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Capitalization

Which of the following italicized words is correctly capitalized? 1.Mount mckinley is the talles moountain in North America. 2.The most beautiful State is Hawaii. 3.Marsha speaks excellent german . 4.Jim must drice to the North to study the northern lights.Read More...
Only # 4 is capitalized correctly. In # 1, the entire proper name needs initial capital letters: Mount McKinley. In # 2, the word "state" does not need a capital. Only if it is used as part of a name, perhaps an official name, is it capitalized: the State of Hawaii. In # 3, "German" needs a capital letter. Nationalities and languages are capitalized. In # 4, "North" has a capital letter because it refers to a region, and is used as a noun. Used as an adverb – he drove north, or in the...Read More...

Agreement problem

maple
In the course of my work I came across the following: "There's just a handful of companies in the world that have specialized in this process." Question: Is the appropriate verb "is" or "are"? Considerations: 1) The noun "handful" as the subject of the sentence seems to demand "is" as the verb -- e.g. A handful is all you need. 2) The "intended subject" (and hence number) is clearly plural (i.e. obviously more than one company). Of course a re-write would make it clearer: "There are...Read More...
Many thanks for such a thorough analysis Marilyn.Read More...

Compound Predicate

Choose the sentence that has a compound predicate. 1.Swimming and golfing are Jim's favorite sports. 2.Sue and I will listen. 3.Sandy washed and ironed her clothes. 4.We went home to eat and to study.Read More...
If I understand your "compound predicate" correctly: 1. A SVC sentence. Not a compound predicate. 2. A SVC sentence. Not a compound predicate. 3. A S[VO+VO] sentence. A compound predicate, with the two verbs sharing the same object. 4. A SV[A+A] sentence. Not a compound predicate, with a single verb action governing two purposes. Chuncan Feng ChinaRead More...

Subject Complement

Choose the sentence that has a subject complement. 1.The nurse felt my pulse. 2.I felt much better. 3.The day ended with many surprises. 4.We can't leace without seeing her.Read More...
1. A SVO sentence. 2. A SVC sentence. 3. A SVO sentence. "End with" is treated just like a single transitive verb. To determine whether a verb phrase like this (V+Prep) can be treated like a single transitive verb, one needs only to look it up in a dictioary and check whether the verb phrase is listed as a fixed phrase. If one can find it listed in the dictionary, then it is more likely to be treated like a single transitive verb. Sometimes a more complex verb phrase, such as "take care of"...Read More...

Singular Possessive Case

Which one of the following is a correct example of the singular possessive case? 1.women's club. 2.audiences' reaction. 3.who's job. 4.king's rightsRead More...
1. "A women's club" is, in your terms, singular possessive. It is a club whose members are women. "Women's" is a classifying genitive. Another such example is "a girls' school". 2. "An/The audience's reaction": "audience" is a collective noun involving a group of people. 3. "who's job" is not acceptable. Say "whose job" instead. 4. "A king's rights" again may or may not involve a classifying genitive, depending on your way of interpreting the word "king". As a classifying genitive, "a king's...Read More...

Plural Possessive Case?

Which one of the following is a corrext example of the Plural Possessive case? 1.stone's throw 2.men's plans 3.it's place 4.woman's plansRead More...
1. "A stone's throw" is generally treated as an idiom. Without the preceding "a", "stone's throw" is not acceptable. Literally it means the distance that one gets by throwing a stone. Figuratively, it means "a very short distance away". So the expression is usually in the singular. 2. "Men's plans" is already plural possessive. 3. "It's place" is not a possessive. "'s" here is "is". ITS possessive is "its place". The plural is "their place(s)". 4. The right singular is "a woman's plans". The...Read More...

Why 'brideSmaid'?

This question has been sent in by Carlotta . I have a question about the word bridesmaid/bridesmaids. Why is the first part of the word plural? I can't find any part of grammar which can help me.Read More...
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the "s" of "bridesmaid" found its way into the word during the 19th century. The earlier form was "bridemaid." Many centuries ago, the noun "bride" referred to the formal joining together of a couple "” the ceremony itself "” but over the years it came to refer to the female partner of the couple. The "s" was added in the 19th century in the mistaken belief that it should be a genitive ("possessive") form. It was thought to mean "bride's maid."...Read More...

As per

Many people like to use "as per" in their e-mails. However, my professor told me to avoid using "as per" in the letter. Can anybody explain the correct usage, please? Thanks a lot!Read More...
"As per" is frequently used in correspondence, especially business correspondence. However, your professor is correct; "as per" is not well accepted by careful English speakers and writers. Here's what Bryan Garner writes in The Chicago Manual of Style*: "¢ as per. This phrase, though common in the commercial world, has long been considered nonstandard. Instead of as per your request, write as you requested or (less good) per your request. Rachel _______ *The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th...Read More...

'ON / IN / AT the premises'

Dear teachers, What preposition is used in the following sentence? The book festival will be held .... the school premises on October 26, 2004. Thank you, Aneeth PrabhakarRead More...
In addition to "on the premises" and "in the premises," you could say "at the premises." "At" in this case is used to indicate a point in a general vicinity, like the "at" in "She's at the office," or, I'll meet you at the restaurant." Google shows 75,600 examples of "at the premises," as in these examples: "¢ ... must not assault, molest, harass, threaten or otherwise interfere with the protected person(s). 2. The defendant must not reside at the premises at which the ...Read More...

some, any

The following is an exercise I came across in one of the textbooks. The answer key says the correct answer is "some", but "any" seems to work. Any comment? The noise outside prevented me from having (a, some, a few, any) sleep. AppleRead More...
Thanks to Rob for such a succinct, clear answer. Here's a bit more: The correct answer should have been "any." The verb "prevent" belongs to a class of verbs that, despite not being grammatically negated with "not," are still negative in meaning. This class of verbs is variously called "morphologically negative" or "negative in import,"* or "covertly negative."** Other such verbs include I. Verbs that take "from" with or without a direct object: keep prohibit hinder prohibit stop abstain "”...Read More...

grapefruit/grapefruits

Are both sentences correct?If so, which sentence is more common or natural? 1. Grapefruit is sour. 2. Grapefruits are sour.Read More...
Both are correct. The singular form – "grapefruit" – appears in 879,000 examples on Google, while the plural form – "grapefruits" – appears only 55,500. The larger number includes, though, "grapefruit" as an adjective as in "grapefruit juice," so the number would be somewhat smaller if we include only the noun form. Nevertheless, the singular form does appear to be much more common and natural. The Collins COBUILD states that the plural form of "grapefruit" can be either "grapefruit" or...Read More...

The past participles of intransitive verbs

Hello, teachers! Would you please tell me if these are acceptable or if we should use the bare forms? 1. I'm sad to see the flowers [withered, wither] away. 2. I'm sad to see the flowers [faded, fade] away. 3. I'm sad to see the flowers [shriveled, shrivel] up. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
In Sentence 1, I'm sad to see the flowers WITHERED AWAY ... WITHERED is an adjectival complement. If you say "” I'm sad to see [that] the flowers HAVE withered away ...you have a different sentence structure. Here you have a main verb SEE and a noun clause direct object with the full verb HAVE WITHERED. WITHERED is a past participle, not an adjectival complement. 2. "I'm sad to see the flowers WITHERING AWAY" is grammatically correct. It describes an ongoing process without a conclusion. 3.Read More...

wither and wither away

Hello, teachers! Can we omit 'away's and 'up' here? 1. I'm sad to see the flowers withered/wither [away]. 2. I'm sad to see the flowers faded/fade [away]. 3. I'm sad to see the flowers shriveled/shrivel [up]. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
Yes. The verbs without the particles are correct, but their meanings are different. Without the particles "away" and "up," the verbs lose the feature of "total completion," that is, they do not imply the end of the process. When a flower withers, it is still there, but in a withered condition. This might happen over a few days after it has been cut and placed in a container in your house. "Wither away" can be used for plants that are still in the ground that come to the end of their growing...Read More...

a number of, the number of, the numbers of

"a number of X" means "a lot of X" and takes a plural verb, as in "Recently a number of violent crimes have been reported" "the number of X" merely means the mass or the group of X and takes a singular verb as in "Recently the number of foreign cars is on the increase" I saw the following sentence in Nature . I am fine with what the sentence means, but is it possible to say "the continent's dwindling number of wild elephants is being...."? The continent's dwindling numbers of wild elephants...Read More...
Yes, "the number....is" would be fine here. This meaning would fit this definition from the American Heritage Dictionary*: "¢ number: An indefinite quantity of units or individuals: The crowd was small in number. A number of people complained. The original sentence from Nature is also correct, and has a similar meaning, as in a separate entry in the American Heritage: "¢ numbers: A large quantity; a multitude: Numbers of people visited the fair. ______________ The meanings of the two...Read More...

"fee" and " fare"

We all know it's "admission fee" not "fare" and "bus fare" not "fee". Is this something we just have to know? Does anyone have a good explanation for students? lesson/admission/tuition fee, bus/train/air fare, Are there cases where these two are interchangeable? AppleRead More...
Dictionaries define "fare" as the cost of transportation, on a bus, plane, or train or in a taxi, for example. A "fee" is the amount paid for a professional service. Here are definitions from the American Heritage Dictionary*: fare: 1. A transportation charge, as for a bus. fee: 1. A fixed sum charged, as by an institution or by law, for a privilege: a license fee; tuition fees. 2. A charge for professional services: a surgeon's fee . I can't think of any examples in which "fee" and "fare"...Read More...

"everyone" and "everybody"

In most situations "everyone" and "everybody" are interchangeable, as I understand, but what is the difference if there is any? In class, I prefer "everyone" as in "Attention please, everyone", but really don't know why. Is there a difference between "nobody" and "no one", "anybody" and "anyone" and so on? AppleRead More...
The pronoun forms that end with "one" are a bit more formal in style. Public announcements tend to use the "one" forms, as in "” No one under 18 admitted "” Anyone with information about the accident is asked to call the sheriff's department immediately The "body" forms are typical of casual conversation, but the "one" forms are used there, too. MarilynRead More...

"never" and "before"

Hello I'd like to know if we can use "never" and "before" in the same sentence. #1 Yuki has never been to London before. Is #1 grammatically accepted? Or does this sound strange? Thank you.Read More...
Yes, the sentence is perfectly acceptable. One use of "before" is as an adverb. An entry in the Collins COBUILD Dictionary* states: If someone has done something before , they have done it on a previous occasion. If someone has never done something before , they have never done it. I've been here before....I had met Professor Lown before...She had never been to Italy before . ________ These lines appear as headers on Google articles: "¢ Never used a scanner before? "¢ I've never heard that...Read More...

Passive with "for"?

Hello I find the following sentence in the exercise. In the case of the verb "buy", I wonder if person can be the subject in the passive sentence. I know it is OK with the verb "give" The sentence is this: #1 I was bought a nice bicycle for my birthday by my father. Is this grammatically accepted? Thank you.Read More...
Indirect object constructions with and without "for" in American English differ slightly from those in British English. In American English, indirect object constructions with verbs such as "buy," "make," "cook," "draw" "find," or other verbs of creating, obtaining , or preparing do not generally allow the recipient to become the grammatical subject of a passive sentence. We can say "A nice bicycle was bought for me" but not *I was bought a nice bicycle." (I should add that an American...Read More...

used to

Hello I wonder if I can use " used to " instead of " would " in the following sentence. #1 My mother would often bake bread on Saturday mornings. #2 My mother used to often bake bread on Saturday mornings. If #2 is OK, do both sentences have the same meaning? Thank you.Read More...
Yes, both "used to" and "would" are fine in your sentence. "Used to" is used to express an activity that is ongoing OR that happens from time to time. "Would," however, is used ONLY for an activity that happens from time to time. For example: Sally used to be a chubby child, but now she is svelte and glamorous. NOT Sally would be...... The United States used to be a colony of England, but became an independent country after the Revolutionary War. NOT The United States would be... But: When...Read More...

what is the difference ?

Dear All, What is the difference between the following two sentences ? 1) Not a day has gone by when I didn't think of him. 2) Not a day has gone by when I have not thought of him. Thank you. RickyRead More...
This kind of utterance has a few variations in tense and aspect, but there is little or no essential difference in the overall message. I've found examples on Google of several variations. The subordinating adverb "when" is very rare, but I have found some examples on Google. Not a day has gone by when I HAVEN'T.. = 285 Not a day has gone by when I DIDN'T = 11 Not a day has gone by when I DON'T = 11 The much more common subordinating adverb is "that." Not a day has gone by that I DIDN'T = 23...Read More...

Expressions for not feeling well

Hello I'd like to ask about how to express the reason of bad condition. 1) I'm sick with a fracture. 2) I'm sick with a cold. 3) I'm in bad condition with a stomachache. Would you give me some better expressions? Thank you.Read More...
Most people I know just say "I broke my wrist/ankle/leg/shoulder/arm, etc." It's also very common to say "I have a broken (X)." For the flu we say "I have the flu" or "I'm sick "” with the flu." For a severe stomach ache we often say "My stomach's hurting" or "I have stomach pains." These are things that you say to a family member or a friend. If you are talking to the doctor you say things differently. Good heath to everyone! MarilynRead More...

Questions with "by whom"

Hello When I'd like to ask about the agent of passive voice, can I use both sentences? Or is "By whom" not used in daily life? For example: 1) By whom was the cake eaten? 2 Who was the cake eaten by? Thank you.Read More...
Most native English speakers would not use the passive to inquire about the doer of an action. They would say "Who ate the cake?" One situation in which a question in the passive might be asked is in response to a statement in the passive, e.g. A: Is there any more of that delicious rum cake? B: No, sorry, that cake was all eaten quite awhile ago. A: Oh? By whom? I thought no one else liked it but me. OR the following: A: Have you heard whether the merger between our company and Global...Read More...

Transforming sentences from active to passive

Hello I'd like to ask about passive sentences. In the exercise we change some active sentence to passive sentences. If a sentence have two object, two sentences can be made. However, are both sentences natural to native speakers? Or is one of them too awkward? For example: I changed 1) to 2) and 3) 1) My uncle gave me a nice watch. 2) I was given a nice watch by my uncle. 3) A nice watch was given me by my uncle. Do 2) and 3) sound natural? Thank you.Read More...
Of course, the first sentence is the most natural because more often than not, we use the active voice, especially in conversational topics. The form is correct in both sentences 2) and 3). These two sentences are not unnatural, but they would be used less frequently and in certain contexts. _______ The words of your sentence 2) might appear in a context like this: "¢ My graduation was meaningful to me. I received an award for excellence in art history, and my name was permanently engraved...Read More...

The position of 'enough'

Hello, teachers! S1. Do we have enough bread? S2. Do we have bread enough? Is there any difference in usage or nuance? Please check my thoughts. Case I; usage While S1 is natural and common, S2 is archaic and uncommon. Case II; nuance While S1 asks if we have bread or not, S2 asks if the bread we have is enough or not, Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
Case I is close to being accurate. According to Quirk et al.*, "As determiner it ["enough"] usually occurs in front of the head noun, but can also (rarely) follow it: "” There was enough food/food enough to last a whole year (p. 388) The position after the head noun is not common, but neither is it archaic. It's common in earlier poetry, of course: "Had we but world enough, and time, This coyness, Lady, were no crime We would sit down and think which way To walk and pass our long love's...Read More...

"near" or "near to"

I came across the following sentence in a book by Macmillan Press. I was on duty in the area of Witley Gardens, near to the Blackburn Road. "to" is optional, right? What difference does it make, with and without "to"? Google yields 24700 examples of "near the station" and only 829 of "near to the station". AppleRead More...
The Collins COBUILD Dictionary (1987) makes no distinction between "near" and "near to" in its extensive coverage of the entry "near." "Near to" in the physical sense seems to be more common in British English than in American English. I think that you will also find that the use of "near to" is more common in utterances that contain abstract or metaphorical ideas, e.g. "” The two sides are near to a final agreement "” She was near to hysterics as she reported the attack When the object is a...Read More...
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