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December 2020

Is it "this story and characters" or "these story and characters"?

I've written the sentence "This story and characters mean the world to me." Is that proper grammer, or is it " These story and characters mean the world to me," or " This story and these characters mean the world to me."? I'm not sure which it is.Read More...
Hello, Risers, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. How about "This story and its characters mean the world to me"?Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

is total singular or plural?

Hello, Is total a singular or plural? Is it the total or the noun after the total that determines the use of singular/plural? The total socks that I wear were 10 pairs during the year. The total number of men wearing glasses was/were 5.Read More...
Unfortunately, Lucas, your sentence " Thus, during the year , the total socks that he wears were 10 pairs, but the total socks that he hangs on the chimney were 4 pairs " would only work in a type of context that is so silly that it is not even worth mentioning. The context is one of science fiction. Do we really need to go there? When one has to resort to science fiction in order to give a sentence meaning, it is a clear sign that a sentence is being used with anomalous meaning and grammar.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

analytically why is (a) the correct choice

one of the areas of multimedia that is growing quickly ______ overlooked is sound. (a) yet is easily overlooked (b) is easily overlooked (c) it is easily overlooked (d) that is easily overlookedRead More...
Hello, Elitstudent, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. Please visit the Guidelines page, a link to which is in the toolbar at the top of this website. Your title is faulty. Also, rather than simply serving us an exercise to do, we prefer that learners state what they think the answer is or what is troubling them about an exercise. Also, please remember to use proper punctuation. In English, we capitalize the first letter of a sentence. Both (a) and (d) are correct answers. The other two...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

will have been already or will expire

Hello, Sir. Did I use correctly future perfect in that context. Would it have been better if I had used another tense ( future simple)? ''Before we leave, we must throw away the products that will have expired already by the time we get back from our vacation.'' Thank you very much.Read More...
Hi, Schianu, Yes, the future perfect is correctly used, but "already" (which I find redundant) should be in mid position: will already have expired / will have already expired .Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

wish

Hi, "I wish I knew what...........now ." a-is wrong with him b-wrong with him is c-was wrong with him d-wrong with him wasRead More...
Hi, Ahmed, 'Knew' is in the subjunctive mood. If its following clause refers to the present, it is more common to use a past tense, especially in modern English, and that's to underscore the unreality of the situation. That's why, I'd go with "c- was wrong with him."Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Dummy subjects It and there

Hello, I would be most grateful for some help, I understand that it and there are both used as dummy subjects. After doing some research , I read that we use there when the subject follows the verb, and It is used when this is not the case. A student I volunteer with wrote this sentence: 1. It is no doubt that money influences our lives. As a native speaker, i suggested using : 2.T here is no doubt that money influences our lives. My question: In sentence 2 there must be a subject f ollowing...Read More...
Thank you.Read More...
Last Reply By Mrchuffie · First Unread Post

Give rise to and result in

Do the two sentences below have the same meaning and grammatical? What is the difference between interest expense and interest expenses? Example 1: I have included additional interest expenses in the book. This gives rise to an increase of the trust losses, resulting in a reduction of the undistributed income to you in the 2020 income year. Example 2: I have included additional interest expenses in the book. This has resulted in an increase of the trust losses, which gives rise to a...Read More...
Hi, Tony, We always use "interest expenses" in the plural to refer to an accounting item (just like with other items such as assets, liabilities, etc.) Both examples are correct but I prefer the use of the perfect perfect in (2). Also, the verb "result in" is more suitable to refer to a mathematical, and not just factual, consequence: the inclusion of these expenses has resulted in a larger total amount of losses. Instead of "which gives rise to," I'd write "in turn resulting in."Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

what vs. which

a. What scientist invented the steam engine? b. What man invented the steam engine? c. Which scientist invented the steam engine? d. Which man invented the steam engine? Which are grammatically correct? I use (c) and (d), although we have an unlimited number of scientists and men to choose from. I think (a) and (b) have disparaging connotations. ' What man would do such a thing?' But I am not sure I am right. Many thanks.Read More...

Percentagewise

Is 'percentagewise' a word? I found this example on a dictionary: "this college ranked second in the nation percentagewise in the production of scientists." Google docs marks the word as incorrect. And many dictionaries show the word as tow separate words.Read More...
Thank you for the suggestion. I intend to use it on academic written task 2. Given that I get a question that has to do with percentage. I know there are a lot of ways to paraphrase a sentence but, I was told that it's always a good idea to use different words and style. So I thought I might as well add this word to my list.Read More...
Last Reply By Ashraful Haque · First Unread Post

They send these pictures to *the weather stations*...

The following is a short article from my text paper. Now satellites are helping to forecast the weather. They are in space, and they can reach any part of the world. The satellites take pictures of the atmosphere because this is where the weather forms. (a)They send these pictures to *the weather stations*. So meteorologists can see the weather of any part of the world. (b)From the pictures, *the scientist* *can often say* how the weather will change. Today, nearly five hundred weather...Read More...
Hello, Barry, Please visit the Guidelines link in the toolbar at the top of this webpage. The Grammar Exchange is not a copyediting or proofreading service. If you would like to explore a particular grammatical issue in this passage, or a particular grammatical topic it interests you in, please ask only about that. Ignoring everything but the question related to the title of this thread, I will say that I agree with you that "the" should have been omitted. The writer, who is likely...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

I did what I could

I've just thought of this sentence and am thinking whether it could be correct. Of course, it should be incorrect if we already know that "could" does not express a specific past ability, am I right? I've made up a possible context below. They were fighting, and I tried to calm them down. I did what I could to stop the fight, but they wouldn't listen.Read More...
I understood that by "both options" you mean that the sentence: - I did what I could. can mean: 1. I did what I was capable of doing ( could : general past ability) or 2. I did what I managed to do ( could : specific past ability, i.e., ability + performance) My claim is that interpretation (2) is not possible because it would be redundant to say that you did (past performance) what you managed to do (past ability + past performance).Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

in such a way 'that' or 'in which'

Hello, everyone? Intellectual humility is admitting you are human and there are limits to the knowledge you have. It involves recognizing that you possess cognitive and personal biases, and that your brain tends to see things in such a way that your opinions and viewpoints are favored above others . 1. In above sentence that is a subordinating conjunction or a replacement for a relative adverb - how ? 2. If a replacement for a relative adverb how , above that can be replaced with ' in which...Read More...
Hi, Gustavo, Your today's explanation has broadened my view of English grammar, which hasn't yet occurred to me so far. Thanks and RGDS,Read More...
Last Reply By deepcosmos · First Unread Post

is better than that

a. That he should come here is better than that you should go there. b. For him to come here is better than for you to go there. c. That he should come here is preferable than that you should go there. d. For him to come here is preferable than for you to go there. Are the above sentences grammatically correct? Many thanks ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS TopRead More...
Hi, Azz, I'd like to see what David thinks, but I don't think a that- clause can be the object of than . Also, I'd use "to" after "preferable" (which does not work in example (d) as it clashes with "for you to...") You can compare infinitival as well are gerundial clauses — the latter ones being indeed more formal: e. His coming here is better than your going there. f. His coming here is preferable to your going there.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Helps in Reported Speech

Q. Joe told his friend that his brother _____ him with his homework. A. Helps B. Was helping My textbook has B as the answer. However, I feel it should be A as it appears to be a habit in this sentence. Because the direct speech would naturally be ‘My brother helps me with my homework’ rather than ‘My brother is helping me with my homework’ as there is no time mentioned. Is my reasoning logical?Read More...
Tenses need not be kept the same in a clause: Mary liked me then, still likes me now, and will like me in the future. What happens in reported speech where the reporting verb is in the past tense is that the tenses in the clause of reported speech are naturally relativized in English to fall within the scope of the past-tense reporting verb, even when what is spoken of in the past tense still applies to the present.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Inflection & Derivation Question

Hi, Everyone, I am reading about morphemes to understand word classes and wanted to see if my current understanding is correct. The word "fat" can be an adjective (1) or a noun (2): (1) The fat man; or (2) The man liked to eat fat. If I make (1) "fatter", this is an example of inflection (same word class). In contrast, while not a grammatical sentence if you make (2) "fatter", this would be an example of derivation due to a change in word class. Am I on the right track with my understanding?Read More...
Hi, Gustavo, Thanks for the reply; it now makes sense. Cheers, PhilipRead More...
Last Reply By Philip · First Unread Post

in New York and Los Angeles

a. He dated two women in New York and Los Angeles. b. He dated two women , in New York and Los Angeles. c. He dated two women in New York and in Los Angeles. d. He dated two women , in New York and in Los Angeles. What do the above sentences mean? Which of the following meanings could they have? 1. He dated one woman in New York and one in Los Angeles. 2. He dated the same two woman in the two cities. 3. He dated four women in all. Two in NY and two in LA. It seems to me that the commas make...Read More...
Hello again, Azz—To me, the sentence "He has dated two women, in New York and Los Angeles" is compatible with (i) his two-timing in both places, (i) his one-timing in sequence in both places, or (iii) his four-timing, or dating both women simultaneously in both locations.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Someone his/her or their

What is the correct one? I have been working on something over 6 years. Someone could have finished his/her PHD. or I have been working on something over 6 years. Someone could have finished their PHD.Read More...
See this example: - I saw someone at yesterday's party. I asked for his/her help and he/she was very nice as he/she lent me his/her.... As you can see the repetition of this clumsy combination makes the speech very heavy, unlike the usage of 'they'.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Present perfect vs past simple

Hello! I am wondering... There was the following exercise on a grammar website (englisch-hilfen.de if you're curious), in which you are to choose present perfect or past simple in the following sentence: _________ (you win) the game of chess? The answer is Did you win the game of chess? (past simple), because the game is over and in the past. But how do we know? Am I to think that every time I see the phrase "the game of chess", it must be used with the present perfect, and never the past...Read More...
Hi, Ben—One can correctly ask "Have you won the game of chess?" (or, more simply, "Have you won the game (yet)?" or just "Have you won?") of someone who has been playing a game of chess which seems to have come to a close. One would ask "Did you win the game of chess?" of someone who has already played the game of chess to which one is referring. Because the game already occurred, it is in the past. We thus use the past tense to talk about who won.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Where does the question mark go?

My child has 2 sentences requiring punctuation that the teacher marked wrong. I'm pretty sure they are correct but would like verification. What is that asked David Do you think it is a bear asked Matt Where does the question mark go in these sentences? (I know that it is also missing quotation marks :D but somehow that's not what the teacher marked as wrong lol)Read More...
Yes! That is exactly how I thought they should be punctuated! The teacher said my daughter was wrong and moved the question mark to after the name. Thank you very much!Read More...
Last Reply By Eala · First Unread Post

Commas again I'm sure

When joining two simple sentences I was told you cant use a comma this example seems to contradict that "The Big Cop flicks out his cuffs, the other cops holding a bead." Stylistically I love to write like this instead of a period or semi colon I find the sentence flows better, so some advice would be appreciated. Is it because "the other cops" is dependent in some way? If so any advice on how to identify dependent clauses would be appreciated.Read More...
Hello, Serpinitha, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. Please, next time you quote something mention the source (please refer to the Guidelines at the top). The sentence you quoted is fine because the second part is known as an absolute construction formed by a subject and a non-tensed predicate. This construction needs to be set off by a comma and is dependent on the main clause that precedes it.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post
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