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May 2021

mixing past and present/future verbs

Hi, Could one of you smashing grammarians please help me with a verb mixing question? This is the original: Throughout my tenure as prime minister, which totaled nearly nine years, I did my utmost to make the Japan-US alliance one that would not only help both of our countries, but would also create hope in the world. I dislike the modal "would" because it sounds speculative: maybe he failed. So I revised to the following: Throughout my tenure as prime minister, which totaled nearly nine...Read More...

moving

Can one use a. He jumped out of the car moving. instead of b. He jumped out of the car while it was moving. ? Can one use c. What I saw was like a car moving. instead of d. What I saw was like a car that was moving. ? I think (a) does not work, and (b) does. In (a) 'moving' can modify the subject of the sentence but not 'the car', however in (b) 'moving' modifies 'car. That's my feeling. Many thanksRead More...
Thank you David. Yes, I had completely overlooked that possibility. Very good point. I have a follow-up question, if I may. e. I talked to your brother dancing, f. I talked to your brother dancing over there. Could these be used instead of: I talked to your brother who is dancing/who is dancing over there. i.e. I talked to that brother of yours who is dancing/who is dancing over there. ? I think (e) could only mean I was dancing when I talked to your brother. It seems to me that (f) might be...Read More...
Last Reply By azz · First Unread Post

An amount of

Please refer to my example below, is it better of to use "an amount of" or just mention the amount. e.g. On 1 January 2020, an amount of $5850 was deposited into the bank account of XYZ Pty Ltd. Versus On 1 January 2020, $5850 was deposited into the bank account of XYZ Pty Ltd. Also, how importance is it to use the article "the" there?Read More...
Hi, Tony, Both are correct. You can also say: - On 1 January 2020, $5850 were deposited into the bank account of XYZ Pty Ltd. If your question is whether "the amount of $5,850" is better than "an amount of $5,850," the answer is that, the first time the amount is mentioned, "an" is preferred: - On 1 January 2020, an amount of $5850 was deposited into the bank account of XYZ Pty Ltd. The amount appears under cash and banks.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

haven't ridden/haven't been riding

In the following blank, my answer key says "haven't ridden" is the correct answer. Is "haven't been riding" completely wrong? In the case of "haven't ridden," it seems to mean that there hasn't been a single instance of me riding a bike from years ago up to now. Can "haven't been riding" be used to mean there has been a continuation of not riding a bike for years? I am suddenly very confused about the present perfect progressive in this negative form. "Of course I can ride a bike. But I...Read More...
Oh I see. Thanks so much for your help.Read More...
Last Reply By shmom · First Unread Post

Parallel actions

Hi there I used my time well. While I was waiting for my plane, I ..... some emails. a) had been writing b) wrote c) was writing d) have been writing I think that C (Past continuous) is the correct option. What do you think ?Read More...
Hi, Dr Ahmed—No, the best option there is "wrote" (simple past): "While I was waiting for my plane, I wrote some e-mails." You wrote some e-mails during the time that (while) you were waiting for your plane.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Present continuous as future tense

Does "We are going to Paris on Friday" have the meaning, "We will go to Paris on Friday" or "We will be going to Paris on Friday"?Read More...
Hi, May123—I agree with Gustavo's response. You seem to want to reduce one tense to another. If the tenses could be so reduced, there would be a great deal of redundancy in the tense system. Your question would have made more sense if you had asked whether "We are going to Paris on Friday" is closer in meaning to "We will go to Paris on Friday" or to "We will be going to Paris on Friday." It is closer to the latter. Indeed, in conversation, the question, "What are you doing on Friday?" could...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

holding a gun

1) He was standing in the middle of the road like a oak tree holding a gun. Is the above sentence correctly punctuated? Is it necessary to put a comma before 'holding a gun'? Gratefully, NaviRead More...

by the time

Is this sentence correct ? By the time you come back I will have a shower .Read More...
Hi, Ilko, "By the time" can be used to mean "around the time" or "before." These sentences sound better: - By the time you come back I will be having a shower. (Here "by the time" means "around the time.") - By the time you come back I will have had a shower. (= I will have finished having a shower before you come back.) The sentence you proposed might be used if the speaker wants to say that, around the time the other person comes back, he/she will go and have a shower.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Present continuous

Hi, A student of mine wrote the following in an essay about social media: In the last years, it shows that people who is showing the ir bod ies are getting most likes , that is one thing, but it shows that the skinny people who is posting their bodies on the social media, are getting more likes then the overweight people who is doing the same. Apart from the obvious concord errors, you can see that the student uses the present continuous five times in this sentence, and to me that seems...Read More...
Hi, EngTeach, I'd use the present simple instead of the present continuous. I don't think the use of the progressive is justified. There are many mistakes, not only of agreement but also of a punctuational, grammatical and lexical kind. However, according to our Guideline 2 , we are not expected to improve a given passage but just to answer some specific points of grammar we may be asked about, like the choice of tense, in your case.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Verb Tense for an Introductory Phrase

"Rather than return/returning to Germany, he instead fled to Africa." I'm not sure if I should use 'return' or 'returning' in the introductory phrase here. What's more, I'm not sure what kind of introductory phrase this is: adverb phrase, adjective phrase, participle phrase....Read More...
Hello, GreenThunderBolt, As David explained here , you should use the V-ing form. I find "instead" to be redundant: - Rather than returning to Germany, he fled to Africa. We can use the bare infinitive when there is an infinitive in the main verb phrase, for example: - Rather than return to Germany, he has decided to go Africa. - Rather than return to Germany, he will go to Africa. Quirk calls the "rather than ..." structure a clause of preference, and it is clearly that when followed by an...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Enrich X Enrichen

Hello, I came across this sentence: ”This toolkit enrichen customer experiences by making them more personalized.” would the word “enrich” also be okay here? Do “enrichen” and “enrich” have the same meaning, or is there any differences concerning meaning/ usage? Thank you so much in advance. Best, J.Read More...
Hi, JessyA, "Enrichen" seems to be a rather infrequent variant of "enrich." Anyway, the sentence you transcribed is ungrammatical — the main verb should be "enrichen s " or "enrich es " because "toolkit" is a singular noun.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

rogue adjective or adverb?

Hello all, I have a question about the placement of the word "required" in the following sentence: "It is a pleasure working with dedicated students who/that put in the time and energy required to make progress." Ok, now I am going to flip you grammar freaks something to chew on: why is the word "required" in that last sentence after "time and energy" . . . is it an adverb modifying "put in"? because on a gut level it feels like an adjective describing "time and energy" if so, it is in the...Read More...
Hello, Matteo Fiori, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I think you should revise your title: rogue adjective or adverb? I'm not sure what you meant to say with "rogue." "Required" is a past participle and the phrase it introduces can be analyzed as a reduced relative clause : - It is a pleasure working with dedicated students who/that put in the time and energy that is/are required to make progress . (Both "is" and "are" are possible depending on whether you consider "time and energy" as...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

a fearful lion

Hello. Could you help me choose the correct answer. Why? - In the nightmare, I saw (a fearful lion - a lion that was fearful). Thank you.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed—Don't you mean to be speaking of a fearsome lion, a lion that inspires fear in others? A fearful lion is a lion who tends to be afraid. The only fearful lion that I know of is fictional, namely, the lion in The Wizard of Oz . fearful lion fearsome lionRead More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Comma

Hi! Can you please tell me if a comma is necessary between the words blue and almond-shaped in the following sentence? Those cats have blue almond-shaped eyes. Thank you for your help.Read More...
Hi, Manaka—In a normal case, coordinate meaning would likely be intended: "Those cats have eyes that are blue and almond-shaped." For that meaning, you would use a comma: Those cats have blue, almond-shaped eyes. That said, it is possible to imagine a case where cumulative meaning would be intended. If the cats were being contrasted with cats with almond-shaped eyes of a different color, "blue" would differentiate them and be stressed: Those cats have blue almond-shaped eyes, not brown...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

I'm looking for someone who I can trust or whom I can trust?

Having a hard time finding an answer to this. Which one of these is correct? 1) I'm looking for someone who I can trust. 2) I'm looking for someone whom I can trust. Thanks!Read More...
Hi, Gary—I agree with what Ahmed has said above on all counts. Apart from the who -versus- whom issue, however, the reformulation below is the easiest: 4. I am looking for someone trustworthy . Interestingly, (4) relates to "I am looking for someone who is worthy of my trust," where the relative pronoun who funtions as the subject of is .Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Can I say "Two one-ways" instead of "Two one-way tickets"?

Dear Mods, Recently, I have searched for the phrase "one-way". According to the dictionary, it is an adjective. When we talk about tickets, we can say "two singles" in place of "two single tickets". Can we replace "two one-way tickets" with "two one-ways"? Look forward to your reply. Thank you so much! Lux Trần.Read More...
Hello, Lux Tran, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I agree with Gustavo that "two one-ways" can be used instead of "two one-way tickets." It needs to be used in the right sort of context, though. Out of the blue, a question like "How many one-ways have you bought?" would not make sense.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

I Can Ride That Bike?

1) Anyone/he/I can ride a bike . (we are talking about any bike in general) 2) Person A: Can you solve this problem? Person B: Well it looks tough to me, but I can . (the speaker thinks they can solve it) Person A: Then please solve it. 3) Anyone/he/I can ride that bike/ your bike/ the new bike in the market. (we are talking about a specific bike) 4) Robbing a bank / banks can/could get anyone into trouble. (we are talking about any bank in general) 5) Robbing a bank / banks can/could get...Read More...
According to context, all or at least most of the sentences you proposed could be used to refer to general or specific situations, in the present or in the future. A. Can you ride a bike (i.e. bikes in general)? B. Yes, I can (general statement) A. Can you ride this bike? B. Yes, I can (specific statement)Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

is or was

Hi, I'd appreciated if anyone tells me which sentence is correct. If he shouted, we would know he was there. or If he shouted, we would know he is there.Read More...
Hi, Alexandra, I see that ' was ' sounds more natural to use here. See David's last comment here: https://thegrammarexchange.inf...0#627604738305429750Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Adjective order

I bought the first two shirts the assistant showed to me . I bought a big pretty long dress. Is there anything wrong with the sentences mentioned above? Some grammar books say that adjectives that express opinion like pretty, ugly, beautiful...etc precede adjectives that describe size. According to this rule, the second sentence should read: I bought a pretty big long dress. So which is correct: I bought a big pretty long dress or "I bought a pretty big long dress"?Read More...
Hi, Omar, I agree with David's answer: it is very difficult to know what 'pretty' means in your example. Anyway, I see that you are trying to use cumulative adjectives, so commas are not needed. The order of adjectives is not always fixed, but, mostly, we begin with the adjective that expresses a general opinion, then the one that expresses a specific opinion. For more details, see here: https://learnenglish.britishco...ence/adjective-order For a similar topic, see here: ...Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Build out of or build with?

He built his house out of bricks or He built his house with bricks? Or both?Read More...
Hi, Brunacontro—If a house is built out of bricks, it is a brick house, bricks forming the primary material of the structure of the house. If a house is built with bricks, bricks were involved in the building of the house, whether as part of the structure of the house or as something used in the process of building it. However, a house built with bricks could be primarily of a different material.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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