# December 2022

#### ‘they were being tested’

Hello, everyone, “Imagine this scene. There are six people in an elevator with an actor hired by researchers. The actor drops a bunch of coins and pencils. They fall to the floor with a clatter. And then, as the elevator goes down floor by floor, not one person moves a muscle to help. The people in the elevator have to notice the actor picking up the coins and pencils on the floor. But each person is surrounded by five others who are doing nothing. If the people knew they were being tested,...Read More...
Hi, Gustavo, appreciate your comment. " If the people knew that they were being tested, ..." . Is my assumption below justified?; 1. ' knew is unreal and ' were ' is real. 2. However, you don't change ' were ' into ' are ' according to the rule of 'tense simplification in subordinate clauses'.Read More...

#### start - will start

Hello moderators. Could you please help me? Which one is correct? I think both are grammatically correct but some teachers say, "after "when" we can't use "will". - I don't know when the meeting (starts - will start). Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed, Yes, both are correct. "Starts" is preferred for scheduled actions (Cf The train leaves at 7 ), and "will start" is just future. Those teachers you mention might be confused with the case where "when" introduces an adverbial clause of time, where "will" cannot indeed be used, even if reference to the future is made. In the case at issue, however, "where" introduces an indirect question. Compare: - When will the meeting start? -> I don't know when the meeting will start .Read More...

#### aspectual mismatch: Have you ever been so close ... things suddenly all go wrong

Hello, The following is an interesting combination of the present perfect in the first clause and the present simple in the second. They supposedly refer to the same experience. Is this mismatch okay? If so, are there any logical explanations? Have you ever been so close to achieving your goal, but things suddenly all go wrong? I'd appreciate your help.Read More...
You said I tied the compatibility of the present perfect and the simple present tense to the general experience. Yes, I do. Since David has already explicitly explained above, I think there is no need for me to do it again. He explained it in terms of the historical present; while I did it in terms of non-real-time concept. With regard to the specific experience, it refers to any experience with adverbials of time, place, etc. When asked "Have you ever been close to achieving your goal?" One...Read More...

#### English literature Vs the english literature

Hi, Mohamed Ibrahim, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange, Generally speaking, 'literature' is an uncountable noun and should be preceded by zero article. - I like reading books about literature / English literature. (Zero article) However, you can correctly say, "I like reading books about the English literature of the 18th century."Read More...

#### Sinking or drowning

Hi there! In Oxford wordpower dictionary the word "lifebelt" is defined as follows: "A lifebelt is thrown to a person who has fallen into water to stop them from sinking." Why "sinking"? Why not "drowning" since we are talking about people? Thanks in advance for your help.Read More...
Thanks a lot, Ahmed. That's really clear-cut. Highly appreciate it.Read More...

#### Preposition

Hello, Normally for a phone number, we use on, e.g. please call me on 02 1234 9862 On another occasion, people often use "at", is it grammatically correct? To schedule a consultation, call me at +1 310 278 5444 or send me an email to admin@apple.comRead More...
I don't know anybody who talks that way. If you do, feel free to immitate them; but it won't make the phrase sound any more natural to me.Read More...

#### Can you say "still persists"?

I turned my brain into a pretzel trying to figure out whether this phrase is redundant. If it's "persists" then adding "still" means that it has also persisted in the past and is now continuing to persist, right? How do these things differ semantically: (1) The problem exists. (2) The problem still exists. (3) The problem persists. (4) The problem still persists. See this example (note that redundancy is commonly used in English and is acceptable...it's for emphasis, right?):...Read More...
There is no difference in meaning between "The problem persists" and "The problem still persits"; therefore, "still" is redundant in "The problem still persists." The idea of continuation is already present in "persists."Read More...

#### the OR zero?

It was THE/--- early morning yesterday when I went out... I take a nap in THE/--- late afternoon. Are both articles correct?Read More...
Yes, Me_IV, both articles are correct, with or without the modifiers ("early"/"late"). But I myself would prefer not to use "the" in the first example.Read More...

#### Article "a" or "an"

Are all acronyms that starts with "S" we have to use "an" instead of "a" e.g. You have commenced an SABP (simple account based pension). Self Covid Isolation Body (SCIB). An SCIB is often complained by members of th public,Read More...
Hi, Tony—If the "S" is pronounced as the letter (namely, as "ess"--e.g., "sending out an S.O.S."), as it is in initialisms, then you have to use "an." If the "s" is not pronounced as the letter but as the sound it stands for (as, in "a SCUBA diver"), as it is in true acronyms, which sound like words, then you have to use "a."Read More...

#### The or 0

What is the first month of …… spring? Is it March or May? (The- 0 ) The worksheet answer is (the). My answer is (0). In this website (https://www.englisch-hilfen.de/en/grammar/artikel.htm ), the rule is ( We use the seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn, winter) with or without the definite article . ) What do you think?Read More...
Hi, Izzat Hannah, The usage of 'the' with the seasons is optional . - We get a good crop of apples in (the) autumn. (Longman English Grammar L G. Alexander) 'The' is more likely used when we mean a particular summer, winter, etc. - I suffered a lot in the summer of that year.Read More...

#### I'm not an empty seat, punch me I bleed. meaning

"I'm not an empty seat, punch me I bleed." Peter Parker: [in argument with Mary Jane] "You don't understand! I'm not an empty seat anymore! I'm different! Punch me, I bleed !". Could you please explain what does this sentence mean? please expand on it. [line from Spider-Man 2 ]Read More...
Thank you soooo much, Appreciate it.Read More...

#### ‘with giving me a big hug’

Hello, everyone, “ She stood there chatting with her friend, with her child playing beside her .” I understand the underlined part above is called “ with absolute construction ”, which is used when the subject in the construction is different from the one in main clause. By the way, when I see two sentences below in our local material, I think their construction is different from the one above, since they lack the nouns acting as an independent subject; 1) My mother welcomed me [ with giving...Read More...
Hi, David, long time, no talk. I'm really glad I've learned a new thing today. I feel the absolute constructions including "an ACC-ing/Poss-ing construction" is really interesting.Read More...

#### Present Simple or Present Perfect

Phonetics, applicable to all human languages, ……….. the study of speech sounds and their production. has been is have been are The answer on the website ( https://englishmatic.com/advan...t-on-mixed-tenses-1/ ) is (has been) . I don't why it is not (is) .Read More...
Hi, Izzat Hannah—The key should show "is" as the answer, not "has been."Read More...

#### Is there a reason to break up this construction?

My instinct is to prefer (1) over (2), but is there any basis for this or is this just a weird and random preference of mine? (1) A person will call for diplomacy and receive —in return— non sequiturs. (2) A person will call for diplomacy and receive non sequiturs.Read More...
Hi, Andrew—"In return" communicates that the non sequiturs come in response to the person's call for diplomacy. There is no need for em dashes. You could just place "in return" at the end or use commas to set the phrase off: A person will call for diplomacy and receive non sequiturs in return. A person will call for diplomacy and receive, in return, non sequiturs. A person will call for diplomacy and, in return, receive non sequiturs.Read More...

#### Any issue with parallelism or symmetry in this sentence?

See here: " These ideas aren’t non sequiturs but I think they’re incorrect." There are some sentences that I've posted that had inversions; you'd need to flip two words around to make one pair of words mirror another pair of words...in order to make things parallel and symmetrical.Read More...
Hi, Andrew—There is no issue of parallelism or symmetry here. You have two independent clauses: "These ideas aren't non sequiturs" and "I think they're incorrect." The independent clauses are coordinated by "but." The only issue is that someone might object to your not using a comma after "sequiturs."Read More...

#### Can you embed mid-sentence a quote whose first word starts a sentence in the source text?

See this example (the bold quote is embedded mid-sentence...no colon precedes it and the period is outside the closing quotation-mark....but the word "State" actually begins a sentence in the source text): A 7 November 2022 CNN piece says that “State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that any diplomatic solution needs to be worked out by Ukraine and Russia” .Read More...
Hi, Andrew—The convention is to use brackets around the first letter and make it lower case, the brackets showing that the letter in the original is not the same (case). The convention can also apply in reverse (bracketing an upper-case letter), an embedded sentence being represented as a separate sentence. However, in your particular example, you need not even resort to using brackets. "Department" is capitalized in the quotation. This indicates that "State" must also be capitalized. It is...Read More...

#### Is there a more flexible word than "discuss"?

Each piece I write uses the word "discuss" (or something like it) about 1000 times. I'll say: "This 10 April 2015 CNN piece discusses X/Y/Z." It's just inevitable that I'll use some verb like that about 1000 times each piece. I've noticed that English seems to lack a word that's flexible in the sense of being agnostic about depth and about how much time has been spent. Words like "discuss" and "address" and even "look at" all seem to mean that an in-depth analysis happened; this puts me in...Read More...
Is the verb "go over" an "agnostic" one? It might not even be the right meaning, actually: https://www.macmillandictionar...nary/british/go-over .Read More...

#### Never and don't

They never ________ (not get) any homework at the weekend. The answer to this question is (don't get). But I don't know how to be never an don't. Shouldn't it be ( They never get any homework at the weekend.)Read More...
Hi, Izzat Hannah, Both 'they never get' and 'they don't get' are perfectly fine here. ' Never don't get ' is a plain mistake.Read More...

#### has gone to Paris for a week

Is the sentence below incorrect because “has gone” has no duration? B: She 's gone to Paris for a week . The sentence comes from The British Council website: https://learnenglish.britishco...ence/present-perfect We use have/has been when someone has gone to a place and returned : A: Where have you been ? B: I 've just been out to the supermarket. But when someone has not returned , we use have/has gone : A: Where's Maria? I haven't seen her for weeks. B: She 's gone to Paris for a week.Read More...

#### set off my trip

Hello moderators. Could you please help me? Is the following phrasal verb correct in the following sentence? Why? - I set off my trip at around seven. Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia—In American English, we can set off bombs or firecrackers, but not trips. We use "set off" intransitively in the latter case, and add an "on"-phrase: I set off on my trip around seven.Read More...

#### Is "Someone just died and was buried" grammatical?

It seems non-parallel but I don't know if it's wrong or if it's even discouraged. Seems like there's no way to make "died" passive; you could say "was killed" but that would add new meaning that isn't currently there.Read More...

#### just as/manner or fact?

a. She likes him as he likes her. b. She likes him , as he likes her. ------------------------------- c. She likes him just as he likes her. d. She likes him , just as he likes her. Do all of these sentences imply that she likes him in the same way he likes her? Do the commas change anything? Or do some of them mean He likes her and she likes him. (Not necessarily in the same way or to the same extent) Many thanksRead More...

#### What kind of noun can "reporting" be?

See here (my issue is that I would normally say "piece" but the thing in question is really a collection of mini-articles and therefore I would refer to it as "reporting"...but you don't say "a reporting" like you say "a piece", right?...I'm saying "the...reporting" in this sentence): Each day also means more risk regarding the horrifying bloodshed described in the 18 June 2022 NYT reporting “Death in Ukraine: A Special Report” .Read More...
OK; thanks! I'll go with "report" then.Read More...

#### this is right?

he asked,” how many moons does jupiter have?” he asked how many moons jupiter had/has. which one is right, has or had? plz wxplain this to meRead More...
Hi, Pattaya, Both answers are grammatically correct. Time backshifting is optional when you report facts.Read More...

#### this is going to be

Is it true that "this is going to be the first time" is not used with the future simple? This is going to be the first time I will talk to her. Is it wrong?Read More...
Your question here is interesting and falls in an area of English grammar about which native speakers' opinions and sensibilities will differ somewhat. Cut-and-dry answers about correctness or incorrectness are not to be found in this area.Read More...
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