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Use of Quotes

David, Moderator
Our Policy on the Use of Quotations We understand that members occasionally desire or need to ask grammar-related questions about sentences or phrases that were written by others, and it is perfectly acceptable for you to do so. However, if you wish to include sentences or phrases in a post that were not originally written by you, you must do two things: 1) You must show punctuationally that they are not your words. 2) You must cite what you have taken the text from. The easiest way to...Read More...

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apostrophes

We're having an argument in my office. I say: Library Speakers Series has no apostrophe on Speakers. Others say it does have one. I say there's no possession. It's actually the "series of speakers," not that the series belongs to the speakers. Who's right? Thanks. SharonRead More...

that or why, relative pronoun

Hello, In the following question sentence, does "that" work as it is? Or does the "that" need to be replaced with "why"? What did experts believe is the reason that the villagers were not killed by the cobras? AppleRead More...
Hi, Apple, The sentence is grammatical with "that" or "why"; however, with either one, it is extremely awkward and unnatural, especially because you have not backshifted "is." Here are some natural alternatives: What did experts believe was the reason that/why the villagers were not killed by the cobras? What do experts believe is the reason that/why the villagers were not killed by the cobras? Why, according to experts, were the villagers not killed by the cobras? What did experts believe...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Which is correct? Is there a song... Is there any song... Are they any songs...

Hello, 1. Is there a song that you can sing in French? 2. Are there any songs that you can sing in French? 3. Is there any song that you can sing in French? I know sentences 1 and 2 are correct, but what about 3? I don't think it is correct, but is it acceptable? AppleRead More...
The question would be: "Can you think of any song that you can sing in French?"Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

delay to repair the bus

a. We'll have a twenty-minute delay to repair the bus. b. There will be a twenty-minute delay to repair the bus. c. We'll have a twenty-minute delay in order to repair the bus. d. There will be a twenty-minute delay in order to repair the bus. Are the above sentences grammatically correct? Are they natural? The idea is that repairing the bus will take twenty minutes and therefore we'll be delayed by twenty minutes. Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz, While none of the sentences is a disaster, all of them cry out to be repaired. If you changed "(in order) to repair the bus" to "for bus repairs," all would be well: (a'/c') We'll have a twenty-minute delay for bus repairs. (b'/d') There will be a twenty-minute delay for bus repairs.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

break out

Hello, I am just wondering where to use „break out of“ and where „break out from“. Is it better to say „break out from a system“ or rather „break out of a system“?Read More...
Hello David, thank you for your expertise! I mean a system of corruption and exploitation within a state. Breaking out would mean independence, but financial drawbacks for an individual.Read More...
Last Reply By Better Flow · First Unread Post

onto and on to

Hello, What is the difference between "onto" and "on to"? I saw this sentence on Oxford online dictionary. PC noun A personal computer. ‘you can download the software on to your PC’ https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pc AppleRead More...
Thank you, David. I also thought "onto" would have been better, but since it is in Oxford dictionary, I wasn't sure of myself. AppleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

which or where

Hello, I would like to know which sentence is correct. a) Think of a buffet table at a party, or perhaps at a hotel which you've visited. b) Think of a buffet table at at party, or perhaps at a hotel where you've visited. Can I use these two senteces grammatically and, if any, what is difference between two sentences? Please give me some useful tip. Thanks in advance.Read More...
Hello, C.Y.Chang, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! Only (a) is correct. The reason you shouldn't say "a hotel where you've visited" is that we speak of visiting something, not of visiting somewhere. "Visit" is a strongly transitive verb that generally requires a direct object. That is, while we can say, "I visited it", it sounds bad to say, " I visited there ." If you changed the verb to "stayed," you could use "where" after "hotel," because we can say, "I stayed there." (b1) Think of a...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"A variety of" vs "varieties of"

Hello everyone, what's the difference between 'a variety of' and 'varieties of' in the following sentences? And are they both correct? There is a variety of flowers in the market. There are varieties of flowers in the market.Read More...
Hi, Subhajit, Sentence (1) indicates that the flowers in the market are of one variety or type, and (2) that the flowers in the market are of many different varieties or types. If you mean simply to say that there are a bunch of diverse flowers in the market (where "variety of" functions as a mere quantifier), then you should say: (3) There are a variety of flowers in the market.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Are exciting and excited the same

I just wanted to knowRead More...
Hi, Favor, Please include your question in the opening post of a thread. Readers should not have to refer to the title of a thread to see the question that is being asked. As to the difference between "exciting" & "excited," please see the answer Gustavo gave you regarding the difference between "interesting" & "interested."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

too drunk to remember

Ask him what he said to Jane at the party last night. -He won't be able to answer. He was too drunk to remember. He is not drunk now. He was so drunk last night that he has surely forgotten all he did and said and won't be able to recall what he said to Jane. Does the sentence in blue work in this context? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- a. Her relationship with her husband was too bad for her to want to talk about him. Is sentence (a)...Read More...
Hi, Azz, No, the sentence in blue does not work in that context. It means that, while drunk at the party, he couldn't remember something that happened earlier. Thus, the meaning is contradicted by the context. The sentence wants a perfect infinitive in the context you've presented: Ask him what he said to Jane at the party last night. -He won't be able to answer. He was too drunk to have remembered . Yes, Azz, it is. However, I'd prefer the following, which is equivalent in meaning: (a1) Her...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

trust believe

Hello, 1.I don't believe your story. 2. I trust you. 3.I cannot trust this research result. 4.I cannot believe this research result. I think 1,2,3,4, are correct, but what about the following sentence. 5. I can trust none of his success stories in business. Doesn't "trust" have to be replaced with "believe"? Or does "trust" work in this sentence? AppleRead More...
Hi, Apple, Yes, all four of those sentences are correct. Sentence (5) is correct, too. "Trust" does not need to be replaced with "believe." "Trust" does work in the sentence. It is a more emphatic version of this sentence: (5a) I cannot trust any of his success stories in business. Please note that "I cannot believe this research result" will tend to indicate excitement and would naturally end with an exclamation point: (4a) I cannot believe this research result! Wow. That is, (4) will not...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Is this sentence correct?

Hello, I have never seen such a beautiful beach like this. This is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen, No other beach is as beautiful as this (one). I have never seen anything like this beautiful beach. I think sentences 1,2,3, mean about the same, but what about 4? Is 4 correct in the first place? If not, what's wrong with it? If correct, does it mean the same as the other three sentences? AppleRead More...
Hi, Apple, The only incorrect sentence in your example set is (1). "Like this" doesn't work there; however, if you changed "like" to "as," or omitted the phrase altogether, the sentence would be fine. You could also use "so beautiful a beach" instead. (1a) I have never seen such a beautiful beach as this. (1b) I have never seen such a beautiful beach. (1c) I have never seen so beautiful a beach. As to (4), though correct, it does have a different meaning. It means what it says, that this is...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

not only but also

cocoricot
Dear teachers, I have two simple sentences. I want to connect them using ''not only'' and ''but also''. I don't know where to place them properly. He is interested in gardening. He is interested in raising fish, too. 1. He is interested in not only gardening but also raising fish. 2. He is interested in not only gardening but he is also interested in raising fish. 3. He is not only interested in gardening but also raising fish. Can you tell me if ''not only '' ''but also'' can be placed...Read More...
Hello, Coco, The key to using the correlative conjunction "not only . . . but also . . ." mid-sentence is to make sure that the phrase that "not only" introduces is grammatically parallel to the phrase that "but also" introduces. Only (1) is grammatically parallel: "gardening" is grammatically parallel to "raising fish." By contrast "gardening" is not parallel to "interested in raising fish," and "interested in gardening" is not parallel to "raising fish." That said, (1) is not the best...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

the economy is much larger and diverse than this sector.

Hi! I have some questions about this sentence: Thus, while those with skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) observe higher incomes than those with other backgrounds, the economy is much larger and diverse than this sector. https://edwp.educ.msu.edu/green-and-write/2016/21st-century-skills-and-the-stem-craze/ I suppose, prescriptively speaking, there should be "more" in front of "diverse" so that "and" can connect the two comparative degree adjectives, "larger" and "more...Read More...
Thank you so much, David! I understand. I'm so sorry for this delayed response.Read More...
Last Reply By yasukotta · First Unread Post

-ing form with preparatory it

Hussein Hassan
Hi, there, There's a rule in Aim High 6 (the book I'm teaching) says: 'it ' can be used as a preparatory subject or object for an -ing form , especially in informal style. We often use it with adjectives . And It cites the following examples: It was amazing walking along the Great Wall. It was interesting hearing what he had to say. On the other hand, advisable as an adjective in Oxford Dictionary is followed by to + inf. It is advisable to practise each exercise individually at first. The...Read More...
Thanks a lot, Gustavo. You made it clear.Read More...
Last Reply By Hussein Hassan · First Unread Post

passive voice

Dears, Could you help me with one example of the first conditional? How to create the passive voice of it. If she is always late, you shouldn't wait for her. I will be grateful for your supportRead More...
Hello, Joanna, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! A conditional sentence is a sentence formed by a main clause (what we call the "result") and a conditional clause (what we call the "condition"). Each of those clauses can contain a transitive or an intransitive verb. Only if the verb is transitive in both clauses can the whole sentence be turned into the passive voice, for example: - If they find him, they 'll punish him -> If he 's found , he 'll be punished . In your sentence, only...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

there is or are a wide range of...

Hello, There is a wide range of products. This is correct. Not " there are a wide.... Right? At least I think so, but other native speakers seem to disagree. Are both "is" and "are" acceptable in today's grammar? https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/there-is-or-there-are-a-wide-range.3339283/ AppleRead More...
Ok. I see. Thank you, David. AppleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

Usage of apostrophe 's

Hi there, do I need to use apostrophe 's in the following sentence? I left my job in 2007 after a misunderstanding between me and the manager of the company. I joined the the company again in 2009 after my friend 's becoming the new manager of the company. I know we can say the following: I left my job in 2007 after a misunderstanding between me and the manager of the company. I joined the the company again in 2009 after my friend became the new manager of the company. But should I use...Read More...
Hi, Subhajit: Sentence (1) is extremely awkward. I can't imagine any native speaker anywhere using the sentence. It wouldn't work at all without the apostrophe. That said, you should really use the second sentence instead.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

First Conditional

I want to appreciate Moderator David and other contributors on this resourceful site. God bless you real good. I was planning a lesson on conditional sentences and I got this from page 748 of 'Cambridge Grammar of English' by Ronald Carter and Michael McCarthy: "The structure of the first conditional is: if + present simple tense + modal verb with future reference (e.g. will/shall/may). In the first conditional, a speaker or writer predicts a likely result in the future if the condition is...Read More...
Wonderful! I am so grateful to you, Mr David. Your responses are always excellent.Read More...
Last Reply By Yale Wale · First Unread Post

decades-long , decade-long

Hello, Here is a sentence from a TIME article. If Clinton has proven one thing over the course of her decades-long stint in politics, it’s that Hillary Clinton is going to Hillary Clinton. My question. Why do you say "decades-long" while you say "year-long" not "years-long"? Is there a difference between a plural and singular? "year-long" means just one year and "years-long" means more than two years? YokoRead More...
Admittedly wildly late to this conversation, but while I agree with others on the "decades-long" issue, I disagree that the verb be was left out. In my sense of it, the author is using the name "Hillary Clinton" as a verb, in the same way we now "Google" something. So the sense of it is that Hillary Clinton is going to continue to do all the things we associate with Hillary Clinton. She's going to Hillary Clinton the **** out of things.Read More...
Last Reply By David Irwell · First Unread Post

Point of view and interpretation.

Hi Guys, The following are two snippets which I have written for a treatise. When I ask a person which they prefer, I get a clear 50-50 response rate. Some like option 1 and others seem to prefer option 2. Feedback from an editor suggests option one is accusatory and should be avoided, however, individuals who preferred option 1 inform after they have read it, view it as 'helpful advice' rather than instructional or didactic . The second professional feedback was in relation to point of view...Read More...
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