All Forum Topics

"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...

Collective noun and its pronoun

Consider the sentence from a news article below: The government have strengthened its efforts to crack down drug business since Feb. 1, when it declared the beginning of the war on drugs. I understand that government is a collective noun which can use either singular or plural verbs depending on the context. Here, the subject uses the plural verb have , but the pronoun used for the subject is it . I'm not sure about this inconsistent use of pronoun or verb. Is this kind of use acceptable?Read More...

"Know somebody" or "know of somebody"

Here is a situation where you are holding a picture of Princess Diana and showing it to a young child. You: Do you know who this is? Kid: Yeah, I know her. Princess Diana! Would that mean the kid knows her personally? Would you correct her to say I know about or/of her, instead of I know her? Is it always better to say I know of, or I know about someone when you do not know the person well? Or can it be easily presumed whether you know that person personally or not? appleRead More...

"Alive" and "living"

Is there a difference between the two? 1. We used to play cards when my father was alive. 2. We used to play cards when my father was living. appleRead More...

"To " vs "for"

Which preposition should we use, to or for, in the following sentence: It is important ____ me to attend the meeting. Thank you. Chuncan FengRead More...

Why the present perfect?

Hello, I would like some explanation for the following sentence please: a) Oh, Ann I am glad I've caught you. Can you stay on and help us finish some work? Why is it I've caught you and not the past simple I am glad I caught you. THANKS ..Read More...

Count or noncount -- "grin" and "glee"

In one of the children's books, I came across these two expressions. 1. he said with a grin. 2. he said with glee. Why is a grin count noun and glee isn't? appleRead More...

"I don't know who to help me": correct?

Here is the first of Chuncan Feng's follow-up questions mentioned by Rachel in the "wh-words and infinitives" thread: 1. Can we say "I don't know who to help me", as another way of saying "I don't know who will help me"? Chuncan FengRead More...

Stylistic Status of an Expression --"fall about one's ears"

Dear experts, Could you advise me on the stylistic status of the expression FALL ABOUT SOMEONE'S EARS: fall about someone's ears - collapse; fail suddenly: All our careful plans fell about our ears when the government changed the tax laws. Is it known in US or is it UK only? Is it dated or current? Thank you, YuriRead More...

Semantic Relevance of the Article -- "feel a draft" or "feel the draft"?

Dear experts, Would you say that the article is semantically relevant in differentiating the expressions below which are not interchangeable (or are they?): feel a draft feel the draft feel a draft - 1. (US sl.) have the sensation that one is not welcome in a place; sense racism: Have you ever felt a draft? Have you ever been in a situation where you felt uncomfortable because you are white? 2. (arch.) feel an inclination or an impulse: I felt a secret gentle draft to visit to meetings in...Read More...

"More important(ly)"

The hypercorrect "More importantly, ..." instead of "More important, ..." grates on my nerves. I know it is not right, but I don't know why. Do you? I'd be most grateful if you'd enlighten me. MayaRead More...

Wh-words with infinitives

We can say "I don't know what to do/when to go/where to go" etc. Can we say the following? 1a. I don't know at what time to go. 1b. I don't know what time to go at. 1c. I don't know what time to go. 2a. I don't know in which city to settle. 2b. I don't know which city to settle in. 2c. I don't know which city to settle. Thanks. Chuncan FengRead More...

"No" vs. "not"

Consider the following sentence: Legalised gambling is no different from imposing extra taxation on the poor. That is because the poor tend to spend a bigger proportion of their disposable income on gambling than people who are financially better off. I wonder whether the use of no different above is interchangeable with not different . If not, what should be the rule of using each expression?Read More...

"In front of" or "across from"?

The passage is: "The city hall is in front of the station." I think "the city hall is across from the station" is correct. But can we say"~in front of~"? Does it cover "across from"?Read More...

"Draw a breath"

Dear experts, Will it be right to assume that DRAW BREATH cannot be replaced by DRAW A BREATH in these specific contexts (resp. meanings): 1. pause to rest after exertion; take a break: Then they stoked in silence till Dan drew breath over his tin cup. 2. be relieved after exertion, excitement, etc.: Then the amnesty came and white Africa drew breath again with certain grave reflections left in her head. Thank you, YuriRead More...

"Down/Out for the count"

Dear experts, Can the expression DOWN FOR THE COUNT replace OUT FOR THE COUNT in the specific meaning of 'being very fast asleep': I knew the children were tired. Look at them. They are both out for the count. Thank you, YuriRead More...

"Don't you know" or "don't you know it"?

Dear experts, Would you say that the following phrases are not interchangeable in any of their contexts: don't you know don't you know it don't you know - 1. I thought you knew: 'We're supposed to either sign these contracts or rewrite them. Which is it?' 'Don't you know?' 2. (also: you know) is used as a rhetorical question: My wife is such a nervous woman, don't you know. don't you know it - you can be absolutely sure about that; you're exactly right: 'Man, is it hot!' 'Don't you know it!'...Read More...

"Lost" or "losing" and "won" or "winning" with "team"?

(1) The members of the winning team were given gold medals. The sentence above means that the members of the team that had won were given gold medals. They were not in the process of winning but they had already won. You never say "the won team". But (2) The members of the lost team were not given gold medals. The sentence above means that the team that had lost were not given gold medals. You can also say, "the lost team". (3) The members of the losing team were being encouraged by the...Read More...

"Don't ask" vs. "don't ask me"

Dear experts, According to the dictionary definitions I found for DON'T ASK / DON'T ASK ME: don't ask - is used to tell a person that the answer is so depressing one wouldn't even want to hear it: How am I? Don't ask. don't ask me - is used to tell smb. that one does not know the answer: She's decided to dye her hair bright green, don't ask me why. Does it follow the the expressions in question are NOT interchangeable in their respective contexts? Thank you, YuriRead More...

"While" and "during"

The sentence 1 is ungrammatical because a clause has to follow メwhileモ. I think 3 is still a bad sentence with メonモ, or is it somehow acceptable? Can 3 considered as a reduced sentence of 4,? 1. *I visited Paris while the vacation. 2. I visited Paris during the vacation. 3. *I visited Paris while on the vacation. 4. I visited Paris while I was on the vacation. mitsukoRead More...

"Have a dash at" or "make a dash at"

Dear experts, Would you confirm that in the sentences below the expression MAKE A DASH AT can only be replaced by HAVE A DASH AT in the first instance: 1. We were now at the Frank Hotel, where French would seem to be most appropriate. We found out afterwards, however, that it was our friend's habit, when travelling in any foreign country, to make a dash at French, even if the people understood English perfectly well. 2. Allen drew up his men, addressed them in his own emphatic style, and...Read More...
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