All Forum Topics

On the topic of "a whole nother"

I read a former question regarding the usage of "whole nother." I have a theory on this phenomenon. I believe that the construction of "another" almost sounds like article ("a") plus noun ("nother") Even though we consciously KNOW that these are not two separate words, perhaps our tongues forget this fact. (I thought of this when listening to a Pink Floyd lyric: All in all we're just a (beat) nother brick in the wall." The break between the two letters would make a non English speaker...Read More...

The difference: "was in" a place or "went to" a place?

Hello, Please could I have the difference explained between these two sentences: 1) I was in Geneva last week. 2) I went to Geneva last week. The meaning is the same, but how/when do we use them? Thank-you.Read More...

Infinitive with or without "to"?

Hello, A student of mine asked about the follwing sentence: All you need to do is fill out the necessary information and bring it back to me. She is wondering why she can't use the infinitive form "to fill out" in this sentence. My opinion is that "fill out the necessary information and bring it back to me" is functioning as a command within this sentence, in which case the infinitive would not be appropriate. Is that the best explanation, or is there a better one? Thanks!Read More...

Word order of 'probably' and 'isn't'

I have two questions. First,which is correct? 1. She's probably not going to be ... 2. She probably isn't going to be ... It was written to be like the sentences in the Answer key of 'Fundamentals of Emglish Grammar work book'. One -> I'm probably not going to ... another -> They probably aren't going to ... another -> She probably isn't going to ... Which one is correct? Second, are the meanings of the following sentences different? 1. Maybe he will come to class. 2. Maybe he come...Read More...

Present Perfect

Hello, Would like some clarification. I am told that you cannot say :- I have been tired. It should be:- I was tired./ I am tired. Why can't we use the Present Perfect? Thank - you.Read More...

"Design" vs. "designing"

A student of mine asked me a question about this sentence: The architect presented the board with the ____________ of the proposed additions to the factory. The answer should be "design," but one of the choices was "designing." The student wants to know why "designing" cannot be used as a noun in this sentence. I was really stumped because it would seem that "designing" would fit there as a noun, but it just doesn't sound right. Any thoughts?Read More...

"Food" vs. "foods"

I am wondering if there is a rule for using the word "food" as a count or non-count noun. In the example below, why is food singular in all the sentence except the last one? Is it because only specific "foods" out of the general category "food" are problematic? People have different attitudes toward food. Some are adventurous and some are not. Adventurous people are willing to try new different food. There are those who are vegetarians or allergic to certain types of food. These people would...Read More...

"Bodily" or "body" as adjective

I notice on the new crime scene investigation TV shows that they refer to "bodily fluids" and "body parts." Why the different adjectives? Could they be interchanged to "body fluids" and "bodily parts"? HowardRead More...

But / However

Hi All, I need some explanation. what is the difference between "but" and "however" ? in the following sentence for example: I learnt French easily, but I didn't like my teacher. I learnt French easily. However, I didn't like my teacher. Some explanation would be welcomed..ThanksRead More...

Usage of "also"

I'm not sure of the more conventional of them. He, also his friend is coming, isn't he? He, also his friend is coming, aren't they?Read More...

"In THAT case" or "In THIS case"?

The difference between this/that is sometimes tricky for us non-natives. "Heat the water to 100 degree C. In (that/ this) temperature water starts to boil" Somehow, I have the impression that if you choose "that", it is an objective anaphora or backward reference to the word "temperature" which have mentioned before. Whereas "this temperature" could mean that the writer more strongly focused upon what he is about to write in the new sentence than "that temperature". Am I imagining things? I...Read More...

"Are you tired vs. "aren't you tired"?

My colleague and I were wondering about the difference between these two questions: Are you tired of eating out? Aren't you tired of eating out? The person asking either of these questions is looking for the same information from both (whether the person is tired of eating out), so why do we sometimes use "not" in these kinds of questions?Read More...

If....past tense/unless....past tense

Does the following sentence has the same structure and rules as the "if...past tense" rules? Nobody wants to fly with that small airlines unless one is willing to endure the pain of being made to wait for a long time only to be told that no seat was available and one had to wait for the next available flight.Read More...

Word order in noun clauses

Of these two senteces which one is correct ? and why? To me the first one sounds correct. (1) Can you tell me how much is it? (2) Can you tell me hom much it is? The 2nd one is the way in which it is written in the book and I am not quite sure.Read More...

Adjective clauses

FUNDAMENTALS OF ENGLISH GRAMMAR (third Edition) Page.358 question.7 ~~~. One group may distrust and fear another group of people who are different from themselves in language, customs, politics, religion, and/or appearance. ~~~ --------------------------------------------- From answer key, a adjective clause is "who are different ~~ appearance", and the noun that the adjective clause modify is "people". But, to be exact, the adjective clause modifies "another group of people" that is a noun...Read More...

Another way to use appositive?

Consider the following sentence: Its exchange value against major international currencies - be it the US dollar, the Japanese yen or the euro - is said to be sowing seeds of instability within the global trading system. I think that the highlighted part in the sentence functions as an appositive of the main sentence. Is it correct? If so, can you explain more how the inversion i.e., be it ... be used in such a circumstance? Thank you very muchRead More...

"Than" as a preposition

Consider the following sentence: Many people stigmatize the homeless as beggars or criminals. But I spent time among them and found that there's more to their plight than meets the eyes. It seems to me that "than" is a preposition in this sentence. If so, should the phrase "meets the eyes" function as a noun in this sentence? Why is it not in form of "meeting the eyes"?Read More...

"A most..."

Consider the following sentence: A most valuable player and pitcher were named at every level of the minor league system. I wonder whether the sentence above can be rewritten as: One of the most valuable players and pitcher were named at every level of the minor league system. Is it alright to change " a most" to "one of the most" in all cases? Do you have any reference in textbooks or websits to support this claim?Read More...

Present Perfect x Past Simple

1 - He worked on a farm. 2 - He has worked on a farm. In British English which phrase is the correct(1 or 2)If both are correct what's the diferrence?Read More...

Personal charts and tables

Dear Grammar Exchange members: I would like you to help me with this question: Which method has developed the use of personal charts and tables to practice the grammatical tenses in English? What are the principles that justify this use? What other methods use these personal charts and tables? One piece of information that I have found relates this to the Natural Approach proposed by Krashen and Terrell (1983), who classify this technique for acquisition under the heading of...Read More...

Putative should

S1 uses should+perfect infinitive and S2 uses should+infinitive. Is there any difference in meaning, explicit or implicit, between them? S1 I was surprised that he should have felt lonely when he was in California. S2 I was surprised that he should feel lonely when he was in California. These sentences are from Quirk et al's A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985:1015) Thanks. Chuncan Feng ChinaRead More...
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