actually, I think that it is three ways ambiguous: a1) He treats me as if I were one of his friends. b) He treats me as he treats a specific friend of his. c) He treats me as a specific friend of his treats me.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

against global warming

1) Their party is against global warming. Could that mean that their party doesn't accept that global warming exists? That it is against the idea of global warming? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi—My natural interpretation of "Their party is against global warming" is that it means their party wishes to stop or slow down the process of global warming, which, it may be deduced, they believe exists. If we wish to convey that their party does not believe that global warming exists, but do not want to go right ahead and say that they do not believe global warming exists, one thing we can do is change "is against" to "denies": 2) Their party denies global warming.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Never does Sam play tennis

When we say, Sam never plays tennis. Can we also say, Never does Sam play tennis. Is this right or wrong, please?Read More...
Hi, Ahmed—The sentence is correct, but it needs a special context, in which special emphasis is called for. To vary the example slightly, we could say: Sam plays tennis often, but never does he play tennis in the morning. That sentence means the same thing as "Sam plays tennis often, but he never plays tennis in the morning." With inversion, "never" is made more prominent.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Malign Conspiracy; Mandane Incompetence

I read this few times and hard to understand the above words. In certain public service sector, when everyone sees malign conspiracy , the truth is usually mandane incompetence . What do the words in bold mean?Read More...
Hello, goodreed. Your reply is so informative. I've just learned something here again. Thank you and Grammar Exchange!Read More...
Last Reply By KDog · First Unread Post

Adjectives of quality?

Which of the following is NOT an adjective of quality: 1. dangerous, 2. exciting, 3. famous, 4. tired And among these: 1. dangerous, 2. attractive, 3. beautiful, 4. useful Thank you!Read More...
Hello, Ani, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. What other kinds of adjectives do you know? In the first set, I'd say that tired describes a state rather than a quality. I think all of the adjectives in the second set express qualities.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

do or take

The government insists on ( doing- taking) an action to prevent people from polluting the river.Read More...
The point is that "do an action" is a rather poor lexical choice. We prefer to use verbs like perform, carry out or fulfill . You can find the combination "do an action" as the definition of "perform" here : perform verb (DO) to do an action or piece of workRead More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

have to, must

Hello. Could you please help me choose the correct modal? Why? A: What is the rule about visiting people in hospital? B: You (must - have to) go between 2 o'clock and 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed—The answer really depends on the context. The range of hours suggests to me that these are the hospital's visiting hours. In other words, speaker B's sentence seems to be equivalent to "You have to go during visiting hours." So "have to" is the correct choice. We can, however, imagine a different context, one in which "must" would be better. The rule may not be the hospital's rule but the rule of somebody else or of some group. Compare: "We command you to go there between 2 and 5."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Present Perfect or Past Simple

Hi there Would you please help me with this question ? I ......... working with my company but now I want to look for another job. ( enjoyed - have enjoyed - enjoying - enjoyed to ) I think that HAVE ENJOYED is the answer. What do you think ?Read More...
Hi, Dr. Ahmed, Yes, you are right. 'Have enjoyed' is the best answer. It shows that the employee is still working for his/her company and now thinking about finding another job. 'Enjoyed' could also work, but needs a further context.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

choose desert

1) As soon as we sat down, she would choose dessert, probably the most unhealthy thing you could eat on the menu. Source: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2019/08/06/remembering-toni/#.XVCML5Df4d8.gmail I guess one way to read '1' is that dessert was probably the most unhealthy thing you could eat on the menu. I think, however, that the idea is that the dessert she chose was the most unhealthy thing you could eat on that menu. She chose the most unhealthy desert. Do you agree with my...Read More...
Hello, Navi—I, too, like the alternative sentence that Gustavo has proposed. My issue with the sentence you have quoted relates to the idea of "choosing dessert." That means "choosing to have dessert." To have dessert is to have the mini-meal of dessert. Dessert is not a thing, healthy or unhealthy. It is a category of meal, under which a variety of delicious concoctions are subsumed. If we added the possessive determiner "her" to the phrase, the sentence would be saved. "She would choose...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

a tie that was blue

1) He could choose any one of the objects that were placed on the table. He chose a tie, which was blue. 2) He could choose any one of the objects that were placed on the table. He chose a tie that was blue. 3) He could choose any one of the objects that were placed on the table. He chose the tie that was blue. I think '3' clearly indicates that there was more than one tie on the table. I think in '1' and '2', it is not possible to tell whether there was one tie on the table or more. Am I...Read More...
Hello, Navi—I agree with you. A different way of writing the second sentence of (1) is "He chose a (blue) tie." A different way of writing the second sentence of (2) is "He chose a blue tie." In neither case is there a suggestion that there were or were not any other ties on the table. Now, if the second sentence of (3) were rewritten as "He chose the blue tie," it still would not be clear, in a contextual vacuum, whether there was more than one tie on the table. It could be used in either...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

is prudent vs was prudent

Why doesn't the author use "the facility is a more prudent place"? If "the facility was more prudent place", my understanding is that now it is no more is a prudent place. Trump was told the facility was a more prudent place for him to be in case his condition deteriorated. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/03/politics/trump-covid-response/index.htmlRead More...
"Backshift" is when the tense in a complement clause of indirect speech is relative to the tense of the verb governing the complement clause. Thus, "John said , 'I am sick'" becomes "John said that he was sick" in indirect speech. "John said , 'I was sick'" becomes "John said that he had been sick." Yes. In that sentence, "the lawyer was a female" is a "that"-clause complement of "was told" (from which "that" has been deleted). That clause uses backshift.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Follow in the steps

What is the meaning of "follow in the steps of" in the sentence below? President Donald Trump followed in the steps of several of his predecessors when he was admitted to the hospital on Friday , a day after his positive coronavirus test . https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/03/politics/trump-hospital-presidents-history/index.htmlRead More...
The meaning is so straight forward, I thought it is an idiom. Thanks.Read More...
Last Reply By joshua · First Unread Post

Always get confused on when to put commas in interruptions in sentences

Wondering if anyone can point me to rules for where to put commas when you have weird stuff going on in a sentence. Here's the sentence I'm specifically asking about (it's for grad school so I'm hoping to get it right :): ... focusing my research on the interaction of genes and environment in the onset of , as well as vulnerabilities to disorder. or: ... focusing my research on the interaction of genes and environment in the onset of , as well as , vulnerabilities to disorder. Or more or...Read More...
Thank you so much!!Read More...
Last Reply By c.jahill · First Unread Post

Is treated vs is being treated

May I know what is the difference between the use of "is treated" and "is being treated" in a sentence. The President is being treated for Covid-19 in hospital, where his doctor says he is receiving antiviral drugsRead More...
Hi, Joshua, "is being treated" is a passive verb in the present continuous tense. Doctors are treating the President now , so the President is being treated .Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Interviews

Why the below sentence is not using "Interviewing", instead of "Interview"? Interviews with more than a dozen current and former administration officials show how that fissure appeared and spread even as confirmed cases in the US began to grow. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/01/politics/white-house-face-masks-coronavirus-culture/index.htmlRead More...
Last Reply By joshua · First Unread Post

At the white house or in the white house

I'm trying to put that in the sentence "Bad things happen in /at the white house? ThanksRead More...
Hello, Lolah, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. Both sentences are OK. However, if you mean to refer to the place where the U.S. president lives, you must capitalize "White House."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Neither....nor

Hello. Are the following two sentences correct? If so, What is the difference between them? - Ali neither wrote nor phoned. - Neither did Ali write nor did he phone. Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia—Only the first sentence is correct. The second sentence is ungrammatical in modern English.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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