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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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Podcast about Grammar Cops

The author Michael Lewis has a podcast called "Against the Rules." The summary for the episode entitled "The Alex Kogan Experience" is "Everyone hates grammar and ethics cops. Until they need one." I enjoyed this podcast and think that readers of this forum will enjoy it also. This doesn't really fit in the Q&A section, but I don't know where else to post it. The podcast begins with the ethics topic. If you are pressed for time and want to focus on grammar, I suggest going to...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...
Thank URead More...
Last Reply By Ahmad Muhamad · First Unread Post

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...
Gustavo and David, thank you for your replies. In a later email from my tech writer friend, he clarified that he agreed with me.Read More...
Last Reply By StillKicking · First Unread Post

Individual things that make us, us.

The following is an excerpt from the blog posted by "a third culture kid" in the Japan Times. What does "Individual things that make us, us." mean? This sentence looks incomplete and how can you make it complete? “Everyone is different, and that’s what makes life interesting,” Osaka tweeted last year. “We all have our own backgrounds and stories. Individual things that make us, us.” I couldn’t agree more with her statement.Read More...
Hello, Fujibei, The first "us" is the direct object, and the second "us" is the object complement, that is, a complement that refers to the first "us." Compare with: "Individual things that make us different from others ." A better way of saying "Individual things that make us, us" would be, in my opinion, "Individual things that make us who we are ."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...
Great reply .Read More...
Last Reply By Ahmed Mohammed · First Unread Post

Future

Liverpool 's players are known to be skilled. They (are going to win / will win) the match easily. What is the right answer here?Read More...
Yes, I realize that you guys are looking for a detailed explanation, and I have decided to turn this into a research project. Please give me about a week, and I will try to clear up the mystery of will versus be going to to the best of my ability. As a native speaker, I never (or almost never) have to think about it. As a grammar-forum moderator, though, I encounter the question regularly, and I very often disagree with Egyptian "model answers" in this department! The distinction between...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

anyways

Hello, I've heard people especially young (uneducated?) people use the word "anyways" when they probably mean "anyway". Is there such an English word as "anyways"? It bothers me so much that I looked at BYU corpus and there are a lot of examples. Is it now accepted to use it in an informal conversation? AppleRead More...

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...
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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
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