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Regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic

David, Moderator
Dear Grammar Exchange members, As we continue our grammar discussions, I want you to know that I am aware that we are all struggling in various ways as a result of the current pandemic and that my heart goes out to all of you. I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. Although we may not know each other personally, we all know that there is much more to us than the English grammar issues we discuss here. This post is devoted to the dimensions of you and your lives that I know...Read More...
The abundance of interesting articles on your site amazes me! Good luck to the author and new interesting posts! Thank you David!Read More...
Last Reply By MathildeBuxton · First Unread Post

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Usage of broad-gauged

I'm in a back-and-forth discussion on how to correctly use "broadly-gauged." Current example: John Crackow is a broadly-gauged business strategist. My take on this: Broadly-gauged is incorrect and the correct usage it should be: John Crackow is a broad-gauged business strategist. Can someone back me up on this?Read More...

function of the infinitive phrase in ‘try to do’

Hello, everyone, “ He must try to do better (next time) .” Q1. While I’ve seen a few ways to parse the to infinitive phrase - ‘ to do better ’ as follows, which, do you think, is the predominant one in this current mainstream? A) some say, this phrase is functioning as the direct object of the transitive verb ‘try’. B) this phrase is a complement of head verb – ‘try’ under ‘complement pair forms a catenative construction’. (by ' A Students Introduction to English Grammar ') C) this phrase is...Read More...
Hello, deepcosmos,, The view taken by Quirk et al in their Comprehensive was rejected by Huddleston & Pullum in their later (and better) Cambridge Grammar. The reasons are quite complex. Do you have access to a copy of the latter?Read More...
Last Reply By billj · First Unread Post

for you to clean

a. It is for you to clean the kitchen. b. The kitchen is yours to clean. c. The kitchen is for you to clean. Which of the above sentences are grammatically correct and meaningful? The idea is that it is your duty to clean the kitchen. The sentences would presumably be uttered when assignments are being given to different people. Many thanksRead More...

good game to...

a. This is a good game for Manchester United to lose. If they lose this game, they'll learn a lesson and will start getting their act together. b. This is a good game for Manchester United to lose. If they lose this game, they'll be eliminated and we won't have to play against them. In (a) the speaker has the interests of Manchester United in mind. In (b) the speaker doesn't have the interests of Manchester United in mind. He wants them to be eliminated so his team won't have to play against...Read More...

Is this a strange use of a colon?

See here: https://www.vox.com/2022/5/19/23123050/hungary-cpac-2022-replacement-theory Not coincidentally, Carlson is the leading mainstream exponent of the idea that a similar process is underway in America: arguing that Democrats are using immigration policy to conduct “the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries.” I'm not sure how exactly to explain my confusion regarding the colon between "America" and "arguing", but it seems like an odd deployment...Read More...

for you

1) Drinking is a bad thing for you to do. 2) Stealing is a bad thing for you to do. The meaning of '1' is clear to me, but I have a problem with '2'. It is not saying that stealing is bad per se, but is saying it is bad for you. It is as if the speaker is telling the addressee that they will get caught if they steal. Would you agree with that? Or could '2' be used when the intended meaning is basically the same as in 'Stealing is a big thing to do'? Gratefully, NaviRead More...

Is it possible to interpret this sentence in a way that makes it grammatical?

See here: https://freedomhouse.org/country/hungary/freedom-world/2021 Businesspeople whose activities are not in line with the financial or political interest of the government are likely to face harassment and intimidation, and subject to increasing administrative pressure for a possible takeover. Thanks!Read More...
Yes. The reason might be that "subject to" usually introduces prepositional constructions, for example: - Businesspeople whose activities are not in line with the financial or political interest of the government are likely to face a takeover, subject to (= in accordance with) the regulations in force.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

a second car

a. They have a second small car. b. They have a second , small car. c. They have a second smaller car. d. They have a second, smaller, car. Are all of the above sentences grammatically correct and correctly punctuated? What does each mean? How many small cars and how many cars do they have in each case? Many thanksRead More...

Elliptical relative clause

Hi, 1. This building, which has been built for nine years, will be the tallest in our city. 2. This building, __ (being built/built/ having been built ) for nine years will be the tallest in our city. I made the sentence (1). I want to know which of (2) is the correct non-finite form corresponding to the relative clause.Read More...
Thank you. No wonder I found the sentence would be odd either way.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

Can I have em-dashes and then a colon and then more em-dashes?

Suppose I wrote this: I like dogs — and cats — and the reasons for my liking these animals are: (A) that they're fun — they always want to play (B) that they're cute So you can see that the part in bold has two em-dashes. And you can see that "(A)" is an item in the list and that "(A)" also contains an em-dash. Is there anything at all wrong with an item in the list ["(A)" above] having an em-dash when the sentence preceding the colon (in bold above) also has em-dashes? I thought that having...Read More...

Present Perfect Tense

Hi! Sometimes I get a bit confused with present perfect tense. Sentences 2,4 and 6 are incorrect aren't they? Thanks, Dos Santos 1. I have enjoyed sightseeing with you today. 2. I have enjoyed sightseeing with you this morning. 3. I have enjoyed looking around New York with you today. 4. I have enjoyed looking around New York with you this morning. 5. I have put away all the laundry today. 6. I have put away all the laundry this morning. 7. I have enjoyed watching the concert with you tonight.Read More...
Hello, Dos Santos, and welcome to G.E. Every example you have given is correct.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

If I say "There are who knows how many dogs at the park", should I hyphenate?

I could write "There are who knows how many dogs at the park", but should I hyphenate so that it says "There are who-knows-how-many dogs at the park"? I don't know what the New York Times does on this front or what other media outlets do on this front; does anyone know what standard practice is on this front? Here's an example of hyphenation: https://time.com/5241519/tess-sat Much more important, there are who-knows-how-many planets circling those stars, and there’s at least a chance that...Read More...
Thanks! That makes sense! I appreciate the help, and sorry for the confusion on this front!Read More...
Last Reply By Andrew Van Wagner · First Unread Post

restrictive clauses

I'll have to be a little long-winded to explain this question but it only applies to the bold text. Usually, when "but" is used as a conjunction, it represents a contrast or contradiction of the second independent clause to the first independent clause. "It’s raining but I'm still going outside." "Which" usually begins a non-restrictive clause but with the clause beginning with "which" here, "which, technically, they're not supposed to do," it seems that it has to be restrictive. The...Read More...
Hi, Clueless—What a convoluted question. Did you get my answer to your last question? If not, I don't know why I should take the time to respond to this.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

How do you punctuate fragmented data like that shown in this image?

https://imgur.com/a/rQpRemc Source: https://linguaholic.com/linguablog/interrobang/ My best guess is '[G], "?!," yo—[S]tion can—[F] the sen—[P]hasis. [S]tateme—[R]k, "!?," t—' Please let me know how I did! Thanks super-lots! Oh! Also, if you might have a lead on how to search for rules on the Internet, I'd be so thankful! I really want to learn!Read More...
Hello, Curtis, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I have nothing to say about your question. If, at a later date, you ask a question that I consider to be genuine and worth answering, I shall reply to you then.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Can "vast" refer to vertical extent? Is that bad usage?

See my phrase here: https://join.substack.com/p/are-war-crimes-funny we see only the tip of a vast red iceberg But "vast" here really refers mostly to vertical extent, doesn't it, given the iceberg metaphor? So is that an OK usage? You might think that "vast" normally refers to something wide like a "vast plain stretching out before them" or something. Thanks so much!Read More...
Thanks so much for the responses! I greatly appreciate the help!Read More...
Last Reply By Andrew Van Wagner · First Unread Post

Should I use a comma or a bracket

Query 1: Should I use a comma (,) or a bracket for the text that I highlighted in bold? I note that in your 2019 profit and loss statement, the cost of the car is $15,000 which differs from you have advised, $20,000. Query 2: Also, in the above context, is it better to use present or past in your view and whether it has the same meaning? So, it becomes, I noted that in your 2019 profit and loss statement, the cost of the car was $15,000 which differed from you advised, $20,000.Read More...
Hello, Tony—You can use either the present or the past tense ("note" or "noted"), with basically the same meaning, and it does not matter whether you use a comma before the dollar figure or put brackets or parentheses around it. What should bother you is that your sentence is ungrammatical. You cannot say, " which differs from you advised ." You should put a comma after $15,000, to render the "which"-clause nonrestrictive, and revise the clause as follows: I note that, in your 2019...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

who

I don't know the person who did this. I don't know who did this. Is there a reason why the noun "the person" is often omitted? I know that both are correct. It's just that generally 'who', as a relative pronoun, is preceded by the person it's referring to. So, why is the noun 'the person' often omitted in such sentences?Read More...
I did explain the answer in English. The reference to French was just an interesting aside. Hardly worth making a big fuss about.Read More...
Last Reply By billj · First Unread Post

The need to use an object after "Advise"

Is it compulsory to use an object after the verb "Advise" For example: We are pleased to advise you / without you that we have completed your assignment that is due tomorrow. Appreciate it if you could shed some lightRead More...
No, it doesn't. 'Inform' is highly formal and is usually followed by a 'that' clause or a preposition like 'of/about'.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

whatever / however

Hello, everyone, “A major conclusion about Paleolithic technology follows from all this: to whatever small extent we may be able to speak about “science” in the Paleolithic, Paleolithic technologies clearly were prior to and independent of any such knowledge.“ I would appreciate, if you share your opinions to my two questions below; 1. Is ‘whatever’ above an adjective or an adverb? 2. Why can’t we replace ‘whatever’ by ‘however’, in case both modify the adjective ‘small’ in a concessive...Read More...
Hi, BillJ, really appreciate yours. It is really interesting to me, an EFL learner, to learn ' whateve r' as a determiner is modifying not ' small ' but ' small amount ' as head! Hi, Gustavo, sincerely appreciate yours. I really like your explanation with idiomaticity about 'to whatever/however'.Read More...
Last Reply By deepcosmos · First Unread Post

having been

Dear Team 1) If you are indeed the same person the first thing you should do is apologize for having been so disrespectful in the past. 2) Having been made redundant she started looking for a new job. Please tell me the difference of these two sentences. In the first sentence, after "having been" used an adjective "disrespectful". In the second sentence after "having been" used a verb "made". Why? Note : Don't come with answer comparing me with those guys. Regards HoustenRead More...
Hasta la vista.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

adjective clause formation/analysis

Please consider the following sentence: "Wind blows in the direction you want to go." It sounds good to me. I was trying to dissect the sentence into two sentences, reversing Azar and Hagen's way of combining two sentences into one by making one sentence into an adjective clause. (1) Wind blows in the direction. (2) you want to go that way(?) → which you want to go/that you want to go ⇒ Wind blows in the direction (which/that) you want to go. Is my reasoning correct? And, also, can you say...Read More...
Wind blows in the direction you want to go. I'd analyse this as "wind blows in x direction; you want to go in y direction; x = y ". Note that I would advise dropping the term 'adjective clause'. The classification of finite subordinate clauses is based on their internal form rather than spurious analogies with the parts of speech.Read More...
Last Reply By billj · First Unread Post

Having had / Having

1) Having had the house painted, we put it up for sale. 2) Having the house painted, we put it up for sale. Dear Team What is the difference between these two above sentences? I assume, the first sentence indicates that we first had the house painted and then put it up for sale some other time later. And the second sentence indicates that we had the house painted and put it up for sale at the same time. Can you shed some light one this? Regards HoustenRead More...
Leave this question. I did ask you nothing. You guys consume your time comparing me with unknown guys instead of answering to my questions. What can I do?Read More...
Last Reply By DAVID HOUSTEN · First Unread Post

I have been able to live until now because my wife was by my side.

Suppose: I married my wife 50 years ago. I have been married to my wife for 50 years. Is it OK to say, #1: I have lived (have been able to live) until now because my wife was by my side. ? What about #2? #2: I have lived (have been able to live) until now because my wife has been by my side. This is the same kind of question as I posted last time. #3: The other continents have been able to exchange various species because they were linked by land bridges. #4: The other continents have been...Read More...
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