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when

Is this sentence correct: 1-Wait here until the time at which your father has told you to go back. (Since the time to go back has already been determined one can't use: "Wait here until your father tells you to go back." because he is not going to tell you, he already has.) Is there any simpler way to express the idea? Will this one do: 2-Wait here until when your father has told you to go back.Read More...
Navi, "[Until] when" alone, to refer to a predetermined point of time in the future, is very rarely used. This is about all I've found on Google: "”I say , at least stay until when we were supposed to pull out , in August. Last I heard they executed one of the 2 bulgarian hostages anyway. ... timawa.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19&highlight=&sid=552a2627e3e472377c5c41fcb66ba0b1 "”from well before it is definitely decided that regulation will be used until when it is repealed or amended...Read More...

'How' or 'what' in an exclamatory sentence.

When (1) is changed into an exclamatory sentence, is (2) technically correct? It's not "how little time...." is it? (1)She spends very little time on shopping. (2)What little time she spends on shopping! AppleRead More...
Yes, the sentence with "how much time" is correct. Before "much," only "how" is possible. You could also say: "¢ What a lot of time he spends on fishing! In fact, this would be much more usual that "How much time...." "How" used in exclamatory sentences can be, according to Michael Swan*, "...often felt to be a little formal or old fashioned." That's probably why your sentence, correct though it is, seems awkward to you. Rachel _______ *Practical English Usage, Second Edition, by Michael...Read More...

To say as much

Dear experts, How would you define the meaning of AS MUCH in the phrase SAY AS MUCH: That a desalination plant will be built is not in doubt: the Government has said as much. Thank you, YuriRead More...
Dear Rachel, I agree with you. I tried to provide an explanation that blended the specific (Yuri's example) and the idiom in general, but it looks like it didn't work. The "said as much" in Yuri's sentence probably does mean "virtually/almost said so/that." When combined with "said," I don't think that the idiom ever means that someone literally said exactly the same words; instead, I think that it usually means someone said something that had, or implied, virtually the same meaning"”not the...Read More...

Indefinite Articles "a" vs. "an"

I have a question about exceptions to indefinite articles. As many of you may have seen, historians constantly insist on using the article "an" in conjunction with historian. For example, "Are you an historian?" . This really gets on my nerves, as it goes against a fairly basic rule of grammar. Also, most historians insist that this is the correct usage. I would like to know if there are any establish exceptions to the use of "a" and "an" would make their case correct. As far as I know, any...Read More...
You are correct about the fact that there are definite rules for the use of "a" and "an" in English grammar. You are also correct in noticing that "historian" does not seem to have a consistent pairing with "a" or "an." "Historian" is a special word, as you have noticed. It has special treatment in the American Heritage Dictionary* at this usage note under the word "a": "USAGE NOTE In writing, the form a is used before a word beginning with a consonant sound, regardless of its spelling ( a...Read More...

adjective clauses - sentence focus

I have been teaching non-identifying adjective clauses, and the fact that the part you choose for the main sentence should be the part you wish the reader to focus on. In some simple cases, it doesn't matter which of 2 sentences you choose, such as : Chandler is Rachel's friend. He is an accountant. Combined: Chandler, who is Rachel's friend, is an accountant. Combined: Chandler, who is an accountant, is Rachel's friend. However, there are some sentences where I don't think certain...Read More...
I wish there were a written source that describes all the different logical relations that are possible between a nonrestrictive relative clause and the main clause. Quirk et al.* discuss some of the relationships here and there but they don't do so systematically. My list is incomplete, but it may help. I've identified six possible relations that the nonrestrictive clause may have with the main clause, and there may be more. MEDIAL POSITION 1, Background information; no logical relation:...Read More...

as = which is?

peteryoung
Economists, historians and political scientists have posed several theories for the cause, or causes, of the Great Depression. ... Theories from mainstream capitalist economics focus on the relationship between production, consumption and credit, as embodied in macro-economics and on personal incentives and purchasing decisions as embodied in micro-economics. I've checked through about seven dictionaries. Still I cannot nail down the exact meaning of 'as' here. Can I replace it with 'which...Read More...
If I may put in my two cents' worth, I think I see a slightly different reading for "as embodied" in the sentence. I think that "as" here means " in the form in which they are embodied (whatever form that is)." "As" doesn't mean "in the same way ," but rather "in the form in which... (whatever that form consists of)." With the paraphrase, the sentence would read thus: "”Theories from mainstream capitalist economics focus on the relationship between production, consumption and credit, in the...Read More...

place

-"What am I holding in my hand?" 1-Where you are standing, I can't see anything. It is too dark. 2-I can't see anything where you are standing. It is too dark. Are 1 and 2 correct as responses to the first sentence?Read More...
The second sentence is more natural and is correct. "Where you are standing" is an adverb clause of place, which normally comes after the direct object in a sentence. "Anything" is the direct object of "can't see" in this sentence. The first sentence might also be used if the speaker wants to emphasize the place. _________ Examples of adverb clauses introduced by where, from Google: "¢ .com - Transcripts COLLINS: Jamie, you may not know the answer to this, but I'm wondering if by chance you...Read More...

Without again

Thank you for your answer to my question posted on Nov 2. I understood your explanation well but the question now is: Will it make difference if we said the sentence in the following way: "One of the biggest problems in Colombia is that while we're trying to work on peace, we need to work on the issue of water. Without water there's no life, and without life, there's no peace. " I understand these sentences as facts. "Without water, there's no life." Can't this be a fact? I got these...Read More...
Kafkaesque, you have done a great deal of research and has come up with a very informative answer. Context makes all the difference. Context is essential if we are to understand fully what a sentence means. That's why so many sentences are hard to process when they're presented alone. We don't communicate, after all, in disjointed, separate sentences. Each sentence is linked to what has come before, and to the overall message. Gamal's sentence in context has the present tense "isn't," not...Read More...

modals - degrees of certainty

Some books indicate that we should use "must not," but not "mustn't" when expressing certainty e.g. She must not be home - NOT She mustn't be home. I am unable to find a place in the Azar blue book that addresses that issue. Please helpRead More...
My guess is that Betty Azar did NOT advise against "mustn't" for a negative expression of strong certainty because it is sometimes used. Here are some examples from many, many that appear on Google: "¢ Transcripts - Tuesday, February 10, 1998 People have often told me that I mustn't have any money problems because my husband must earn at least a $100000 a year. If he earned $100000 a year, ... http://www.forces.gc.ca/hr/scondva/engraph/100298_e.asp "¢ SoapZone: Chapter 5 ... Chapter 5 "She's...Read More...

obliged/obligated

Hi there, I'm quite confused with the difference between obliged and obligated if there is any. Could you help me? Thanks ElianeRead More...
Dear Eliane, "The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition" ( http://www.bartleby.com/61/43/F0244300.html ) mentions this distinction within a list of synonyms for the word "force": "Oblige" implies the operation of authority, necessity, or moral or ethical considerations: "Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do" (Mark Twain). "Obligate" applies when compliance is enforced by a legal contract or by the dictates of one's conscience or sense of propriety:...Read More...

As when

Is there a difference between the meanings of these two sentences: 1-He is playing the guitar as when he was 20 years old. 2-He is playing the guitar, as when he was 20 years old.Read More...
The sentences first need correcting. If we correct the sentences we can see what they mean. Both sentences need another subordinate clause beginning with "as""”not a relative clause but an adverb clause. Sentence 1, with no comma, should be "”He is playing the guitar as he did when he was 20 years old Sentence 1 means "He is playing the guitar in the same manner as he played it when he was 20 years old." Sentence 2 should be "”He is playing the guitar, as he did when he was 20 years old...Read More...

Where is the error?

dear i have this sentence but I don't know where it is wrong .In the nineteeth century, North American locomotives ran on hardwood fuel, which was inexpensive and plentiful in the time. please tell me the mistake in this sentence thank youRead More...
The error is in the prepositional phrase at the end of the sentence. "In" is not correct; the phrase should be "at the time." The sentence should read "”In the nineteenth century, North American locomotives ran on hardwood fuel, which was inexpensive and plentiful AT the time MarilynRead More...

having experience

Dear experts, Thanks for the previous. Would you agree with the following discrimination between EXPERIENCE IN SOMETHING and EXPERIENCE OF SOMETHING: "experience in something" is to have knowledge or skill of a particular job or activity as a result of having done the work or the activity many times in the past: The president has had no experience in traveling abroad, and should send a qualified representative to handle the delicate cultural issues. "experience of something" refers to...Read More...
I was going to answer your question with a simple "Yes." The distinction you make is excellent. However, I did consult the references I usually start with, and found a couple of surprises. The LDOCE* has this at its first entry for "experience": "The knowledge or skill that you gain from doing a job or an activity, or the process of doing this + of / in / with You've got a lot of experience of lecturing....He had no previous experience of managing a farm ..." In both these example sentences,...Read More...

Nevertheless

Hi all - came across this sentence and thought it awkward. Is it? The store is located in a high crime area. Nevertheless, it has only been robbed once.Read More...
Thanks to Kafkaesque for a wonderfully comprehensive response about "nevertheless." There's one little thing in that sentence that might stick in the craw of a grammar stickler: it has only been robbed... Since "only" is an adverb modifying "once," it should, strictly, appear right in front of "once": The store is located in a high crime area. Nevertheless, it has been robbed only once . _______ The placement of "only" in a position to modify the verb when it really modifies something else...Read More...

ungluded?

A student of mine asked me the meaning of " ungluded ". At first I thought the word was misspelled; however, it appears on many different sites at Google, but I can't find the definition in any dictionary or even on the internet. Could anybody help me? Thanks ElianeRead More...
Thank you all ElianeRead More...

He pretended to be....ME or I?

This question was sent in by Charley-Barley. In the sentence, "He pretended to be me" sounds better than "pretended to be "I." Is "me" the object of the infinitive "to be"? and therefore the accusative case is correct? Charley-Barley --Read More...
Kafkaesque is correct about "me." "He pretended to be me" is the correct form, although it appears to violate a grammatical rule. The traditional rule requires the subjective form of a personal pronoun after a linking verb like BE, which takes a subject complement (not a direct object). In practice, however, it is considered correct and idiomatic to use the objective form of the personal pronoun after a linking verb. For example "”Who's the guy coming toward us from the pool? Is it Gregory?Read More...

Without

Is the following sentence right or not: There will be no life without water. Is it better or more correct to say it as follows: There would be no life without water. If both are correct, what's the difference? Thanks beforehand.Read More...
Thanks to kafkaesque for an incisive and lively answer. The construction with "will" is often used to express the necessity of one thing as a necessary precondition for the realization of another thing. Google examples: "”There will be no lasting peace without justice," said Robertson about the challenges that need to be faced in the future. The SFOR structure for the future ... http://www.nato.int/sfor/historic-moments/ nacvisit/t991118a.htm "”to judgment on the approximately 100000...Read More...

as good

Which is correct: 1-We don't make as good cars as you do. 2-We don't make cars as good as you do. 3-We are as good teachers as you are. 4-We are teachers as good as you are.Read More...
Sentences 1 is marginal at best. There is usually no plural form to parallel the version with a singular direct object, which is "”We don't make as good a car as you do This construction consists of as [adj.] a [noun] as (X) [DO] I've found only one example on Google of this construction with "make" and a plural direct object: "”"We've learned from experience as leaders that we don't make as good decisions as our frontline staff does when it comes to things they need to take care of ...Read More...

putting things right

Dear native speakers, Do we discriminate between DO RIGHT BY SOMEONE and DO SOMEONE RIGHT as in: It's ultimately what keeps Lionel going in his efforts to solve the murder – the wish to do right by someone who did him right, and who he misses deeply. And what about SET (PUT) SOMEONE TO RIGHTS? Thank you, YuriRead More...
"Do right by" means "treat [someone] fairly." Google example: "”I oppose this bill because it does not do right by our disabled veterans; it does not do right by the hard-working, faithful, and patriotic civilian ... http://www.house.gov/mcgovern/floor110703defauth04.htm "Do [someone] right" has two meanings, one that is archaic: "”LORD ROSS, It stands your grace upon to do him right. ... And laboured all I could to do him right;. But in this kind to come, in braving arms,, 145 ...Read More...

each other & one another

What's the difference between each other and one another? In the book called "A Practical English Grammar" by A.J.Thomson & A.V.Martinet I found the following answer: Tom and Ann Looked at each other. = Tom looked at Ann and Ann looked at Tom. Both one another and each other can be used of two or more, but each other is frequently preferred when there are more than two. An old hand teacher told me the opposite of this. In other words, one another is preferred when there are more than...Read More...
There are more postings about "one another/each other" on this Newsgroup. A more comprehensive one was posted on November 25, 2004. Here it is: Q: Which of the following sentences is correct / more correct? Danny and Ricky quarrelled with one another. Danny and Ricky quarrelled with each other. Thank you. Aneeth Prabhakar. A Both are correct. In Practical English Usage, Michael Swan* states: "No difference. In modern English, most people normally use each other and one another in the same...Read More...

Let's & Let us

Can we use "Let us" for suggestion. In other words, can we use it instead of "Let's" and give the same meaning.Read More...
Yes, you can use "let us" for suggestions. It has the same meaning, but definitely a different tone. "Let us" is much more formal, and is often used in religious ceremonies or political speeches, or to establish a very formal tone. Here are some examples from the first page of Google: "¢ Come let us Reason Together Come let us Reason seeks to demonstrate Christianity as a logical, defensible faith. Here we engage in discussion, answer skeptics and think clearly about ...Read More...

Do boxing

A friend told me that we use "do" with sports that a violent like "boxing, judo, karate, wrestling...etc" Is this correct? Thank you for your help.Read More...
Yes, you can use "do" with boxing, judo, karate, wrestling, etc. Some of those activities also exist in verb form. For example: He boxes. He's been boxing all his life. He wrestles. He's been wrestling all his life. "Judo" and "karate" don't have verb forms. You would have to consult a dictionary for each activity to be certain that using a verb form is possible. RachelRead More...

Capital letter for 'interstate'?

Thank you for researching Internet/internet and email/ e-mail. I have one more capitalization question: Interstate. Is it "Interstate" or "interstate"?Read More...
As an adjective, describing a highway system in the United States, do not capitalize the "I" in "interstate," according to this entry from the American Heritage*" "in"¢ter"¢state adj. Involving, existing between, or connecting two or more states." As well, do not capitalize the "I" when "interstate is a noun referring to a generic system or any unnamed interstate highways: " n. One of a system of highways extending between the major cities of the 48 contiguous United States." _______...Read More...

being mischievous

Dear experts, Do we discriminate between DO MISCHIEF and MAKE MISCHIEF? Many thanks, YuriRead More...
Entries in references have the idiom as "make mischief," and not "do mischief," as in this*: "make mischief Cause trouble, as in Don't listen to her gossip"”she's just trying to make mischief . This idiom was first recorded in 1884, but the related noun mischief-maker , a person who causes trouble especially by tale-bearing, dates from about 1700." _______ However, Google lists 76,100 examples of "do mischief", even more than the 73,000 it shows for "make mischief." The past tense, though--...Read More...

meaning of as blended

peteryoung
Thanks for entering this thread. I have trouble deciding between two possible interpretatitons of the word 'as' in the following sentences: Ethnic and religious hostilities persisted, but they lessened as individuals of different backgrounds began to associate and intermarry. Some schools reflected the influence of the Enlightenment as they introduced courses in mathematics, sciences, foreign languages, and history. There are two senses which appear to me as agreeable: 1)because 2)while.Read More...
You are correctly sensing two kinds of relation between the as- clause and the main clause: an explicit grammatical time relation and an implied logical or semantic relation of cause. The explicit grammatical relation is that of "simultaneity in time": the two actions took place over the same period of time. Quirk et al. state "As denotes merely simultaneity of two situations: "”Just as she was about to speak, she was handed a note "”As it grew dark, we could hear the hum of mosquitos" (p.Read More...
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