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Wilhelm Wundt

Here is a sentence from Anne Lander's column. 'I bet I'll be on probation before you can say "Wilhelm Wundt"'. I can see that "before you can say Wilhelm Wundt" means "very soon", but is there a story behind this German psychologist? AppleRead More...
Thank you, Rachel, the response mades a perfect sense in the context from which the sentence comes from. The speaker is a student who just keeps pugging in, but is about to fail. Thank you again. AppleRead More...

at an interview

Dear teachers, Are the following sentences correct? I have to be AT an interview next week. I have to GO TO an interview next week. I have to ATTEND an interview next week. She was asked to COME FOR an interview here on October 15, 2004. She was asked to COME FOR an interview here on December 28, 2004. Thank you. Aneeth PrabhakarRead More...
All of the sentences are correct, although "ATTEND an interview" could imply that someone other than the speaker is being interviewed, and that the speaker will be there as either an observer or as a participant on behalf of the company or other entity that is doing the interviewing. "BE AT/GO TO an interview" have a similar potential for ambiguity, but it's very small. A very common way of telling about one's upcoming interview is "” I have to GO FOR an interview next week OR "” I have an...Read More...

how about you?, what about you?

Suppose you are in a restaurant with a friend. You are going to have pizza. You ask your friend, "How about you?" Can "What about you?" be used as well? Google search yeilds more examples of "how about you?" Any difference? AppleRead More...
"How about" and "what about " are very similar, and can often be used interchangeably. For example, when making a suggestion about participating in an activity you could say: "How about tennis today?" or "What about tennis today." However, in this case, in the restaurant, you are not suggesting an activity, but instead, you want to find out what the person wants. In this case, "How about you" is the better phrase. The Collins COBUILD*'s entry for "how about you" is: "¢ If you ask someone...Read More...

adverb phrases or ?

This sentence is from the Advanced Focus on Grammar - Checking the children, Reg and Maggie found them still sleeping peacefully on the back seat. "Checking the children" is a phrase reduced from an adverb clause. Is "still sleeoing peacefully on the back seat" also a reduced clause? If not, what is it? I have read there is an overlap in function of -ing particilpes (cf Swan) at times - is this one of them? I'm a little confused! Thank you!Read More...
Yes. You have made a good analysis.Read More...

Preposition

Dear teachers, What preposition is used in the following sentence? She bought an apartment ..... her name. (ie. According to the legal documents the apartment belongs to her.) Thank you. Aneeth PrabhakarRead More...
Just to add a little here... However: The account was registered UNDER/IN her name. I believe "in" conveys officially recognized legal responsibility, whereas "under" simply expresses method/condition, but not necessarily legally approved or recognized. e.g. The criminal bought the gun under an assumed name." R.Read More...

take and have

Hello May I ask about "take"? #1 I usually have a slice of toast and ham and eggs for breakfast. Can I use " take " instead of "have" in #1? Does the meaning of the sentence change? Thank you.Read More...
In answer your question, you cannot use "take" in #1 and maintain the same meaning. When you refer to a meal or type of food, we use either "eat" or "have": a) I have/eat corn flakes every morning. We use "take" with medications or drugs, especially those that are swallowed: b) He takes two aspirins every evening after work. One pseudo-exception: "Do you take sugar/milk in your coffee?" I suppose you could consider the amount of sugar/milk as almost a "dosage". Interestingly, there are a...Read More...

Past Simple or Past Continuous

Hello.. Which of the following are correct? I was told that the no. 1 is correct..but why????? 1) We watched TV all evening. 2) We were watching TV all evening. Why is no. 2 incorrect. Here also one is describing an activity/action in progress during the whole evening. Thanks in advanceRead More...
Sentence 2 is also correct, but it means something different from Sentence 1. In Sentence 1, the action of watching TV is being depicted as a compressed, self-contained event "” a neat "package." Sentence 2 depicts the watching as an ongoing activity more than as a complete event. Yes, the activity came to an end, but it is the feature of "action in progress" that is being highlighted. It suggests that if you had taken a snapshot of the grammatical subjects at any point during the evening...Read More...

always

Hello Thank you for your kind guidance every time. Now I'd like to ask about how to use " always". When I change the sentence " You must always keep your room clean." into imperative sentence, can I use " always" like #1? Is its place appropriate? #1 Always keep your room clean. I also want to know if there are good phrases replacing with "always" Regards.Read More...
Grammar books teach that "always" should not be used at the beginning of a sentence. What they don't usually say is that this rule applies only to statements and questions. Imperatives are usually omitted from mention. "Always" at the beginning of an imperative is not only correct, it's the usual case. If you think of it as coming between the grammatical subject and the main verb, it "follows the rule," because in an imperative, the grammatical subject is not present, but is "understood."...Read More...

'with tax' includes tax or not?

Hello I'd like to ask about the expression at shopping. Would you take a look at the following sentence? #1 That comes to 5 dollars with tax. How much should I pay if a salesclerk says this? 5 dollars or 5 dollars plus tax? I don't understand " with " well here. Does "with" mean "include" or "plus"? Thank you.Read More...
"That comes to five dollars WITH tax" means "five dollars INCLUDING tax." If it does not include tax, you would say: "That comes to five dollars PLUS tax." RachelRead More...

(a) New Delhi resident

Here is a sentence from Time magazine. To New Delhi resident Peggy Mohan, yoga had always seemed hopelessly impractical. My question: Is an article not obligatory before New Delhi resident? AppleRead More...
The sentence from Time Magazine is correct. It's an example of journalistic style, popularized by Time Magazine and now widely practiced in the print media. In an effort to "streamline" news reporting, this style takes short cuts, eliminating many function words and full clauses, and rearranging some sentence elements. The sentence, written in non-journalistic style would be, as you correctly assume, "” To Peggy Mohan, a resident of New Delhi, yoga has always seemed hopelessly impractical...Read More...

Swim quickly and/or swim fast?

This question comes from Maria : Why is "You swam very fast" correct, and "You swam very quickly" incorrect?Read More...
Thanks to Apple for the suggested distinction between "fast" and "quickly." While "swim fast" is far more common than "swim quickly," both adverbs are correct. We say that someone swims fast or that s/he is a fast swimmer. But "quickly" can also be used, and is found quite often when the action is one that is completed or that has an implied goal. That is, one can swim quickly from Point A to Point B, as in these Google examples: "” "Marines (must) swim quickly to a drowning victim and still...Read More...

"Pair": singular or plural ?

Dear All, Do we use the singular of plural for the following ? 1) That pair of trousers BELONG or BELONGS to me. 2) A pair of birds SING or SINGS in the garden. 3) The couple LIVE or LIVES next door. Thank you very much. RickyRead More...
It's not always a question of "either-or." We say 1. That pair of trousers BELONGS to me "Pair of trousers, pants, shorts, etc," is usually singular, and takes a singular verb. Still, Google search examples include plural verbs. A search for "pair of trousers HAVE/HAS" reveals 80 examples with HAS and 20 with HAVE. 2. A pair of birds SINGS/SING in the garden Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (1994) states: "Pair is one of those collective nouns that take a singular or plural verb...Read More...

Marketing pigs

Dear experts, Are you familiar with a dated UK idiom BRING ONE'S PIGS TO A FINE MARKET? Thank you, YuriRead More...
Marilyn informs me that she found several examples of "bring pigs to a fine market," using a slightly different search string than I did: "I found 15 (net) Google examples of "...pigs to a fine market," most from dictionaries and 18th- and 19th- century literature." The meaning seems the same as "bring pigs to a pretty market." RachelRead More...

On being awkward

Dear experts, Thank you for the previous clarification. Would you assign slightly different meanings to combinations: be awkward at something be awkward in somethingRead More...
Dictionary.com, at http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=awkward has this usage note for "awkward": "Awkward has a special reference to outward deportment. A man is clumsy in his whole person, he is awkward in his gait and the movement of his limbs . " (bold added) Here are a few citations from Google: "” The term "flapper" first appeared in Great Britain after World War I. It was there used to describe young girls, still somewhat awkward in movement who had not yet entered womanhood. "”...Read More...

"on condition that"

Dear All, Does the subjunctive always follow the phrase "on condition that..." ? For example : "It was on condition that she leave the country." Thank you. RickyRead More...
The results of my research are mixed. Both dictionaries I've consulted provide example sentences with only the indicative in the dependent clause after "on condition that." Neither dictionary offers any example of the subjunctive. The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (2003) gives this example: " He was released on bail on condition that he did not go within half a mile of his mother's address" (Subjunctive would be "that he not go.") The Collins COBUILD English Language Dictionary...Read More...

But...nonetheless

I was taught that but and the adverb showing contrasting ideas ,such as nontheless, nevertheless and the like, should not be used in the same sentence because it tends to make the sentence redundant. However, I found the sentence like the one below very frequently: We should be thankful that Osama bin Laden's intervention in our election took the form of a videotape, and not an attack, as in Madrid on March 11. But it was an attempted intervention nonetheless . What should be the rule that...Read More...
It is entirely possible for the conjuncts "nevertheless" and "nonetheless" to co-occur with "but." According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, New Edition (2003), they mean "In spite of the fact that has just been mentioned." Quirk et al.* give the following list of conjuncts that can co-occur with the coordinators "and" and "but": Besides then (again) [antithetic] still yet nevertheless To this list we should add "nonetheless," a more formal but rarer alternative to the...Read More...

needing??

hello.. Please have a look at this sentence:- When parents buy their children a moblie phone,they imagine them on a street corner somewhere, needing to phone home. Can one use "needing" in the -ing for? ThanksRead More...
Yes, all verbs, including stative ones like "need," can appear in the –ing form when used as present participles, functioning as adjectives, as in your example. You are most likely thinking of verbs such as need, want, understand and know , which, when used as main verbs, usually don't appear in a progressive form. However, they are used as participles, as in these examples from Google: "¢ The Dachshund Rescue Web Page maintains listings of Dachshunds needing homes, breed information and...Read More...

School miss

Dear experts, Would you say that SCHOOL MISS has an accepted figurative meaning other than that of a 'schoolgirl'? Thank you, YuriRead More...
I've found no evidence of metaphorical use of "school miss." Even the term "school miss" to mean "schoolgirl" is unfamiliar to me. I've found a few instances of the term on Google, from British fiction of a couple of centuries ago, or from current romance novels set in the Regency period (early 19th century) in England. "” As I found the family congenial besides the young men, two daughters, one a school miss of fifteen, the other a girl of eight or nine... "” "Wounded in the mind? You sound...Read More...

On getting cured

Dear experts, Many thanks for the very competent past comments. Would you say that as a noun and a verb CURE can take the preposition FROM (SOMETHING) as well as FOR (SOMETHING) though the meaning will be different in each case? Best wishes, YuriRead More...
No. As a noun, there is a cure for something, as you note, in sentences like these: "¢ Punishment can never be an effective cure for acute social problems. "¢ The magic cure for inflation does not exist. "¢ The master web site concerning the cure for common colds using zinc lozenges. www.coldcure.com/ - "¢ ... The remedies do effect a cure for ringing in the ears- the total elimination of the ringing ear noises in most cases or at worst, a substantial reduction of ... www.doctor-brom.com/ As...Read More...

"majority"

A majority continue to support the treaty. continue ---> continues ?Read More...
Thanks, Maple, for a clear and succinct comment. There are two postings in the Grammar Exchange Archives under "collective nouns" that illustrate Maple's remarks.Read More...

Accused / Charged ??

Hi, Please can some help me out.! He was accused/charged with embezzelement, found guilty and sentenced to three years in prision. Is "accused" or "charged" the right word ? Thanks a lot..Read More...
Both "accused of" and "charged with" are correct, but "charged with" is the more official term of the two. "To accuse", according to the Longman Advanced American Dictionary (2001), is ""to say that you think someone is guilty of a crime or of doing something bad: [...] He's accused of murder ." The correct preposition with "accuse" is "of." To accuse someone of something, you do not have to be a member of the police force or the judicial system. For example, you could accuse your roommate...Read More...

one, another, the other

Suppose you have five dogs. You are describing them to a friend. You start with colors. (1)One is black. Another is white. Another is brown. And the others are gray. Can you also say (2)"one is black, one is white, one is brown and the other two are gray"? In EFL classes we are taught (1) is the only correct way of describing a number of countable things in different colors, sizes and other features. I was wondering if (2) is common and acceptable. AppleRead More...
I agree. (1) and (2) are fine; (3) does sound unnatural. I haven't seen the details we are discussing addressed in any grammar text, but this point is interesting to consider. Here are some other possibilities: "¢ Two are yellow, another two are white, three are gray, and (all) the others are brown. "¢ Two are yellow, another two are white, three are gray, and (all) the rest are brown. "¢ Some are yellow, some are white, some are gray, some are brown. "¢ Some are yellow, while others are...Read More...

Included questions

Dear all, Here is a confusing question waiting for you to answer. Do you know __________ to fix a computer? (A) how (B) where (C) what The answer, I think, should be (A). But could (B) be the answer to the question? Do you know how you can fix a computer? --> Do you know how to fix a computer? Do you know where you can fix a computer? --> Do you know where to fix a computer? I know (C) is inappropriate because the verb "fix" cannot have the object "what" as well as another object...Read More...
Answer (A) is the correct one. Answer (B) would be correct only in unusual circumstances. Answer (C), as Erik says, is clearly wrong. The test question asks about the skill or knowledge possessed by the person addressed. If it is aimed at ascertaining the person's skill, the answer is "how to." It is the person addressed that is the understood subject of "to fix." Answer (B) would be about the addressee's knowledge, not his or her skill. It would assume that the addressee has the required...Read More...

get up/ wake up

Hello, Is there any difference between "get up " and " wake up " ? and if so what is it?Read More...
"Get up" means to stand up from a sitting or reclining position. "Wake up" means to awake from sleep. It is possible to wake up at, say, 7:30 a.m. and not get up until 10:00 a.m. for example. _______ Examples of "get up": "¢ Aunt Ella fell down and couldn't get up. "¢ They get up at 6:30 every morning and stumble into the kitchen, still asleep until they have their coffee. "¢ Hello, Darcy. Yes, I'm sick today. I'm not going to work. In fact, I'm going to stay here in bed all day. I'm not...Read More...

'Performance' + ? preposition + a theater

Dear teachers, What preposition is used in the following sentence? The prince and princess arrived at a performance .... the Royal Theatre in Copanhagen. Thank you. Aneeth PrabhakarRead More...
Most likely, you would use AT: The prince and princess arrived at a performance AT the Royal Theater in Copenhagen. "At" is used to indicate the place where something happens, or is situated. It does not take into consideration whether the place is indoors or outdoors. Here is the first entry for "at" from the American Heritage Dictionary: "In or near the area occupied by; in or near the location of: at the market; at our destination ." Here is one reference to a performance (of something)...Read More...
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