Skip to main content

All Topics

there is/are

tommy
1. The examiner will advise you when there is 2 minutes left. (Is this grammatically correct? ) 2. The examiner will advise you when there are 2 minutes left. 3. There is 400 dollars in my wallet. (You have $400?) 4. There are 400 dollars in my wallet. (You have 400 one dollar coins?) what're difference of their meaning?Read More...
Usually, a unit of time, money or distance is treated as a single unit and therefore, takes a singular verb. So, # 1 is correct. Occasionally, though, a plural verb is used, especially when you have been counting off something, as here you might have been counting off the number of minutes. It would be similar to a count down on New Year's Eve, or the count down before a space vehicle is launched: "Ladies and gentlemen, here we go. There are now ten seconds left, now nine, eight, seven,...Read More...

"a number of"

Hello~ Great teachers! 1. There is a number of the card. 2. A number of this magnitude requires 5 bytes to store. You know, The subject of those sentences is "a NUMBER", but I don't know why the following sentence is grammatically correct. 3. We were surprised to learn there is an increasing number of rich people inquiring about our luxury furniture. I searched Google for "an increasing number of". - There is an increasing number of sychologists in Singapore. - There is an increasing number...Read More...
I should not have said "More often, the verb is plural." I should have said "The verb is plural most of the time ." The discrepancy between the singular and the plural verb is most marked when the expression "number of" is not modified with any adjective. On Google, "there'S/there IS a number of" occurs 182,300 times, while "there ARE a number of" shows up 7,280,000 times. If you count the occurrences of the same phrases with adjectives before "number of," the discrepancy is less striking.Read More...

Comma splice in British English

I have come across an article discussing about the differences between American and British English. One of the differences described therein surprises me. In the article, the author, Dr. Don R. McCreary, states that: The comma splice is the use of a comma where a full stop or semicolon could be used. For example: The program isn't really designed for graphics, it's just for word-processing. In American English, this use is regarded as a major error according to textbooks on composition and...Read More...
Thanks to PromegaX for an enlightening answer about British English style conventions. This posting goes into some detail about American English comma splices. American style guides usually condemn comma splices but often state that a comma between two independent clauses is acceptable "if the two clauses are short and closely related." They don't spell out just what "closely related" means. I've found one case in which such a comma splice occurs easily. A comma splice is OK if the two short...Read More...

would or will ?

Dear All, Please take a look at the following : "Premier Accounts from this bank is the only single premium account that guarantees you up to 10% annual pay out for 7 years. At the end of the 8-year tenure you would have accumulated up to 131% in total pay out." During discussion, the English teacher said that in the last sentence, " would have accumulated " shoud be " will have accumulated " because the sentence should use the future perfect tense and not the past tense form of "will". My...Read More...
The teacher is correct: At the end of the 8-year tenure, you will have accumulated up to 131% in total pay out." This future perfect sentence can stand alone, or it can follow logically from the sentence before it, which it does. The first sentence says what the bank will pay, and the second sentence states what will happen as a result of that. This sentence refers to a future time. _______ On the other hand, would have accumulated refers to something in the past. It would show a different...Read More...

injure

Hello Would you take a look at the following sentences? #1 Take care, or you'll hurt yourself. Instead of #1, can I say #2 and #3 using "injure"? #2 Take care , or you'll injure yourself. #3 Take care, or you'll get injured yourself. Are both #2 and #3 OK? Especially I wonder if you use the expression" get injured oneself." Thank you.Read More...
"You'll injure yourself" is a more formal alternative to "You'll hurt yourself." The reflexive pronoun "yourself" is the direct object. "You'll get hurt" is not the same. It means that something external to the person will cause injury. It means "You'll be hurt [by something]." The same is true of "You'll get injured." The grammatical subject of the passive sentence is the semantic object. Therefore, because there's already an object, it's not possible to say, with the same meaning, *"You'll...Read More...

"Much less" and "Much more"

I was told that the use of the phrase "much more" in the following sentence is incorrect. She scarcely bothered to look at us, much more speak to us. The phrase "much less" should instead be used in the sentence above. However, "much more" is correctly used in the sentence below: I would help even an enemy if he were in distress, much more a friend. I'm a little confused about how to use these two phrases in the sentences like those shown above. What should be the rule(s) I should know for...Read More...
If the statement is negative to begin with, the added phrase meaning "and absolutely not..." will be "much less." The reason that "much less" is correct in the first statement is that the adverb "scarcely" is negative in meaning. The correct sentence is She scarcely bothered to look at us, much less speak to us After negated verbs and verbs that are negative in meaning such as "deny" and "refuse [to]," as well as after negative adverbs, adjectives, and quantifiers, "much less" is used. Some...Read More...

not ~ as though

Hi, I read the following sentence; 1. It was not as though his wife and children were depending any more on the business. It seems that the position of 'not' may come into 'as though' clause, like' 2. It was as though his wife and children were not depending any more on the business. I would appreciate if you would kindly confirm if the two sentences are the same in meaning. And, if so, could you kindly explain how the 'not' can be moved in and out of the relevant clause? Thanks.Read More...
The sentences are different. In the first sentence, "not" modifies "was," and means: "This was not the case – that his wife and children were depending any more on the business. They might have been, but they weren't." In the second sentence, "not" modifies "depending," and the meaning is: "It seemed as though/ as if / like his wife and children didn't depend on the business any more" – it seemed to be the case, but it's not certain." RachelRead More...

time -- How long does it take...

Hello I'd like to ask about the expression of time. #1 It takes 20 minutes to go to the theater. I think we can also say #2. (Is it OK?) #2 It is a twenty-minute walk to go to the theater. How about #3? Does this make sense? #3 It is twenty minutes to go to the theater. Thank you.Read More...
The exact construction you posted – It is X to go to Y – is not used. It has no appearances on Google. However, similar constructions are very possible. Instead of "It is X to go," you can say: "¢ It's X from Y to Z. Google shows 88 examples of "it's X minutes from Y to Z", like this: "¢ Divine; I wished her needless luck with her heedless conversion of the morning train persons from Marino to Brighton – it's 10 minutes from here to the stop we ... www.thylazine.org/thyla10/jb.html "¢ I hear...Read More...

Difference between "in a period of time" and "at a time"

Could you please help explain this test question? _____________ had a narrow range of choices, Mary Baker Eddy became a distinguished writer and the founder, architect, and builder of a growing church. (A) In a period of time when women typically (B) During a time in which typically women (C) Typically, during a time when women (D) At a time when women typically (E) Typically in a time in which women Could you please explain whether "In a period of time" and "At a time " are same ? Thank you...Read More...
"In a period of time" and "At a time" could be interchangeable. "During a time" would also be interchangeable with these phrases. In this case, (A) and (D) would both be correct. (B) is awkward because of the placement of "typically." Since "typically" modifies the verb "had," it would correctly be placed in front of the verb "had." (C) is incorrect because "typically" is a sentence modifier as it appears. "Typically" does not modify the whole sentence in the sentence you submitted. This...Read More...

will or without will

Hello When I try to solve this rewriting exercise, I wonder I can omit "will" or not. #1 If you take this bus, you can get to the station. The answer is this: #2 This bus will take you to the station. Do you usually put "will" in this expression? Do you also use #3 without "will"? Can they convey the same meaning? Or is #3 too colloquial? #3 This bus takes you to the station. Thank you.Read More...
Assuming that the pronoun "you" refers to the addressee, and not to people in general, it would not be appropriate to say "This bus takes you to the station." There's a different type of if- utterance in which "if" means "whenever," e.g. "” If you (i.e. anyone in general) take this bus it takes you to the station; if you take that one over there it takes you to the hospital "” If my son is introduced to someone new he doesn't know what to say "” If I put the car in neutral at a stop sign, it...Read More...

'the' + proper noun

Hello, teachers! Do we need 'the' or is it optional? If it is optional, which is better, with or w/o 'the'? - Yes, I know Susan. / Do you really know [the] Susan who I know? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
The two sentences are different. In "Yes, I know Susan" it is clear that you are speaking about the same person. In "Do you really know the Susan who I know," you are saying that Susan has at least two personalities – the one you know which is apparently different from the one the other person knows. Perhaps you know Susan as a kind and gentle person, whereas the other person knows her as a mean and unkind person. _______ A classic sentence to illustrate the use of "the" with a proper noun...Read More...

Think + to-infinitive

Hello, teachers! Please help me with this. 1. I'm thinking [of buying, to buy] Susie a computer for her birthday. Q1. Even though uncommon, is the use of 'to buy' also acceptable? 2. I thinks to buy Susie a computer for her birthday. Q2. What about this? This is totally absurd, isn't it? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
In the sentence, "back" is a verb, and the correct form is "... had someone back into you." Maybe you're thinking about the construction we discussed starting Feb. 3, 2005 under the topic "Have, make, a causative verb." PromegaX touched on this construction in quoting Michael Swan: "Michael Swan has discussed this particular topic in his book* on page 232 (or listing 242 entitled have (5): + object + verb form ) "He states that the following forms are possible: (1). Have + object +...Read More...

tense

Hello Thank you for your clear explanation every time. Now I'd like to ask about "tense." I waver between past and present perfect. I wonder if I can choose both past and present perfect in these sentences and they can convey the same meaning or not. Would you take a look at the following sentences? Pattern 1 #1 It is unbelievable that he passed the examination. #2 It is unbelievable that he has passed the examination. Pattern 2 #3 It is clear that he broke the vase. #4 It is clear that he...Read More...
All the sentences are correct. The question is, however, What time relation do we want to convey about the passing of the exam or the breaking of the vase? If the event belongs to a time frame that is no longer connected to or relevant to the present moment, we use the past tense: It is unbelievable that he passed the exam [when he was feeling so sick] It's clear that he broke the vase [even though he says he wasn't in the room] These statements are about a past time that is not connected in...Read More...

wouldn't love/like ?

Hi.. Which one is correct..? 1) I wouldn't like to live in this place. 2) I wouldn't love to live in this place. The second sentence sounds odd.. ThanksRead More...
The first sentence with "I wouldn't like to" is normal. Of course, "I wouldn't love to" does exist, but it is part of a negative concept. Here are some sentences from the 3,520 examples on Google; all of them contain "not" in one way or another. "¢ But not so much that I wouldn't love to see my Friars massacre an impotent Twins club in the World Series, especially w/ a hapless Dougie manning first... ... www.bat-girl.com/archives/000342.html - "¢... Not to say I wouldn't love to be thinner,...Read More...

The usage of 'srange'

Please help me with this. 1. I saw an ugly, strange man in the circus. I have a feeling I'm going to dream about/of him. 2. I saw a strange, ugly man in the circus. ... I think Sentence 1 is perfectly natural, but strangely Sentence 2 sounds odd to me. If I'm correct, may I ask you why? Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
Both sentences are OK. "Ugly" and "strange" are in the same category of adjectives – evaluative, which means that the speaker is giving an opinion about the noun. However, to me, the second sentence sounds more natural. Google shows 1,210 examples of "ugly, strange" like this: "¢... Since Cory is Brit-centric these days, I thought you'd all enjoy the odd, ugly, strange and beautiful photos - amazing work." She's right -- this stuff is ...Read More...

"numbers of" as a quantifier

Which of the two sentences sounds more grammatical? (I)Only when a product is demanded by sufficiently large numbers of people is mass production feasible. (II) Only when a product is demanded by sufficient people would mass production become feasible. Q1. Is the use of "numbers of" people acceptable here? Q2. What is the difference, in terms of meaning, between the use of "is feasible" and "would become feasible"? Thank you so muchRead More...
The answer to Q1 is that only Sentence I is grammatically correct. Although some native speakers of English use "sufficient" with plural nouns, it's not considered correct. The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (2003) gives these definitions for "sufficient and "enough": sufficient: "as much as is needed for a particular purpose" enough: "as many or as much as is needed or wanted" "Sufficient" is thus restricted to noncount nouns "” those with which you use "much," not "many." You...Read More...

Expressing stages of one's age

Hi, This following sentence does not make much sense I am sure you won't do the same things with forty years as with twenty years. Doesn't one write "at " before age? Thanks ..Read More...
Yes, the sentence is incomprehensible. To express the time at which one is a certain age, the preposition "with" is unacceptable. The preposition is, as you suggest, "at." You can express stages in a person's life in various ways, but not with *"at forty/twenty years." We can say "” at forty/twenty "” at age forty/twenty "” at forty/twenty years of age The sentence in question would be correct with these forms, which are listed in order from informal to formal style: "” I am sure you won't...Read More...

yet

tommy
Our players are Tom, Jim and Russell, who have yet to extend their contracts which will end in 2006. yet in this meaning, they have already extended their contracts or not yet? please helpRead More...
In your sentence, the players have not extended their contracts beyond 2006. "Yet" used in the present perfect, after the auxiliary "have" and before the infinitive, is another way of saying, "XXX hasn't done this yet." So, your sentence could also be, with the same meaning: "¢ Our players are Tom, Jim, and Russell, who haven't extended their contracts yet. A good reason for constructing the sentence this way is that it gives the speaker/writer a place to put "which will end in 2006." This...Read More...

Comparisons and pronoun usage

This is an edited version of Ananja's earlier question, to focus on one of the test sentences. Here is a question I was asked today. To my ear, (c)for Q1 sounds correct. But I'm not sure how to explain it to my students. Please help. 1. The mistakes children make in learning to speak tell linguists more about ____________ the correct forms they use. A. how they learn language than B. how one learns language than C. how children learn language than do D. learning language than E. their...Read More...
This question involves two different grammar points: comparisons and pronoun usage. C is the correct answer. It has the basic ingredients for the comparison. The bare-bones comparison is "... mistakes ... tell more [about (X)] .....than... correct forms ... tell [about (X)]. Answer C correctly echoes the first verb "tell" with the auxiliary verb "do." "Do" could also be used after "the correct forms they use," but it would be awkward, occurring so far from the subject noun "forms." Right...Read More...

Sentence construction

This question is from Ananja, who believes that "D" is the correct answer, but is at a loss to explain it to the students. 2. Oberlin College in Ohio was a renegade institution ___________ both men and women as students. A. at its 1833 found for deciding to accept B. for the decision at its 1833 founding to accept C. when it was founded in 1833 for its decision to accept D. in deciding at its founding in 1833 to accept E. by deciding at its founding in 1833 on the acceptance ofRead More...
This is a question from an old GMAT or a practice GMAT exam that baffles test-takers and test preparation teachers alike. There seems to be no correct answer, and it is certainly a stretch to accept "D," which is supposed to be the correct answer, according to one online test preparation site. It would help your students to be able to eliminate some of the choices. "¢ A is not correct for two reasons, at least: 1) it's difficult to accept "renegade" as an adjective for one particular event,...Read More...

Evidence in plural form

According to to Collins Cobuild English Usage, evidence is an uncount noun. You do not talk about "evidences" or "an evidence". However, you can talk about a piece if evidence . However, I found a lot of examples using evidences in many sources. Here are a few: There are evidences in our solar system that an extra planet did explode and caused major problems for the Earth and Mars millions of years back. Scientists interpret current evidences through their ideological framework, usually from...Read More...
With thanks to PromegaX, I would like to offer a slightly different analysis which was prepared before PromegaX's post. "Evidence," which is listed in learners' dictionaries as uncountable, has wriggled out of its dictionary classification and joined the countable nouns, especially in the plural form but also in the singular. It is one of the latest such nouns to do so. Other previously uncountable nouns that have gone mainstream as count nouns include "behavior[s]" and "research[es]."...Read More...

hurt

Hello, teachers! - If this gets into your eye, it can hurt. [Here 'this' means the (mist of) oil from orange zest.] Q. Here which does 'it' mean, 'this' or 'eye'? I know [the oil hurts the eye] or [the eye hurts] is correct, but I wonder if we can say [the oil hurts] in this particular context. Thank you very much. Best Regards.Read More...
Your suspicions are correct. If "it" referred to the oil itself, the sentence would probably be "” If this gets into your eye, it can hurt the eye (transitive use) If "it" referred to the eye, the sentence would be "” If this gets into your eye, your eye can hurt [a lot] (intransitive use) The "it" in the sentence as it is written refers to the condition or situation of having the oil in the eye. This use of "it" referring to a general situation is very common. Google examples: "” Usually...Read More...

the weather forecast

Hello I'd like you to check the following sentence. #1 The weather forecast says that it will rain this evening. Question 1 Is #1 natural? If not, would you give me other expressions? Question 2 Which is more appropriate to use in this sentence, "this evening" or "tonight"? Thank you.Read More...
It seemed so to me, although both "going to rain" and "will rain" are perfect in this sentence. Surprisingly, Google has 25 instances of "forecast says that it will rain," but only 6 instances of "forecast says that it's going to rain," and 1 instance of "forecast says that it is going to rain." Use either "going to" or "will" here with equal confidence. RachelRead More...

Voila and haute couture: do they have to be put in italics?

Dear Rachel, Just wondering - I see in some publications that these words are put in italics and in others they are not. What are your views on using these words in English writing - are they now in the category of so well known and so often used that voila does not need the French grarve (sorry not sure of the spelling) and to be intalics and that haute couture does not have to be in italics. Grateful for any thoughts you may have. Thanks. Warmest regards, Siva.Read More...
Dear Marilyn, Many thanks - very helpful. Siva.Read More...

Should there be two "at's" in this sentence?

Dear Rachel, I am not sure - should this sentence have two "at's" in it or can I get away with one as follows: Their colourful and dramatic creations have been showcased at prestigious fashions fairs in France and the Osaka International Fashion Fair. Thanks. Siva.Read More...
Thanks. Also thanks for getting back so quickly as well. Siva.Read More...
×
×
×
×