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Antecedents

A few questions regarding antecedents: 1) When a relative pronoun immediately follows a comma, is the antecedent always the nearest preceding noun [on the other side of the comma] provided that the relative pronoun does not refer to an action. For example: The frisbee and the flying saucer, which had white marking on it, are easily confused. e.g. of prounoun referring to an action: Eating raw vegetables, which I rarely do, is often recommended but rarely practiced 2) How about appositives:...Read More...
Once again, very helpful. Here's some real questions taken from a test writer: 97. Iguanas have been an important food source in Latin America since prehistoric times, and they are still prized as game animals by the campesinos.... The pronoun "they" refers to "iguanas," not to the nearest plural noun "times." 103. Students in the metropolitan school district are so lacking in math skills that it will be difficult to absorb them into a city economy.... --> The pronoun "them" refers to...Read More...

Vocabulary for maritime commerce

I would be very grateful if you could help me with this question. Please correct the following sentences : 1- The ship has transited Canal ( with - under ) Ex-name . 2- The ship has transited Canal ( with - under ) name " ....." . 3- The ship has transited Canal ( on - under - for - with ) our agency . ( NB : Here I want to say that we were the agent of the ship during her transit Canal . So, what is the correct preposition here ? ) ------------------------------------------------ Also , I...Read More...
For this specialized vocabulary, I consulted a representative of a commercial vessel operating company, and a lawyer. I asked if there are differences in the meanings of the prepositions used before "the name of" in referring to a ship or its agent. In, with, for, by , and of probably would not be used in the context. Under might be used in some circumstances. Here are some suggestions. Let's say that the ship is named "Barbara," and the company is "ABC Transport." 1. "¢ The ship Barbara has...Read More...

prick up one's ears

Dear experts, Do you think the expression 'pick up one's ears' although represented by numerous examples, is merely a corruption of 'prick up one's ears' and is not part of the standard vocabulary? Thank you, YuriRead More...
The original expression is "prick up one's ears." Some speakers say "pick up one's ears," but that's a later version and not so prevalent as "prick up one's ears." I wouldn't call it a "corruption," since the meanings are so similar. MarilynRead More...

possessive case

The following appears archaic usage. I have heard it only in old movies. It is still correct to use this possessive case? 1.- He didn't mind my listening. 2.- She agreed my driving her car. 3.- He couldn't assent to my going along. Thank you very much for any explanation.Read More...
All the sentences are correct, and natural in modern English. The construction possessive + gerund (my listening) is, however, more formal than the construction object pronoun + gerund (me listening). Google examples: "”So, I hope you do not mind my listening ". To which Shatalov said:. "Not at all". So, this is the story of how I met these luminaries in the history of space ... www.svengrahn.pp.se/spaceper.htm "”"I wonder if you would mind my listening to the record 'Roses of Picardy' that...Read More...

there is or it is

I don't know if these clauses are correct or correct but not commonly used. 1.- Try to go to the bank when there is still time. 2.- He tried to go to the bank when there was still time. 3.- Try to go to the bank when it is still time. 4.- He tried to go to the bank when it was still time. Thank you for any correction.Read More...
1.- Try to go to the bank when there is still time. OK "Time" here is a noncount noun. 2.- He tried to go to the bank when there was still time. OK 3.- Try to go to the bank when it is still time. Not OK. "It's time" is a different expression, an idiom meaning that the time (the hour) has arrived to do something, e.g. "”It's time to get the windows washed for spring "”I thought it was time to confront him about his marks in school 4.- He tried to go to the bank when it was still time. Not...Read More...

Rules for forming compound expressions

Would you please be so kind and help me with these questions : 1) which of the following expressions is correct to indicate the possessive case : a) Hospital account OR hospital's account ? b) Chemist account OR chemist's account ? c) Departments accounts OR departments' accounts ? 2) Which of the following expressions is correct : a) Survey fees OR survey fee ? b) Translation fees OR translation fee ? c) Night attendance fees OR night attendance fee ? 3) Also , would you please tell me what...Read More...
In Section 1) of your question, comments on the different kinds of compounds that are possible have been posted previously under other topics, currently named: "noun modifiers ('disbursement' + 'account')" and "door of the room" and "plural possessives." However, these answers are not entirely satisfactory, I realize, as there is no black-and-white, one correct phrase for these expressions. Let me try to give some more examples: "¢ The items were charged to the doctor's hospital account ,...Read More...

'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...
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