All Forum Topics

"Certain" or "sure"

Hello, teachers! In these sentences, can I use either 'certain' or 'sure'? 1. That she loves Martin is certain/sure. 2. Her success as an actress is certain/sure. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

Simple present or present progressive?

Hello: Is there a difference between the following sentences (cf permanence): (a) Do you live in Canada? (b) Are you living in Canada? as statements (c) I live in Canada. (d) I'm living in Canada. ThanksRead More...

"It is ten miles" vs. "There are ten miles"

Hello, teachers! Would you please tell me what is the difference in meaning? 1. It was another ten miles to the village. 2. There were another ten miles to the village. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

"Has" or "have"?

which sentence is correct: Either his friends or Peter HAS played the trick. OR Either his friends or Peter HAVE played the trick. thanks JLRead More...

"Be/come/came from"

Hello, teachers! Please help me with these. [1] I'd like to introduce Jane to you. She [is, comes, came] from Harvard University. 1-1. Which can mean "Jane graduated from Harvard University," is, comes, or came? 1-2. Which can mean "Jane is part of the university faculty"? 1-3. Which can mean "Jane isn't part of the university faculty, but the university sent her here"? _______ [2] These gentlemen [are, come, came] from the US Army. They are searching for a deserter. 2-1. Which can mean...Read More...

"On stage" or "on the stage"?

This question has been sent in by Lina. Dear teacher I'd like to ask about the preposition used with "stage." Would you look at the following sentences? 1) This is the same guitar that Paul used on stage. 2) This is the same guitar that Paul used on the stage. Should I put "the" before "stage" or not? Yours truly, LinaRead More...

More on capitals

This question has been sent in by Susan McKenzie : Would be most grateful if you could tell me whether it is ok to use capitals or lowercase or optional in the following sentences. 1. Since Chang-E could not get into Heaven nor return to Earth, she ended up living on the Moon. Her only company was a lively jade rabbit who kept pounding a mortar to make immortality pills. 2. Back on earth, Hou Yi would look up at the moon every night. 3. Furious that she had not returned to heaven, the...Read More...

"A/the sister of the man"

Hello, teachers! - I know [a, the] sister/son of the man who you are looking for. In this sentence, if we know how many sisters/sons the man has, it's not a problem which article we use, I think. However, if we don't know, generally which article do we tend to choose/prefer, a or the? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

"Concern" as a reflexive verb

Dear experts, Will you agree that the expressions below mean different things and can be differentiated as: concern oneself about something concern oneself with something concern oneself about something – care or worry about smth. concern oneself with something – preoccupy oneself with smth.; be involved with smth. Thank you, YuriRead More...

"Trouble" as a verb

Dear experts, I. Would you agree that the expressions below are not equivalent in meaning and can be differentiated as follows: trouble about something trouble with something trouble about something – worry about smth.; be concerned about smth.: If you trouble about every little thing that goes wrong, you will never have any peace of mind. trouble with something – be involved with smth.; preoccupy oneself with smth.: I have a good breakfast and good meal in the evening, and never trouble...Read More...

The definite article and a proper noun

Hello, teachers! Should we use the definite article in front of a train station name, or not? I think we don't use the definite article with a train station name as a proper noun, but we use "the" if we don't capitalize "station," i.e. "Boston Station" or "the Boston station." I guess "the Boston station" is a common noun, not a proper noun. Am I right? [1] If I'm right, does the same rule apply to the name of a airport and so on? Boston Airport & the Boston airport Port Vancouver &...Read More...

Carrying A/THE torch for

Dear experts, Is the expression CARRY A TORCH FOR SOMEONE used with both the definite and the indefinite article or is the use of article semantically relevant and introduces some shade of meaning: Graeme's been carrying a torch for Linda for years. This group aims to carry the torch for the millions of people who demonstrated and the thousands who died. Thank you, YuriRead More...

On being sharp

Dear experts, Is the expression SHARP AS A WET NOODLE only used ironically: sharp as a wet noodle – very dull, stupid: You can tell from the things he says that he's about as sharp as a wet noodle. Thank you, YuriRead More...

Having a laugh

Dear experts, Would you agree that the expressions below are not equivalent in meaning and can be differentiated as follows: have a laugh at someone have the laugh of someone have a laugh at someone – find smb. amusing; ridicule a person: You let them in to have a laugh at them or you let them in because you want to listen to what they're saying. have the laugh of someone – (also: have the laugh on someone) have smb. at a disadvantage; raise the laugh against a person: ˜Why, he always used...Read More...

Phraseological variants?

Dear experts, It looks like the US slang expression YELLOW BLACK (used to refer to a light-skinned Black American) is also used in the variant form HIGH YELLOW BLACK as in: If you look at American blacks themselves, they range from ˜high yellow' blacks like Farrakan, to ˜black as the ace of spade' like the Williams sisters. Which one of the variants enjoys greater currency? Thank you, YuriRead More...

Phrasal verb or a compound

Dear experts, Will it be right to assume that the collocations below have only ONE meaning in common in which they are interchangeable: overthrow something throw something over overthrow something – 1. turn smth. upside down; overturn smth.: The submarine attempted a re-surface maneuvre, failing to notice that there was a boat right above the submarine. The boat was overthrown and nine fishermen drowned. 2. (of a regime, government, etc.) remove by force: Communism to-day signifies an...Read More...

Participles

1.Cursed by narcolepsy, Anita failed at her job as a TV newscaster 2.Anita failed at her job as a TV newscaster, cursed by narcolepsy Is 'cursed by narcolepsy' in 2 a dangling modifier? If 'cursed by narcolepsy' in 2 is treated as adverbial, does it refer to 'Anita'?Read More...

"Have no quarrel with" and "not quarrel with"

This question has been sent in by Yuri: It looks (according to dictionaries) like the expressions HAVE NO QUARREL WITH and NOT QUARREL WITH are not identical in meaning and can be represented as: Have no quarrel with someone: have no cause for a dispute or an argument with a person: They looked on the Germans as half-brothers and they had no quarrel with them. Not quarrel with someone: have no argument or disagreement with a person: He was a good student, but did not make friends with his...Read More...

On the game?

Dear experts, Is it OK to use ON THE GAME of a sportsman participating in a game: He has become professional football's equivalent to Michael Jordan. As long as he is on the game, it's difficult to put limitations on the Falcons. Or should we only use IN THE GAME? Thank you, YuriRead More...

Without color

Dear experts, Do you use the expression without color to mean 'a white person'? "Of course, all this is predicated on my assumption that Alex is a "person without color." His reaction seems classically "White Guilt," not "Black Rage." Thank you, YuriRead More...

"Let somone stew"

Dear experts, Would you say that the expressions below are mere variants or do they have a subtle difference in meaning and can be represented as: leave someone stew leave someone stew in one's own juice leave someone stew – (also: let someone stew) keep a person in a state of uneasy anticipation or suspense: I knew that the group would be wondering what was going to happen next to them but I decided to leave them stew on it for a while. leave someone stew in one's own juice – (also: let...Read More...

The definite article & "top of ..."

Hello, teachers! Please help me with this. In these sentences, do we need the definite article or not? 1. Some birds are sitting on [the] top of the house. [The case birds aren't part of the house] 2. My paper is on [the] top of the papers. [The case my paper is part of the papers.] Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

The past perfect continuous tense

Hello, teachers! Can we use the past perfect continuous tense here though the subject didn't continue the actions after the bus came or we married? 1. [I had waited, I'd been waiting] for 30 minutes before the bus came. 2. [We had dated, We'd been dating] for ten years before we married. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
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