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'What do you want?'

I would like to know when to use the following: What do you want? What is it that you want? Do they have the same meaning? In what situations should I use each of them?Read More...
They mean the same thing but they do not carry the same degree of politeness. "What do you want?" is very direct and quite abrupt. It would be appropriate for a close family member or close friend, but it would not be appropriate for someone you don't know well. Here's a typical setting for this question: Emily: What are we having for dinner tonight? Mother: I haven't decided yet. What do you want? Emily: I'd just as soon have pizza again, as usual. "What is it that you want?" is a bit more...Read More...

also vs. too

Which of the following is/are both grammatically correct and natural? Mary is their and our English teacher. Mary is their English teacher and ours, too. Mary is their English teacher and also ours. Mary is their English teacher and ours is Mary, too. Mary is their English teacher and ours is also she. Many thanks. Best regards.Read More...
Dear Rachel, Thank you so much for your quick and detailed reply. Best wishes. BrianRead More...

Compound noun?

This question has been sent in by Rob. A student asked if the wording stock car driver was an open compound noun or was stock car an adjective modifying the noun driver? I tried to look it up: stock car = a noun. Stock-car racing = a noun. (The only two Web dictionary sources I could find) So, is it safe to assume the correct answer would be stock-car driver = a compound noun versus the word stock-car functioning as an adjective modifying the noun driver? How quickly a student (or students)...Read More...
"Stock car" is a compound noun consisting of the noun "car" and the noun "stock," the latter of which functions as a premodifier of "car." "Stock" a noun functioning as an adjective ; it's not an adjective per se, but it's doing the work of an adjective. With "stock-car* driver," you have the noun "driver" modified in turn by the compound noun "stock car," which functions as an adjective. Marilyn *This compound noun as a modifier can have a hyphen or not; most writers do not use a hyphen.Read More...

Noun modifiers ('disbursement' + 'account')

Would you please help me with these questions ?: 1 - Is the word ( disbursement ) Countable or uncountable ? Can it be put in plural ? Can we say ( disbursements ) ? 2 - Please tell me which of the following expressions is correct : a) disbursement account b) disbursement's account c) disbursements account d) disbursements' account 3- If an invoice consists of three parts , the first part of them is named ( disbursement account ) but this part includes different items and amounts , What...Read More...
Your question about "disbursement(s) account" has already been answered in previous postings, including a view of a previous posting on nouns as adjectives which appears in the Grammar Exchange Archives. In summary: "Disbursement account" may be used to refer to one disbursement or to several. "Disbursements account" may refer to one disbursement, but it probably includes at least the expectation of more than one disbursement. "Department account" may be used to refer to one department or to...Read More...

aim, goal, and objective

peteryoung
I wonder why there're so many results for the search string "aims and goals". I mean, do people really have this distinction in mind between aims and goals when they say something like that? My further search turns up only one page where the author makes a point of distinguishing between aims and goals, and even 'objectives'. The address is: http://www.sasked.gov.sk.ca/docs/info_pro03/Aim_Goals_Foundational.html But when I've read it through I still cannot tell their differences. It seems...Read More...
It's true that "aim" and "goal" and "objective" can usually be used interchangeably. I would guess that most people don't make distinctions among them. A: I want to get in to a good college. B: Yes, of course. What is your aim/ goal/ objective in life? Will the college help you achieve it? A: You're sure working hard these days! How come? B: My goal / aim / objective is to become a partner in this firm by the end of next year. However, in some fields, education for one, "goals" are seen as...Read More...

Like/such as/as/for instance

This query was posted by azz but has disappeared from the board. It is being reposted. Marilyn Posted January 26, 2006 03:04 PM a. Carnivores, like the tiger and the lion, are animals that eat meat. b. Carnivores, as the tiger and the lion, are animals that eat meat. c. Carnivores, such as the tiger and the lion, are animals that eat meat. d. Carnivores, for instance the tiger and the lion, are animals that eat meat. Are all these sentences grammatical?Read More...
This is a good question. I've found only one source on this topic, but that source is very enlightening. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (1994), under " like, such as ," states: "The few commentators who mention like and such as express rather diverse opinions. Little, Brown 1980 and 1986 and sellers 1985 make a distinction between the two, reserving such as for examples and like for resemblances. [...] Winners and sinners , 27 Apr. 1987, on the other hand, does not want such...Read More...

giving someone a shake

Dear experts, Do you think the expressions GIVE SOMEONE A SHAKE and GIVE SOMEONE THE SHAKE are not interchangeable and can be represented as follows: give someone a shake - (coll.) 1. shake a sleeper to rouse him: She thought he might fall asleep standing there and grabbed his arm to give him a shake. 2. rouse a person to action: Danny was not playing as well as he is now at the start of the season. We needed some way to give him a shake and he has responded really well. 3. make smb. suffer...Read More...
You're right. The expressions are not interchangeable. The meanings you have for "give someone a shake" are correct. Google examples: The man gave him a shake, with a few rough whispered words, and then the two dropped together down into the garden. I was still standing balanced with one ... www.classic-literature.co.uk/.../ the-great-shadow-and-other-napoleonic-tales/ebook-page-04.asp A shake doesn't have to be hostile; it can be an affectionate gesture: "”After I hugged/kissed him and told...Read More...

'Door of the room' or 'the room's door' or 'the room door'?

Would you please help me with this question ? Which of the following expression is correct and which of them is wrong ? . and please tell me why ? 1) the room door . 2) the room's door . 3) the door of the room ---------------------------------------------------------------- N.B : I feel that the first one would be correct if we considered ( the room ) as the adjective of ( the door ) . Also , the third expression would be correct too . Here we used ( of ) to indicate the possessive case...Read More...
1) I've discovered something I didn't know: "room door" is used. A google search turns up a lot of examples, many of which concern rooms in places such as hospitals, hotels, or dormitories. In addition, however, there are some examples of "room door" that seem to be about rooms in a dwelling. Google examples: "”23) Keep the room door closed and the patient in the room. When a private room is not available, place the patient in a room with a patient who has active ...Read More...

'different' + ??

I've always thought that the following phrases were correct: "similar to" "different from" "[adjective]+er than" but I hear the phrases "different than" and "different to" used so often, I'm wondering whether they're correct too. I would be very grateful if you would clarify things for me.Read More...
This usage note from the American Heritage Dictionary should clarify "different from," "different to," and "different than": Different from and different than are both common in British and American English. The construction different to is chiefly British. Since the 18th century, language critics have singled out different than as incorrect, though it is well attested in the works of reputable writers. According to traditional guidelines, from is used when the comparison is between two...Read More...

'Welcome' with -ing form?

Please help me with these questions : - Jill was welcoming the guests at the door . Plase tell me whether it is always correct to put the verb ( welcome ) into the continuous ?. I think it is not correct because it is not an activity verb . Am I right ? Also , what about this sentence : - I'm looking forward to welcoming you . I think ( welcoming ) here is wrong too for the same reason . Also , because ( welcome ) as a noun is a continuous instinct inside people . So, we shouldn't put the...Read More...
As I said in my answer, in the sentence "I'm looking forward to welcoming you," " the gerund "welcoming" ... is the name of an action "”the action of greeting someone as a host would do." (italics added) The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English gives this definition for "welcome": 1) to say hello in a friendly way to someone who has just arrived; greet: I must be there to welcome my guests. They welcomed us warmly. His family welcomed me with open arms (=in a very friendly way)...Read More...

shaken/shook up

Dear experts, Would you agree with the following difference in meaning of the expressions BE SHAKEN UP BE SHOOK UP be shaken up - be bothered or disturbed: I was a little shaken up after I heard about the fire at our new apartment building. be shook up - be upset or worried: He was really shook up after the accident and has not been back to work since. Thank you, YuriRead More...
"Shook up" is very informal for "shaken up." While "shook up" is used frequently, it is not standard English. Remember this Elvis Presley song? A well I bless my soul What's wrong with me? I'm itching like a man on a fuzzy tree My friends say I'm actin' wild as a bug I'm in love I'm all shook up Mm mm oh, oh, yeah, yeah! My hands are shaky and my knees are weak I can't seem to stand on my own two feet Who do you thank when you have such luck? I'm in love I'm all shook up Mm mm oh, oh, yeah,...Read More...

Possessive apostrophe or not?

I want to ask about this expression : - Departments' accounts . a) Should we use the possessive case ( ' ) in this expression ? Or we can say or write it without using the possessive case ? b) Which of the above mentioned cases is better ? To use the possessive case or without it ? please tell me why ? c) In case using the possessive case , does the word ( departments ') work as an adjective to ( accounts ) ? If not , What would it be ? Is It only a noun , not adjective ? d) If ( departments...Read More...
I might say: Secretary: Who is this going to be charged to? Me: You can charge it to my department's account[stress on "account"]. Secretary: And what's that number, please? Secretary: Who is this going to be charged to? Me: My department account.[stress on "department"]. Its # 654321, the English department. _____ But even these phrases are not fixed.Read More...

Plural possessives

This question was sent in by Ahmed. Please advise me which of the following expressions is correct ? 1) a) Owners addresses . b) Owners' addresses . 2) a) Owners codes . b) Owners' codes. c) Owners code . d) Owners' code . Please put the following into youronsideration : 1) ( Owners ) is plural , not singular . ( many owners ) 2) ( code ) is a number to be put to each owner . So, each owner has a code number to distinguish it from the others . I hope this clarification will help you to...Read More...
I -- as well as every native speaker I know _- always say "drivers license." However, you can't tell from the pronunciation if there is an apostrophe in the phrase or not. I write the phrase as "driver's license," but not without questioning it whenever I do, knowing that it is written in so many ways. _______ As for "owners code" (or, "owner's code" or "owners' code" or "owner code"), I really don't know, never having had opportunity to use this particular expression. If my condominium...Read More...

in 2 hours / in 2 hours' time

I am often confused by expressions such as: in two hours in two hours' time What's the difference between them?Read More...
"In two hours" and "in two hours' time" mean the same thing. The first – "in (#) (unit of time)" is much more prevalent. The New York Times – which you can search with discrete punctuation, and whose punctuation is almost always correct – showed 1,915 instances of this construction, like this example: "¢ whose own elections in two months could be heavily influenced by ... January 27, 2006 – The Times showed only 12 instances of "in two months' time," like this example: "¢ Organizing...Read More...

Form of modifiers

Please help me with this question : * Which of the following expressions is correct to be put in an invoice in front of an amount : a) port and light dues . b) ports and lights dues . c) ports and light dues . please tell me why as for each expression whether it is correct or wrong . Thank you very much for your kind help . Best regards . AhmedRead More...
Dear Rachel , Many thanks for your reply but I need a short , clear and enough answer without refering to any other site . If it's not possible to tell me as for the grammatical side ,please let me know your personal opinion as a native speaker . If you were me , what would you say ?and why ? Waiting for your kind reply to my question again. Thank you very much . AhmedRead More...

'until recently'

peteryoung
Is there a grammatical explanation for why 'until recently' is almost always followed by the present perfect tense? Until recently, it 's been next to impossible to find a Disneyland hotel that's inexpensive, clean and well-run. That chang ed when the Lemon Tree Hotel opened this summer. Since the present perfect tense is said to suggest the continuity of an action or state up to the present, I wonder why it also applies in this context where the action or state have clearly already ceased...Read More...
Both forms are fine. It depends on how the speaker views the degree of recency. "Recently" may mean to the speaker "at a time close to the moment of speaking"; "at some time in the past"; or at various stages in between. In other words, "recently" is relative. In your added example passage, the use of "has been frustrating" indicated a connection up to and including the moment of speaking; the writer implies "and still is." The present perfect connects the state or action to the present,...Read More...

'have something look, looked, looking or to look'

piki
Q : she wants to have the house ( ) clean and tidy. (1)look (2)looked (3)looking (4) to look Answer : (1) Why 1 ?Read More...
Two of the choices are correct: (1) "look" and (3) "looking". The other two choices are not correct. This sense of "have" is that of "experiencing," not "possessing." There may also be an implication that the grammatical subject is/was indirectly responsible for the resulting state, but the construction isn't a direct causative, like "I had the plumber replace the kitchen faucet." The two complement forms have slightly different aspects. The complement with the base form of the verb, "look,"...Read More...

I'm sorry to be late./I'm sorry for being late.

Dear experts, A book says that "I'm sorry to be late/I'm sorry for being late" is not used among native English speakers. "I'm sorry I'm late" is right word when you want to apologize for late arrival. "I'm sorry for being late" appears in the google search results, and seems used among English speaking people. What should I think? Thank you in advance.Read More...
It may be that "I'm sorry I'm late" is a sentence more frequently spoken than "I'm sorry to be late" or "I'm sorry for being late." I assure you, however, that it is absolutely, perfectly correct to say, instead, "I'm sorry to be late" or "I'm sorry for being late." Other variations could be, "Sorry to be late," "Sorry I'm late," or "Sorry for being late." RachelRead More...

in the wrong box

Dear experts, I seem to have been confused about the meaning of the expressions: PUT SOMEONE IN THE WRONG GET SOMEONE IN THE WRONG GET SOMEONE IN WRONG People want to think that they're right, and if you tell them they're wrong, or put them in the wrong, they won't like it. Sometimes his arguements / defenses that I listed before work, because if you argue enough, eventually you get someone in the wrong. get someone in wrong – (with) cause a person to fall into disfavor with smb.: You'll get...Read More...
The expression itself , is "in the wrong," for the first two items. The first sentence with "put" is OK. You could also say, "show them in the wrong light," or "show them to be wrong," or "put them in the wrong light," or "make them look/appear wrong.' I don't think the second sentence works. I think what you mean to say is, "....eventually you show someone to be wrong," or possibly "can put someone in the wrong." The third sentence is fine -- "get someone in wrong." I myself am curious...Read More...

Compound adjectives

How are you ?. I hope you are very well . I would like to thank you very much for your kind help . You really helped me a lot by answering my questions . I have another question and I hope you will help me as usual . 1- When do we usually use the compound adjectives ?. Or when we can use it ? 2- Are there certain adjectives which can be used as compound adjectives ? 3- If yes , please tell me what are these adjectives ? Also , please give me examples for using them . Than you very much and...Read More...
A compound adjective is a noun modifier that consists of two and sometimes three words. They are often, but not always, connected with a hyphen, and hyphen usage differs somewhat between British and American English. Compound adjectives come in various combinations*, for example 1. Verb and object: fact-finding (committees); self-justifying (explanations) 2. Verb and adverbial or adjective: custom-built (cabinets); airborne (troops); suntanned (swimmers); sweet-smelling (laundry) 3.Read More...

Can these verbs be passive?

The following question has been sent in by Hamada : Is it possible to change the following sentences into Passive?. If yes , please change them but if no, please tell me why it's not possible ? a) He had a big house . b) I go to school . c) She returned home . d) They arrived at the airport .Read More...
None of the verbs in the sentences can be passivized. "He had a big house" can't be changed to the passive. As we wrote in the answer to the post "Passive of 'have'," this verb doesn't passivize, even though it's transitive. The rest of the verbs in the group are in transitive"”they don't take objects"”and therefore they can't be made passive." Go," "return [home]," or "arrive" are intransitive. MarilynRead More...

Predicate Nominative Question

We have an SAT grammar item here that I'd like to have clarified. The sentence is: The common cold is one of our most indiscriminate diseases; it makes no distinction between you and me, millionaires and paupers, or athletes and couch potatoes. The correct answer here says that the error lies with "it makes." However, it appears that "it" clearly refers back to "the common cold" and should not have to be changed. Is there any grammar rule that renders "it makes" unacceptable in this...Read More...
My immediate reaction is "What were they thinking?" "It" is obviously not an error. The antecedent of "it" is clearly "the common cold," which is the singular "the" generic, referring to a type of illness. The second clause isn't about "indiscriminate diseases" it's about "the common cold." Google examples of the same kind of thing: "” The common cold is the most prevalent of all communicable diseases. It is referred to as an upper respiratory infection. There are more than 100 different ...Read More...

The more...the more

This question was sent in by Ahmed (Hamada_25) 2) Please tell me when do we use the expression : ( The .....The ....) . For examples : a) The more money you have , the more you want . b) The earlier we get up , the sooner we arrive . Also , Is there in rule for using this expression ? Thank you very much for your help . AhmedRead More...
We use this kind of expression when we want to show a parallel between two situations or actions. Quirk et al.* call the construction a "proportional clause." They state: "They [Proportional clauses] express a proportionality or equivalence of tendency or degree between two situations." (p.1111) A similar construction is "as...[so]." The same writers provide this example: "”As he grew disheartened, [so] his work deteriorated (p. 1111) This idea could be paraphrased as "”The more disheartened...Read More...

Verb forms

Dear Marilyn, How are you ?. I hope you are very well . Would you please help me with these questions ?: VERB FORMS 1. Please be quiet . I ( try ) to concentrate . 2. If you had been careful this ( never might - might never happened ). 3. The ship ( sailed - was sailed - was sailing ) for 8 hours yesterday . Thank you very much for your kind help . Best regards . AhmedRead More...
The verb might be "was sailing," but you need context. Your sentences have no context, which is, of course, very important to know. The past progressive describes an activity that was in progress at the time of another action. It does not measure the amount of time (for 8 hours). Michael Swan* has clear descriptions of when to use the past progressive tense. Click on the attachment at the bottom of the page to see my rendering of this. _______ The sentence alone – "The ship was sailing for 8...Read More...

of

Which are correct: 1-The handicapped of the students didn't go on the trip. 2-The handicapped ones of the students didn't go on the trip. 3-The cheaters of the students were punished. 4-Only the cheaters of students do that kind of thing. (Only the cheaters among students...Only those students who are cheaters...)Read More...
None of the sentences implies "among." "The heroes of the soldiers" means "the individuals whom the soldiers consider to be heroes." In order to express the idea of members of a group being heroes, you have to use a singular collective noun as the object of the preposition "of": The heroes of the platoon/brigade/company/army might do that But this construction has the other meaning as well. It could also mean "the people whom the platoon/brigade/company/army consider heroes." In contrast,...Read More...
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