February 2019

mixed conditional?

You shouldn't be so tired if you ....... to bed earlier. 1) had gone 2) went This test was asked by one of my colleagues today. To me, #1 works. Also, I am not happy with this usage of "should". I think "You shouldn't be so tired" is not modern usage; "Would" is what's meant. What do you think? And tell me which type of conditional is this sentence? I think it's mixed.Read More...
Beautiful analysis, Gustavo! I agree with everything you've said, and love how you've given different interpretations depending on the meaning of "should," which can be interpreted in those two ways in "You shouldn't/wouldn't be so tired if you went to bed earlier." The reading according which "shouldn't" is similar to "wouldn't" seems to be forced in "You shouldn't be so tired if you had gone to bed earlier," because it is difficult to see how "if you had gone to bed earlier" could be...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Didn't have to or needn't have pp

Hello, The following sentence is from a school book: "We didn't have a test today so I .............for it last night!" A- didn't have to revise B- needn't have revised The guide of answers says "B" But I inquire why not "A". I think that "A" is OK as it means that we didn't revise last night because we didn't have a test today.Read More...

Didn't have to or needn't have pp

Hello, The following sentence is from a school book: "We didn't have a test today so I .............for it last night!" A- didn't have to revise B- needn't have revised The guide of answers says "B" But I inquire why not "A". I think that "A" is OK as it means that we didn't revise last night because we didn't have a test today.Read More...

Didn't have to or needn't have pp

Hello, The following sentence is from a school book: "We didn't have a test today so I .............for it last night." A- didn't have to revise B- needn't have revised The guide of answers says "B" But I inquire why not "A". I think that "A" is OK as it means that we didn't revise last night because we didn't have a test today.Read More...

Unspecified portions

I'd like to know if and how I can express unspecified portions of singular countable nouns. Can I say Is 'cake' countable or uncountable in this case? What about purely countable nouns like nectarine?Read More...

Active and passive form

cocoricot
Dear teachers, Is it correct to use whether active or passive form? 1. It was too badly damaged to repair. 2. It was too badly damaged to be repaired. Thank you.Read More...
That's a very nice couple of sentences, which is indeed comparable to Coco's. The only slight difference I find with Coco's is that in (1) "repair" does not sound like an active (intransitive) verb as does "eat" if (3) is interpreted as (3a). Let's imagine "it" is a robot in Coco's sentences. For (1) to be interpreted analogously to (3a), my feeling is that an object will be required for the meaning to be active, because "repair" is mainly a transitive verb. Otherwise, (1) will tend to be...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

What does "those" refer to in this sentence?

Hello, In the last paragraph of a scientific article below, there is a sentence “It also limits potentially qualified students from participating in the talent pool tapped to fill advance jobs where the work force in dwindling, such as those in science, technology and engineering." I copied and pasted this paragraph. My question 1:Shouldn’t “in” before “dwindling” be “is”? Is it a typo? My question 2: What does “those” in the last sentence refer to? My question 3: Is “those” necessary for...Read More...
Apple, I wouldn't go that far. I agree with David that "highly technical jobs that need expertise" is the most likely intended meaning of "advance [sic] jobs". The combination of repeated typographical errors on the part of the author and the appearance that Dr Bellock was speaking extemporaneously leave room for doubt both as to what was actually said and what was actually meant. (I believe we can rule out the "lost in translation" factor. Dr Bellock was born in Berkeley, California, and is...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Date

Hello, if someone said "on the 12th of March" orally, when I need to put this into formal written format, should I write "on the 12th of March" or "on 12th of March"?Read More...
David wrote: I agree. I wonder if the fact that this form has fallen into relative disuse is the pervasiveness of using the name of a day of the week ("on Thursday the 12 th ", which is inevitably followed by the ever-ominous Friday the 13 th ) between the "on" and the "the" in such a construct rather than the name of a month. Incidentally, I used the ordinal numerals "12 th " and "13 th " in my own examples because I'm honestly not sure what the accepted protocol is, or, in fact, whether...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Each of

Can we say"Each one of the parties was nice. "Read More...
Emad, To me, "every" sounds more natural, but both are correct. And, of course, you can also say: 6: Peter has been to a lot of parties this month. He enjoyed all of them. I must say that I don't have nearly the same sense of difference in meaning as I did with the earlier set of examples, although I really can't explain why. This is one of the dangers of using "sense" as opposed to demonstrable rules, as I have done here. I hope my colleagues can help provide the insight that I seem to be...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

some vs. several vs. a few

a. There were some books on the desk. b. There were several books on the desk. c. There were a few books on the desk. Which of the above sentences could be used if only three books were on the desk? d. There were some books and notebooks on the desk. e. There were several books and notebooks on the desk. f. There were a few books and notebooks on the desk. Which of the above sentences could be used if only three objects (two books and one notebook or one notebook and two books) were on the...Read More...

Interesting sentences/paragraphs

Do you know of any way to write sentences/paragraphs that captivate. When i read my stuff it is so boring, but when i read the same written in a book by a pro it sounds so much better. Is there a way to lay out the words or ideas, to constructe interesting sentences/paragraphs. All i can find is to place active words at the beginning or end of a sentence. What do you do to spellbind the reader. ThanksRead More...

Neither ... nor ...

Are the following sentences correct? Neither food nor drinks are allowed in the lab. Neither drinks nor food is allowed in the lab. Neither food nor drink is allowed in the lab.Read More...
Uh, it's the singular or the plural format of "food" "drink" and "drinks" that confused me. I saw a wrong sentence. But I did research a bit before I wrote above sentences. Just need confirmation. Thank you David!Read More...
Last Reply By JessieHU · First Unread Post

Is disclosed or has been disclosed

From time to time, I read financial reports of listed companies and would like make a summary of each of the financial reports that I have reviewed. 1. Information concerning related party loans is disclosed in the financial report. 2. Information concerning related party loans has been disclosed in the financial report. I think both “is disclosed” or “has been disclosed” are correct. Is it true? What the differences are? ThanksRead More...
Got it! Thanks. Have a nice weekend.Read More...
Last Reply By terry · First Unread Post

too powerful

a. You are too powerful for your own good. b. You are too powerful for your own interest. c. You are too powerful for your interest. d. You are too powerful for your team. Which of the above sentences are grammatically and make sense? Which are natural? What does (d) mean? It seems to me that it means you belong in a better team, and that is the only meaning the sentence could have. (b) and (c) seem meaningless to me but (a) seems fine. I think it is an idiom. Many thanks.Read More...

I am wanting

Hi What is the difference between "I'm wanting something" and "I want something"? I read in the thread below that : "'I want him to go to nursery school.' has a subtle difference in meaning from 'I'm wanting him to go to nursery school.' The first is a simple statement of fact - and expresses a feeling you have that you have no doubt about. The second is more refelctive: you have had internal doubts - or possibly you think someone may challenge or be surprised at your view. " Can you please...Read More...
Tara, I think I see the misunderstanding. To simplify, the dialog went like this: DocV: If you'd like suggestions as to how to make your presentation even more elegant, send me an e-mail. ... So, you have directly quoted a three-paragraph section from a post ... Tara: Sorry DocV, I really don't have any suggestion DocV: About what? Tara: About this that you said" If you'd like suggestions as to how to make your presentation even more elegant, send me an e-mail." What I was saying was that I...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Perambulatory

ahmad
Hello, everyone, With a view to ensure whether I could use ' perambulatory' in a certain way (which I will come to later on), I ran a search on COCA and came upon the following: "Such guarantees of public input reflect the Parties' perambulatory affirmation of the importance of public participation in conserving, protecting, and enhancing the environment." https://corpus.byu.edu/coca/ I don't understand the meaning of the word in question in the above sentence. Would someone help me...Read More...

Microscope

ahmad
Hello, everyone, "Microscope noun an instrument consisting essentially of a lens or combination of lenses, for making very small objects, as microorganisms , look larger so that they can be seen and studied " The above definition of 'microscope' is listed as the third (one) on the following link. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/microscope Does the removal of the possible confusion account for the presence of the first comma in the definition above, or is there more to...Read More...
Thanks, DocV.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

prepositions

1) Tom and Harry were of great assistance getting me a new passport. 2) Tom and Harry were of great assistance in getting me a new passport. 3) Tom and Harry were of great assistance with getting me a new passport. Did they get me a new passport or did they help me or someone else get me a new passport? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
None of which are to be confused with 4: Tom and Harry were of great assistance, getting me a new passport.Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Past perfect or past simple?

Hello, "After I .......exams last year, I spent my holiday on the beach." A- had finished b- finishedRead More...
Ahmed Abd el-Hafeez, (This is my best guess at how your name should be parsed in English. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I am here to learn as well as to teach.) Ahmed_btm is correct in saying that both answers are grammatically correct. This man has been a great resource for us at the Grammar Exchange in understanding what is expected on exams in Egypt, and how the "model answer" often conflicts with naturally spoken English. This is one of those times. If you want the right answer for...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

"within' + a preposition that is not "of"

I know 'within" means before a certain period of time has passed. I have trouble using it correctly. I have written a few examples below with it. (1) Everyone will receive a raise within five days after the management and the union reach an agreement and complete all the paperwork. (2) John asks me, " Within what period from the date of purchase do you choose canned foods that are safe to eat?" I reply, "I usually choose canned foods that expire within one year of the date of purchase." Some...Read More...
Last night I made spaghetti alla puttanesca for dinner. I used one of my last remaining tins of anchovies that I had bought some years ago when a local store had an outrageous special on them. How long is "some years"? After reading your post, Ansonman, and yours, Gustavo, I took a look at the tin. It said "best by 12/2009". Not 2019. 2009. Freshness is generally not a characteristic one looks for in canned anchovies. Some canned and frozen foods foods can last virtually forever, as long as...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

Nouns

Hello, I’d like to know why these nouns use the -ing form instead of the simple form. I’d appreciate any help. ej. “A dress fitting” instead of “a dress fit.” “A drinking problem” instead of a “drink problem”. But, this example use the simple form: “Dance floor” instead of “dancing floor”. Thanks in advance.Read More...
PJ, please allow me to join Gustavo in welcoming you to our forum. Gustavo, these are excellent answers. I thought I could come up with a better explanation for "dance floor", but everything I came up with had either an exception or some other problem. So unless David can come up with something better, I'll just say that in English, we speak of a "dance floor" and a "playing field", and it's just one of those things we have to know. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

come here for three days vs come here three days

I have made up two similar sentences below. (1) Tom will come here for three days next week. (2) Tom will come here three days next week. Some of my non-native English speaking friends and I think "for three days" means three consecutive days . The second sentence without "for" means three days that are not consecutive . But, my other friends think (2) is grammatically wrong when it is missing "for". Please help me. Thank you very much for your help.Read More...
Ansonman, More to the point, I would say that (1) will generally be understood to mean that Tom will be coming here sometime next week and staying for three days, which necessarily makes the days consecutive. In contrast, (2) means that on three separate days, Tom will be making trips from someplace else to here. It doesn't matter whether or not the days are consecutive or how long he stays. There can even be multiple trips on the same day, as long as at least one trip happens on each of...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post
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