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Word forms

This question has been sent in by Ahmed. Please tell me the correct word forms: GIVE THE ADJECTIVE achievement - prospect - sense . GIVE THE NOUN call - appoint - introduce .Read More...
The adjective forms are: achievable prospective sensing / sensed / (could also be "sense" as in "sense organ"). The noun forms are: call appointment introduction. RachelRead More...

There is no/there isn't any

Please tell me what is the difference between the following expressions ? . A) There is no light in the room . B) There isn't any light in the room . Please , I want to know the following : 1) The difference in meaning . 2) The difference between ( no ) and ( not ) . 3) The rule which must be applied in any other expressions similar with the mentioned expressions . Thank you very much for your kind help . AhmedRead More...
"No" acts as an adjective. As an adjective, in modifies a noun. In your sentence A), "no" modifies the noun "light. "No" means "not any," or "not a/an." As you know, if the verb is negative, "no" is not used to modify a phrase following it. That would give us a "double negative," which is not correct in standard English. But, in A), the verb is affirmative, and "no" – meaning "zero" – modifies "light." _______ Sentence B) has the same meaning as sentence A). However, in this sentence, the...Read More...

Reported speech

I have a question and its answer . Please check the answer and tell me if there is anything wrong ? Question : ------------ CHANGE INTO REPORTED SPEECH : - The clerk asked me ,' Will you leave your name?' Answer : ---------- - The clerk asked me if I will leave my name . ------------------------------------------------ Please tell me is there any mistake in this answer . Wating for your kind reply . Thanks and best regards . AhmedRead More...
"Will" is not correct. The correct form is "”The clerk asked me if I would leave my name Because the event was past, the verb in the original utterance has to be "backshifted" to the past tense. It would, however, be more natural to represent the request as The clerk asked me to leave my name ...but of course in that case you would not be able to show your grasp of backshifting. MarilynRead More...

Examples of state verbs

Would you please give me some examples of state verbs ?. Only the verbs , not in sentences . Thank you very much . AhmedRead More...
State, or stative, verbs express physical, mental, or emotional states, not actions. Some common state, or stative, verbs are know/like/have (possess)/realize/appreciate/hope/imagine/believe/assume/doubt/feel For example: "”I don't like this sushi; it's too salty "”We hope you will be acquitted soon "”Yoshi imagines that he's more attractive than he is "”What's the matter? Do you doubt that I love you? "”I'd like to have a larger apartment, but that's out of the question MarilynRead More...

so as/so that

Dear experts, Is the difference between SO AS and SO THAT purely structural? Thank you, YuriRead More...
Yes. And stylistic. The Collins COBUILD has this entry at "so": You use so, so that, and so as to introduce the reason for doing the thing that you have just mentioned: Come to my suite so I can tell you all about the wonderful play I saw in Boston...He took her arm and hurried he upstairs so that they wouldn't be overheard...I was beginning to feel alarm, but kept it to myself so as not to worry our two friends. The New York Times Archives of very recent articles has these passages: "¢ Each...Read More...

Verb form after "like"

Would you please tell me what is the difference between the following sentences : a) I like to take a cold bath in the morning . b) I like taking a cold bath in the morning . Thanks a lot . ahmedRead More...
The difference is very slight, and is one of aspect. When you use the infinitive after "like" you are probably not performing the action, but are rather talking about the action in the abstract. When you say "I like" plus the gerund, you are probably engaged in the activity as you speak. This is not a clear-cut distinction, but it's often the case. In The Grammar Book (Heinle & Heinle, 1999) Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman state: "Some degree of correlation exists between the choice of...Read More...

Must/have to in the past

Here is another question about direct and indirect speech from Egyptian grammar book : DIRECT : ------------ He said to me , " My mother must go abroad ." INDIRECT : ------------- He told me that his mother would have to go abroad . Dear Marilyn, as you see , the author of the book has changed ( must ) to ( would have to ) . He said that ( must ) here means the future , that is why he has changed it into ( would have to ). Please tell me : 1- Is it correct ? ( What he has said ) . 2 - when...Read More...
The textbook explanation is not correct. "Would have to," which is a "future in the past," is not the "reported" version of "must." "Must" is changed to "had to" in the past in a main clause , but when "must" occurs in reported speech"”in a dependent clause"”it doesn't change form. It remains simply "must." If the direct quote were "My mother will have to go abroad," the reported version would be "He told me that his mother would have to go abroad." This is the normal backshifting from...Read More...

Will/going to and future progressive

Please help me with these questions 1) what is the difference between : a) I will buy a house . b) I'm going to buy a house . 2) Please tell me what does the following sentence mean ? - I will be helping my mother tomorrow . N.B : It's from a grammar book . The author said it means that I didn't plan to help my mother but I want to help her . I think it's not correct and it means that I have planed or have the intention to help her . please let me know your opinion . What is the correct...Read More...
Sentence 1a can have various meanings, most of them involving the speaker's will. Sentence 1b expresses the speaker's plan for a future action. There's a long thread on the topic "Will' or "going to," last posted January 17, 2004. It's currently on Page 54 of the board. You will find it very helpful. If, after reading it, you have further questions, please be sure to ask. The future progressive, "I will be helping my mother tomorrow," means that the speaker expects to help his/her mother the...Read More...

Habit in the past

Dear Sir, Please help me with this question . You know that ( always) and ( often) are used with the present simple . So, Please tell me , is it correct to say : a) My son often won prizes . b) She always wore glasses . I think that when we express habit in the past ,we should say : - My son used to win prizes . - She used to wear glasses . ** please let me know your comment . Was it correct to use ( often ) and ( always ) in the mentioned sentences with the past simple ? ** and if it was...Read More...
It is true that "always" and "often" are sometimes used with the simple present tense. We see this a lot in grammar books because "always" and "often" can easily help a student to distinguish between something that always or often happens and something that is happening now. For example: John always plays tennis on Saturdays. but John is playing tennis right now. However, "always" and "often" can be used in the past tense, too, as well as in other tenses. Your sentences are correct: (a) My...Read More...

an/the only child

Dear experts, How do we discriminate between AN ONLY CHILD THE ONLY CHILD The best part about growing up AN only child is that you don't have to share your toys with anyone else. Deprived of siblings, THE only child is a born autocrat. Everything is done as per the whims and fancy of the only child. Thank you, YuriRead More...
The difference between "an only child" and "the only child" is not in the expression, but in the article. As you know, both "an" and "the" can introduce a single item used to make a generalization, sometimes with no, or almost no, difference in meaning. In Quirk*: "...all three major forms of article ( the, a/an, and zero) may be used generically to refer to the members of a class in toto : The bull terrier makes an excellent watchdog. A bull terrier makes an excellent watchdog. Bull...Read More...

capacity as

Which ones are correct: 1-They gave that information to me in my capacity as their lawyer. 2-They gave me that information in my capacity as their lawyer. 3-In my capacity as their lawyer, they gave that information to me. 4-They gave that information to me as their lawyer.Read More...
All the sentences are understandable. In the first sentence, "in my capacity as their lawyer" describes "me," so the phrase very nicely and correctly goes next to "me" in the first sentence. The second sentence, too, is perfectly clear, and the fact that "in my capacity as their lawyer" does not immediately follow the indirect object "me" is not bothersome or awkward. The third sentence is awkward, and even incorrect. If the sentence starts "In my capacity as their lawyer," the next word...Read More...

The action that happened just before a moment

Hi, When i want to talk about an action that finished just before now, what should i use: Present Perfect or Present Perfect Progressive. Thanks. Omar-85Read More...
First, I direct you to the Archives of the Grammar Exchange. On the left side of the page, under "Grammar Q + A," click on Archives. Then go to present perfect progressive vs. present perfect. There you will find a clear explanation of the differences between these two tenses. _______ In addition, the following comments may be helpful. Most likely, you would use the present perfect, especially with the word "just." The present perfect may refer to an action that is finished but is very...Read More...

'if' vs. 'when'

peteryoung
Even when they have young children to raise, parents increasingly break up if/when their psychological and self-fulfillment needs are unmet in the marriage relationship. I was asked to choose the word (between 'if' and 'when') to make the sentence appear more native-sounding. How are 'if' and 'when' different in such context? Thank you very much.Read More...
The focus of many families shifted away from childrearing to the psychological well-being and self-development of their adult members. One indication of this latter focus is that, even when they have young children to raise, parents increasingly break up if their psychological and self-fulfillment needs are unmet in the marriage relationship. The article itself has "if" as the word you question. "If" is fine. "When" would be a good choice, too. However, it may be that the writer wants to...Read More...

'as it is'

What is the meaning of 'as it is' in the following sentence? We get enough rejection as it is. When should 'as it is' be used? Is it used more often in speech? HenryRead More...
"As it is" means "the way things are now, even without any changes." So your sentence means: "¢ We get enough rejection as it is. The way things are now, we are always getting rejected. Let's not put ourselves in a position to be rejected further. _______ The Collins COBUILD* has this definition for "as it is": "You use expressions such as as it is, as it turns out , and as things stand when you are making a contrast between a possible situation and what actually happened or is the case. I...Read More...

'as have their parents'

peteryoung
They have been projected, as have their parents and grandparents, as passive victims without the benefit of international protection. Children are in some respects more healthier and materially better off; they have completed more years in school, as have their parents I wonder if the same phrase 'as have their parents' differs in meaning in the two sentences above? Maybe in sentence 1 it means "just like their parents", while in sentence 2 it means 'so have their parents"? I'm not sure...Read More...
In the first sentence, "as have their parents and grandparents" means, as you note, "just like their parents." The inversion with "as" is a very formal style. It stands for the clause without inversion: "as their parents and grandparents have (been protected)." Michael Swan* states: In a very formal style, as is sometimes followed by auxiliary verb + subject ... She was a Catholic, as were most of her friends He believed, as did all his family, that the king was their supreme lord. _______...Read More...

present / past

Hi, Sue's home work wasn't very good. Your homework is better than Sue's . In the above why is *was* used in the 1st sentence and *is * in the second. Shouldn't both the tenses be in the same time. I am a bit confused..please help.. Thanks a lotRead More...
The speaker could have used all past tense or all present tense, but has chosen to create a distance between the present moment and the homework that "Sue" did. Sue's homework is not connected to the present moment. In using the present tense about the addressee's work, the speaker is making it the focus of attention. The speaker could continue talking in the present tense about the addressee's homework, saying, for example, "”It shows that you're taking the course seriously "”You're...Read More...

'narcissistic or self-oriented'

peteryoung
Today, we see a large number of people who are narcissistic or self-oriented , and who show concern for social institutions only when these direct affect their own well-being. My question is why did the author use 'OR' instead of "and"? A search at Google reveals that "AND" in this context is in the majority. After all, they are largely synonymous, aren't they. My hunch is that the author intended the word 'self-oriented' to be a alternative to the somewhat less used 'narcissistic'. Would...Read More...
You're right: the writer is giving a gloss for "narcissistic," but forgot something. The confusion could have been prevented with one simple punctuation mark: a comma after "narcissistic." Writers often use a technical word and then gloss it with a familiar, everyday expression. The "or" doesn't signal an alternative; it signals a more familiar term for the same thing. The sentence, correctly punctuated is "”Today, we see a large number of people who are narcissistic , or self-oriented, and...Read More...

uses of 'will'

I find that some uses of 'will' are hard to understand. For example: A: I heard that there will be a new guy. B: That will be me. A: How much is it? B: That will be $12.50. Why is 'will' used above? Why not 'is'?Read More...
Both of these uses of "will" are strategies designed to make interpersonal communication as pleasant as possible. It would be correct to use the simple present also, but in these cases the speakers have decided that the simple present is too direct. It's more polite to use "will" than the simple present "is." In the first exchange, it would be slightly rude to say "That's me." B is using "will" to express, not a bald fact but a "probability" in the present, a common function of "will." It's...Read More...

'although' vs. 'even though'

peteryoung
In all societies the biological father is identified where possible, and in almost all societies he plays an important role in his children's upbringing, even though/although his primary task is often that of a protector and breadwinner. I was asked to choose the better one. I find it very hard. What serious difference would there be if we just use them interchangably? Thank you very much.Read More...
In the passage, either expression is completely acceptable. The two expressions are so close in meaning as to be interchangeable. A question that asks for the "better" one is excessively "picky." The choice is a purely subjective one: if the writer thinks that the contrast between the two facts"”that the father plays an important role in his children's upbringing on the one hand and the fact that his primary task is often that of a protector and breadwinner"”is of "normal" strength, the...Read More...

Why do you think she killed herself?

I think "Why do you think she killed herself?" means "I wonder why she killed heself. Do you have any idea regarding the reason of her suicide?" But could it be interpreted as "What makes you think that she killed herself? (It could be an accident....)" I doubt it, but it's always difficult for a non-native to deny a possibility.... Thank you. KenRead More...
Grammarians differ widely on the terms they use for "that" when it begins a relative clause. It's often called a relative pronoun, but technically it isn't. I used to know why, but the details have not stayed with me. I used the term "relativizer", but I could just as well have used "complementizer," since "that" is a kind of complementizer. "Relativizer" is a more specific term, being limited to the complementizer that introduces a relative clause. "That" is also called by some grammarians...Read More...

settling down

Dear experts, Would you confirm that the expressions below have different meanings: settle in something settle oneself in something settle in something – (also: settle down in something) 1. start living in a place: They settled in Australia. 2. establish oneself in a new home, job, etc.: settle oneself in something – make oneself comfortable in a seat: I settled myself comfortably in the armchair. Thank you, YuriRead More...
The verbs "settle" and "settle down," which have many permutations, share some of the same meanings. The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, at http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=72165&dict=CALD states settle (LIVE) Show phonetics verb 1 [I usually + adverb or preposition] to go and live somewhere, especially permanently: After they got married, they settled in Brighton http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=settle.down*1+0&dict=P settle down to start living...Read More...

'depend on someone to provide something'

peteryoung
Throughout our nation's history, we have depended heavily on the family to provide both social order and economic success I can understand this sentence, but I wonder about the grammatic role of the infinitive phrase "to provide both social order and economic success". How should we do the sentence analysis? Should it be: [depended heavily on the family][to provide both social order and economic success] or [depended heavily on] [the family to provide both social order and economic success]...Read More...
The first part of the sentence is "”We have depended heavily on the family This is the nucleus of the sentence. The rest of the sentence is the complement. The construction consists of Grammatical subject: "”We Prepositional verb: "”have depended [heavily] on Object of preposition: "”[the] family "We have depended heavily on the family" is one unit; "on" should not be separated from its verb or its object, "[the] family." Infinitive complement of "depend" after the object of the preposition:...Read More...

only for a month, for only a month.

I'm pretty sure that the following two sentences mean the same. If there is any difference, what would that be? 1. He's been in Spain only for a month, but he already knows a lot of Spanish. 2. He's been in Spain for only a month, but he already knows a lot of Spanish. AppleRead More...
Yes, the meaning changes. Or, more accurately, "if only" cannot be used in the sentence as it is. "The committee can make its decision by Friday of next week only if it receives a copy of the latest report " means that the committee can make its decision by Friday of next week only in the event that it receives a copy of the latest report. On the other hand, "if only" introduces an idea with a conditional meaning. Your sentence with "if only" – with some appropriate changes -- would mean:...Read More...

Comparative Structures

Quirk et al (1985, p1135)* discussed (1)-(4) on more ... than comparison: (1) There are more intelligent monkeys than Herbert. (2) There are monkeys more intelligent than Herbert. (3) I have never seen a dog more obviously friendly than your cat. (4) I have never seen a more obviously friendly dog than your cat. According to Quirk et al, in (1) Herbert is a monkey. In (2) Herbert may be a monkey or a man. While (3) is OK, (4) is semantically unacceptable because it implies the dog in...Read More...
Many of these sentence types are very unusual and rare, if they exist at all. My comments should be taken accordingly. (5) There is as intelligent a monkey as Herbert. OK, if Herbert is a monkey. The negative is more acceptable: "”There isn't as intelligent a monkey as Herbert. The construction does occur, but more usually with an adverbial of time or space or a full clause as the second part (Google examples): "”I do not think that there is as big a volume as even a few years ago. That is...Read More...

"Simple Past" or "Past Perfect"

I am very confused with the usage of the two. For example, please help me to understand the difference between using a "Simple Past" and "Past Perfect" in the following, and which one is really correct: 1- I had a good situation to finish the report. 2- I Had had a good situation to finish the report. When should we use "Past Perfect" rather than "Simple Past" in english. Thanks very very much. CyrusRead More...
The Grammar Exchange has a huge number of posts about the past perfect vs. the simple past. You can see all of them if you click on "Find" on the Questions and Answers page and type in "Past perfect." This will bring up many entries, most (but not all) of which describe the difference between the simple past and the past perfect. In the meantime, here's a capsule illustrating the difference. (First, the sentence needs a bit of correcting. If you use the infinitive after "situation," it...Read More...
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