All Forum Topics

"do " and "can" + "understand" or "know"

"to understand" and "to know" have a semantic similarity. But we say "Do you understand ?" and "Can you understand?" although "can you" version is used less frequently. One tenth of "Do you understand" in Google search. On the other hand, we say "Do you know something?" but we almost never say " Can you know something?". I'm wondering how to explain this fact to students. Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thank you always. Apple.Read More...

tense in "not until" cluse

Hi, once again, I wonder if both of the two sentences are right; 1.Not until 1926 did no one succeed in building a rocket. 2. Not until 1926 had no one succeeded in building a rocket. Both the sentences seem to make sense to me. If I understand that they succeeded in building a rocket in 1926, above number 1 seems to be correct. But if I want to express that building a rocket was not succeeded before 1926, number 2 seems to make more sense. Please kindly let me know if I am right.Read More...

pronoun

I hearfully thank you for your informative answers given to my questions. Were it not for this site, I would get lost finding no way to solving questions. You always make me feel that grammar is exciting and enjoyable. I am reading a Toefl grammar book and the following question grabs my attention: After the Revolution, although some advances were made in education, _____ a slow process. In the question, the answer to be put into the underlined part is "it was" rather than "they were".Read More...

Ago

Hi, I came to come across the following sentence; "Experts came to see the paintings and said that they had been painted over 20,000 years ago" The author seems to have used past participle in "had been painted" because its tense is past of the past "said." However, according to Michael Swan (p.33, Practical English Usage, second edition), "Ago is used with a past tense and a time expression to count back from the present" while "Before is used in the same way (with a past perfective tense)"...Read More...

pico de gallo

I recently found a recipe for rhubarb pico de gallo. It is a kind of salsa. What does "pico de gallo" mean specifically in relation to salsa?Read More...

uchronia

I found this word in an article by Philip Roth in the New York Times Book Review. I cannot find it in any of my online dictionaries. He was talking about Orwell's view of the world and wrote, "He imagined a dystopia, I imagined a uchronia."Read More...

"fun", comparative form?

1. It's important to keep a promise. 2. It's fun to play tennis. Looking at the two sentences above, we can see both "important" and "fun" are adjectives. What are the comparative and superlative forms of "fun"? Since it's a short adjective with a single short vowel, it should be, according to the general rule, funner and funnest, as in "redder, reddest", but I don't think they are standard usage yet. Then "more fun" and "the most fun" would be acceptable? AppleRead More...

"Responsible' + infinitive, or + 'for' and gerund?

This question has been sent in by J. Ebert. Someone edited my copy. I took issue. Version 1: The board is responsible to determine the budget. Version 2: The board is responsible for determining the budget. _______ Question 1: Which is correct? Both seem grammatically correct to me. Question 2: If both are grammatically correct, should one be preferred, or is it purely a matter of personal choice? Question 3: If one should be preferred, why?Read More...

'While' and 'although'

Hello, As I was browsing earlier today in a forum on another site about the English language, a posting caught my attention. The discussion regards the possibility of using "while", with the meaning of "although", in the following sentences: 1 - The street is wet while it hasn't been raining 2 - While it hasn't been raining, the street is wet I find both sentences a bit strange (the second seems a little better – I can't explain why!) I know the conjunction "while" can be equivalent to...Read More...

'Will finish' or 'will have finished'?

This question was sent in by Sehoon. By the time I go to bed tonight, I ___ my work for the day. a. will finish b. have finished c. will have finished d. finish ---->Answer Key is "c. will have finished." Is "will" also correct if "will" express willingness? Thank you very much, Have a good day!Read More...

We or They?

When asked "How are your family?" in an email, can you reply "We are fine"? Or is it more proper and natural to say "They are fine"? Apple.Read More...

'Percentage is' or 'percentage are'

I wonder whether the "Answer Key" is correct or not. 1. What percentage of the people in the world (is, are) illiterate? ---> Answer Key is "is". I think "are" is correct. Am I wrong?Read More...

such that, such as

Can the following three sentences mean the same? Are they all grammatically acceptable? If so, any difference? 1. Let students read such books as will promote their motives for studying. 2. Let students read such books that will promote their motives for studying. 3. Let students read those books which/that will promote their motives for studying. AppleRead More...

Sports teams (e.g. 'the Tigers'): 'is' or 'are'?

This question was originally sent in by Hogel as a follow-up to "The Beatles was/were." Hello, teachers! Please help me again with this. What about sports teams, social clubs, etc? Is the same rule working? 1. Chances are the Tigers [are] going to lose the game. 2. The Good Boys [are] going to have a presidential election tomorrow. 3. Good Friends [are] going to participate in the event. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

'Between A and B,' or 'Between A to B'

I saw a sentence like the following. It wasn't written by a native speaker. I wondered if "to" should be "and". Or are they both acceptable. The class can be anywhere between 8 to 30. Apple.Read More...

'Just ' and 'only'

Are "just" and "only" interchangeable? Hi, Two days ago, one of my students, Julia, said something that I found a bit puzzling (and somewhat aggravating too!) I had always assumed that when it's possible to use "only" in a sentence, the adverb "just" is also (maybe not always but most of the times) a valid option. Julia told me, however, that when she was speaking to an American lady the other day, the erudite nitpicker frowned upon the use of "just" in a certain sentence. The sentence was...Read More...

"worry" and "be worried"

Thank you always for your information and help. I have a question. What would be the difference between "begin to worry" and " begin to be worried"? Personally I tend to say "I began to worry" instead of "I began to be worried". I would say "I'm worried" instead of "I worry". Google search yields 45400 instances of "begin or began to worry" while only 462 hits are found for "begin or began to be worried". But there are 86800 instances of "she or he worries" and 44300 examples of "she or he...Read More...

Gerund or participle

Hello, teachers! - I saw a video clip of [your, you] singing, provided by your manager. In this sentence, which is the correct choice? I thought 'singing' was a gerund, so both were correct, but someone says it is a participle and 'your' is incorrect. Is she right? Is it possible for a video clip, not "you", to sing? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

'That,' 'who' and 'whom'

Here is a multiple choice question as to the relative pronouns. The answer key says (1) that is correct. Why aren't whom and who acceptable? He is not the coward ( ) he was ten years ago. 1.that 2.who 3. when 4. whom AppleRead More...

'Who' as a noun

Hello, Is it possible for the relative pronoun "who", which normally requires an antecedent noun/pronoun, to be used independently, or do we need to say "he who / the one who / the person who, as in: 1 - Who thinks he knows it all is deluded 2 - Beware who thinks he knows it all 3 - The most untrustworthy person is who thinks he knows it all 4 - Seeking the wisdom of who thinks he knows it all can lead to trouble The sentences sound uncommon, if a little old-fashioned, but relatively okay to...Read More...

'To freak' vs. 'to freak out'

Hello, teachers! Would you please tell me the difference in meaning between these two sentences? 1. The dog freaked the boy out. 2. The dog freaked the boy. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

'To chase' vs. 'to chase after'

Hello, teachers! Would you please tell me the difference in meaning between these two sentences? 1. The dog chased after the boy around the house. 2. The dog chased the boy around the house. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...

Expletive subject and true subject: 'it is you that is' or 'is it you that are'?

From the following two sentences: 1). It is you that are crazy. 2). It is you that is crazy. It seems to me that sentence (1) is the correct one. However, if the sentence is changed to: 3). It is not you that are crazy. 4). It is not you that is crazy. Now, it seems to me that sentence (4) is the correct one. Is my understanding correct here?Read More...

'One' or 'it'

I know the basic usage of "one" and "it", but in the following situation, which is correct? You need a quarter to buy a drink or something but you don't have one, so you're asking a friend next to you to spare you a quarter. A: If you have a quarter, could you lend me one? B: If you have a quarter, could you lend it to me? C: If you have a quarter, can I borrow one? D: If you have a quarter, can I borrow it? I have an impression "one" is better, unless both the speaker and the listener...Read More...

Do we need 'it' or not?

Hello, teachers! - The event still hurts to think about [it]. Do we need 'it' or not? A native speaker says we need it, but IMHT it isn't necessary, as in "That is too heavy to lift [it]." What do you think of my thought? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
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