December 2018

Zero Article/Definite Article/Indefinite Article

ahmad
Hello, everyone, 1. Which of the following sentences is/are correct? A. Someone in this room has been to hospital today. B. Someone in this room has been to a hospital today. C. Someone in this room has been to the hospital today. Thanks. PS: I am taking it to be the case that there are more than one hospitals in the area, and that there is no prior reference to or any mention of any hospital etc.Read More...
Thanks, David.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

Intend

ahmad
Hello, everyone, A happy new year to all of you. A. The event intended to introduce students to broader perspective and scope of Management Studies. B. The event was intended to introduce students to broader perspective and scope of Management Studies. 1. Are both the sentences correct? 2. Do I need to put 'Management Studies' in lower case? Thanks.Read More...
Thanks a lot, David. I have been unbelievably busy for last few months, which is why I replied so late.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

Happy New Year

What are your New Year resolutions? Settle your debt? Learn a new language? Go on diet? Do more physical exercise? Get taller? No matter what. Happy New Year!Read More...
Gustavo. Instead of 11 minutes, one of my New Year resolutions is to run for at least 25 minutes a day; well, once in alternate day is not bad; maybe twice a week is still better than nothing, etc. Reason: I have to get a new identity card soon with a new photo!Read More...
Last Reply By terry · First Unread Post

Happy 2019!

It's already officially 2019 here in China. On this crisp new year's morning, I want to express my gratitude to every teacher for your priceless help in 2018 and for the privilege of ever being able to join you on this forum. I wish you--my dear teachers, every member and all your families a GREAT NEW YEAR! 😊😊 😊祝大家新年快乐! zhu da jia xin nian kuai le!😊Read More...
Thank you, David, for your nice words. As I've told you countless times, GE does not only mean work for me, but the possibility of continuing learning. I was very lucky to find GE a few years ago, and we are very lucky to have you in charge and DocV on board. Happy New Year! (By the way, I loved the picture, which happens to show my animal in the Chinese horoscope .)Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

will vs be going to

As you know, there are differences between "be going to" and "will" when we want to refer to some actions in the future. So, which of the following response would be more appropriate? Wow, the grass is getting tall. I think I ....... cut it tomorrow 1) will 2) am going to For me, "Wow, the grass is getting tall" is a sign for an instant decision, hence "will". Thanks.Read More...
According to Oxford English Grammar Course by Swan & Walter: - going to - talk about intentions - use ‘will’ at the moment when we decide somethingRead More...
Last Reply By terry · First Unread Post

"a" vs "any"

What is the difference between a and any in the following sentenc? Can a bulletproof vest stop a bulltet fired from an AK-47? Can any bulletproof vest stop a bulltet fired from an AK-47? Does the second one using any mean to say "Does there exist a single bulletproof vest that can stop a bullet fired from an Ak-47"?Read More...
Hi, Subhajit: Your examples here aren't very pleasant, but you are correct that the one with "any" has the meaning "Does there exist a single bulletproof vest that . . . [etc.]?" In a normal context, that is not the desired meaning. We would simply say, "Can a bulletproof vest stop a bullet fired from this type of gun?" If the sentence with "any" were used, it would receive emphatic stress, and there would be preceding context justifying its use with stress -- for example: "This (supposedly)...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

in a hurry and in haste

I understand these prases have basically the same meaning. If so, why does the former have an indefinite article and the latter no article? Any logical explanation?Read More...
Fujibei, First, let me thank you for your question. Second, let me suggest that, even though featuring the focus of your question in the subject heading of the thread is very helpful, it would also be nice if you would also include the phrases in the body of your post. I like all of the examples that Gustavo and David have suggested, but their explanations all seem to be missing something. First, I find the phrase "in haste" to be borderline archaic. I'm trying to think whether I've ever...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

To be... sequin/sequined/sequinned?

I'm doing some proofreading for a client's post about sequins (she's a fashion blogger). The first line starts, "'Tis the season to be... sequin." Is this correct? My gut says it should be "sequined or sequinned." Any insight would be appreciated! Thanks!Read More...
Mwr829, I'm sorry that I've been unable to respond to your post. I've been under the weather. I think that your client was attempting to be clever by using the semi-assonant rhyme combination of "season" and "sequin". It doesn't work for me, at least out of context. I agree with your preference of "sequined" or "sequinned" (both spellings are accepted). I'm curious though. Was there a precedent or subsequent line that ended in a word that was supposed to rhyme with "sequin"? I'm imagining...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

MERRY CHRISTMAS

cocoricot
Dear teachers, Christmas is coming nearer and nearer. I am full of joy. I wish all of you, our beloved teachers, MERRY CHRISTMAS. Coco. :)Read More...
Tara, Ruifeng, Cocoricot, Subha, Thank you all. May you and your families be blessed in the coming year. This also goes for my many other friends that I've had the privilege of getting to know on this forum. Peace and love, DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

an injured man

1) We have a man injured. 2) We have an injured man. What is the difference in the meanings? 3) There was a man injured, lying on the balcony. 4) There was an injured man, lying on the balcony. What is the difference in the meanings? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
I agree with Gustavo. I definitely think that the comma should be omitted in (4). Of course, omitting the comma in (3) changes the meaning entirely. Best of the rest of the year and the next, DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Scarce

Do we say "a rare collection of stamps "or “ a scarce collection of stamps“?Read More...
Gustavo, Thank you for this feedback. First, I agree that "rare stamp collections" is unpalatably ambiguous, possibly in more ways than have already come to your mind. I find that your example about the Indian collection justifies my use of "generally" as opposed to making a blanket statement. Stamp collections in general are not rare, and it is fair to assume that every collection that exists is actually unique. But this article that you shared speaks of an exhibition of a collection that...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

tense

The BBC is not supposed to editorialize about the news. This is an example sentence from the LDOCE. My questions are: Did the editor give the editorial or not? When can this comment be made, right after or before? Thanks.Read More...
Ruifeng, First off, I agree with everything David has said. You said: I don't mean to speak for David, but I agree with your interpretation. You said: Before I answer your question (strictly speaking), I must advise you that, in order to convey your meaning properly, you need to put quotation marks around the word "auxiliary", or italicize it. Otherwise, the question lends itself to myriad misinterpretations. As to whether you should use a full stop after the word "auxiliary" in this...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Tense with "recently"

Hi there, should I use recently with simple past or present perfect? I recently bought a mobile. It has very good features with a four-GB ram. I just love the mobile. I have recently bought a mobile. It has very good features with a four-GB ram. I just love the mobile. I have found a similar example on this site using simple past tense. As an English speaker which one would you prefer in the given context?Read More...
Hi, Subhajit, Both sentences are correct. You can choose the simple past ("I recently bought a mobile"), and you can choose the present perfect ("I have recently bought a mobile"). The choice is yours. Speakers of American English are more likely to choose the simple past in that context, whereas British speakers, who tend to be more fond of using the present perfect, might favor the present perfect. I hope you realize that the second sentence ("It has very good features") does not involve...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

reflexive not used? No.2

This is another question related to the previous one. As you may have noticed, Swan claims that (a) is wrong. Again, I believe we have a sentence like (b): (a) His book is selling itself well . (b) His book is selling itself . Here's my take: "The ____ sells itself" is an idiomatic expression. "His book is selling itself well" is not wrong, but would be a very unusual construction. "His book sells itself well " would be more common. I also think "The book sells itself" is also fine. But that...Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, Swan is right that "His book is selling itself well" is wrong. And you are right that you can correctly say, "His book is selling itself," and that the problem with the sentence that Swan rejects is the use of the adverb "well." Sentences like "His book is selling itself," "The book will sell itself," etc., mean that the seller does not have to make any real efforts to sell the thing. If he puts the book out, someone will buy it. The sentence "His book is selling itself" and...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"Have been doing" vs "have done"

Hi there, What's the difference between have done or have been doing in the following context? Can I use both in the following context? John: Can you please repair my computer? Me: Yeah!! it's too easy. I have been doing/have done this for 3 years.Read More...
Hi, Subhajit, The natural, native choice in the sentence in question is the present perfect progressive: "I've been doing this for three years." While the present perfect simple is possible, it is not the native choice, at least not without the addition of "now": "I've done this for three years now." The sentence "I've repaired computers for three years" by itself can easily mean that you done that for a three-year period of time in the past. You want the up-to-now reading here. That's why...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

If you have (any) questions

Do I need to use any in the following sentence? Does any change the meaning in the following sentence? And as an English speaker will you leave any out? If you have (any) questions on the subject, feel free to ask me.Read More...
Hi, Subhajit, You can use either "if you have any questions" or "if you have questions." The determiner "any" is optional. English speakers use both constructions with almost equal frequency. From the Corpus of Contemporary American English: "if you have any questions": 210 "if you have questions": 345 The effect on meaning that "any" has is that it emphasizes that there need not be many questions at all in order for the condition to be fulfilled; indeed, "if you have any questions" implies...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

reflexive not used?

Hello, While I was reading the book "Practical English Usage, 3rd edition, page 477, I came across an example, wherein the writer, Michael Swan, of worldwide fame, made a strange claim. Why strange? Because I firmly believe in this very section he's trying to explain things using decontextualized examples. He says sentence (a) below is wrong: (a) Suddenly the door opened itself. Although I believe the above sentence is less common than the version with no reflexive pronoun, I don't think...Read More...
The two examples where intransitive "open" appears in Swan are provided under sections 493 (item 9) and 609: I have to say I don't like the examples under item (9) above, where it says Some other verbs which do not normally have reflexive pronouns... While it is true that those verbs will not take the reflexive form, it is also true that speakers and students of English will not readily understand why verbs like concentrate, feel and hurry should be reflexive at all. Section 609 is, in my...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

unaware or unknowing

1. Unaware of recent political developments, he was taken by surprise upon his arrival in the capital. 2. Unknowing of recent political developments, he was taken by surprise upon his arrival in the capital. I think the first one is correct, but what about the second one? Thanks.:)Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng, Yes, (1) is correct. Sentence (2) is odd. Most people would say this instead: (2a) Not knowing of recent political developments, he was taken by surprise.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Had met/have met before.

Which is correct, "Had met before" or "have met before", in the following context: Hey mom, Today, I met a man named Sunil Das. He said he knew me and he said many things about me that were true. But I can't remember if I had met him/have met him before.Read More...
Both choices are unnatural in that context, Subhajit, because the last sentence is redundant; it communicates nothing that the second to last sentence has not already communicated. However, if you deleted "It was the best match I have ever seen," then you could use either "I have never seen a match like that before" (present perfect) or "I had never seen a match like that before" (past perfect). Again, you are talking about an experience that is still fresh, even though it is in the recent...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Used to

Can we say "He will be used to driving." or we must say "He will get used to driving."Read More...
Hi, Emad, As you know, "be used to" refers to the state of being in a certain habit, while "get used to" refers to the process of acquiring a habit. We can imagine contexts in which both "will be used to driving" and "will get used to driving" can work, for example: He is still afraid of driving, but I imagine that in a couple of months from now he will (already) be used to it (to driving). He is afraid of driving, but I bet he will get used to it (to driving) after some practice.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

He was almost hit.

a. He was almost hit. b. He almost was hit. Are they both correct?Read More...
Hi, Kis, Yes, they are both correct. Although I prefer (a) to (b), the correctness of (b) stands out when ellipsis is involved. Then "almost" needs to come before "was": A: Was he hit? B: He almost was. (NOT: * He was almost. ) Another interesting observation that can be made here is that, with the "get" passive, "almost" likewise must come right after "He": He almost got hit. NOT: * He got almost hit.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

loud, loudly and noise

1.When someone is talking too loud, we say they are making noise, making a noise or making noises? 2.Talk loud or talk loudly? What's the difference? Thanks.:)Read More...
Hi, Ruifeng, When someone is talking too loud(ly), we can say that he is being noisy or making too much noise. We don't say, in that context, that he is making a noise or making noises. If the person were not talking but hooting, whistling, squealing, etc., then we could say that he was making a noise or making noises. There is no difference. As an adverb, "loud" means "loudly." I know that I find it more natural, as a native speaker, to say "talk loud," though I sometimes use "talk loudly"...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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