All Forum Topics

Acceptable translation?

Dear experts, Would you say that the apparently translated piece of prose below is acceptable English to be used as a quotation: Tadek shivered at a thought of a sudden storm in such conditions as they were right now, so vulnerable! He would not like to stir up a net of hornets. Or to wake snakes either. Thank you, YuriRead More...

Mindbending grammar

They either arrive in Thursday, or they arrived last night-though originally they arrived on Saturday next. OK in spoken English?Read More...

Semantic relevance of the article?: "in charge of" and "in THE charge of"

Dear experts, Would you confirm that we may only say: be in charge of something - be in control of smth.; responsible for smth.: As is the custom with elevator-boys, the lad in charge of the elevator started it before closing the door. but not: BE IN THE CHARGE OF SOMETHING. Whereas we say: be in the charge of someone - be under the care or supervision of a person: She has been in the charge of her grandmother since her mother and father died. but not: BE IN CHARGE OF SOMEONE, or are the two...Read More...

An expression: "walk the plank"

Dear experts, Could you comment on the METAPHORICAL, FIGURATIVE meaning of the expression WALK THE PLANK, whose original literal meaning relates to murder by drowning. Thank you, YuriRead More...

Punctuation and ellipsis in a complex sentence

The following sentence stumped me. Is there any ellipsis in the second clause? 1. It would not show that some people have not survived, and in good health, for twelve years after having been infected.Read More...

"For" and "to"

Hello. could you please tell me about the difference between "for" and "to" in showing direction? 1)I have to take my sister to the zoo. I go to school. I got to the station. 2)This is for you. The bus's leaving for Kyoto. I bought them for Christmas. And do they show direction? Thank you. poobearRead More...

Scope

1. Psychologists have advocated that parents discipline male children as they would daughters. 2. Psychologists have advocated that, as they would daughters, parents discipline male children. In 2, the scope of as-clause lies within that-clause, whereas in 1 it can extend to main clause. Your comments/corrections are appreciated.Read More...

Synonymous phrases: "knowing ...answers" and "knowing....tricks"...?

Dear experts, How would you differentiate between: know all the answers know all the tricks of the trade People who are successful in one field should be careful about suggesting they know all the answers in other areas. I could tell by the way he directed his helper, that he knew all the tricks of the trade. Thank you, YuriRead More...

Heading for the hills

Dear experts, Are both of the expressions below current in US English? How would you differentiate their meanings: go over the hills and far away head for the hills Winter in the Highlands is not a time to go over the hills and far away, not if you have any sense. In the smaller cities, better accommodations can be found for half the price of Prague hotels. So head for the hills as soon as you can break yourself away from Prague. Thank you, YuriRead More...

Functions of "a"

I have found the following sentence in a court procedure report. (1)The plaintiffs' expert testified that the standard deviation for this distribution was 3.83, or a less than a one in one thousand chance of having randomly occurred. (2)This distribution has a less than one in one thousand chance of occurring randomly. My question is what are the three determiners in bold? Are they all grammatically necessary? What functions do they have? appleRead More...

"Cannot," "can't," and "can not"

Dear experts, I was told sometime ago that CANNOT or CAN'T is quite different from CAN NOT. I tried to apprehend the difference, but I failed. I tried to find OFFICIAL or FORMAL explanation, such as in Cambridge dictionary or AHD, etc, I did not succeed, either. I wonder if you would give me a hand about it/them. Thank you. Best regards leftRead More...

Fronting?

Hi All: (1) What he lacked in formal art training, he more than compensated for in his energy and desire to succeed. (2) He more than compensated for what he lacked in formal art training in his energy and desire to succeed. Are the above two constructions equivalent? Is (1) an example of fronting?Read More...

Similar expressions: "in sight of someone" and "in the sight of someone"?

Dear experts, Would you confirm that the expressions below share only two meanings in common or are they fully interchangeable: in sight of someone in the sight of someone in sight of someone - 1. near enough to see a person: We came in sight of some men, with hay-packs ready for the downward leap. 2. near enough to be seen by a person: The prosecution wanted the officers to testify behind a screen in sight of lawyers and defendants but hidden from the public. in the sight of someone - 1. =...Read More...

Can "for" be omitted?

Can "for" in the following sentences be omitted? 1. I have lived here (for) 40 years. 2. Have you lived here (for) 40 years? 3. I haven't seen her (for) 40 years. Any rules for the omission? appleRead More...

Partially synonymous expressions: "fur fly" and "feathers fly"?

Dear experts, Would you say that the expressions below are not FULLY interchangeable, sharing one meaning only: make the feathers fly - (coll.) 1. start working with the utmost vigor or energy: When Mrs. Hale did her spring cleaning she made the feathers fly. 2. quarrel violently; create a disturbance: Let's keep our sense of humor and try not to make the feathers fly in all this controversy. make the fur fly - (coll.) = make the feathers fly 2: When the boss finds out that they failed to...Read More...

Direct object/indirect object

Hello, Could you please tell me about the following sentences? 1)I'll make you some coffee. I'll make some coffee for you. 2)Cathy bought her boyfriend a book as/for a birthday present. Cathy bought a book for her boyfriend as/for a birthday present. 3)I gave my dad gloves for Christmas. I gave gloves to my dad for Christmas. Do they have the same meanings? And are they interchangeable? Thank you. poobearRead More...

But / However

Hello All, Could I get an explanation for the following two sentences please. 1)I learnt French easily, but I didn't like my teacher. 2) I learnt French easily. However, I didn't like my teacher. When does one use however and when but ? Both of them are used for contrast, which one is used when? Thanks in advance.Read More...

Branching off/out

Dear experts, Would you agree that the following phraseal verbs share only ONE meaning in which they are interchangeable: branch off branch out branch off - deviate from an original direction: At the bridge a little road branches off from the highway and follows the river. branch out - 1. (of a tree) spread out into branches: The tree branched out in every direction, casting a vast shadow over the house. 2. = branch off: After a pair of bends in descent the asphalt finishes and the road...Read More...

First conditional ?

Dear All, Please take a look at the following sentence. "The Bush administration has put foreign airlines on notice that they will be denied entry to US airspace if they refused to put armed air marshals on flights." To me, the if-clause is a first conditional one, and Michael Swan gives the following example : "If we PLAY tennis, I'll win" So, shouldn't it be "..they will be denied ... if they REFUSE ..." ? Thank you for your thoughts. Regards, RickyRead More...

"Figure out" and "work out"

Hello, I know the meaning of "figure out" and "work out". But I don't think I know their feelings. Could you tell me the feelings? 1)I have some problems but I'm ok, I'll work them out. 2)I don't understand what you mean. You'll figure it out someday. Are these correct? I always thank you so much for your hard work.Read More...

"Merge A with/and B"?

Which one of the following is correct? 1. King James tried unsuccessfullyto merge the legislature of Scotland with that of England. 2. King James tried unsuccessfully to merge the legislature of Scotland and that of England.Read More...

Synonymous expressions: "face up to" and "face down"?

Dear experts, Would you say that the expressions below are synonymous in meaning and interchangeable. If not, how would you define the difference in their meaning: face someone down face up to someone The project is too important to be placed in jeopardy by the sectarian vanity of one man, and those who are too cowardly to face him down. Jack was prepared to criticize his father when he wasn't present, but was afraid to face up to him when he was . Thank you, YuriRead More...

Corpus

Lately, the Collins Cobuild seems to be down. Is there any free online AmE corpus? If not, Could somebody tell about which commercial AmE corpus with reasonable price is good?Read More...
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