November 2018

possessive

1. the flag of the US 2. the US's flag 3. the US' flag Which one is the correct form? Thanks.Read More...
Ruifeng and David, My tendency is to refer to the flag of the United Kingdom as the British flag, and I think that most of my British friends will agree with me. It is also known as the Union Jack. Please note that this is not the same thing at all as the English flag. They are two different things. The official description of the Union Jack is as follows: The saltires of Saint George, Saint Andrew, and Saint Patrick represent England, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively, as all of Ireland...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

her or them

cocoricot
Dear teachers, 1. No girl should wear a uniform, because it makes her look like a sack of potatoes. 2. No girl should wear a uniform, because it makes them look like a sack of potatoes. I think the first sentence is correct because of these words: girl; a uniform; a sack. They are all used in the singular form. Please tell me if I am correct. Thanks a lot.Read More...
Thank you, Gustavo, so much.Read More...
Last Reply By cocoricot · First Unread Post

most interesting

a. Most interesting was what we saw on the fifth day of our stay in Paris. b. What was most interesting was what we saw on the fifth day of our stay in Paris. c. What we saw on the fifth day of our stay in Paris was most interesting. In which case: 'Most' means 'extremely and in which case: We have a real superlative Can one say a. The most interesting was what we saw on the fifth day of our stay in Paris. b. What was the most interesting was what we saw on the fifth day of our stay in...Read More...
Hello, Azz, In your first set of sentences (a) to (c) (next time, please use different letters if you provide new examples within the same thread), I think "most interesting" can only mean "extremely interesting." The superlative will require the pronoun "one," a generic noun like "thing" (or "person"), or the presence in the immediately preceding context of a noun which might be considered to be implicit in the sentence that follows, for example: A: What was the most interesting thing you...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

to solve the probem

a. He was the man who was to solve the problem, but he didn't do anything. b. I talked to the engineer who was to fix the system, but he said he couldn't do it. c. He was the man who was to have solved the problem, but he didn't do anything. d. I talked to the engineer who was to have fixed the system, but he said he couldn't do it. Are the above sentences grammatically correct and do they make sense? In all cases, the person has been given the task of doing something (solve the problem, fix...Read More...
Hi, Azz, All the sentences are grammatical, but only the first two make sense. Sentences (c) and (d) are semantically infelicitous and therefore incorrect. You could fix (d) by changing "but" to "and" or by using as separate sentence. (d1) I talked to the engineer who was to have fixed the system. He said he couldn't do it. The perfective infinitive "was to have fixed" implies that he didn't actually do it. The second sentence now explains what happened: he wasn't able to fix the system.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Sing/plural Verb to use with ‘one of + who’

1. He is the only one of those men who is/are always courteous. 2. He is one of those men who is/are always courteous. 3. Pope Francis is one of the popes who has/have led the Catholic Church for almost two thousand years. Do we use singular/plural verb in these sentences? ‘Who’ refers to what subject? Please explain.Read More...
Thank you very much, Gustavo, for clarifying this.Read More...
Last Reply By symphony · First Unread Post

on five occasions

Which are correct: 1) On five occasions, five policemen came to our restaurant. 2) Five times, five policemen came to our restaurant. 3) Five policemen came to our restaurant on five occasions. 4) Five policemen came to our restaurant five times. I think '2' is not correct. In which cases a) we are sure that five policemen came together every time b) it is possible that one came on each occasion. Five policemen in all and five occasions in all. c) We know that five policemen came five times...Read More...

come vs comes

A prefix is a letter or a group of letters that ………. at the beginning of a word. 1) comes 2) come I would use "come" because of the preceding noun, which is "letter". However, I am not sure whether "comes" is ungrammatical here. Thanks.Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng, No, the reason for the singular form does not have anything to do with "or." However, the relative clause does implicitly apply to the first disjunct. The sentence may be regarded as a reduction of the following: A prefix is a letter that comes at the beginning of a word or a group of letters that comes at the beginning of a word .Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

this is a terrible thing

a. This is a terrible thing not to be able to see him. b. This is a bad blow to me not to be able to see him. Are these sentences correctly punctuated? Would you say that a comma before 'not' is necessary? The idea in (a) is that the terrible thing = not to be able to see him. The idea in (b) is that the bad blow = not to be able to see him. Many thanksRead More...
Hi, Azz, I don't think the sentences are correctly punctuated because, unlike "it," "this" cannot merely work as an anticipatory subject (introducing the real infinitival subject that comes at the end). The clause starting with "this" is a complete sentence. If you want to clarify what "this" refers to, you should make the infinitival clause an apposition. A comma could help, as you suggest (but I'm not sure it's the best solution): a'. This is a terrible thing, not to be able to see him.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

declare yourself a church

In the show, I can only see"...declare yourself a church." What does it mean and what is the complete sentence? Thanks.Read More...
Good find, Ruifeng. Churches are tax-exempt, that is to say, they do not pay taxes. If you declare you are a church (or declare yourself a church ), you will be able to evade taxes. That poster offers you a way to pay less taxes without having to resort to the artifice of declaring you are a church in your tax return (which is the form where you declare your income on the basis of which income taxes will be assessed).Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

suffering humanity

cocoricot
Dear teachers, That both Freud and Max were motivated primarily by compassionate concern for suffering humanity is elaborated upon in Fromm's biology. Please tell me if "suffering humanity" is a noun phrase or 'suffering' is a gerund and 'humanity' is its object. Thank you.Read More...
Thank you, David, so much. Now I understand it clearly.Read More...
Last Reply By cocoricot · First Unread Post

Apostrophes

Hi I’m writing an invite. For the heading I’m writing Neighbours’ Christmas Drinks. Do I use the apostrophe as above after the s or write Neighbour’s or just Neighbours. Thanks DeeRead More...
Hello, Dee, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! May I ask what the invitation is for? Are you trying to invite your neighbors over for drinks to celebrate Christmas?Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

tense

Let's say, when in the classroom, the teacher is writing on the blackboard. After he is finished, he wants to ask a question like this: 1. How many nouns did I write? 2. How many nouns have I written? Which one is correct or more natural? Is there a difference between American usage and British usage? And is the word "just" necessary when in a situation like this? Thanks.:)Read More...
Thank you, David.Read More...
Last Reply By ruifeng · First Unread Post

strengthened more

a. He was strengthened by the hope I gave him. He was more strengthened by the letter his wife had sent him. b. He was strengthened by the hope I gave him. He was strengthened more by the letter his wife had sent him. Are both sentences grammatically correct? Do they have the same meaning? It seems to me that there are two meanings possible for the second sentence. First possible meaning: He was strengthened by the letter more than by the hope I gave him. Second possible meaning: He was...Read More...

Tenses

What is the best answer here : I admit that Tom is always lazy,but he .......... hard these days. (works - is working )Read More...
Hello, Ayman El-Nemr, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I agree with you that "is working" is the correct answer, as it denotes a temporary habit: T om hardly ever works, but these days he is working hard. Where I don't agree with you is that "works" would be suitable if the first verb were in the past. The point is that the adverbial "these days" requires present continuous or present perfect continuous: I'm working hard these days. I've been working hard these days.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Usage of "any"

Hi there, can I use any with singular nouns In sentences like the following? I don't have any pen. I know you'd say it sounds more natural to say "I don't have any pens ." but I have read many books written by both native and non native speakers that says any can be followed by both singular and plural nouns. I know In the above sentence plural is more natural though I see many sentences on the internet and news portal where any is used with singular nouns in the sentence like the above. So...Read More...
Hi, Subhajit, I can't imagine any native speaker using that sentence without a modifier following "pen." (Incidentally, did you notice that the sentence I just finished writing contains "any" with a singular count noun? ) You could say: I don't have any pen that matches that description.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Though tired

cocoricot
Dear teachers, Are there many ways to say like this? 1. Though she was tired, she was happy. 2. Tired as she was, she was happy. In (1) can I leave out the first "she was" because there are two "she was" and I want to shorten the sentence but still keep its meaning. 1. a. Though tired, she was happy. Please tell me if it's correct. Thanks.Read More...
Certainly, Coco. I find "despite her tiredness" to be slightly awkward in comparison with "despite being tired," but it's perfectly grammatical.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Sentence building using connectives

Please could you help with with this question, I tried many alternatives. Below is two of my best answers, but still don't seem to be grammarly correct. - But before I can either work in Germany I too need to study German. - But I too need to study German before I can either work in Germany.Read More...

Passive causative

This question is taken from a book called " the best " which in turn quoted it from our student book page 52. They .......... the mobile phone mast turned on. a) got b) were c) would d) had I know that "got" or "had" can be used in the passive causative form. This makes (a) and (d) correct, so I need your help. Could you tell me if one of them is more suitable? Thanks in advance.Read More...
Thank you very much Doc v. I'm a bit curious about how you would get the answer expected by the publisher. Anyway, thanks again. I really appreciate it.Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

Causative

Help me answer this question. A footballer is known ...................... a lot of money. a) to making b) to be making c) to be made d) to have been making According to what I know, this passive form is followed by be either ( to + infinitive ) or ( to + have + past participle ). ( b) and ( d) seem to be the progressive forms of these two forms. Which one should I choose? Thanks for your help. P.S. the source of this question is an outside book called "The Best".Read More...
Thanks for your help.Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

is enough

a. Four grains of this substance are enough. Five grains will be too much. b. Four grains of this substance is enough. Five grains will be too much. c. A bishop and a knight are stronger than a rook. d. A bishop and a knight is stronger than a rook. e. A bishop and knight are stronger than a rook. f. A bishop and knight is stronger than a rook. Which of the above sentences are grammatical? It seems to me that (b) is correct and (a) is not. We are talking about a quantity here. It seems to me...Read More...
I particularly liked your examples above, DocV, as they illustrate very clearly that it is the noun (singular mass or plural count) which is focused on as the head of the phrase that will determine the number of the verb.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Owner

Is this a correct sentence? Reading is a hobby that helps it's owner. Is it acceptable to use the word "owner"? Thanks.Read More...
Thanks for your help. Sorry for the punctuation mistake which was because of the word checking program on my mobile.Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

using relative pronoun 'that' instead of 'which' in the following sentence

A few years later, she even made an organization, Empower Orphans, which sends food, clothes, books, and many other things to orphans. Can we replace the underlined relative pronoun 'which' with 'that'? There are two arguments about this. 1. The 'which' in the above sentence is a non-restrictive use of relative pronoun, accordingly, 'that' can't replace 'which'. 2. The comma in front of 'which' is used to indicate the apposition between 'an organization' and 'Empower Orphans'. In that case,...Read More...
Thank you so much, David and Gustavo! I 've attached the surrounding sentences. You're right, it's from a Korean Textbook. (The story is about a Indian American girl, Neha Gupta.) ...... She wanted to help with their education. Instead of just feeling sorry for the girls, she decided to do something. Some people said, “If you were an adult, you could do it, but you’re just 9 years old. Do you really think you can change anything?” What they said, however, didn’t stop her. When she went back...Read More...
Last Reply By y2k · First Unread Post
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