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Why - a 3-room flat

Grateful if you could explain why it is written - (a) The 3-room flat was very spacious and not the 3-roomed flat? (b) I have a 4-room flat (c) He was outbid for the 40-room property. What is the correct English and why. Thanks for your assistance. Warmest regards, Siva.Read More...
The noun "room" does not become the past participle of a verb "room" as you suggest. It serves as an adjective for another noun, "flat." A noun used as a modifier – "room" in the sentences above – combines with a number expression to form an adjective. Adjectives in English are normally only in a singular form. I have a house. I have a large house. I have a six-room house. This street has large houses. This street has eight-room houses. This orchard produces apples. It is an apple orchard...Read More...

prefer to.... to

Hello everybody! Could anyone please tell me if my sentence below is correc? I prefer to stay at home to go to that party. Thanks a lot!Read More...
No, the sentence is not correct. Here is a correct sentence: "¢ I prefer to stay at home THAN to go to that party. RachelRead More...

She came(crying) into my room (crying).

Is there a difference between the two? Is one preferred over the other? She came into my room crying. She came crying into my room. Thank you.Read More...
Both versions are grammatical. They are different in their focus, however. Since the most important information comes at the end of an utterance, the first version, "” She came into my room crying ... means "She came into my room, and as she came, she was crying." When you say "” She came crying into my room ...you are giving the location "” the room "” more importance than the crying. You are saying "As she was crying, she came into my room." In some cases, postponing the participle to the...Read More...

so...as/as...as

Hi, one more question: Does 'so...as' expression have the same meaning to 'as...as', escpecially when they are preceded by 'not'? If there is difference, would you let me know? Vaguely I have thought the two expressions are identical, but I want to be clear on that, if you kindly help. Sorry for not suggesting specific examples in this question.Read More...
You must be referring to the negative structure, not so...as... . Yes, it has the same meaning as not as...as . Michael Swan* states: After not , we can use so...as... instead of as...as... . This structure is more common than less than in informal English. He's not as/so successful as his sister. Rachel _______ *Practical English Usage, Second Edition, by Michael Swan. Oxford University Press. 1995Read More...

one and it/that

Hi, Even though grammar books explain the distinction between one and it as pronouns, sometimes it is confusing to select one, or explain the difference to students. For example, I failed to give proper answer to the following question: Q)Aerobic activities are those/ones that exercise the heart. (The answer is 'those') Always thanking you...Read More...
The sentence needs a demonstrative pronoun, not an indefinite pronoun. To refer to the aerobic activities in this sentence, the speaker could also use "the ones.". You could say: Aerobic activities are THOSE that exercise the heart. Aerobic activities are THE ONES that exercise the hears. _______ A description of "that and those as substitute forms" in Quirk* includes this: "As demonstrative pronouns, that and those ....are equivalent to the one and the ones ..." These examples from Quirk...Read More...

Contraction ending, "Yes, I'm" is not correct.

I know this is insignificant but a beginner student asked me and I didn't know. We all know that the following sentences (1) (2) are not correct, because they end in an abbreviation. (1) Yes, I'm. (2) Yes, he's. But in negative answers, abbreviation ending is acceptable. (3) No, he isn't. Why is this? AppleRead More...
If you want a rule that's strictly about negative short answers beginning with "No" and ending with "not" that is simple and easily remembered, you can use the "three beat minimum" idea. As we say in colloquial American English, "Hey, if it works for you, do it!" Such a rule wouldn't, however, cover a negative short utterance like this (Google example): "” needs to take a deep breath before he claims this as his own. It's not , and we are not going to let him off the hook for his ...Read More...

LIGHT HEAD?

Dear experts, Will LIGHTHEAD or LIGHT HEAD used nominally mean anything to you? Thank you, YuriRead More...
A small, additional note: Apparently some fans of the singer Gordon Lightfoot call themselves "Lightheads." You can read some of their various definitions of "Lighthead" at http://www.corfid.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/002054.html The construction seems to be an analogy with forms like "cokehead"(cocaine addict), "crackhead" (crack cocaine addict), and "pothead" (marijuana addict). MarilynRead More...

US/UK English

Dear experts, What would the phrases below mean (if at all?) to a speaker of American English: CAR PARK CHAT UP LEG IT OFF LICENCE (noun) PUSH BIKE (noun) TAKE AWAY (noun) Thank you, YuriRead More...
Just today, an article in the Miami Herald was introduced by this headline: Bush chatting up senators on court seat The opening paragraphs describe how Bush used the activity of chatting to try to persuade certain senators to think in the way he does: WASHINGTON - President Bush is sitting down to breakfast today with key Senate leaders from both parties to talk about filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court -- a highly unusual gesture from this president. Why is he doing it? Though...Read More...

"need," and "want"

1. I want a cat. 2. I want cats. 3. I want some cats. 4. I need a pen. 5. I need pens. 6. I need some pens. Are all the above grammatically correct? Is (2) somehow unnatural? Apple.Read More...
All the sentences are grammatically correct. I think the reason that Sentence 2 looks unnatural is that we don't ordinarily consider cats as something that you use, like pens. We can say "I need to replenish my supply of pens" but, although it's grammatically correct, we wouldn't normally say "?I need to replenish my supply of cats." We do use "want + cats" with no quantifier, when we are referring to the species as a kind of animal . Google examples: "” I want cats, and so do most country...Read More...

Questions regarding "rather than", "prefer" in complex sentences

Hi again, Are the following sentences correct? or how to make them sound better? 1. My mother would rather we caught the bus, rather than walk home after the party. My mother would prefer us to catch the bus rather than walk home after the party. My mother would rather we emailed each other once a week, rather than spend half an hour on the phone every night. My mother would prefer us to email each other, rather than spend half an hour on the phone every night. 2. My mother would rather we...Read More...
The noun clause complement of a verb is also called the "direct object" of the verb. The noun clause complement/direct object of "I'd rather" in the sentence is "...you came with us." The "because-" clause is a separate construction, not directly related to the content of the main clause. It's not about the action that the speaker would rather have happen; it tells the reason for the speaker's preference. The tense of the verbs in this kind of clause aren't affected by the tense of the verb...Read More...

School, University

I'm just wondering how to differentiate between "at school", "in school", "at university", and "in university" and also "apply to (a) university" and "apply for university". And is "university" count or uncount in these expressions? I know the following are idiomatic expressions: She does well in school. He is very unhappy at school. When you apply to a university, you need to have the right prerequisites. She graduated with high enough marks to apply for university. But I don't have a more...Read More...
British English and American English differ in many of these expressions. In British English (BrE), someone is "AT university," while in American English (AmE) one is "AT A university" if the name of the institution is not known, and "at THE university" if the speaker and hearer do know which institution is involved, especially if the university is the only one in the town or city. If you know the name of the institution, however, you would probably say "He's at (X) [university]." The noun...Read More...

some, any,

How am I supposed to explain the difference between the following pairs of sentences to EFL students? Does one of each sound unnatural? Are there specific situations where one of each sounds odd? 1) I need some money. 2) I need money. (more than clothes and shelter?) 3) She is going to buy some bread. 4) She is going to buy bread. (not rice and pasta?) 5) Does she want any advice? (I'm not sure if she wants some) 6) Does she want advice? (or just information?) Apple.Read More...
Your intuitions about Sentences 1 through 4, and in general about 5 and 6, are absolutely right. When you use the quantifier "some," you have in mind a certain unspecified amount (or number , in the case of plural nouns) of the thing mentioned. If, in contrast, you want to specify only what kind of thing you are talking about, you don't use any quantifier. Sentences 5 and 6 illustrate a slightly different contrast. Actually, there's a three-way contrast: 5. Does she want any advice? (I'm not...Read More...

More than one

Hi,more questions More than one student is/are involved in the incident. does "more than one" modeify a singular or a plural phrase? Thank you from the heart for your time.Read More...
Both singular and plural verbs are used with "more than one," but in different proportions. You will find two very informative threads about "more than one" on the "Questions and Answers" board. The first thread was started on May 02, 2003 with a posting by ananja, titled "There is or there are." It's currently on Page 50 of Questions and Answers. The other thread was started by hogel on August 02, 2004 and is titled "'More than one' and agreement." It's currently on Page 24 of Questions and...Read More...

was living, and lived.

Of the two choices, why is (1) preferred? Is (2) grammatically incorrect? What can I best explain this usage? (1) She was living in Paris when I first met her. (2) She lived in Paris when I first met her. AppleRead More...
The verb "live," together with "stand, sit," and "lie," are called "stance verbs" (Quirk et al., pp.205-6). When they are used in the progressive they indicate a temporary state. Sentence 1 strongly suggests that "she" didn't live in Paris permanently. Google examples: "” said. Wilson and her husband were living in Washington when they first heard about homes made of structural insulated panels. Images ... http://www.constructioncontent.com/ cgi-bin/content/detail_page.cgi?ID=466 "” I was...Read More...

"gotten" VS "got"

One of my students wrote "Since the most important financial city in the United States has finally gotten n back on track, other countries of the Pacific Rim will surely benefit from such an effect. ", and his teacher corrected the sentence and wrote "got", in stead of "gotten". I'm certain of the following phrases where gotten (the participle of "get") is used. He's just gotten the money from the bank. He's just gotten her to do it. How 'bout in idioms, phrasal verbs and other uses that use...Read More...
There's a big difference between the past participles of the verb "get" in UK English (BrE) and American English (AmE). In BrE, the past participle is "got." If the teacher is teaching the students British English exclusively, "gotten" might be frowned on, but it's not "wrong." At the most, it's an American English form that might be considered stylistically inconsistent with the rest of the text. In AmE, the past participle is usually "gotten," but "got" is also used in some expressions,...Read More...

past tense regarding "I was wondering"

A similar question regarding how long the past tense should be maintained. I was just wondering if it was/is possible to come tomorrow. If it was/is possible, i was just wondering if you would/will be available tomorrow? I was just wondering if you'd/will be kind enough to watch this for me while I am/was gone? I was just wondering if Susan was/is there because I am/was supposed to talk to her on the phone now. I was just wondering if you wanted/want me to go now since he is/was here now?Read More...
Many indirect yes-no questions in interpersonal exchanges use the past tense in "I was wondering" as a mark of politeness, by making the utterance more tentative-sounding. If the past tense is used in the included yes-no questions, however, the utterance usually sounds excessively deferential and artificial. Furthermore, clauses about the present that are not the complements of the verb "wonder" are not backshifted to the past. Here are the usual forms, with a few comments: 1. I was just...Read More...

"would" - how long should the "past tense" be kept

I have several questions regarding how long the past tense should be kept in sentenses involving the use of "would" (as I have difficulty explaining it to one of my students). (Some sentences below are purposefully made longer to include more clauses that they might sound a bit awkward.) 1. I'd like it if we were/are friends. I'd like it if we didn't/don't talk about it. 2. You'd think I have/had/would've done it. You'd never think she was/is the daughter of a banker. You'd think there...Read More...
This group of sentences contains several different uses of "would": present counterfactual statement, present request, present suggestions, and expression of present preference. A few of the utterances could be interpreted more than one way. 1. I'd like it if we were friends. This is a counterfactual conditional. Therefore, "were" is correct. I'd like it if we didn't talk about it. Like Sentence 1, this is a present counterfactual conditional. 2a. You'd think I had/would've done it. "Have"...Read More...

To discounts for?

The warning came as the ruling party announced a plan to give its 15 million registered members "high-tech" cards that will entitle them to discounts for products and services from several businesses. Q: Is "to discounts" correct in this sentence? I'm not sure about the function of "discounts" in this sentence.Read More...
"Discounts" is a plural count noun. The verb "entitle" takes a direct object and either an infinitive complement or a to- prepositional phrase as complement. For example "” Your ticket entitles you to sit in Rows U through Z ("to" is part of the infinitive) "” This coupon entitles you to a free soda or small-size popcorn ("to" is a preposition) Google examples: "” The membership fee of $75 entitles you to a variety of valuable member benefits , including Travel Professional magazine,...Read More...

on the other hand, on the contrary.

Are the two phrases interchangeable? On the other hand. On the contrary. AppleRead More...
The two expressions are often classified together as "markers of contrast," but they are in fact quite different in their functions. When you use "on the other hand," the information in the second statement differs in some way from the information in the first. Usually both statements are affirmative, or both negative. Google examples: "” Ms. Golde emphasizes that this is another way that the sciences are structured differently from the humanities. In a science department, students are in...Read More...

Present/past/past perfect in dependent clauses

Dear All, A.The following is from a newspaper in England : "Interestingly, only a few of those present ... had been to Africa.Few seemed to have their facts correct and some even used to think that Africa is one large country. Q: As it is not a general truth ( Africa being one large country ) and the sentence starts off in the past tense, why "is" ? B.Which of the following is correct : 1. Glad to hear that you had had a good holiday. 2. Glad to hear that you had a good holiday. Thank you...Read More...
Sentence A: Either the present or the past tense is OK, although the past tense is more natural. The past tense "was" confines the idea of the people's misconception about Africa to the past situation. It also makes the wrong idea psychologically "remote," since it isn't true. It would also be correct to say "...and some even used to think that Africa is one large country." The present tense of BE is acceptable for two reasons. First, the passage may be relevant to the political realities of...Read More...

Have or has with plural company names

Rachel has asked me to post this question from Joan Frakes: I have a question on has/have. Here is my sentence: Eagle Publications have seven directories closing in September. Do I use have or has? Thank You! MarilynRead More...
In American English, the verb following a company name, regardless of whether the name involves a plural or not, should be singular. The sentence should read "” Eagle Publications has seven directories closing in September. Other examples, from Google: "” Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH) is an investment banking and financial services firm. It is a market leader in equity and fixed income sales, trading and research, investment banking, private equity, and private banking. "” Sinauer Associates...Read More...

Position of prepositional phrase

Please consider the phrase below: The box containing the Spanish coins from the 1540s To me, the prepositional phrase "from the 1540s" could modify either "box" or "coins", which leads to difference in meaning. However, someone has argued that this phrase is indeed not ambiguous because the rule of thumb is the prepositional phrase is supposed to modify the noun closest to it; "coins" in this case. What do you think about this argument? Moreover, I suggest the revised version as follows: The...Read More...
The rule of thumb is indeed that the prepositional phrase modifies the closest noun. There's no ambiguity in the original phrase. If the box, and not the coins, were from the 1540s you would write "” The box from the 1540s containing Spanish coins If the coins have not been mentioned previously, however, they're "new" information, and there's no reason for the second "the." The sentence should read "” The box containing Spanish coins from the 1540s (If, on the other hand, the text has...Read More...

beside / besides

Hello, My question is, when the context does not create any ambiguity, and the idea we wish to convey is that of "in addition to", would you say that both "beside" and "besides" are equally fine, or is "besides" still preferable? This is what I found on the dictionary.com site: Some critics argue that beside and besides should be kept distinct when they are used as prepositions. According to that argument, beside is used only to mean "at the side of," as in There was no one in the seat...Read More...
Thanks again, Marilyn! GiseleRead More...

Type of sentence ?

Dear All, Could someone please tell me what kind of sentences are the following ? A."We'd been meaning to do it for ages.The idea was that we leave our London home in January and take over their house in Melbourne for three months." Q: I know "leave" is right but how do you explain the present tense when the rest is in the past tense ? B.Now, as she drove north, she decide she would refuse their offer to stay overnight. Q: A similar question to the one above, but this time, I'm not sure if...Read More...
Sentence B is not right. The verb "decide" should be put in the past form, "decided". Sentence A might be possible - it doesn't sound too bad - it's like saying, "The idea was that we should leave..." - in this case, we're omitting the modal "should", and we're left with the base form, "leave" - i.e., "leave" is definitely not a simple present - it's an example of subjunctive, when the base form is used. This formal structure is normally seen after certain "urgency/asking" verbs (such as...Read More...
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