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December 2020

safe place

a. These are places safe from the storm. b. These are safe places from the storm. c. This is a place safe for business. d. This is a safe place for business. Which of the above sentences are grammatically correct? Many thanksRead More...
Hi, Azz, I'd only discard (b) — the prepositional phrase "from the storm" only makes sense if attached to and appearing immediately after the adjective "safe." Though unusual, I think (a) works because it is an abridged form of: a1. These are places (that/which are) safe from the storm. just like (c) is a reduced form of: c1. This is a place (that/which is) safe for business. I think that, unlike (b), (d) works because the prepositional phrase "for business" can have adverbial value and thus...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

he informed me of is vs he informed me is

Hi, Would you let me know which of the following two sentences is correct? (1) The price he informed me of is very high. (2) The price he informed me is very high. I guess (1) is grammatically correct but it seems that Google shows more results of (2) structure. If so, does it mean that (1) is correct but (2) structure is also widely accepted by people?Read More...
Thank you very much. I will not omit "of" when connecting a sentence whose main verb is "inform" with another sentence using a relative.Read More...
Last Reply By yun · First Unread Post

Comma before material following attribution?

Here's a situation I run into regularly as a freelance editor. Writers always want to use commas to offset material following an attribution, regardless of whether the following material is a phrase or clause: "That's what I thought," he said , without looking up from his book. The only thing that makes me hesitate to delete the comma is that we do tend to pause here in speech; if I were to read this sentence out loud, with or without the comma, I would insert a pause between "said" and...Read More...
Yes, it is standard practice to add a comma to set off phrases containing incidental information. Whether the "without"-phrase is incidental in your coffee-cup example will depend on the context. If you're just adding an incidental detail, the "without"-phrase should be set off by a comma. However, if that detail is important to the message of the sentence, then it is not incidental and should not be set off by a comma. He was so focused that he picked up his cup of coffee and took a sip...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Usage of "can"

1) Bobby Reynolds did not win at Wimbledon on Thursday, or did he? The scoreboard showed the world No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Reynolds, 7-6 (2), 6-3, 6-1, on Centre Court, and after winning three qualifying matches and a gutsy five-setter in his opening round, Reynolds’s 2013 singles campaign at the championships was over. He lost to a better player. He won in every other way one can imagine . 2) You/one can get very nasty skin diseases from bathing in dirty water. It can be seen that...Read More...
Yes, Language learner, both can and could can be used to express possibility. As you say, "could" is more tentative, or less assertive, than "can," that is, the chances that things will turn out in a certain way are higher if you use "can" and lower if you use "could."Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Infinitive and participle interchangeable here?

I notice this particular construction every time I happen across it: I heard the door close. I heard the door closing. OR: I felt my stomach rumble. I felt my stomach rumbling. I always kick myself for having trouble identifying the difference here. Are they fully interchangeable? What parts of speech are being expressed here, and are they different in each example? Would love to hear some thoughts!Read More...
Many thanks, Gustavo! This helps me clarify the distinction.Read More...
Last Reply By iankms · First Unread Post

Good resource for learning tenses

Hi, Can anyone recommend a really good, advanced, and comprehensive resource for learning English tenses that would exhaust the topic completely leaving you feeling like you know everything when it comes to the subject?Read More...
Oh, yeah. I remember him now - he was very good. I havent been here for a while: I guess I had to rest for a while and now just thought to resume learning of English a bit. Thanks, GuatavoRead More...
Last Reply By Former Member · First Unread Post

where, a relative adverb or a conjunction?

Hello, everyone!! I have a question about ' when ' in following sentence; " There will be humans back on Mars in about four years when the area 4 mission team arrives ." While I'm inclined to consider it a relative adverb, I'm not sure if the relative adverb can take " in about four years" (prepositional phrase) as an antecedent. If so, this where should be an a subordinate conjunction, leading an adverb clause. Would hope to get your clarification. Thanking and Best RGDS,Read More...
Hello, Gustavo, Sincerely appreciate your very clear clarification. Best RGDS,Read More...
Last Reply By deepcosmos · First Unread Post

Relative pronoun (who, which, where, etc) & the use of a ","

Is it wrong to use a comma before a relative pronoun? e.g. The date of unit redemption appears in your bank statement is 1 December 2020 , which differs from the date shows in the trust unit register.Read More...
Hi, Tony, The comma before a relative word is perfect when the antecedent is well-defined. The clause that follows is thus called non-defining or non-restrictive. Therefore, your sentence: is correctly written with a comma. Notice this case where a comma is not used because the clause (called restrictive) helps define the antecedent: - The date which differs from the one in the trust unit register is the date of unit redemption appearing in your bank statement.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Replace "that is" with "being"

Hi, Can I replace the phrases in bold with the auxiliary verb of "being"? In your letter, you argue that you have correctly reported your income from XYZ that is the director fee of $90K received from the XYZ. so it becomes In your letter, you argue that you have correctly reported your income from XYZ being the director fee of $90K received from the XYZ.Read More...
Hi, Tony—I recommend using "namely" instead and setting it off with commas: In your letter, you argue that you have correctly reported your income from XYZ , namely, the director fee of $90K , received from the XYZ. Note that I have also added a comma before "received from the XYZ."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

The word "as"

In the absence of the word? "as" would it change its meaning? If no, is it better to use with/without "as" in the following sentence. The balance of your loan account owed by XYZ Pty Ltd as reflected i n GL-2-1234 was $100K as at 31 December 2019. Thanks!Read More...
Hi, Tony—"As" is helpful there: "as reflected" means "as that balance is reflected." The problem with your sentence is that it is missing a comma after "Ltd" and another comma after "1234." The "as"-phrase should be set off with commas.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Hyphenation

I just realized that the novel I wrote in Word had hyphenation turned off. What is the proper way of using hyphenation for a book? Should I just select all text and set hyphenation to auto or do something else?Read More...
Hi, Whisperdrone—I recommend learning how to hyphenate properly and then doing so. That way you won't need to rely upon a robot.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

the use main clause and relative clause in bullet points

Dear Sirs, I am not sure whether the sentences in the bullet point should consider the statement antecedent. To better illustrate my question, please see an example below. Example: In support of your contention that........., you have provided the following information: a. your bank statement showing on 1 January 2020, the $100K was deposited into X bank account. b. your bank statement showing on 4 January 2020, the $50K was returned to you. Question 1: Should I worry the verb "provide" in...Read More...
"your bank statement showing ..." is not equivalent to "your bank statement is showing..." The former is a phrase, while the latter is part of a sentence. A sentence needs to stand alone, and "your bank statement showing ..." does not. Let's see if I can make myself clearer. Suppose you ask your accountant: - What do you need? And your accountant answers: - Your bank statement showing that on 1 January 2020 an amount of $100K was deposited into X bank account. To be a complete sentence, the...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

what is the plural form when referring to more than one Board of Commissioners?

Is it Boards of Commission, Boards of Commissioners?Read More...
Hello, Mary K, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. If the singular is Board of Commissioners , that is, a board formed by several members, the plural is Boards of Commissioners , that is, more than one board each formed by several members. The same happens with, for example, Board of Directors , the plural of which is Boards of Directors.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

If Clause as objective

How do we use if clause inside objective of verbs such as “said”, “believed”. Which of following is correct? 1. They believed if they get older they’ll settle. 2. They believed if they got older they’d settle. 3. He said if he works hard he will be rich. 4. He said if he worked hard he would be rich. 5. He said if he had worked hard he’d have been rich.Read More...
Hello, Nike, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. The "if"-clause is not the object of "said" or "believed" in those examples. The object of "said" and "believed" is a "that"-clause from which "that" has been omitted. Within the "that"-clause is the "if"-clause and the "then"-clause: He said (that) if he worked harder (then) he would be rich. He said (that) he would be rich if he worked harder.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"Live" as adjective

When we refer to living people, it is also correct to say "live people"? Or is this incorrect use of the word? Thank youRead More...
Hi, Ana4316, "live people" is not a correct collocation in English. Here follows a list of nouns that usually accompany the adjective "live": Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English, 2nd edition live adj. Live is used with these nouns: act , album , ammunition , animal , appearance , audience , bait , band , birth , broadcast , bullet , cattle , CD , chat , chicken , coal , commentary , concert , coverage , demonstration , edition , entertainment , export , football , gig ,...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

"Were" or "was"?

Hello, does anyone know if it's correct to say "the situation was happening", or "the situation were happening"? Thank you!Read More...
Hi, Ana4316, The noun "situation" is singular and, as such, requires a singular verb ( was ). Notice, however, that the sentence would need some context to be likely to occur as proposed.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Comma or semicolon?

I'm trying to figure out if a sentence like the following one would need a comma or a semicolon... the phrases seem connected, and yet also independent at the same time: "I could picture her now, her green dress matching her eyes." Thank you!Read More...
Hello, Ana4316, "her green dress matching her eyes" is an absolute construction (notice the verb is a non-finite, that is, not tensed) and, as is always the case with absolute constructions, it needs to be set off by a comma.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

List and dashes

Hello, I have a specific grammar-related question. If I am using a dash for words such as "fifth-grade", what happens to the dash in a list? For instance: "The fifth and sixth-grade students were in the gym." Should there be a dash after "fifth", as in: "The fifth- and sixth-grade students were in the gym", or no dash? Thank you!Read More...
That makes total sense, thank you! Yes, I meant hyphenRead More...
Last Reply By Ana4316 · First Unread Post

Above matter or subject matter

I am emailing someone and I put in the subject as: Re: Water leak from the water pipe 1. Do I say, I just wanted to check with you regarding the above matter or do I say regarding the subject matter ? Thanks so muchRead More...
Hi, Cristi, We generally use "above" after nouns or combined with participles like "mentioned" or "referenced": the subject above, the above-referenced matter, the subject mentioned above.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Interrogative sentence followed by positive sentence, question 2 in one

Example: Can you please kindly give me a call when you get a chance? In the example above, do I put a full stop or a question mark at the end of the sentence?Read More...
Cristi, if you want to ask a real question, then close the sentence with a question mark. If you use a period, the connotation is that you expect an affirmative answer. It's just a polite way of saying: Give me a call when you get the chance.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

THANK GOD

HELLO! I really need help! I was told the sentence "Thank God! The course is over" is wrong but I don't know why. Will someone explain it, please?! Thank you in advance.Read More...
Hello, MarcelaMC, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. There is nothing wrong with "Thank God! The course is over," which is really two sentences. "Thank God!" is an exclamation in the subjunctive, and "The course is over" is a sentence in the present simple indicative. Perhaps whoever told you it was wrong was thinking of a related sentence: "Thank God the course is over!" That really is one sentence; "that" could be placed before "the course is over": "Thank God that the course is over!"...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Use of past perfect

Hi, I'm new here and I study ESL with a friend. During a study session he shared the following sentence, which was part of a composition. In the sentence: "But before Mark could get very far with his plans, he had remembered that he didn't like her that much, so he went back and gave up" In the second part (he had remembered) should I use past perfect or simple past, and why? It's my understanding that he could rewrite the sentence and maintain everything on simple past. But he argued that...Read More...
Hello, MellSS, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. The simple past works much better there: "he remembered that he didn't like her that much." The sentence tells us that Mark's remembering this occurred before he could get very far with his plans. There is no need for the past perfect. "Remembered" does denote a past event, and, like all past events, other events come afterwards; however, that obviously does not mean that every past event should be reported in the past perfect. Also, I...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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