All Forum Topics

A Want / A Wish

Hello, Could some please formulate the difference between "a want" & " a Wish". ThanksRead More...

Tense sequence

Hello, Scenario : A , having just arrived from abroad, meets up with B in a cafe. A has a train to catch later in the evening. A saying to B," The only difficulty was to know where to put the luggages till my train left." Question 1 - Is the past tense 'left' used to show tense sequence ( ie keeping the whole sentence in one tense ) ? If it is, then can we also use 'leave' to show a 'present situation' ( ie The only difficulty was to know where to put the luggages till my train leaves this...Read More...

Double negative

I accidentally read an advertisement of a thesaurus saying that... This all-new edition of the classic reference work is the one thesaurus no home or office should be without. To me, the sentence soulds natural, yet, on the secound thought, I found no and without in the sentence which makes me think that this sentence might have a double negative problem. Is it really a double negative? If so, is it acceptable as allowed to appear on the back cover of a quite well known thesaurus?Read More...

"Was planning" vs. "is planning"

Hello, Please take a look at the following sentence : For more than a year, Canadians have known that 69-year-old Mr Chretien was planning to resign in February 2004. Question - Mr.Chretien is still planning to resign in February 2004, so why not 'is planning' instead of 'was planning'? Or, is the past tense here used to suggest Mr Chretien's reluctance to resign as 'was planning ' suggests to me that he might change his mind? Many thanks. RickyRead More...

Transition vs. conjunction

Azar (in Understanding... ) makes the following distinction: It was hot. Therefore, we went swimming. (Transition) It was hot, so we went swimming. (conjunction) q1: Are 'therefore' and 'so' not conjunctions? q2. Can we use both commas and full stops to introduce the second sentence in both examples?Read More...

"There is "or "there are"

According to the traditional grammar,when a plural noun follows "there" the verb is "are or were" and when singular "is or was"is used, but this doesn't seem to be so these days. Especially when speaking, we tend to add items after we begin speaking with "there is...." But what about in writing? Is it still acceptable to use "is" for plural nouns following "there"? One sentence I have recently come across on the web is; (1)Here's a few guidelines to go by when making your decision. What is...Read More...

Past participle of "clean"

Hi.. She has cleant her room. She has cleaned her room. Is "cleaned" the past participle of "clean"? I have many native speakers use "cleant". I could be wrong. ThanksRead More...

"Unless" and "if ...not"

Please look at the following sentences. (4)(7) aren't correct, are they? (1)I'll go if it doesn't rain. (2)I'll go unless it rains. (3)I'll be quite glad if Mary doesn't come this evening. (4)*I'll be quite glad unless Mary comes this evening (5)You can't come in if you don't have a ticket. (6)You can't come in unless you have a ticket. (7)*Please ask me unless you understand. (8)Please ask me if you don't understand. (9)Don't ask me to explain if you understand. (10)Don't ask me to explain...Read More...

"Would" in conditionals

Hello, Please take a look at the following sentence : Sony is so far behind in the market that it has been forced to strike a joint venture with Samsung under which the South Korean company - and rival - would provide it with a steady stream of LCD panels for TVs that should make it competitive with market leaders. Question - why is 'would' used instead of 'will'? Thank you. RickyRead More...

"Different from, than, to"

My Longman dictionary says different from/ that/ to / are all good, but that teachers prefer "from" and that "to" is BrE, and "than" AmE. My other English-Japanese dictionary says "than" can be used when a clause follows "different" as in "He is different than he used to be". But recently I have an impression I hear/see/read "than" more than I used to even when just a word or a phrase follows "different" as in "My opinion is different than yours". Another grammar site states as follows.Read More...

"Run around (in) the zoo"

Please look at the following sentence (1): (1)Don't tease the monkeys running around the zoo. We can easily assume that the monkeys are kept in the zoo and they are running around in the zoo, not running, around the zoo, which is pretty dangerous. So what's the difference between "running around the zoo" and " running around in the zoo"? Is "in" not necessary to make the meaning clearer? appleRead More...

"Population" -- can be replaced with "one"?

Please look at the following sentence. The prison population in this state, now at an all time high, is higher than any state. One of the questions on the Longman TOEFL book asks which part is incorrect. The answer key says that the part "any state" should be "than the prison population in any state." I understand that the sentence is not correct because the prison population and any state are being compared The reason "the prison population" can not be replaced by "one" or "that of" is that...Read More...

Brewer

Hello, Is the word brewer used both for male and female? or is there a female name for it too? I would like to know. ThanksRead More...

This, it, that

Someone gives me some information that I didn't know. I say, "That's interesting. I didn't know that." How would the nuance differ if I said "It's interesting. I didn't know it." It sounds like "that" sounds you are more impressed than when you use "it", carring a stronger tone. Am I correct? Mitsuko mitsukoRead More...

Tom's and his brother's

Which of the following sentence(s) is(are) correct in the situation where Tom and his brother own the house? If both are acceptable meaning the same, what would the difference be? (1)This is Tom and his brother's house. (2)This is Tom's and his brother's house. appleRead More...

"What" clause as a subject

Hi, I'm a new member. My apology if the question has been discussed in the past. (1)(2)(3)sound natural, but some native speaker friends say (5)(6)don't. How so? (5)(6)look like the same sentence structures as (1)and (2). (1)What you heard from Dan is not quite true. (2)What is written here is full of mistakes. (3)Pay attention to what he says. *(5)What you can do is to help her. *(6)What you can do is helping her. apple pie mitsukoRead More...

"When is" vs "When does"

Hello everyone, Why do the following sound correct: When is the movie? When does the movie start? But these do not? When does the movie? When is the movie start? Thanks for any help. I'm a beginning level ESL teacher. A student asked me the above, and I had no idea what to say. C. Mathew Atlanta, GA, USARead More...

"On" the plan or "In" the plan?

I would like to know which one is correct. I have learned that we have to use "In" with print medium; EX: In the newspaper. Please help me. Thank you. CyrusRead More...

"Has been" & "had been"

Hello, The following sentences sound correct to me. Am I right and also, when should I use which ? A.China has been behind in internet technology but is catching up fast.(or but has now caught up.) B. China had been behind in internet technology but is catching up fast (or but has now caught up.) Thank you. RickyRead More...

"A" + "people"

I have recently come across sentences that treat "people" as a singular noun. Ex: He cautioned that a war with Iraq would destroy a people who were already in a really bad situation. As a result they are seen across much of the world as a people who uphold human dignity and embody the highest moral values. A rocket program has military applications, but it is also a great alternative to war as a means of inspiring patriotism among a people who might otherwise be unhappy about earthly...Read More...

"Would" versus "will"

A student of mine showed me the following example questions (sorry if they offend anyone...but i want to post them exactly as he showed them to me). I have a question about the use of "would" and "will": 1. Are there any exercises that would help me lose weight from just my thighs? 2. Is there any way his voice will change and he will stop looking feminine? In the first question, either 'would' or 'will' sounds fine to me, but in the second one, only 'will' sounds correct. In both questions,...Read More...

"On page xx or "at page xx"

Hi, Please could you tell me which of the following sentences is correct. 1) We are on page 20. 2) We are at page 20. ThanksRead More...
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