August 2019

What light is to the eye, that knowledge is to the mind.

Hello, everyone. Would you please do me a favour? I have trouble understanding the word “that” in the following sentence. What light is to the eye, that knowledge is to the mind. [from Henry Cowles : The Revelation of John (1871)] My questions are as follows: Is the word “that” is a determiner or a conjunction? What does the word “that” refer to? What is the predicative in the part “that knowledge is to the mind”?Read More...
Thank you very much, GUSTAVO.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

had not the entrance been spotted by the distinguished French potholer, Berger.

Hello, everyone. Would you please do me a favour? The cave might never have been discovered had not the entrance been spotted by the distinguished French potholer, Berger. (New Concept English book 3 by L.G. Alexander) My question: Is the word order “had not the entrance been” correct in the sentence above? To be exact, is the position of the word “not” correct? I was hoping someone give could me an explanation. Thank you very much.Read More...
Hi, Sunshine, I've had to check this with David, because -- familiar as I am with several of L.G.Alexander's books -- I was not sure myself. In US English, the structure above is not ungrammatical but is considered extremely unnatural and unidiomatic, and possibly even archaic. If inversion needs to be used, it is much safer to say: - The cave might never have been discovered had the entrance not been spotted by the distinguished French potholer, Berger. Surfing the Internet, I have found...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

have some time getting it out

Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. My questions: 1. Why did you author use "getting" instead of "to get"? 2. Is it correct to replace "getting" with "to get"? If so, is there any difference? I expect to have some time getting it out. We heard today for the first time of the peace talk. I am not putting any faith in it at all and I guess it is just our business to ... (from A Canadian's Road to Russia: Letters from the Great War Decade by Stuart Ramsay Tompkins, ‎Doris Hinson Pieroth -...Read More...
Got it. Thank you, GUSTAVO.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

excited about

1) I am really excited about the movie 'Wind' coming out in September. 2) I am really excited about the movie 'Wind' in September . 3) I am really excited for the movie 'Wind' coming out in September. 4) I am really excited for the movie 'Wind' in September. The idea is that I am really excited that the movie 'Wind; is coming out in September. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Thank you very much, DocV, That makes perfect sense!... As usual!! Respectfully, NaviRead More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

He's always game for a laugh. (from Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, entry: game (adj))

Hello, everyone. Would you please do me a favour? He's always game for a laugh. (from Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English , entry: game (adj)) My questions: Is the word “game” an adjective or a noun? What is the meaning of the word “game”? How to parse the sentence “He's always game for a laugh”? I would appreciate it if you would give me an explanation.Read More...

the effects on these of viperine poison is almost immediate

Hello, everyone. Would you please do me a favour? Snakes did not acquire their poison for use against man but for use against prey such as rats and mice, and the effects on these of viperine poison is almost immediate. ( from New Concept English, book 4 by L.G. Alexander ) I wonder why the writer has used the word "is" instead of "are". I was hoping you would give me an explanation. Thank you.Read More...
GUSTAVO , you are great. Thanks very much.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

as between

Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. 1. What does the phrase "as between" mean in the context? 2. Is it correct to replace "as between" with "between"? If so, is there any difference? The context is as follows: The house, which she could see was going to be burned to its bones before any help could reach it, was the summing up of her life. Logically included in the slant of its roof, its closet spaces, its lonely distance from the village, was everything that had ever happened to the...Read More...
Thank you very much, GUSTAVO . It really helps.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

a factor that most workers have attributed to nutritional stresses of postweaning diets.

By and large, however, most reports on age patterning in hypoplasia occurrence indicate a peak in defects at 2 to 4 years of age, regardless of geographic or ecological setting, a factor that most workers have attributed to nutritional stresses of postweaning diets. from: https://mafiadoc.com/the-cambr...97c4706398b457d.html Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. 1. What does “a factor” refer to, according to the text? 2. What is the meaning of “have attributed a factor to nutritional...Read More...
Thank you very much.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

Do you like to

Hi, What's the difference between these sentences below? 1. Do you like living in the city? 2. Do you like to live in the city? 3. Did you like living in the city? 4. Did you like to live in the city? Thank you very much.Read More...
Hi, Kuen, A Practical English Grammar (Thomson and Martinet) 4th edition says: This means that both 'ing' form and 'to+ inf.' could sometimes be used interchangeably without a great difference in meaning. So, in answer to your questions about the listener and the speaker, I see both your suppositions are perfectly fine. However, they are not strict (fixed) rules to follow. Suppose I live in the city and my friend says: - After witnessing this human misery, do you still like to live / living...Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

"Will buy" vs "going to buy" vs "buying"

Hi there, could you please tell me which ones are correct in the following sentences? Are there any difference in meaning? 1-Hey John, I am buying a mobile tomorrow. 2- Hey John, I am going to buy a mobile tomorrow. 3- Hey John, I will buy a mobile tomorrow. And........ 4- Hey John, I will get a new car tomorrow. 5- Hey john, I am going to get a new car tomorrow. 6- Hey john, I am getting a new car tomorrow. And..... 7- Let me look into the matter, I am having a discussion with James...Read More...

bully vs. bullier

a. A lot of these tough, cool guys are bullies of weak people. b. A lot of these tough, cool guys are bulliers of weak people. Which is grammatically correct? I don't think (a) works. As 'bully' is a verb, I'd say 'bullier' is a legitimate word, and we need that word in this context. I'd vote for (b). It is possible that neither is really grammatically sound. One could always go for c. A lot of these tough, cool guys bully weak people. But I'd like to emphasize what they are . Their identity...Read More...
Hi, Azz, Unfortunately, "bullier" is not a word in the English language. It does not appear in the OED. To me, it sounds as if it were the name of a type of dog. My vote is for (c), the sentence with the verb "bully." If you must go with the noun, I recommend using "to" instead of "of" (d) A lot of these tough, cool guys are bullies to weak people. I have confirmed that this usage exists -- e.g.: "We treat our patients with respect and compassion, yet we are bullies to our coworkers" (...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

This is the first time for me to go to London.

Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. Oxford dictionary says this sentence is not correct. This is the first time for me to go to London. I wonder why. I was hoping you could give me an explanation. Thank you.Read More...
Yes, Ruifeng, we can use either "to" or "in" there, and with "to" there is more of a dynamic feel, a sense of the speaker's having taken a trip to London. In that context, I'd use "This is the first time I've taken a trip to London", a sentence which also works in the first context you asked about.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

She was telling me about her exploits while travelling around Africa.

Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. I have trouble analysing the word "while" in the following sentence. She was telling me about her exploits while travelling around Africa. (from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary ; entry:exploit) Some say: While-clause is an adjectival clause modifying "exploits". Others say:her exploits while travelling around Africa=her exploits done/achieved while travelling around Africa. That's to say, while-clause is an adverbial clause modifying the...Read More...
GUSTAVO , thank you very much. Your explanation really helps.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

from September to April

a. From September to April, I caught colds three times. b. From September till April, I caught colds three times. c. Between September and April, I caught colds three times. Which of the above sentences are grammatically correct and meaningful? Many thanksRead More...
Azz wrote: That's actually not true. If a castle's guards are defending an attack on the north wall, the other three walls are more vulnerable to attack. This is also true of your body's immune system. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

seemed hurt by

1) He seemed hurt by your comment. 2) He seemed annoyed by my presence. 3) He seemed annoyed with my presence. It seems to me that all three sentences are correct. Am I right? Is there a difference between the meanings of '2' and '3'? These sentences are about feelings. Is there any other case where 'seem + past participle+by+agent' is used? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Navi, To me, (4), (5), and (6) seem correct. If in doubt, insert "to be" after (seems/seemed). DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

How can this be grammatically correct? What's wrong with Britain's young royals?

Hello everyone, Am I crazy or is this organization title all mucked up grammatically. Everyone is all fired up about the pedantic decrees Megan and Prince Harry keep boring us with. Let them say whatever, but at least show a command of standard written English. Am I crazy or doesn't this title need a comma--badly--after Sussex Royal and before its subsequent descriptor phrase? Pulled this from Vanity Fair copy, but I've see the charity's name written like consistently. Say it isn't so?Read More...
Hello, Lizzie, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! Names of organizations do not readily accept commas, even if desirable in other contexts (as in phrases containing a noun and an apposition). I think the only commas that are commonly accepted are the ones appearing before Inc. and Ltd. in the names of companies. Note: Sorry, David. I just saw your reply. We seem to have been writing our answers at about the same time.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

mixed 2/3 conditional?

“This is the biggest difference between you and me: I’m just someone who faithfully carries out orders. You, you’re someone who always has to ask why.” “Is that wrong?” “It’s not about right or wrong. If everyone had to be clear about why before they executed an order, then the world would have plunged into chaos long ago” Excerpt from The Dark Forest Cixin Liu Hi. How should I understand the underlined sentence? Is it just a normal mixed 2/3 conditional, as in “If I were you, I would have...Read More...
Hi, Zuotengdazuo, IMO, there is nothing wrong here. Yes, it is a mixed conditional 2/3. As you see, the speaker's present attitude is completely against the idea of asking 'why' before executing an order, so he uses type 2 counterfactual in the present and connects its imaginary results with type 3 counterfactual in the past. A thief -after becoming rich- would say: If I had morals, I would have never made my fortune.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Diagramming

I would like to ask if anyone on this site has heard of sentence diagramming, if so, what is their opinion of it as a learning tool?Read More...

something you know

a. You must have done something that hurt your wife's feelings terribly. Now, you might not even know what it was. Or maybe, it is something you know but seems unimportant to you. b. You must have done something that hurt your wife's feelings terribly. Now, you might not even know what it was. Or maybe, it is something you are aware of but seems unimportant to you. Are both of the above grammatically correct? Many thanks.Read More...
Azz, I have no problem with (b). I would change (a) to: a1: You must have done something that hurt your wife's feelings terribly. Now, you might not even know what it was. Or maybe, it is something you know about but that seems unimportant to you. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

In spite of usage with gerunds

I have been asked to explain why the sentence 'in spite of snowing, we went out for a walk.' is not correct. I would say 'in spite of the snow we went out for a walk' but I was reminded that this is a prepositional phrase and it can be followed by a gerund, which is true in many instances, but I'm not sure why this sentence is not correct. It certainly doesn't sound correct.Read More...
That is really nice, David. You're definitely right, David. I added it after writing the other, less awkward "In spite of it snowing," but -- fascinating as it may look -- this one went too far, I'm afraid.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

this one, these ones

Hello, 1. I like this one, but I don't like those. 2. I like this white one, but I don't like the red ones. 3. I like this one here, but I don't like the ones on the shelf. 4. I like this small one, but I don't like those big ones. 5. I like this one, but I don't like those ones. Sentences 1,2,3,4 all sound OK, but not 5. The "those ones" doesn't sound right to me. I've been wondering why. "those " and "ones" mean almost the same , so using these two words side by side sounds funny. Is there...Read More...
They are not ungrammatical? I didn't know that. Thank you, DocV appleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

Reflexive vs object pronouns. 2

It is the first time we are going to travel to the south and we don't know what to take with ourselves and which road to take. .... As for the common usage of reflexive pronouns, I think "ourselves" is wrong here, and it should be "us". Correct me if I am wrong, please.Read More...
Explaining why a reflexive pronoun does not work well in a prepositional phrase in such a sentence is not easy. I know of a doctoral dissertation on the topic. It's interesting that the reflexive pronoun does work in the variation " We don't know what we are going to do with ourselves / ?* us ." The reason may have to do with its being impossible for people to TAKE something with anyone other than themselves. The reflexive is unnecessary. In contrast, it is obviously possible for people to...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

holding a sword

1) I took a picture with John holding a sword. 2) I took a picture with him holding a sword. 3 ) I took a picture with John, holding a sword. 4) I took a picture with him, holding a sword. In which sentences I am in the picture? In which sentences John is in the picture? In which sentences I am holding the sword? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Thank you very much, DocV, … And John chased him with the sword and …. Respectfully, NaviRead More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

Is this sentence grammatically correct?

I was wondering whether the sentence “I am cool and vape” is grammatically correct. Vape is a verb in this situation. Is “am cool” a verb? If so, would it parallel to “vape” since it is also a verb? Would the “I” carry over due to the parallel structure? I need answers.Read More...
MissT, Hey, watch that about "unepic boomers". I represent that! I understand that you signed on for just the one question. I hope you'll be back though. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post
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