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Use of Quotes

David, Moderator
Our Policy on the Use of Quotations We understand that members occasionally desire or need to ask grammar-related questions about sentences or phrases that were written by others, and it is perfectly acceptable for you to do so. However, if you wish to include sentences or phrases in a post that were not originally written by you, you must do two things: 1) You must show punctuationally that they are not your words. 2) You must cite what you have taken the text from. The easiest way to...Read More...

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Which word is the subject?

From a draft study for a US Government agency: "... the analyses were prioritized by first concentrating on systems whose performance are deemed critical to the safe and efficient operation ..." After I changed "are" to "is" in my comments, the author replied: "NO -- Systems is plural" I then asked a tech writer friend who replied: "Depends what is being emphasized as critical - the systems or the performance." Isn't "performance" the subject?Read More...

possessives

1 When I say "This is a pig's trough.", so is the word "a" describing or attached to "pig" or "trough"? 2 When I say "This is the pigs' trough.", so is the word "the" describing or attached to "pigs" or "trough"? 3 When I say "These are the women's wallets.", so is the word "the" describing or attached to "women" or "wallets"? Thanks!Read More...
I agree with David that this is an interesting topic, Kimconu. Since you haven't said "These are the feathers of a bird," I understand you want to refer to " bird's feathers " in a generic way, not to " a bird's feathers " (used to refer to the feathers of a specific bird). "This is a birds' cage " is correct, meaning "a cage for birds." The plural does not refer to all the birds in the world, but to birds in general, and is therefore generic. No, you have to say " the bird's cages" (the...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Zero or First Conditional

If you are a well-organised person, you ..................... your time. a) will manage b) would manage c) manage d) managed This sentence was included in our GSSC final exam. Students were supposed to choose only one of the options provided. Do you think it should be first conditional (WILL MANAGE), or Zero conditional (MANAGE)? Thank you very muchRead More...
Good explanation, indeedRead More...
Last Reply By Mr President · First Unread Post

Sentence confusion

My friend and I were playing a game and discussing about some various strategies to finish it as fast as possible and he suddenly asked me this "does that trick work if you abandon the gate.' I'm so confused whether this is correct or not, should it be will that trick work if you abandon the gate? Thanks in advance!Read More...

set things staight again

a. He'll set things straight again. b. He'll set things straight one more time. Do these mean 1. He'll set things straight before and he will do it again. or 2. Things were good at first, then went wrong. He will restore things to the way they were. ? I think from a logical point of view both should mean (1), but people generally use them to mean (2). Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz, Where you said above: "*He'll set things straight before," I'm sure you meant to say "He set things straight before." I think both interpretations are possible. Interpretation (2) might be a case of "excessive conciseness," so to say, but I wouldn't say it's wrong. Context can help, for example: - When we bought this house, this wall was white. Then we painted it gray. Now we'll paint it white again. (Now we'll paint it white + As a result the wall will be white again.)Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

elliptical usage

With their special moon vehicle, they could travel farther from the landing site to investigate more of the lunar environment and collect a wider range of soil and rock sample. ...... Which of the following interpretation is right? 1) ....., they could travel farther from the landing site to investigate more of the lunar environment and (could) collect a wider range of soil and rock sample. 2) ....., they could travel farther from the landing site to investigate more of the lunar environment...Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, Syntactically, either interpretation is possible, and ellipsis is not involved: 1) They could [ travel farther from the landing site to investigate more of the lunar environment ] and [ collect a wider range of soil and rock sample ] . 2) The could travel farther from the landing site to [ investigate more of the lunar environment ] and [ collect a wider range of soil and rock sample ] . In (1), two verb phrases are coordinated as complements of the modal "could": the verb...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

was standing

Are these sentences correct: 1) In the doorway, a tall dark woman was standing. 2) In the bedroom, a tall dark woman was sitting on an armchair. Do you interpret '2' to mean: a) She was seated on an armchair. or b) She was in the process of sitting down on an armchair. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Thank you very much, David, Just to clarify, I thought one should say 1 b) In the doorway, stood a tall dark woman. and 1a) In the doorway, a tall dark woman stood. sounded bad. That is what I was referring to when I mentioned inversion. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

The difference between absolute phrase and participle clause?

Hi, 1. They have two friends, both of them killed in an accident. 2. They have two friends, both of whom killed in an accident. 3. They have two friends, both of whom have been killed in an accident. Which one is correct? Which one is an absolute phrase? How can I distinguish between an absolute phrase and a participle clause? Thanks.Read More...
ThanksRead More...
Last Reply By quangco123 · First Unread Post

zero , first Conditionals

Hello. Could you please help me to choose the correct answer? - If you are well-organised, you (manage - will manage) your time. thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia, Someone else has asked the very same question today. Please see the answer I have just given Abdullah Mahrouse at the link below: https://thegrammarexchange.inf...or-first-conditionalRead More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

will or going to

The other team’s players are very big. It (will/is going to) be a difficult match. That question is in our course book “new hello for Egypt” The answer in the book is”is going to”. But, I think that “will” can be a correct answer. It is a prediction based on an opinion. What is the better answer?Read More...
Hi, Islam Mohamed, Both answers are correct. I would more naturally use "is going to," but "will" works perfectly well there. If a student answers "will," the answer should not be marked incorrect. It would be good if another choice were added: "both" (the true model answer).Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

mixed conditionals

If you listened to last week’s Natural World, you would know that we had a lot of unanswered questions about trees. This sentence is from our text book "New Hello". I wonder if it should have been written as follows: If you had listened to last week’s Natural World, you would know that we had a lot of unanswered questions about trees. THANKSRead More...
Hello, Rasha Assem, I agree with David. The clues to interpret that the past is real (not unreal or "subjunctive," as you say) in the original sentence are "last week" in the condition and "had" in the result. If "last week," which refers to one particular broadcast of the program, and "had," which refers to one specific occurrence in the past (the fact that the program left many questions about trees unanswered) were not present, then we could interpret the condition as describing a...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Mixed Conditionals

Could you please help me? In a typescript, I heard the following sentence: If you listened to last week’s programme, you would have heard Professor Jeremy Beech answering some of your questions about trees. Is this sentence correct relating to conditionals? If so, could please explain it? I think there is something wrong with it but I'm not sure. Thank you.Read More...
Hi, David, Ahmed Imam Attia seems to be confused by this explanation he got on another forum: It is my understanding (and it also seems to be yours) that "would" does not work with a perfect infinitive to express a present statement about the likelihood of a past event . "will" and "may" definitely work to express that meaning. "could" and "might" would work if the probability of that past occurrence were deemed to be more remote, but I don't think "would" would be a good choice. Let's...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

as in the structure: as +adj/adv+ as+n+be

Is the use of as in the following acceptable now :" As remarkable as the revelation is , more remarlable is the story that accompanies it."( cf. The "Perfect Aryan"Child , The washington Post , July 4, 2014) ? As far as I know, most people would prefer to say :Remarkable as/though the revelation is....What do you think?Read More...
Hi, David, Sorry for my delay in reply. No, Mr. Swan doesn't make any comments for that matter.He just presents facts. Thanks again for your help.Read More...
Last Reply By Pal · First Unread Post

Past Cont vs Past Simple

The following sentence is our textbook as an example for the passive. Radar was being used for the first time, to help planes to land. Why didn't they use ( Radar was used for the first time, to help planes to land.)Read More...
Hello, Rasha, We use the progressive in the passive voice in the same types of circumstances in which we use the progressive in the active voice. The progressive allows us to talk about what is or was happening at a certain time or time period. The comma before "to help planes land" tells us that the main point of the sentence is that it was the first time radar was used at all. The fact that it was to help planes land is a parenthetical detail. I don't know whether you have access to the...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

To Submit/Submitted

ahmad
Hello, everyone, Do the following mean the same? 1. It is to submit that the report is baseless. 2. It is submitted that the report is baseless. Thanks.Read More...
Hi, David, Sir, you helped me to grasp the difference. Thanks. PS: However, the intervening period has given rise to a further question which I will be posing soon.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

Present or future

She suggested that he ....fishing tomorrow and he liked the idea. ( would go - go - going - will go)Read More...
Hi, Ahmed55, Yes, "will go" is incorrect. You have titled this thread "present or future," but "go" is not the present tense here. It is the present subjunctive . The common alternative to using the present subjunctive in a clause complementing "suggest" is to use "should" + [base form]. She suggested that he go fishing tomorrow and he liked the idea. She suggested that he should go fishing tomorrow and he liked the idea.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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