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March 2021

Be shot to fame

Hi, I wish to ask whether the phrase “shoot to fame” can be in the passive voice. For example, is this sentence from a newspaper “Nation Thailand” using the phrase correctly? “Phoudoi Xayachak was shot to fame after his photo was posted on social media. He is now thought to be the tallest man in Laos.” Here, I rule out the possible scenario where someone could be made famous by being violently shot with a gunman. In other words, can “be shot to fame” be interchangeable with “shoot to fame”?Read More...
Hi, Kinto, I agree with Ahmed that "shoot" in "shoot to fame" is intransitive, as is "rise." You have never seen anyone write "be risen to fame" not only because the idiom is "rise to fame" but also because "rise" is always intransitive. The transitive form is "raise," so you can only find "be raised ," and never "be risen."Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Recall my recollection

I wanted to say to my friend, I wanted to remember him something using the word recollection. Can I say this? I wanted to recall your recollection. ThanksRead More...
Hi, Cristi, 'Let me / Allow me to refresh your memory' is not rude, but informal . So, you can use it with a friend as you have mentioned in your question. If you want to sound formal, you can use something like 'May I remind you that / of ....? " In addition, if you are talking to a person in charge and you want to repeat the main points of an explanation or description, you can say, " To recap, ....................."Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Stick the announcement in the lift or on the lift

Which one is more correct? In or on e.g. Are you happy for me to get the notice to be printed and sticked in or on the lift?Read More...
I'm aware that the word "sticked" exists, Cristi, but I am recommending that you used "stuck" if you wish your English to sound natural. I never hear anyone use "sticked," and my computer even underlines it as incorrect. I am informing you that STUCK is the best word to use. "Lift consists of three sides." Why are you not using "the"? What do you mean by " I suppose to mean "? "On" can be used for sticking something on the exterior; it doesn't. If an English speaker wanted to speaking of...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Comma after "then"

I am wondering if there should be a comma after "then" in the case of a short sentence. For instance, if a character in a mystery novel says, "Then, it was murder." Should there be a comma, or is it not necessary? I keep going back and forth on this one.. thank you!Read More...
Hello, Ana4316, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I've been doing some research because, like you, it sometimes seemed to me that inferential (not temporal) "then" did take a comma after it, and other times I felt the comma could be done away with, so I had decided on principle that it was optional. I have found this material according to which, when used for enumeration or chronological sequence, no comma is used: My impression is that inferential then is more likely to take a comma...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

he didn't know

1) He said things he didn't know were true. Can this sentence have two meanings: a) He said things that were true but he didn't know they were true.'' b) He said things that were untrue and he didn't know whether they were true or not. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hi, Navi and Gustavo, Yes, I agree with you, Gustavo, that "if"/"whether" clauses don't work as well as "that"-clauses when they are embedded in relative clauses. Indeed, in generative grammar, embedded questions are ISLANDS, a jargon term for a syntactic entities out of which WH-movement cannot take place. Thus, not only does the "if"/"whether" interpretation not work as well, but it is actually ungrammatical. Meaning (b) is grammatically impossible. Compare: (2) * He saw things that he...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

QUESTION

Hello y'all hope you fine, I'm new here hehe I've been reading a book lately " Alice's adventures in the wonderland" and i've came across to this sentence, " so either way I'll get into the garden, and I don't care which happen", i didn't get what does Alice mean with " i don't care which happen". I'll be glad if someone explain to me, have a good day y'all.Read More...
Thank you, David, for clarifying that. I provided the context but your explanation about Alice's satisfaction with either of the two outcomes was really necessary, as well as nice.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Favorite

Which one is correct using favorite and why? 1. My favorite animal is dogs. 2. My favorite animal is a dog. 3. My favorite animal is the dog. Why is it acceptable to say "My favorite fruit is apples." Are there any specific grammar rules in using favorite? Thank you very much!Read More...
No, " My favorite animal is dogs " is not idiomatic, even if you know some nonnative speakers who imagine that it's OK. You can, however, say either "Dogs are my favorite animal" or "Dogs are my favorite animals." Both are OK.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

so that it

I left my house early so that I arrived at the concert early. Does it mean: 1 I left my house early so that I would arrived at the concert early. (Whether I arrived early is not known) 2 I left my house early so I arrived at the concert early. (I actually arrived early)Read More...
Hi, Me_IV, For "so that" to mean "in order that" (purpose), there has to be a modal in the second clause: will, can, may in present contexts; would, could, might in past contexts. Therefore, your sentence is equivalent to (2) and "so that" expresses result there.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

On the other hand vs meanwhile

Hello friends, I am wondering if I may say “on the other hand” and “meanwhile” are synonymous and interchangeable in most cases. “On the other hand” is used to balance contrasting points, says the grammar book, but in reality native speakers very often use it to show two things happen simultaneously, just like “meanwhile”. Interestingly, “meanwhile” can also be used to compare two aspects of a situation, very much like “on the other hand”. I wish to seek your agreement that in the following...Read More...
Hello Jack, Thank you very much for your reply. Assuming you are a native speaker, I especially cherish your judgement. (I’m a non-native teacher of English in Hong Kong.) But here I may be more interested in the other meaning of “meanwhile”: used to compare two aspects of a situation (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 7th Edition), which has nothing to do with the timeline, “at the same time” or “for now”. In this sense, I find it rather close to “on the other hand”. So for sentences...Read More...
Last Reply By Kinto · First Unread Post

although / but

My sister didn't like the story, ............I liked it . (but / although)Read More...
On page 928 of A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Quirk et al make a clear distinction between pure coordinators ( and, or, but ) and what they call semi- or quasi-coordinators (e.g. so, for ) under item 13.19 (the bolds are mine): It follows that "but" admits subject ellipsis (just like and and or ) but "so" does not. As a result, all of the examples you have found, which were really hard to read as transcribed, are ungrammatical, as is your sentence (1) above. What you could...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

There is/are a lot of/lots of

I recently encountered someone who said and I quote " it is grammatically wrong to say there is a lot of apples on the table because "apples" is plural and needs "are" as a verb. He claimed that this an exapmle of native English speaker using wrong grammar." I disagreed and argued that 1) with there is/are inversion applies, and the subject is placed after the verb Be. 2) since "apples" is object of preposition, it is not the subject of the sentence (thus no agreement between "apples and...Read More...
Hi, Vahidkiaa, Grammatically speaking, 'a lot of' is a quantifier here, just like 'many'. It modifies either a plural noun or an uncountable noun. With plural nouns, a plural verb is used. With uncountable nouns, a singular verb is used. Since apples is a plural noun, the correct answers are those using ' are '. BTW, there is not much difference between using 'a lot of' and 'lots of' in your examples. Another important point is that, in informal conversation , it is common for some native...Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

ago

Hi, What is the difference in meaning between: 1-"He did't play tennis last week." 2-"He didn't play tennis a week ago."Read More...
Hi, all—EG, you have raised an important point. From the point of view you are looking at the sentences, "I didn't play tennis last week" does have a much more general application, and that is worth pointing out. Indeed, its more general applicability explains the grammaticality difference between these sentences: (3a) I didn't play tennis at any point in time last week. (3b) * I didn't play tennis at any point in time a week ago. That said, the assumption I was making was that the OP,...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Reported speech

Please, let me know where........ A-we would meet B-we are going to meet C-are we going to meet D-would we meet Most of my colleagues say that "B" is OK. Yet, I think "A" is better because there are no plans or arrangements implied.Read More...
Hi, Wael—Both (A) and (B) are correct answers, and both (C) and (D) are not. To decide whether (A) is better or (B) is better, we need context, and we have none.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

wide/ low

We can't swim in this river because it is very ................ (wide/ low)Read More...
Hi, poet20, The width of a river does not prevent you from swimming in it (at most, you may not be able to cross it if it is too wide). I think they wanted to use "low." You can also use "shallow," as opposed to "deep."Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Will versus would

Example: The past work history of Alex may be a circumstance that affects the risk of termination but would not sensibly surmount the countless ways in which he could cease employment in the course of one year let alone an assessment of each of four years. 1. In the above sentence, can I change " would not" to "will not" ? If I can, any difference in meaning? what is more grammatically right and why? 2. What is the function of let alone there?Read More...
From my experience, I can assure you that it is a misconception that all lawyers are good writers. Their style of writing is so convoluted that they sometimes forget the rules of grammar and lose the thread of what they are saying.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

full stop

The world’s three top central bankers (Greenspan, Duisenberg and Hayami) are all close to the top of the alphabet, even if one of them really uses Japanese characters . As are the world’s five richest men (Gates, Buffett, Allen, Ellison and Albrecht). ( The Economist, 30 Aug 2001) Hi- Is that full stop used correctly? I think a normal version would be: 1. ...even if one of them really uses Japanese characters . So are the world’s five richest men ... 2. ...even if one of them really uses...Read More...
Thanks, Gustavo and David. I also feared that it was quoted incorrectly in the test, so I found the source https://www.economist.com/lead...08/30/as-easy-as-zyx Since I wasn't sure if everybody here subscribed it, I didn't post the link.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

Combining singular and plural in a sentence

I am not quite sure whether I should use there is or there are when the later part has a combination of singular and plural and I wanted to just get everything in a one sentence. Example. There is a lot of information (singular) and documents (Singular) that I have to go through.Read More...
Thanks both Ahmed and David, it's interesting. My bad, it's a typo, I understand documents is a "plural".Read More...
Last Reply By Tony C · First Unread Post
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