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March 2021

Ordered (To Be) Whipped

ahmad
Hello, everyone, The following is from A Sense of History: The Best Writing from the Pages of American Heritage (The Hunt For The Regicides). 1. " But in Guilford, fretting away the Sabbath, the pursuers seem to have found citizens ready to betray the fugitives. One, a disgruntled fellow whom Leete had once ordered whipped for a misdemeanor, reported that..." Would it be wrong for one to insert ' to be' between ' ordered ' and ' whipped '? Thanks.Read More...
Thanks, David.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

Modifiers

Hussein Hassan
Hello, GE moderators and dear colleagues! The following sentence is from an ACT exam, and it needs to be corrected: Climbing from tree to tree, the explorers watched the red pandas. The model answer says: The explorers watched the red pandas climbing from tree to tree. My question is: Is it right to use the participle clause 'climbing from tree to tree' WITHOUT 'that/which were'? And what do you think of following suggestion: Climbing from tree to tree, the red pandas were watched by the...Read More...
Hi, Hussein—I agree with everything Gustavo has explained to you in this thread and would just like to add a couple of observations. First, though, I would like to request that you not use large, pointless gaps of empty space when asking a question. Use common sense. There is no need for 6 or 7 paragraph breaks after your greeting. Observe what a pointless waste of thread space the following gaps are: The test makers evidently want the test takers to assume that the explorers wouldn't be...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Relative Clause; relative pronoun

Hey guys! I have two questions regarding the following sentnce : Much attention has been paid to the changing number of people in the UK speaking Welsh, a language now believed to be spoken by around half a million people. 1. why is not there a relative pronoun before the word "language'? 2. Can we omit "to be" after beleieved? Thanks :)Read More...
Thanks a million, dear Gustavo, for your thorough explanation!Read More...
Last Reply By Milad01 · First Unread Post

I didn't expect you (to be) here

1) I didn't expect you to be here. Is sentence (2) correct? 2) I didn't expect you here.Read More...
Hi, Language learner—To add to Gustavo's helpful comments, I'd like to recommend that you use the passive transformation as a test, assuming you have an ear for whether sentences sound like garbage in English. Notice, then, that although we can say "You weren't expected here," we cannot say, * " You weren't expected like this ," at least not with a meaning that is at all comparable to "You weren't expected to be like this." Now, I think it could be said that the version without "to be" (the...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

north, northern, northerly

Hello. Which one is correct? Why? - My french friend grew up in the (northern - north) city of Lille. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed—Grammatically, all three choices are possible; however, only "northern" is idiomatic there, at least in American English. From COCA: northern city: 334 north city: 19 northerly city: 1Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Should have+ V-ed

Hello, everyone. I hope you can help me decide whether the following dialogue is grammatical and natural. - Mas: Was this novel written by a Native American? - Jill: Judging from the word choice, it should have been written by a British person. The meaning intended by Jill seems to be "I assume it was written by a British person." but I think the ordinary meaning of the "should have V-ed" pattern is, with an implication, "it is obliged to have been written, but it wasn't, by a British...Read More...
Thanks again.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

Duration adjunct occuring with present perfective continous

- I was running for one hour and a half. This sentence is said to be dramatically correct on a grammar book written by non native speakers. But I can not think of a circumstances that the sentence can fit in. Could you help me come up with one?Read More...
Thanks, David. Yeah, what I meant was "grammatically." But it seems that dramatically typo is dramatically gramatically correct and produces a wired meaning.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

Adverbial adjunct of subject matter

Hi everybody! I'm trying to find some author or reading material to understand what an adverbial adjunct of subject matter is and how to recognize it in a sentence . Would you be so kind to recommend a reference book or provide with a brief explanation about the mentioned adverbial adjunct?Read More...
Hello Gustavo. I thank both David & you for your clarification on this matter. Kind regards.Read More...
Last Reply By MrMartin · First Unread Post

Would/Could/Might Be Playing

Person A: Why are you sitting here and not playing with them? Person B: My leg is injured. Otherwise I would be playing with them now. My leg is injured. Otherwise I could be playing with them now. My leg is injured. Otherwise I might be playing with them now. Are they all correct? (Not asking about the differences between "would", "could" and "might")Read More...
Yes, Language learner. Grammatically speaking, you can use those forms, but bear in mind the differences in meaning David pointed out further above. While the progressive infinitive ( be playing ) refers to the action that the person would/could/might be performing at the moment of speaking, the perfect continuous infinitive ( have been playing ) indicates the possibility that the person started the action of playing a moment ago and is still carrying it out.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

(made - had made) the night before

Hello. Could you please help me? Is the following sentence correct using past simple along with back-shifting the time word? - He admitted that he made a mistake the night before. In other words, Must we replace "made" with "had made"? Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed—Backshifting is optional in that example. You can use it or not use it. Either way is fine, because the making of the mistake will necessarily precede the admission. Incidentally, the sentence is ambiguous, in that "the night before" can modify either "admitted" (he admitted it the night before) or "made" (he made the mistake the night before and subsequently admitted it). But that ambiguity will be present regardless of whether you use backshift.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

On whom/on which

These are the employees __________ we can rely to finish such a difficult task. A. on whom b. on whichRead More...
Hi, Englishnerd—I agree with Ahmed_btm that "on whom" is the correct answer. Employees are human, and we do not use "which" in reference to human beings. Incidentally, it would be very natural to use the passive voice here. If you do use it, you will need to change "whom" to "who" and strand the preposition: These are the employees who can be relied on to finish such a difficult task.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

relative pronoun / relative adverb

Central Park, which I went to yesterday, was crowded. Central Park, where I went yesterday, was crowded. I think both constructions are possible. Is there a significant difference in nuance between the above two sentences?Read More...
Hi, Ken—Yes, both of those constructions are possible. You can also use "to which I went yesterday" or (in very old-fashioned English) "whither I went yesterday." They all mean exactly the same thing, with no nuance of difference.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Complicated tag questions

The question is would the tag be ‘isn’t it’ or ‘mustn’t it' in the sentence "The house must be worth millions, ___ ____?" My students come across the same dilemma when adding tags to the following sentences: He must have missed the train, hasn’t he / mustn’t he? I must have eaten something bad, have (haven’t) I? // mustn’t I? Ann, I cannot have this behaviour in this house , …… will you? / can I? They might have been talking before you came in, hadn’t / didn’t they? (???) I cannot have you...Read More...
Hi, everybody—I agree, on the whole, with everything that has been said in this thread. I'd just like to add a reminder that, in real life, native speakers don't try to add tag questions to every sentence they utter, or try to imagine what the tag question would be in case they ever wanted to use one after any sentence. One example is "Have a nice day!" What should the tag question be there? Maybe "shall you?": "Have a nice day, shall you?" Does it really matter? That is the sort of sentence...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Is "symbolise" a ditransitive word?

We will speak of the two terms in the relation as the time referred to, symbolised Tr. ( The Cambridge grammar of the English language. P 126) Hello. I'd like to know if that symbolized is used ditransitively and if it is OK to say "symbolised as Tr" there. It looks like it, but I don't get a clue in all my dictionaries.Read More...
Thanks a lot, David. Language is dynamic, and dictionaries can fail to catch up. Maybe?Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

The difference between subjunctive mood & indicative mood

What is the difference between the following sentences? I suggest that Ali does sport. I suggest that Ali do sport. My answer : The second sentence is the subjunctive, while the first is the ordinary indicative. The subjunctive is more correct, but tends to be literary. The first sentence is more colloquial, but the spoken version would more likely be along the lines of “I think he ought to do sport ; he ought to do sport”. Modal verbs such as “ought” or “should” hide the use of the...Read More...
According to the Oxford Collocations Dictionary, "do sport" is used in BrE and "play sports" in AmE:Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

seemingly "wanting"

Hello, everyone, Recently I was with a client who had spent almost five hours with me. As we were parting for the evening, we reflected on what we had covered that day. Even though our conversation was very collegial, I noticed that my client was holding one leg at a right angle to his body, seemingly wanting to take off on its own . At that point I said, “You really do have to leave now, don’t you?” “Yes,” he admitted. “I am so sorry. I didn’t want to be rude but I have to call London and I...Read More...
Yes, Gustavo, yours is really such a crystal-clear answer. RGDS,Read More...
Last Reply By deepcosmos · First Unread Post
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