All Forum Topics

"More than" or "very likely"?

Coupled with the absence of a viable political alternative, it is a foregone conclusion among political pundits that his party will more than dominate the next general election, which has to be held before January 2005. I wonder whether the use of "more than" in the sentence above is grammatically correct.Read More...

"In the laboratory" or "at the laboratory"

I've had this preposition dilemma on mind for quite a long time. Situation: Some students leave the classrrom on order to go to the Multimedia Laboratory, so the teacher decides to leave a note on the door for latecomers. Question: Which one is correct? What are the differences? We're in the Laboratory or We're at the Laboratory Thank you very much. AlexRead More...

Grammatical principle

Hello, The following is from an English newspaper : 'Ever since I was small, I have hoped that they would be proud of me, happy that they HAD a clever, beautiful daughter rather than feeling inferior to others because they did not have a son.' What is the grammatical explanation for using 'HAD' please ? Thank you. Regards, RickyRead More...

'Had had'

Hello, What are the rules for using 'had had' ? Thank you. Regards, RickyRead More...

You got...?

How can I explain to a student why the following two sentences are incorrect in standard English but commonly used in spoken English? You got any cash on you? You gonna buy me a present? Thanks!Read More...

Verb tense and 'would' in subordinate clauses with conditional meaning

Hello, Is the following example correct ? A.I think the best way would be for me to pick you up after your plane HAD LANDED. If the above is correct, do we change ALL the verbs in the subordinate clause into past verbs ? Also, what is the difference between the following 2 sentences : 1. Would you follow me wherever I went ? 2. Would you follow me wherever I go ? Many thanks. RickyRead More...

Passive Voice

Hello, Why can't you write a sentence with certain verbs in the passive voice? For example: He had the ball. The ball was had by him. I know that it doesn't sound right; but, is there a rule?Read More...

"Different to" or "different from" ?

Hello, Please take a look at the following sentences : A. The experience will expose her to different people and environment TO that at school. B. My taste in food is different TO his. Is 'to' correct in both the sentences ? I sometimes hear 'from' being used instead. Thanks. RickyRead More...

"Practice" and "practise"

I need to do more practice. (I assume in this case "practice" is a noun, and therefore the sentence "I need to do more practise" is incorrect). (NB UK spelling) Help with this would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks JonRead More...

Type of Sentence with Transitions/Conjunctive Adverbs

What kind of sentence would you say that a transition/conjunctive adverb starts? Example: However, the picnic was called off due to the rain. Would it start a simple sentence because it has only one subject and verb? This seems logical, yet bizarre, to me. What are your thoughts?Read More...

"-ing" ending: noun or verb?

My first query relates to these sentences: I am doing the ironing. I am doing some jumping. Are the words "ironing" and "jumping" in the above sentences nouns or verbs? I think nouns but I'm not completely sure. JonRead More...

About article usage

I have a question about the use of article in front of a proper noun. Consider the following sentence: An angry Bush condemned the Jerusalem bombing and called for all countries "to fight off terror, to cut off money to organizations such as Hamas... Is it grammatical to use article "an" in front of a famous name like "Bush"? In this sentence, can "the" be replaced "an"? If yes, does the meaning change?Read More...

Sequence of tense

One of the rules for sequence of tense states that if the verb in the independent clause is in the past or past perfect, the past or past perfect must be used in the dependent clause (except in the case of general truths). With this in mind, please consider the following : A.I realised that she HAD committed the crime. B.I realised that there ARE more good people than bad. C.I got the impression yesterday that she WANTS to end her life. My question is this : does the rule apply in the...Read More...

"That" as relative pronoun after quantifiers

And one more question :-) Most grammar books say that after quantifiers like all, every, some, any, only and so on, we usually use the relative pronoun 'that'. What I'd like to know is: She is the only girl in the class that can play the violin. When I use who instead of that in this sentence, is it unacceptable in standard English? According to the books I've read, I thought we do not necessarily need to use 'that' in this case. I just want to make sure. I'd appreciate your kind reply :-)Read More...

"Both...and"

Glad to meet you. I hope I can learn lots of good English and have fun, too. I'd like to know if 'not...both' structure can be used to mean 'one of them is not...' I read in some books that we can't use 'both...not' and that we instead use 'neither'. The sentence 'Both of them are not here.' is incorrect, isn't it? Then, can I say "Not both of them are here." to mean "One of them is here, and the other is not."?Read More...

Reported speech

Hello everyone. Here in England, I've been told that if the meaning is unclear, we do not backshift in reported speech. For example, ' I enquired at the medical centre if they did blood tests.' - this could mean that I wanted to know if they did blood tests in the past rather than in the present. So, to avoid misunderstanding, I should say instead ' I enquired at the medical centre if they DO blood tests.' Another example : 'I was told when I joined that I had to teach first year students...Read More...

Usage of "another"

Is the use of "another" in the following sentence grammatical? The campaign will cost the airline 400 million dollars, in addition to another 600 million to be spent promoting the country and the airline as Sars-free. In my understanding, another in this sentence would be correct if it reads another 400 million. Can "another" be used with unequal referent?Read More...

"Responsible" -- can it be used as a noun?

Dear Grammar Exchange, Could you tell me if "responsible" can be used as a noun? If not, which generic term could be used for a person responsible/responsible party or entity Ex. somebody (a person/a company) is responsible for a damage. Can I say: the responsible will be charged with the costs incurred? Many thanks in advance for your help. HenriRead More...

"Been" and "Gone"

One last question: Is "been" ever considered the past participle of the verb "go"? I know that "go-went-gone" is usually considered correct, but though "been" is the past participle of the verb "be", can it be considered as the past participle of the verb "go"? I have been (gone) to Disneyland many times. Thank you in advance. Any answers or explanations you can offer will be very much appreciated. (This question was the second part of a query posted by "Confused Canadian." The Grammar...Read More...

Present perfect or Present perfect Continuous

Hi, Please could you tell me which of these two sentences is correct: 1) My family gave us quite a lot of helpful advice when we bought the house. 2) My family were giving us quite a lot of helpful advice when we bought the house. Which one is correct and why? Thanks in advance.Read More...

"Only but"

Can you explain the meaning and usage of the phrase "only but" in this sentence? The Government can only but reiterate its absolute condemnation of Israel's policy of extra-judicial killings.Read More...
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