All Forum Topics

"Leave someone alone" or "leave someone to oneself"

Dear experts, Would it be right to assume that the expressions below are interchangeable in only ONE of their meanings: leave someone alone leave someone to oneself leave someone alone - 1. go away from a place leaving people by themselves: Her parents had gone on holiday for a week, and left us alone in their big house. 2. (also: let someone alone) abstain from interfering with a person: I think, if you haven't the guts to act like a man in the matter, you ought to leave this girl alone.Read More...

More partial synonyms: "fire fight" and "fire fighting"

Dear experts, Would you concede that the expressions below are interchangeable in ONE meaning only: fire fight firefighting fire fight - 1. an exchange of fire between two opposing units (as distinct from close combat): In Kashmir, three Indian soldiers have been killed in a fire fight with separatist guerrillas. 2. the effort to extinguish or to check the spread of a fire: Despite exhaustive efforts, the building and its contents were destroyed. Several firefighters were transported to the...Read More...

"In this morning"?

Is "in" in the following sentence redundancy? Or is it wrong with "it" in? If not, does it make any difference? (1) I planted some flowers (in) this morning. appleRead More...

Whatever, whoever, however

"According to some analysts, whatever its merits, the proposal to tax away all capital gains on short-term investments would, if enacted, have a disastrous effect on Wall Street trading and employment." What are the rules on when to elide are in whatever its merits areRead More...

"In the disguise" and "under the disguise"

Dear experts, Could you comment on the difference in meaning (if any) between: in the disguise of someone under the disguise of someone Ulysses entered the palace in the disguise of a peddler and exhibited to the women his wares. The thief gained entry to the premises under the disguise of an inspector from the Electricity Board. Thank you, YuriRead More...

SVOO possible or not

I'd appreciate it if someone could tell me why 3 and 7 are out? 1. He told me the situation. 2. He told the situation to me. 3. *He explained me the situation. 4. He explained the situation to me. 5. He gave me the book. 6. He gave the book to me. 7. *He donated museum the painting. 8. He donated the painting to the museum. appleRead More...

"Wish" with "know" or "knew"?

Hello, Do we say : 1) I wouldn't wish that on anyone I KNEW OR 2) I wouldn't wish that on anyone I KNOW ? Thank you. RickyRead More...

"Is" or "are"

Could you tell me which is correct, is or are, in the following sentence? The first thing I noticed about him was/were his eyes. appleRead More...

The present perfect with a past phrase

I have learned that the present perfect tense does not occur with a phrase which indicates past, such as yesterday, when I was 10, etc. Thus (1) is grammatically wrong. (1) I have seen your sister yesterday. But I found the following sentence (2). (2) Everyone knows what biology is because we have all studied it in high school. Is this sentence grammatical? Doesn't the phrase "in high school" indicate the specific past? How should we teach the intermediate EFL students? appleRead More...

Definite article

I saw following nouns(?) 1. the more than 500 2. the be prior to something else. What is the theory behind using 'the' in the above two nouns.Read More...

Phrasal verb "call for": repeat particle?

(1) She called for urban apartments and for clustered suburban housing. (2) She called for urban apartments and clustered suburban housing. I feel, 1 is incorrect. Any comments?Read More...

"Us" or "ours"

I would like to know, which Pronoun "us" or "ours" must be used in the following sentences: Books are ... These books are ... We have learned to say e.i. " These are our books," but I need some explanation on how to use object pronouns. Thank you. CyrusRead More...

Comma before "that" in relative clause

I saw the following heading in the Washington Post dated Dce. 7. Saad Saffar walks through a building in Baghdad, burned by departing Baathists, that he is converting into an Islamic cultural center. I believe this メthatモ is a relative. When there is a comma, a relative メthatモ is not used. Isnユt this a rule? Is this sometimes allowed, or a new trend, or a simple error? mitsukoRead More...

Gerund or infinitive?

Some students argue that a verb phrase in -ing form could function as subject and that sentences like the following would be acceptable as well: Being there is important for me. I suggested saying "It is important for me to be there". I could say nothing more than that. Thank you. Chuncan FengRead More...

Singular or plural verb with numbers, percentages and fractions

Should the verb to be be singular or plural in these cases? Over one-quarter of students (is, are) ethnic minorities. One in 10 students (is, are) English language learners. 39% of the students (is, are) full-time students. What is the rule governing the usage in each of the examples? Mary BethRead More...

"Much good"

In the following passage I found in a book, are "much good" and "very good" interchangeable? I'm not familiar with "much good" except when it is in the sentence as in "It doesn't do us much good". "He built the house with the help of his brother." "Oh, that brother, Sam. He wasn't much good." Is "he isn't much good" standard usage? appleRead More...

Lots of uses for "as"

I've been wondering about something and tried hard to work it out,but it's still hard to me. "As" has a lot of meanings. Would you please tell me how "as" works in clauses? Thank you.Read More...

Present participle--function in sentence?

"Keegan's point was valid, the grammarians said, forcing ETS to throw out the question and bump up the test scores of nearly 500,000 students, of the 1.8 million who took the test that day." In the above sentence, "forcing" is functioning as adverbial, for there is no noun to be modified by the participle. Why dont we call dangling participles adverbials? Or how to decide one is dangling or adverbial? VenRead More...

Adjectival clause, modifying verb

Rachel wrote on Sep 23, 03: [Quote] For an adjective clause that modifies the entire sentence, "which" is preceded by a comma, as in: All the students scored very high in the university entrance examinations, which pleased their teacher very much. [EndQuote] How come adjectival clause, which modifies only noun, acts as adverb as in the above example. Can somebody shed light on this?Read More...

Singular and plural nouns

The passage is that "The boys wear a gho,and the girls wear a kira. They are like kimono." Would you tell me why "a gho" and "a kira" are xpressed like this,not "ghoes","kiras","gho" nor"kira"? And why is "kimono" expressed like this,not "a kimono" nor "kimonos"? Thank you.Read More...

"Freer" or "more free"?

Who will help me? Today,I saw this sentence:"He began to feel that he was more free than ever before in his life." "free" is a one syllable word. Why is "more free" used instead of "freer"? Thanks for any help. CombeingRead More...

Inversion

In a narrative about a childhood episode, one of my students mentioned his sense of thrill about being in a big city. I have a doubt concerning a certain sentence containing an inversion, which at first I thought was wrong, but now, thinking a little bit more about it, I´m not so sure. He wrote the following: " I was stunned, as I walked out of the bus station with my mother. Unforeseen were such a crowd and so much noise, coming from various sources, which I did not find unpleasant at...Read More...
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