All Forum Topics

Past verbs in conditionals

Dear All, Swan in his Practical English Usage writes the following : "Instead of would + infinitive, past verbs are generally used with conditional meanings in subordinate clauses." My question is this : do we change ALL the verbs into past verbs ? For example, take a look at the following sentence ( which does not follow the principle in Swan's): "We do like visiting your websites but we would appreciate it if you slow down and think about what you're doing and where you're submitting to."...Read More...

Past forms for verbs referring to future

I have these future in the past questions that I hope you could help me with: 1) I was wondering if you could tell me where he is now. 2) She promised we would talk about it when I come to your party tonight. 3) She promised me she would come to your party tonight/tomorrow. 4) At first we didn't know if we should approach you. But finally we thought we should let you know that there are other people out there who are agaist the act too. _______ For the first question, I don't know if I...Read More...

"Or" + "be"

When a subject is connected by "or," does the verb always agree with the nearer one? "He and his parents are here" is correct. But what about "You or I am here" or "I or you are here"? What is the verb? RobertaRead More...

The position of an adverbial word or phrase

Hello, teachers! Please help me with these sentences. 1. I met my old friend by accident in a bookstore. 2. I accidently met my old friend in a bookstore. 3. I met my old friend accidently in a bookstore. I think #1 & #2 are natural, and #3 is somewhat uncommon. Am I right? Then what about these? 4. I broke the vase by accident. 5. I accidently broke the vase. 6. I broke the vase accidently. I guess #5 is the most common and #6 is ok, but #4 is somewhat unnatural. Am I right? Thank you...Read More...

"Is welcome" or "is welcomed"

I have found many more instances of "is/are welcome" than "is/are welcomed" on BOE and google. Are they both correct? Are both the following sentences acceptable? What should I say is the difference? (1) Your help will be welcome. (2) Your help will be welcomed. Apple.Read More...

The position of "be there"

Hello, teachers! I think #1s are natural, aren't they? Please let me know if #2s are also correct. 1-1. How much work is there to do by next week? 1-2. How many people are there working in your office? 2-1. How much work to do by next week is there? 2-2. How many people working in your office are there? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

The Present Perfect Continuous or the Perfect Simple ?

Hello Experts, In the following which is correct, and why? 1) I didn't know that you could play the piano. Oh yes, I have had piano lessons for a year. 2) I didn't know that you could play the piano. Oh yes, I have been having piano lessons for a year. An explanation would be welcome. I think both are correct, but I was told only the second one was. In the 1st sentence we know for how long but not when, so why can't one use the simple perfect form ? ThanksRead More...

Why "nothing but" + "eat" and not "eats"?

Dear All, Please look at the following sentence : "He does nothing but eat." Q : Why is it "eat" and not "eats" ? I understand that the sentence could have been formed from 2 sentences - He does nothing. He does eat. = He does nothing but (does) eat. What about - He does nothing. He only eats. = He does nothing but (only) EATS. Thank you. RickyRead More...

"The" or possessive adjective for part of the body?

Hello, teachers! Please judge which opinion is correct! - Uncle patted me on [the, my] shoulder. As to this sentence, some people say that the definite article is correct, some say that the possessive is correct, and some say that both are correct. Would you please tell me which opinion I should follow? If both are correct, which is preferred? Thank you very much. Enjoy the spring wildflowers Best Regards.Read More...

The verb "pretend"

Hi, this is Apple, who still can't log in under my former username. Anyway, here is my question. Look at the following sentences. I know (2) is not correct while all the rest are good. I know that as-if clause can not follow "pretend". Is there a plausible explanation for this, or do we just have to learn it individually? (1) He pretends to be ill. (2) * He pretends as if he were ill. (3) He pretends that he is ill. (4) He looks to be ill. (5) He looks as if he were ill. Apple.Read More...

"Do it," "do so," "do that"

(Note: M.T. is the former "Apple." Because of technical difficulties, she was not able to access the Newsgroup, and had to join up again with a different account.) ______ Is there a rule to decide which to use in the following sentence? A: I asked him to reserve a room in advance but he didn't do (it, so, that.)Read More...

"Regret" and gerund or past gerund?

Some aged people tend to regret (having been lazy , being lazy) in their college days but it is all too late Are both of them correct? Any differences in meaning? How about the sentences below? I regret selling the farm. I regret having sold the farm. I have always regretted selling the farm. I have always regretted having sold the farm. thanks a lotRead More...

Definition for "on trial"

Dear experts, How would you define the meaning of ON TRIAL as used here: On trial we found that the machine would soar on the side of a hill having a slope of about 7 degrees. Thank you, YuriRead More...

"To have beaten" or "having beaten"?

Which of the two sentences is correct? 1. Peter is the only boxer to have beaten Mark this year. and 2. Peter is the only boxer having beaten Mark this year. My sense tells me that #2 is the correct one as, I think, it comes from: Peter is the only boxer who has beaten Mark this year. I'm not quite sure my analysis is correct. Maybe somebody can help me here.Read More...

The modifier of 'first time'

Hello, teachers! Please check these sentences. * 1. This is my first time to fish on a boat. * 2. This is the first time for me to fish on a boat. 3. This is the first time that I have fished on a boat. I heard that 'first time' cannot be followed by an infinitive, and we have to use 'the first time', not 'my first time', so #1 & #2 are incorrect. Is it right? I have searched through Google and found over 100,000 entries with "the first time that I", but I found about 35,000 entries with...Read More...

'Keep -ing' vs. 'go -ing'

Hello, teachers! Are these all correct expressions? If so, would you please tell me the difference in meaning between 'keep -ing' and 'go -ing'? And tell me if # 1 & 2 mean intentional actions or not, please. 1. My boy keeps/goes coughing. 2. I keep/go coughing. 3. He kept/went talking. 4. I kept/went talking. Enjoy twinkling stars in the dark sky. Best Regards.Read More...

Participle use?

This question has been sent in by Apple: _______ Please take a look at this sentence I found in the newspaper. "The attack appeared aimed at weakening Hamas to prevent it from claiming victory." What is the function of "aimed"? Is it a participle as a complement? (I'm not sure if this term even exists) If I'm even close, can this "aimed" be replaced with "aiming" meaning the same? AppleRead More...

The present participle which doesn't mean "on-going action"

Hello, teachers! I know 'Sentence 1' is incorrect, and it should be 1a. I think this is because 'belong' is a static verb, not an action verb. (x) 1. We live on Earth, belonging to the solar system. -> 1a. We live on Earth, which belongs to the solar system. However, sentences 2 is correct, I think. 2. We live on a planet [belonging, which belongs] to the solar system. And I think #3, 4 & 5 are incorrect, but #6 is correct. (x) 3. We have a lot of flowers [smelling] good in our...Read More...

"However" as a modifier?

Please consider the following sentence: Once the people are disillusioned by blatant mischief-making, it becomes increasingly difficult to dazzle them, however impressive the lies . 1. What is the element " however impressive the lies " called in grammatical term? 2. Does "however" in the sentence function as a conjunction? 3. Can the element in (1) be moved around in the sentence? I'm sorry that I may ask too many questions but this construction is interesting.Read More...

Capitalization for departments

When reference is being made to departments in companies, is it more correct to capitalize the noun "department" and the specific area? For example, "Many changes have taken place in the Accounting Department. On the other hand, the Sales Department hasn´t been affected at all by the latest developments". Thank you. Gisele São Paulo, BrazilRead More...

"Ones" or "the ones"?

This question has been sent in by Apple, who can not access the Newsgroup at the moment: _______ Take a look at the following sentences. (1) My brother wanted to be a teacher and I wanted be one too. (2) My brothers wanted to be teachers and we wanted to be ones too. Is (2) correct? If not, why not? The plural form "ones" always needs a determiner "the". Is this it? We just tell the students this rule?Read More...

"Was," "would have been," or "would be"?

Dear All, When I asked the following question, I received the answer in 3 different ways. Are they all correct and what is the difference ? Q: So, how old was she at the time ? A1. She was about 6. A2. She would have been about 6. A3. She would be about 6 Thank you. Regards, RickyRead More...

"So" vs. "that"

Hello, teachers! - To say so/that doesn't become you. Which is correct, so or that? If both are correct, would you please tell me the difference in meaning? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

"A reliable ethics"?

I read this sentence in this morning's New York Times. Is "a reliable ethics" correct? "You don't have to be clinically depressed or burdened by childhood guilt to want help with the timeless questions of the human condition -- the persistence of suffering and the inevitability of death, the need for a reliable ethics." HowardRead More...

"Penguin's" or "penguins' "

What do they mean? And which is correct? 1.The penguin's natural habitat is in polar regions. 2. The penguins' natural habitat is in the polar regions. 3. Penguin's natural habitat is in the polar regions. 4. Penguins' natural habitat is in the polar regions. thanks a lotRead More...
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