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August 2021

Will or Would

Choose the corect option: We're thinking of having a barbecue. ~Oh, that ___be nice. a] will b] wouldRead More...
Hi, Abo Hamza, Please remember that, according to our Guideline 3 , you should tell us which you think the correct option is, or at least express your doubt by way of introduction. (b) is a much better option because, given that the plan to have a barbecue has not been confirmed, it is uncertain whether it will actually take place. Using "would" would be like saying: It would be nice if the barbecue actually took place.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Ordered (To Be)

ahmad
Hello, everyone, 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... " The above fragment is from "A Sense of History" (The Hunt for the Regicides). Would it be wrong to insert "to be" after "ordered"? Thanks.Read More...
Hi, David, There is not an answer that comes from you but is an eye-opener; however, the grammatical insight that appears between (c) and (d) is the last thing I had bargained for. I thank you in all sincerity.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmad · First Unread Post

clauses

Hi, I am trying to clarify how sentences are broken down into clauses. I'm thinking about declarative sentences mainly. Here's what I believe to be true: 1) the terms 'subordinate' and 'dependent' clause are synonyms. They mean precisely the same thing. Likewise, 'independent' and 'main' clauses are the same. The definition I usually hear is that a main clause can stand on its own; it makes sense on its own. Hence the term independent. By contrast, a dependent or subordinate clause cannot...Read More...
Hi David, Thanks for your answer, as always! You are a really knowledgeable person and I'm grateful to be able to communicate with you. What kinds of syntactic problems did you solve? I studied computer science at uni, so when I think of problems in formal grammar, I think of, for example, proving that the language {a^i b^i c^i} is not context free. But the gap between this kind of "language" (if it can even be called that) and real human language is vast. I meant to ask if you teach...Read More...
Last Reply By lagrange · First Unread Post

outsource

Hi, "Magazines often farm out articles to freelance journalists." The sentence above is from an online dictionary. Can I use 'outsource' instead of 'farm out' here without changing the meaning? Is there any subtle difference between the two expressions? Thank you very much.Read More...
Yes, that sentence is fine, Kuen. Your use of "farms out" there works nicely.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

it was that

Are these sentences correct: 1) If I did desire wealth, it is not that I did anything illegal to acquire it. 2) I did desire wealth, but it is not that I did anything illegal to acquire it. 3) I desired wealth, but it was that I wanted to help others with it. 4) I desired wealth, but it was just that I wanted to help others with it. 5) I desired wealth, but it was to help others. 6) I desired wealth, but it was just to help others. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi—Sentence (2) is correct, but its "that" would normally be "as though," as below: 2a) I did desire wealth, but it is not as though I did anything illegal to acquire it. Your other examples are clumsy to varying degrees. (1) can be interpreted as having a concessive "if"-clause, but the main clause should lose "it is not that": 1a) If I did desire wealth, (at least) I didn't do anything illegal to acquire it. Here's how I might revise (3), (4), (5), and (6): 3a) I desired wealth,...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Square as a noun & adjective

Hi. I'm a little confused about the use of the word 'square'. I can easily identify it as an adjective if it appears before a noun. However, the sentence below has got me wondering whether square functions as an adjective or a noun: All pizza boxes are square . Kindly help me to understand this. Your help is greatly appreciated.Read More...
Hello Gustavo! Brilliant! This line alone (quoted above) has put my confusion to rest. To think that I have been scouring the net to look for an explanation, and you managed to give me the answer I needed in just one line! That's awesome! Thank you so much, Gustavo!Read More...
Last Reply By gilbert · First Unread Post

There

Should I use a singular or plural verb in the following sentence: - There (is/are) an apple and an orange. Thanks.Read More...
First of all, your example is unnatural in a contextual vacuum. I assume you have in mind expletive/existential "there" rather than adverbial "there." They are, as you know, pronounced differently. In the highly unlikely event that you intend "there" to be interpreted as adverbial "there," such that the sentence would be equivalent in meaning to "An apple and an orange are there," the plural verb would be the best choice. But you probably mean for "there" to be interpreted as...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

’have something to do’

Hello, everyone, 1) We would love to show you all the Raleigh store has to offer and hope to see you there on the 15th! 2) Somewhere someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer. 3) No one knows what you have to offer better than you. 4) Discover all the culture and beauty that Spain has to offer . I don’t think above “have(has) to” in common is an imperative form which equals to “must“, how can I parse the construction of ”has to“ especially in 1)? 1. ... all (which the Raleigh...Read More...
Hi, David, really glad to be answered with clear explanation.Read More...
Last Reply By deepcosmos · First Unread Post

'd rather

Hello. Which one is correct? Why? - I'd rather John ......... you about the plan because it was his idea) (told - had told) Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia—You should use the past simple ("told"), not the past perfect: "I'd rather John told you about the plan, because it was his idea." It is also possible to use "tell." The past perfect would indicate a preference about the past, and the 'd rather construction is not standardly used for such preferences. Instead we use "wish": "I wish John had told you about the plan, because it was his idea."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

To be

He looked to be about her age and his blond hair was neatly combed into a fashionable style. In this sentence, "about her age and his blond hair" is a prepositional phrase as adverb? I would have thought a gender oriented decision would upset you, but you seem to be on his side. On his side : prepositional phrase as adverb?Read More...

To be

1) The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend. 2) The weather is supposed to nice this weekend. In the 2nd sentence, if I remove "be" what is wrong with it?Read More...

To be

I looked too old to be nintey. I = Subject/Noun looked = Verb too old = Adverb To be = infinitive Ninety = adjective Please correct me if am wrong.Read More...

Preposition of direction

Hi there. In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest , I believe the preposition over shows direction or movement. Kindly help me figure out what kind of preposition over is in the sentence below: She spread a generous layer of butter over the toast and drizzled some sugar onto it. Does it show movement? Thank you.Read More...
Hello, David. Thank you so much for your very helpful and detailed explanation. I don't know why but every time I use the word spread (butter, frosting, icing, etc.), I automatically choose over as the accompanying preposition. Guess I'll have to UNlearn this 'rule' as on would be a more natural option to use. Thanks again.Read More...
Last Reply By gilbert · First Unread Post

what

Psychology of the Digital Age: Humans Become Electric - John R. Suler I can't find out what the what-clause refers to and what the object of <call> is. IS <which is> ellipted before <what>? or Is <what-clause> is apposition to <how-clause>? Could you analyze this structure? Online environment vary widely in how easily you can save whatever happens there, what I call its recordability and preservability.Read More...
Thank you so much for your elaborate explanation.Read More...
Last Reply By GBLSU · First Unread Post

Present perfect adverbs

Is it incorrect to use adverbs just, already, yet with present simple, as in "Did you finish your homework yet?" and "Yes, I just finished it." or "No, I didn't finish it yet."Read More...
Hello, Ben, As you can read here , using those adverbs with the past (not present) simple is perfectly correct in American English.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

Are "lion's share & fall behind" informal phrases?

Greetings admin! 1. I want to ask if the phrase "hold the lion's share" is an informal diction to write in an essay? Ex: China population holds a lion's share of nearly 43% of the world's population. 2. Can you suggest me any vocabulary that can replace the phrasal verb like "fall behind" or the idiom "to be slow on the uptake", which are considered informal. Ex: Students who are slow on the uptake are allowed to review lessons many times. Thank you so much.Read More...

most

Is most a determiner?Read More...
Hello, Ben, Please remember that, according to our Guideline 6 , you should provide an example. "Most" is a determiner when it accompanies a noun, as in: - Most people live in cities. It can also be a pronoun, when the noun is absent: - Many people live in the countryside, but most live in cities. Finally, it can be an adverb when it modifies an adjective, an adverb, or a verb.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

be about to

Hello, I read that be about to (as well as be going to and others) are "semi-auxiliary" verbs. Is this true? Is there another way to think of them? Thank you BenRead More...

small-town America

Hello Here is a headline in a recent issue of TIME. Big Tech Is Coming to Small-Town America, But There's a Catch A hyphenated phrase if often used as an adjective such as " 9-year-old boy" In this headline, is "small-town" used as an adjective? What is the difference between the TIME headline and the following sentences? 1. Big Tech is Coming to a small town in American. 2. Big Tech is Coming to an American small town. 3. Big Tech is Coming to American small towns. AppleRead More...
OK, Thank you, David. All is clear. AppleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

to test

Are these sentences correct: 1) Tina sent her hypotheses to John to test in his lab. 2) Tina told her hypotheses to John to test in his lab. 3) Tina shared her hypotheses with John to test in his lab. The idea is that Tina shared her hypotheses with John so that HE would test them in his lab. Gratefully, NaviRead More...

complement vs adjunct

Hello, I've heard that the difference between a complement and an adjunct is that the complement is essential to complete the meaning whereas an adjunct is not. What does that mean? In my opinion, that's a pretty vague definition. Thanks in advance, BenRead More...
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