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August 2020

his ex-wife

a. I met Tom's ex-wife at a dinner party last night. Could one use that sentence if one knows that Tom has more than one ex-wife and one hasn't been talking about a particular ex-wife? So context does not clarify which ex-wife I am talking about. I just say the sentence out of the blue. I think the correct way would be to say: b. I met one of Tom's ex-wives at a dinner party last night. But I think people would use (a) instead of (b). Many thanksRead More...
Thank you so much David! I have another related question if I may. What if I say c. I met an ex-wife of Tom's at a dinner party last night. Does that mean that I know Tom has more than one ex-wife? Let's say I don't know if that is the case or not, could I use (c) ? Many thanks.Read More...
Last Reply By azz · First Unread Post

comma

Hi everyone, Can you please tell me: when is it advisable to use a comma before the word "because" when stating the reason of something? Since I've already seen contexts with and without a comma before because, and it's so confusing to me. thanks a lotRead More...
The comma before "because" is not necessary in those sentences. Indeed, if you were the writer and you did, as you say, understand the "because"-clause as the main point, then it would not make sense to use a comma there. With those two examples, I was creating sentences that someone might use both to inform someone of something for the first time and to inform them of the reason for that thing. What follows "because" could be a separate sentence. If you see the "because"-clause as the main...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

comma/ colon

Hi all, On lists of items or adjectives, should I use a comma before "and"? Because I've already found both forms and I'm confused: I need to buy apples, bananas, meat and rice. I need to buy apples, bananas, meat, and rice. There are three beautiful, and nice children playing at the yard. She's friendly, outgoing, talented and honest. She's friendly, outgoing, talented, and honest. Thank you SO much in advance.Read More...
Hi, JessyA—At the moment, I don't have time to compose a free dissertation on on the Oxford comma. Please consult this Wikipedia article . If you have any questions after reading the article, I will be happy to discuss them with you.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

punctuation

Hi there, Can you please help me with the following, regarding punctuation?: (these are just short examples to contextualize a little bit) "Here are a few tips on how to be sociable: Talk to strangers. Smile and say, "Hello! how are you?". Is it correct to use a comma or colon after the verb "say"? thanks a lotRead More...
Hi, Jessy—We use a comma after "say" and other verbs introducing quoted speech when the quoted speech that follows is envisioned as an actual utterance and not merely as a sample of something said or to be said. If I speak of saying "Thank you," for example, a comma after "saying" is not needed.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Tell the time/tell time

Hi all GE members and moderator, When someone wants to ask if my child knows how to tell the time (or tell time), they will ask " Can he/she tell the time?". Now I want to answer that my child can tell the time, but not all. He just knows to tell something very simple, so can I say " Yes, he can, but just some simple times"? Times must be plural here. Is that correct? Likewise, if I want to know "how many times" a child can tell, can I say " how many times can she tell?" Many thanksRead More...
Hello, TonyCk2—In that case, I think I would say: "My child is learning to tell the time. There are still some times of the day that he has difficulty reporting."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Second conditional

Hi everyone. I'm a bit unclear about a conditional sentence, so I want to understand it better from what I have learned. 1. If you used this, it would mean..., In this sentence, does it mean that you don't use this now? 2. I want to write in great lenght to you, but I'm afraid I would be a bother to you this evening. Does it mean that in reality I don't write in great lenght right now? 3. "Will" would be used if the sentence wes real. I don't undertand the point here, does it mean the...Read More...
Yes, "would" is more tentative, "will" is more categorical.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

may might

1) You may hang up or dial one for more options. 2) You might hang up or dial one for more options. I've heard '1' used as a suggestion or instruction in pre-recorded messages, Would '2' work here? And is 'may' used elsewhere for instructions? I don't remember having encountered such a usage. I think 'may'' is used when giving an instruction or expressing a 'rule', while 'might' is used for suggestions, advice or orders which are given tentatively. Gratefully, NaviRead More...

prepositions/ expressions

Please, can you tell me if these sentences/expressions/prepositions are correct?: were you more mature back at that time? are things easier now than (back) in your generation?Read More...
Hi, JessyA, "back" is correctly used to reinforce past adverbials, but I don't think "in your generation" is a correct adverbial because "generation" defines a group of people, not a period of time. I'd say: - Are things easier now than they were for your generation?Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

difference between relative pronouns "that" and "who"

Eric Clampton's Wonderful Tonight goes, partly, "We go to a party and everyone turns to see this beautiful lady that 's walking around with me." If "that" is changed to "who," does it make any difference in the meaning and/or nuance? I know both are grammatically correct, but I suspect there may be a subtle difference.Read More...
Hello, fujibei, I don't think there is any difference at all between that and who in this case.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

This (party) is the best thing ever!

Have I guessed them correctly? 1) This (party) is the best thing ever! (right now) 2) That (party) was the best thing ever! (The party has just finished or it finished some time ago) 3) This (party) is the best thing I could ever ask for! (I have just been surprised) 4) That (party) was the best thing I could ever have asked for! (I am talking about yesterday's surprise)Read More...
Hi, Toaha, I find the sentences above and their respective meanings to be correct.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Loan requirements/need

Hello, Any grammatical error in the following sentence: Thank you for your time earlier to discuss your loan requirement/need. Following this email, I will be sending you a link to our client portal. Please kindly complete all the required fields to your best ability so that we can better assist you.Read More...
I completely forgot American is an adjective. Thanks so much Gustavo!Read More...
Last Reply By Tony C · First Unread Post

meaning: the writing is on the wall

Hi all, Please, I need your help with the following: I found this post on social media of a gym talking about their recent reopening (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and classes: "Whether it's indoors, outdoors, or virtually - the writing is on the walls." From what I understood, after doing some research, "the writing is on the walls" is an expression with a negative connotation, but I'm still going through a hard time to understand its meaning in this sentence. Could anyone help me? I really...Read More...
Hello, Jessy—The expression is " The writing is on the wall ," not "The writing is on the walls." Without more context, I can't say what they had in mind. Maybe they are talking about actual writing on walls. It seems to be a play on words.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

difference between manic and maniac

Hi there, I've been trying to understand the difference between manic and maniac, but they're still confusing to me. Can I say that manic is the same as crazy/ overexcited and maniac is a person with psychological problems? Any further explanation is more than welcome. Thanks a lot. Cheers!Read More...
Have you consulted a dictionary, Jessy?Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

how to use "slip-up"

Hi there, From what I understand a "slip-up" is the same as a "mistake", is that right? So, the same way I can use the verb "to make", example: Oops, I made a big mistake in this essay, can I say: "Oops, I made a big "slip-up" in this essay"? Can I also say, "That's just a minor slip-up, don't worry!", and "I slipped up, sorry. I shouldn't have told her your secret. Sorry, for not keeping my lips sealed"? Any further explanation is more than welcome. Thanks a million! CheersRead More...
Hello, JessyA—Yes, a slip-up is a mistake. Normally "slip up" is a phrasal verb. "Slip-up" is the noun related to the phrasal verb. Yes, you can say that, but don't put "slip-up" in quotation marks. It would be more normal to use the phrasal verb: " I slipped up big-time in this essay ." Yes, those sentences are fine.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

The placement of "Later on"

Where is the best place of the word later on in the following sentence? He has made several submissions regarding the source of the funds which were later on withdrawn (he withdrew all his previous submissions/statements) and included a new submission. oRead More...
Hello, Tony—"Later on" is perfectly fine where you have placed it. What I don't like is the use of "submissions" instead of "statements." Is that banker's jargon?Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

the uses of colon and period/ punctuation

Hi there, Can you please help me with the following, regarding punctuation?: (these are just short examples to contextualize a little bit) "Here are a few tips on how to be sociable: Talk to strangers. Smile and say, "Hello! how are you?". Is it correct to use a comma or colon after the verb "say"? Also, on lists of items or adjectives, should I use a comma before "and"? Because I've already found both forms and I'm confuse: I need to buy apples, bananas, meat and rice. I need to buy apples,...Read More...
Hi, JesseA—You have asked too many questions, on too many topics, for a single thread. Please separate out the individual subtopics and start threads with questions about each of them, but do not start more than 4 threads a day.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

The word "go over" is closest in meaning to....?

Let’s get together and go over some ideas in my mind. Could you please help me find out the answer to this question? The word " go over " in the sentence is closest in meaning to....? (A) revise (B) repeat (C) discuss some dictionary says that go over can mean both revise and repeat but I'm not sure about it. I would appreciate it if you help me figure this out.Read More...
ahmed_btm I really appreciate your help. Thank you so much. How did I miss checking Collins Dictionary? HA HA HARead More...
Last Reply By alwayslearner · First Unread Post

You were right...

▪ You were right about the hotel being too crowded. Is the sentence above in combination with these sentences? 1) You were right about the hotel 2) The hotel was too crowded. Did the writer use "being" instead of "was" in that sentence?Read More...
Hi, Toaha, You were right about the hotel being too crowded. = You were right that the hotel was too crowded.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Being + adj

▪ My girlfriend being mad because I watch cartoon. Me being mad because she is in the cartoon. Why the writer didn't write that sentences like this? ▪ My girlfriend is being mad because I watch cartoon. Me is being mad because she is in the cartoon.Read More...
Are these nonsentences picture captions, Toaha? That is, do the nonsentences appear underneath pictures as descriptions? I've never heard anyone speak of "watching cartoon." I don't know what British speakers say, but American speakers say "watching cartoons" (with the "s").Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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