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"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...

sentence construction

The following two sentences are from The Economist. (1)If by then Sharon has bested his own settler movement, so much the better for peace. (2)If not even he can extract 7.000 settlers from Gaza, grim times lie ahead. I have no trouble with (1), but (2) puzzles me. What does the first part mean? Does the sentence lack "if" after "even"? AppleRead More...
There are two ways to frame the idea in the if- clause in Sentence 2. The first way is with the negative marking on the verb: "” If even he (Sharon) Sharon can't extract 7,000 settlers from Gaza, grim times lie ahead The second way is with a negative modifier on the grammatical subject, "he" rather than on the verb: "” If not even he (Sharon) can extract 7,000 settlers from Gaza, grim times lie ahead The word "even" goes with "he." It signals that if "he," the person most likely to succeed,...Read More...

wonder / was wondering

Are there any differences between the two sentences: 1. I was wondering if you could collect the data for the meeting. 2. I wonder if you could collect the data for the meeting. Is it possible to say I "am" wondering...? Thank you very much!Read More...
1. The English tense (Past tense) and aspect (Progressive) contribute to achieving tentativeness, each in its own way. The past tense is itself negative in time (not-now-ness); it always reminds one of a time gap between then and now. This gap does the trick in distancing a request from the immediate now. It makes the hearer feel as if he were facing a past request, and makes him feel a lot less guilty to refuse if he wants to. The progressive aspect reminds one of a temporary state or...Read More...

'Gloomy' and 'depressed'

Hello I'd like to ask about the meaning of the words. Are "depressed " and "gloomy" used interchangeably? If not, how do you use them? Thank you.Read More...
While "depressed" and "gloomy" both refer to sadness and darkness, they are not interchangeable. In fact, we would say that a rainy, cloudy day is gloomy, or depressING, but a person is dejected or depressED . A person might be gloomy, too, in disposition and personality, and so spread gloom all around, fitting definition 3a. below. A day or a thing, however, cannot be "depressed," in regard to feelings. Here are definitions from the American Heritage Dictionary*: gloom·y 1. Partially or...Read More...

"one" and "it"

Although I know the basic distinction between "one" and "it", I need a better explanation for the students. Look at the two sentences (1)and (2). (1) Have you ever seen a panda? Yes, I've seen one. (2) Have you ever seen snow? Yes I've seen it. In (1) a panda is not a particular panda but any one of the pandas, so the pronoun is "one" not " it". So far so good. But in (2) snow is any snow, not any particular snow. And yet, the pronoun is "it". "one" is not possible because snow is non count.Read More...
About snow, you can also say "Yes, I've seen SOME." This isn't a generic but it says that you've seen "a certain amount" of the mass noun "snow." MarilynRead More...

Complex Sentence

One of the following sentences contains an independent clause and a dependent clause, which makes it a complex sentence. Which is the complex sentence? 1.After the rain ended, the sky became blue. 2.Jenny was the largest elephant in the circus. 3.I came home; I saw an envelope in the mailbox. 4.I hesitated a moment, but her smile gave me courage.Read More...
The complex sentence is #1. Its independent clause is "the sky became blue." The dependent clause is "after the rain ended." #2 is a simple sentence: one subject, one verb. #3 contains two independent clauses. They are connected here by a semi-colon. A semi-colon is one way to connect independent clauses. You could also use "and" in this case. Or, you could make this sentence into a complex sentence making the first clause a dependent clause. Then the sentence would be: "When I came home, I...Read More...

Dependant Clause

In which sentence are the italicized words a dependent clause? 1.She went swimming, and her brother went boating. 2.The diving board broke when she jumped into the pool. 3.She wanted to leave early, or she wanted to stay overnight. 4.She became angry, but she would not leave without her brother.Read More...
Sentence #2 has the dependent clause. A dependent clause is a clause that can't stand alone in a sentence. "When she jumped into the pool" cannot stand alone. "When" is the subordinating conjunction that introduces the dependent clause. This type of clause is called "dependent" because, in order to exist in a sentence, it needs a stronger, independent clause to connect to. "Subordinating conjunction" (when) refers to the word that makes this clause subordinate to the other, but enables it to...Read More...

Passive Voice

Which sentence uses the passive voice. 1.The rain continued until dawn. 2.John searched for a job. 3.The tree was planted by Mary. 4.Lies destroy friendship.Read More...
# 3 contains the passive verb: "was planted." The passive is identified by a form of the verb "be" -- here it is "was" – plus a past participle, which is "planted" in this sentence. The subject of this verb is "the tree," and "was planted" tells what happened to it. Sentences #1, #2, and #4 have subjects with active verbs. Those subjects perform the action in the sentences. In contrast, in # 3, the subject doesn't perform any action, but action is performed on it (in this case, by Mary). Rachel.Read More...

Dangling Modifier

In which sentence are the italicized words a dangling modifer? 1. Arriving ten minutes late , the store was closed for the night. 2. Flying beneath the cloud ,the pilot could see the airport. 3. Resting on the sea bottom , the old trunk held many coins. 4. Not knowing the danger , the soldiers marched into the trap.Read More...
# 1 has a dangling modifier. "Arriving ten minutes late" is a modifying expression, of course, but it is illogical in the sentence. It has to clearly indicate – probably by being placed right next to – the noun it modifies. The dangling modifier has its name because it "dangles" out there, not attached to anything, #1 could be: "Arriving ten minutes late, Darius found the store closed for the night." RachelRead More...

Gerund Phrase

Which sentence contains words in italics that form a gerund phrase? 1.The laughing boy sat down. 2.An interesting novel provides good entertainment. 3. Winning the race demanded speed and endurance. 4.I am going home .Read More...
Only # 3 has a gerund phrase: "Winning the race." As you know, a gerund is a verb in its noun form. A pronoun could theoretically be substituted for the gerund or gerund phrase. Sentence # 3 could be, if the context were already established: THIS / IT demanded speed and endurance. "Laughing" in #1 is a present participle, as is "interesting" in # 2. "Going" in # 4 is part of the main verb. RachelRead More...

the/a+[relative pronoun] what??

Hello, everyone. My question is about Relative Pronoun "what." Here is some example. (1)"I think they got him with the old high-low," Miller said. That is the what you do against the Rams these days . You hit Miller high and Chandler low. ( The Los Angels Times , Nov.14,1998) (2)However, check the monthly payment quoted by the utility and compare it wiht the what you actually paid last year to ensure you are not over-paying. ( The Observer er, Jan. 11,1998) (3) But if a copy of the what the...Read More...
This is a new construction to me; I've never heard or seen it before. But, doing some searching on Google, I have found enough examples of the construction to conclude that it's not a case of carelessness in writing but a construction that is being used, albeit rarely. From the few example sentences I've found on Google, I've concluded that these wh-combinations, known as nominal relative clauses (e.g. "what you do" or "what you paid), are being treated as a unit of meaning equivalent to a...Read More...

sentence construction questions

I have some questions about the following sentences. (1)The sick can claim 80 percent of their wage up to a certain level, at an annual cost to the taxpayer of about 105 billion kroner($15billion). (2)This is roughly as much as the country spends on defense, foreign aid, higher education and research put together. In (1) the phrase "up to a certain level" indicates what? Level of what? Can the latter half of the sentence be rephrased as "at an annual cost of about 105 billion...Read More...
You're right about Sentence 2: (2)This is roughly as much as the country spends on defense, foreign aid, higher education and research put together. The pronoun "this" obviously refers to a certain amount of money that has just been mentioned, and therefore there's no need for another pronoun to represent it. It's not wrong to use "what," but it's not necessary. Sentence (1) (1)The sick can claim 80 percent of their wage up to a certain level, at an annual cost to the taxpayer of about 105...Read More...

run-on sentence

Which of the following is a run-on sentence. 1.The house was owned by the mayor. 2.Mike joined the army, and he became more disciplined during the training. 3.Karen's uncle arrives tomorrow she wants to see him. 4.We like to take a walk after dinnerRead More...
A run-on sentence is really two sentences, inappropriately joined. It consists of two independent clauses which are not separated by punctuation or joined by a comma with a coordinating conjunction. # 3 is a run-on sentence. "Karen's uncle arrives tomorrow" is the first sentences. It could be followed by a semi-colon before the next sentence, "she wants to see him." Or, the clauses could be joined by "and." RachelRead More...

Parallel construction

Which sentence uses correct parallel construction? 1.The painter wore glasses,gloves,and boots. 2.Most people enjoy ice cream and the plant grows. 3.You can either talk to the manager about your problem or writing a letter to the president of the company. 4.Anyone who is going to work here will have to be athletic,and intelligent person,and have a good sense of humor.Read More...
A parallel structure consists of items in a series that have the same grammatical function. Only # 1 is parallel. # 1 has three nouns as object of the verb 'wore." #2 has no parallel structures. #3 has the first verb in its base form (talk), but the second verb is in an –ing form. This is not parallel. #4 has three items at the end that are all different. These items should be all adjectives (like "athletic," or all nouns preceded by adjectives like "intelligent person," but using "person"...Read More...

Fragment?

Which of the following is a fragment? 1.The truth can be unpleasant. 2.The rams locked horns, and the tourists watched them from far away. 3.The dancer floated across the stage. 4.The canoe with the blue stripes.Read More...
So the only fragment in this group is # 4: the canoe with the blue stripes. All the other items have a subject and a full verb, as Marilyn describes. # 4 has no verb at all. RachelRead More...

'-wise'?

What about adding the suffix "-wise" to mean "regarding" or "in the matter of"? I've heard that it is frowned upon, but it seems efficient. For example: Sandy is a nice guy, but brains-wise he is lacking. Hidden Valley is a lovely place, but culture-wise, it has nothing. HowardRead More...
The use of "-wise" is frowned on, and for a good reason. It's a short cut that's used to avoid having to think of a more precise phrase. Here's an example of "-wise" abuse: "That was a big thrill for me," Dubin said. "It was very successful, both critically and audience appreciation -wise ." (Change to "It was very successful with both the critics and the audience.") It can be used to achieve concision in jargon among a group of specialists: "” I was fiddling at one time with the notion of...Read More...

whom

Hello I'd like to ask about the variation of the question style. Would you take a look at the following sentences? 1) Who was this CD produced by? 2) By whom was this CD produced? 3) Whom was this CD produced by? I think 1) and 2) is correct. 2) is probably formal. However what I'd like to know is whether 3) is still grammatically acceptable or not. When you make a question sentence, do you sometimes use "whom"? Or is "whom" obsolete in the question? Thank you.Read More...
Most speakers would use the active form "” Who produced this CD? or "” Who is/was the producer of this CD? Of the two sentences, Sentence 1 is the more natural, and 2 the more formal, as Lina observes. Sentence 3 is less natural for this reason: It has a preposition at the end, which is a mark of informal or standard usage, and "whom" at the beginning, which is a mark of formal style. The combination isn't incorrect, just somewhat incongruous. MarilynRead More...

'I wish' + which form of 'can' to refer to the past

Hello Would you look at the following sentence? #1 I wish I could drive a car then. I found this in the exercise. I think #1 should be #2 because there is "then." #2 I wish I could have driven a car then. I'll be happy to know the answer. Thank you.Read More...
Thanks to Chuncan Feng for the comprehensive answer. Chuncan Feng is correct in saying that "be able to" is used for past ability: "I wish I had been able to drive a car then" I should add, however, that if the verb "drive" refers to a skill or ability, or to the possibility of performing the action, the idea can be expressed with "could have." Note these examples: "” I wish I could have heard your performance, but I had to be out of town that night "” I wish I could have understood the...Read More...

Direct Object

Choose the sentence in which the verb has a direct object. 1.She is insecure. 2.I walked away. 3.George was furious. 4.They won the game.Read More...
Thank you, Chuncan Feng, for another perfectly correct answer. I am posting here the meanings of your references: S=Subject C=Complement V=Verb O=Object So, "SVC" means the order of the sentence is "Subject," then "Verb," then "Complement," etc. The question asks to identify the sentence with the "direct object." That would be the one Chuncan Feng has indicated as "SVO" -- Subject, Verb, (direct) Object. RachelRead More...

Subject or object pronouns

Select the sentence in which all the pronouns are used correctly. 1.Just between you and I, I am not impressed by our new manager. 2.Be sure to divide all the income from the suburban property between he and I. 3.I sat between him and her during the sales conference. 4.I hope shw will keep this between she and I.Read More...
Thank you, Chuncan Feng, for a clear and succinct answer. Using the subject pronoun instead of the correct object pronoun is a frequently heard error. It is often used, even by educated people, because they think it sounds more formal, and therefore correct, but this is not true. RachelRead More...
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