All Forum Topics

"Be wanting" and "want"

How is "be wanting" different from simple present, past, present perfect form of "want"? It looks like to me that there is some emphasis on the speakers' mind when they use progressive forms. Here are some examples of my corpus search. 1. Everybody came into this game wanting to go 3-0," running back Buddy Rodgers said. "We've been wanting to show people that we are a true team this year. 2. I've been wanting to give a keynote address at MacWorld for years, Loevner joked. 3. He said he was...Read More...

"Low" or "lower"

Because their skin is so thin, frogs are also sensitive to (lower, low)atmospheric ozone caused by pollution from industry and cars. Which is correct? And why? thanksRead More...

MTR train

Usually, we say 'We travel by train' or 'We travel by MTR( Mass Trasit Railway'. But is it correct to say ' We travel by MTR train'?Read More...

"Very easily for us to understand"

From Hogel: Would you modify these sentences into (a) natural expression(s)? - He explained it very easily for us to understand (it) easily. - He explained it very easily for us to understand (it).Read More...

Using or omitting the object

Hello, teachers! [1] Could you please tell me which is correct or natural, using the object or omitting it? 1. He spoke too low for us to hear (him). [I think both are OK, but using 'him' is better. Am I right?] 2. He spoke too quickly to understand (him). [I think both are OK, but using 'him' is better. Am I right?] 3. His voice was too weak/low to understand (him/it). [I think that using 'him' is the best and using 'him' is the next. And omitting 'him/it' is correct, but using 'it' is...Read More...

The doer of the to-infinitive

Hello teachers! Would you please tell me which is more natural, to use 'for us/me' or not? 1. His voice was too weak/low [for us] to understand him. 2. The radio signal was too weak [for me] to hear/read. [* I think 'hear' is appropriate for a radio program, and 'read' is appropriate for a radio code such as Morse Code. Am I right?] Thank you very much. Enjoy the largest full moon of the year.Read More...

Modals

What are the differences in meaning, if any, in each group of sentences? 1. a. May I use your phone? b. Could I use your phone? c. Can I use your phone? 2. a. It might not be Sally. b. It may not be Sally. c. It couldn't be Sally. d. It can't be Sally. 3. a. I have to go. b. I should go. c. I'm supposed to go. d. I'd better go. What do the sentences below mean or imply? 1. She should have done well on the test. Do we know whether she did well on the test or not? 2. I didn't have to go to...Read More...

"No more than," "not more than"

Suppose I have 99 dollars. What is the difference between (1)(2)(3).? (1) I have no more than 100 dollars. (2) I have not more than 100 dollars. (3) I don't have more than 100 dollars. appleRead More...

Correct tense ?

Dear All, The following is from an article in a newspaper : "Before 10am that morning he said he had several conversations with the accountant." I'm wondering if it should have been: "Before 10am that morning he said he HAD HAD several conversations with the accountant." Regards, RickyRead More...

Articles and "drain cleaner"

Hello, teachers! I'd like to ask you which article I have to use in front of the noun 'drain cleaner'. Please check my thoughts and correct them. [1] Honey, the toilet bowl is backed up. / Try [a/the/null] drain cleaner. My thoughts: 1. In case the 'drain cleaner' is a chemical agent 'A' and 'the' are both OK according to the context, but not using any article is the most natural. 2. In case the 'drain cleaner' is a device We have to use 'a' or 'the' according to the context, and generally...Read More...

"Mean" as an adjective

Hi.. I came across this sentence: "She cooks a mean curry." Here "mean" = excellent..can one use this expression for other things/ activities also? I can across this sentence in the Cambridge dictionary. "She plays a mean piano". Does this happen to be a British expression? Thank you very much.Read More...

"Fail" and "succeed"

Hello, teachers! Would you please tell me if we can use the verbs, 'fail' and 'succeed', both as transitive and intransitive verbs? (Example sentences) 1. He failed (in) the exam. 2. He failed (in) his attempt to break the record. 3. He succeeded (in) the exam. 4. He succeeded (in) his attempt to break the record. * Please tell me which is common, using or omitting 'in', too. Thank you very much. Enjoy the howling wind!Read More...

Articles

I often see these expressions : 'go to the beach' 'go to the bank' 'go to the post office' etc , as in 'Our children enjoyed going to the beach yesterday.' Can we say 'go to a beach' ' go to a bank' or 'go to a post office'? Can we say 'our children enjoyed going to a beach yesterday'?Read More...

"Less" and "fewer"

Could anyone tell me whether (1) is acceptable? I think (2) is but not (1). (1) There were no less than 3000 people at the concert. (2) There were no fewer than 3000 people at the concert. appleRead More...

Passive structures of verbs with two objects

Is this sentence correct? We were all bought little presents. I think 'Little presents were bought for us all.' or 'They bought little presents for us all.' are more appropriate. To the best of my knowledge, when verbs like 'buy, make, get, find, bring' are used in passive structures, the subject is the thing which is bought, made, etc. , not the person who receives something. I'd appreciate your reply.Read More...

"Assume" and "suppose"

Hello, teachers! Would you please check my thoughts and tell me whether they are correct or not? 1-1. I assume/suppose he is a blackguard/scoundrel. 1-2. I assume/suppose him to be a blackguard/scoundrel. 1-3. I assume/suppose him a blackguard/scoundrel. [I guess all are correct, but 1-2 and 1-3 are not used at all. Am I right?] 2-1. I assume/suppose what you say is true. 2-2. I assume/suppose what you say to be true. 2-3. I assume/suppose what you say true. 2-4. I assume/suppose it true...Read More...

"Worked" or "have worked"

Finest Bank, the firm I worked for the last seven years, was sold at year-end and mergered with another financial institution. Is it okay to use 'have worked' instead? Is there any difference in meaning? thanksRead More...

Direction and place names

Hello, Would you please tell me which is the correct expression? 1-1. Robert lives in a flat in South/south London. 1-2. Robert lives in a flat in Southern/southern London. 1-3. Robert lives in a flat in the southern London. 1-4. Robert lives in a flat in the south of London. 2-1. Robert lives in an apartment in South/south France. 2-2. Robert lives in an apartment in Southern/southern France. 2-3. Robert lives in an apartment in the southern France. 2-4. Robert lives in an apartment in the...Read More...

"Live to"

Hello, Would you please tell me if these sentences make sense? 1. Can I live [to be one hundred, to one hundred, until (I'm) one hundred]? 2. [An old man says to his grandson leaving a long journey.] Can I live [to see you again, until I see you again]? 3. Can I live to see the church finished building? It has been building since I was fourteen, but people say that there is another 30 years left to complete the church/construction. Thank you very much.Read More...

Articles

A: You have only yourself to blame for the broken window! B: But it was Tom who talked me into playing the soccer in the first place. Is the expression 'playing the soccer' correct? Is 'the' necessary here? Be sure to clean them with damp cloth. I think 'damp cloth' should be 'a damp cloth'. I don't know whether I'm wrong or the sentence. thanksRead More...

"Just now"

My school grammar has taught me that "just now" indicates a very near past and so the tense should be a past, not present perfect. Thus sentences (1)(2) are possible. (1) Jane has just finished the work. (2) Jane finished the work just now. My question: Is it acceptable (looks so to me) to add "now" at the end of (1) forming (3)Jane has just finished the work now. If this is acceptable, what's the difference between (1) and (3)? I mean actual time-wise. Suppose Jane finished the work 2...Read More...

Exclamations with "how"

There are two ways to make an exclamation sentence with "how" from a sentence like "I love him.", aren't there? 1)How much I love him! 2)How I love him! Are there any differences in meaning between them?Read More...
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