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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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Present perfect

What is the right answer : Nothing like this (happened - has happened - has ever happened - has never happened) to her.Read More...
Hello, Emad, I agree with Ahmed_btm that "has ever happened" is a very natural choice, and it is probably the answer that the test makers would like you to choose. However, there is only one incorrect (ungrammatical) answer in the answer set, and that is "has never happened": Nothing like this happened to her. (correct in a suitable context) Nothing like this has happened to her. (correct in a suitable context) Nothing like this has ever happened to her. (correct and very natural) * Nothing...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

I have made up [an/the] example below.

Suppose that you are giving a Powerpoint presentation on the relationship between addition and multiplication using your computer. You are now showing the next slide with an example. You are going to say this next. (1a) To show this relationship, I have made up an example below. 4 x 3 = 4 + 4 + 4 My non-native English speaking friends think the indefinite article is wrong because I am talking about the specific example below. So, they revised it to make (1b) below. (1b) To show this...Read More...
Nice analysis, Gustavo. I agree with everything you have said and would simply like to add that another natural way of saying "I have made up the example below " is to say "I have made up the following example ." Right here on the Grammar Exchange, I have written sentences like "Please consider the following example" probably thousands of times. Ansonman, if you really want to use "an," you could say: I have made up an example, namely, the example that appears below. But there is no need for...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

such as

1) Great novelists such as Joyce and Faulkner used the interior monologue. 2) Great novelists like Joyce and Faulkner used the interior monologue. 3) Great novelists, such as Joyce and Faulkner, used the interior monologue. 4) Great novelists, like Joyce and Faulkner, used the interior monologue. Do the first pair mean the same as the second pair? Gratefully, NaviRead More...

Simplify past perfect to simple past in a type 3 conditional?

“The Daily News observed that there was no doubt as to the crime being a political one. The despotism and hatred of Liberalism which animated the Continental Governments had had the effect of driving to our shores a number of men who might have made excellent citizens were they not soured by the recollection of all that they had undergone.” A Study in Scarlet Hi. Does the bold part refer to the past, so the bold part is equivalent to “ had they not been soured...”? In other words, it is a...Read More...

I couldn't believe

a. They made an mistake I couldn't believe. b. They made an error I couldn't believe they had made. c. They made an error I couldn't believe they had made it. Which of the above sentences are grammatically correct? Many thanksRead More...
Hi, Azz, Please note you made a typo in (a), where you wrote "They made a n mistake... " After making that correction, I think (a) and (b) are fine: in (a), you couldn't believe the mistake they made, while in (b) you couldn't believe their having made that mistake, i.e. the fact that they made it. (c) is wrong because there is a duplication of the object: c. They made an error (that) I couldn't believe they had made it .Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

disagreement

Hi everyone, I want to ask how a native English-speaker agree/disagree on a idea both in formal or casual ? For example I have found that "Go along with something" is a way to support an idea. In addition, it would be great if you introduce me a reference in order to find collocation. Thanks in advance,Read More...
Hi, Leonard-Jones, Please see if this can be of help.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Hyphen question

Which is correct? ”Fill out the department-requested form.” or ”Fill out the department requested form.”Read More...
Hello, JenH, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! The pattern agent + past participle is only used in English when the agent is a generic, plural noun, as in: - moth-eaten clothes (clothes eaten by moths ) or an institutional, singular noun (of which there is only one of the kind), as in: - state-owned company (company owned by the state ). The noun "department" does not belong to either of those categories. I'd express the sentence you propose as follows: - Fill out the form as requested by...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

placement of an adjective in "a piece of paper"

I have made up a few similar examples. I am going to write them out below. (1a) I am going to take some notes. May I borrow a scrap piece of paper from you? (1b) I am going to take some notes. May I borrow a piece of scrap paper from you? (2a) I am going to take a lot of notes. May I borrow a large piece of paper from you? (2b) I am going to take a lot of notes. May I borrow a piece of large paper from you? My non-native English speaking friends cannot help me because they are not sure.Read More...

the old people

One person says: "In our city, a lot of people go to parks." Another replies: 1 ) It's old people who do. 2) It's the old people who do. 3 ) Old people go to parks. 4 ) The old people go to parks. Are these sentences all acceptable in this context? Do they have different meanings in this context? Do '2' and '4' imply that all of them go to parks? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Thank you very much, David, With all due respect, I beg to differ! It might be a very friendly reply, for at the end of the day it implies that the people of your city have a high average life expectancy!!!! Thanks again for all the clear and precise replies. I really appreciate it. Respectfully, NaviRead More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

Which sentence is correct?

ceedhanna
(1) His Military Service is done in the Army Forces on 1 st March 2008. (2) His Military Service was done in the Army Forces on 1 st March 2008 and is it possible to say: (3) His Military Service has been done in the Army Forces on 1 st March 2008. ThanksRead More...
No, Hussein, you may leave your reply, but please note that your judgement that "Sentence NO. (1) is definitely correct" is right only if we suppose that the time at which the sentence is uttered or written is not now but before March of 2008 . That is an unusual context. On an grammar test, a student could not be expected to make such an assumption on his or her own. Thus, if this is a testing item, and there is no such contextual stipulation built into the question, (1) is incorrect.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

very meta

The following is part of the conversation between a detective and Nick in the movei Gone Girl: Detective: “What do you do now for work?” Nick: “My sister and I own The Bar downtown.” Detective: “Oh, The Bar? Love the name. Very meta.” Nick: “Thanks.” What does "very meta" mean?Read More...
Hi, Fujibei, "Meta" is being used in a rather informal, somewhat regional sense there. The OED does, however, have an entry for "meta" (adjective) in the applicable sense. Have you ever heard of a "meta-analysis"? In the academic world, it is an analysis of analyses, or a study of studies. In TESOL, we often talk about the need to minimize the use of "meta-language" -- i.e., grammatical terminology, language about language -- in our explanations. In your quote, something similar is...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

In front of VS opposite

Hussein Hassan
Hello, there, Michael Swan in his book "Practical English Usage" says that we can't use "in front of" in the following context: There's a garage in front of my house. And he suggested using "opposite," "facing" or "across from" instead. I just imagined that I was living in a gated community or in a senior gated community, or suppose that I was living alone in an isolated area, owning a private garage in front of my house. See! It seems natural.😁 Why does Swan say we can't use "in front of"...Read More...
Thank you.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

last

Please, Could you tell me if it is correct or not? It was the last time for me to go to work by bus.Read More...
Hello, Abo Hamza, No, that sentence is not correct. Are you trying to express one of these ideas? It was the last time I would go to work by bus. It was the last time I could go to work by bus. It was the last time I went to work by bus. If so, you should revise the sentence accordingly.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

If John F. Kennedy <was>/<had been> alive, he would have turned 100 today.

Context 1: Suppose today is May 29, 2017 1. If John F. Kennedy was alive, he would have turned 100 today. 2. If John F. Kennedy had been alive, he would have turned 100 today. Context 2: Today is Aug 14,2019 3. If John F. Kennedy was alive, he would have turned 103 next year. 4. If John F. Kennedy had been alive, he would have turned 103 next year. Hi. Are all the above four sentences correct in the context? I make them up. Thank you.Read More...
When we transitioned to this new platform, a little over a year ago, I requested that the programmers disable the "like" function, so that there wouldn't be the sense of a popularity contest, comparable to Facebook and some other grammar sites. We prefer that members express their appreciation in words. Thank you.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Surprised vs taken aback

This question has bothered me for years, and every so often I look around online for the/an answer but I always come up empty handed. In the Coen brothers movie The Ladykillers with Tom Hanks, there is the following exchange of dialogue: Marva Munson: [walking in after the explosion in the basement] Professor, I'm surprised! Professor G.H. Dorr: Well... uh... properly speaking, madam, we are surprised. You are taken aback. Though I do acknowledge that the sense that you intend is gaining...Read More...

Discerning between??

I've just read 'Discerning among clinical symptoms'. I know there are rules for the use of among and between (between - distinct entities; among - not individually specified), but between seems correct in this case? Would it always be 'discerning between'? Thanks for your help!!!Read More...
Hello, Joho, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! The general rule is to use "between" when there are two things or people involved and "among" when there are more than two. However, if there are more than two things or people involved, "between" may still be used if the many countable things are thought of as being related in pairs. That applies here. In distinguishing between symptoms, we compare one type of symptom with another. That is why "distinguish between symptoms" works well.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

is wanting

Hello, At the 2019 Wimbledon men's singles final match between Federer and Djocovic, one of the two commentators said "seems like Federer is wanting to finish more and more points at the net". I was taught "want" was one of the verbs that was not usually used in a present progressive form. Is this an exceptional situation? Did the commentator mean to emphasize the strong passion that Federer had of finishing points at the net? AppleRead More...
Hi, Apple, The usage of the progressive with "want" ("is wanting to") is indeed abnormal. However, it does sometimes occur in conversational discourse, including between commentators in news broadcasts. The effect of using "is wanting" here is that it makes the statement informal, tentative, and confined to the ongoing present. It suggests temporariness. Compare: "I am loving the class" (temporary) vs. "I love the class" (fixed state). I would never teach this usage of "is wanting" to...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

'What' vs 'whatever'

Are both the following sentence using what and whatever correct? If yes, what different do they mean? John, whatever you did in the party last night was very wrong. John, what you did in the party last night was very wrong.Read More...
I agree with Gustavo. Please note the change from " in the party" to " at the party."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Briefly discuss vs Discuss briefly

May I know which of the sentence below is appropriate? (1) Briefly describe the characteristics of a perfectly competitive firm. (2) Describe briefly the characteristics of a perfectly competitive firmRead More...
Hi, Joshua: In (1) and (2), the direct object of "describe" is the noun phrase "the characteristics of a perfectly competitive firm." Normally, we do not place an adverb, such as "briefly," between a verb and its direct object. Therefore (1) is better than (2); it is more advisable to use (1), because "briefly" does not come between "describe" and its direct object in that sentence.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

garden path sentence

Hello, contributors "Ask people which of these four crosses they like best". Q1. I wonder if the sentence above can be considered as a garden path sentence. It is difficult for me to parse, whether a) Ask people which of these four crosses / they like best, or b) Ask people / which of these four crosses they like best. Q2. Do native speakears usually use such complex sentence in their speaking or informal writing?Read More...
Hello again, Jiho, That is not a possible reading. You cannot add "that" or "which" there. If "they like best" were a relative clause, the sentence would be ungrammatical. * " Ask people which of them " does not work. That is what your would-be reading implies. So your would-be reading is wrong. If you wish to understand the sentence, please refer to my first reply.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

what; whichever

Psychological studies have shown that people in group situations tend to agree with _____ opinion they think has the most support. a. what b. whichever This is from a grammar book. I think both are correct, but the book says only 'b' is. Could you explain some? Thanks!Read More...
Hi, Kis, Yes, only "whichever" is possible there. "which(ever)" is required whenever the range of selection is restricted, and this is clearly the case because of the superlative (of all the opinions stated, there is one that has the most support): - People in group situations tend to agree with whichever opinion they think has the most support. "what" will only be accompanied by a noun in questions (direct or embedded). "whatever" may appear with a noun in any kind of sentence, albeit in a...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Grammar

Phone me after 2pm. I .....lunch by then. Will have Will be having Will have had am having Key answer : will be having Excuse me can you please explain why " will have had " is incorrect.Read More...
Many thanks for your help. في الاثنين، ١٢ أغسطس، ٢٠١٩ ٢:١٤ م The Grammar Exchange < alerts@hoop.la > كتب:Read More...
Last Reply By Muhammad · First Unread Post

Brokerage Way Corp..... is any issue here? How does it look for native?

Hello all! I'm not a native English speaking person so want to know is any problems or issue to hearing, reading and understanding. Don't want to say it should mean - "The way of brokerage", just is does it beat you when you see company with name: Brokerage Way Corp ? Huge hugs and thank you for answers! Best, SergRead More...
Hi, Serg, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! Unfortunately, everything you have written in your post is filled with grammatical errors, and it is very difficult to decipher the question that you are trying to ask. Best wishes in your English studies!Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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