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Why "had" and not "has"?

Hello, Please take a look at the following sentence : "Meanwhile, the workers' union has called on its members not to use trolleys similar to the one involved in the accident, until the cause of the tragedy HAD been conclusively established." Question : Why is it"HAD" when the cause has still to be established and is in the future ? Why not " HAS been conclusively established" ? Thank you. RickyRead More...
You are right. "HAS been conclusively established" is correct. "The union HAS CALLED on..." is in the present perfect tense, which has a connection to the present. If the action in the dependent clause has not ended yet, or even begun, the verbs in the dependent clause should be in a present or present perfect tense: Meanwhile, the workers' union has called on its members not to use trolleys similar to the one involved in the accident, until the cause of the tragedy HAS been conclusively...Read More...

"A little pounds" or "a few pounds"

Which is correct? 1. I've put on a little pound this fall. 2. I've put on a few pounds this fall. thanks againRead More...
The second sentence – I've put on A FEW POUNDS this fall – is correct. "Pound" is a count noun. You need to use the plural form of "pound" to calculate weight (unless you're dealing with a very small category, like "half a pound"). A FEW, not "a little," goes with plural count nouns. If you use the word "weight," a noncount noun, then you say: I've put on A LITTLE WEIGHT this fall. RachelRead More...

"Taking off" vs. "having taken off" (gerund vs. past gerund)

Here are two sentences. Are both of them correct? Are there any differences in meaning? 1. Taking off our shoes, we crept cautiously along the passage. 2. Having taken off our shoes, we crept cautiously along the passage.Read More...
In the first sentence, the action of the verb in the adverb phrase – taking off our shoes -- happens simultaneously, or immediately before, the action of the main verb. You could paraphrase this sentence by saying: As we were taking off our shoes, we crept cautiously along the passage. In the second sentence, the action of the verb in the adverb phrase – having taken off our shoes -- happened in advance of creeping cautiously. It is completely finished. There is an additional cause/effect...Read More...

"Everything" and "anything"

Looking at the following sentences, I'm not sure of the difference. (1)I wish Mary success in everything she does. (2) I wish Mary success in anything she does. My guess is that in (1) the things Mary may do are all obvious and I wish her success in all the things she does. In (2) what Mary does is not that clear to me, but whatever she does in the future, I wish her success. Am I anywhere close to the truth? Or isn't there a difference? appleRead More...
Yes, your interpretation is correct. Depending on the context, though, there may be another subtle difference: In 1), it appears that the speaker has a positive connection with Mary. He knows quite a bit about her life and is involved with her. In 2), it the speaker could be indifferent to Mary. "Anything" can give the idea that the speaker just doesn't care and doesn't want to be involved. The American Heritage Dictionary* defines "everything" in this way: "1. a. All things or all of a...Read More...

as compared to, when compared to

What is the difference between the following? 1. In 1970, nearly 40 percent of the US population attended a movie once a week, as compared to 20 percent in 2000. 2. In 1970, nearly 40 percent of the US population attended a movie once a week, when compared to 20 percent in 2000.Read More...
Both forms occur in objective writing, but "when compared to" occurs more often in personal and persuasive writing. "As compared to" is the standard form in the reporting of statistics from research. It's used in scientific, technical, and business writing. It's very impersonal. "When compared to" is a short form of "when one compares (X) to (Y)," and is used when the act of comparison itself is relevant. This form also occurs in persuasive writing, when the writer seems to be asking the...Read More...

have a picture taken

Comparing the following sentences (1) and (2), I can see the meaning of (1) very clearly. (1) Let's have a picture taken together. (2) Let's take a picture together. My questions: Can (2) mean the same as (1)? Or can (2) have only one meaning? That excludes the meaning of (1)? Can (2) have two meanings? One is asking to have a picture taken with the speaker and the other is to take a picture of something with their own cameras, in other words, each has a camera of his own and one is inviting...Read More...
Sentence 2 can mean, in casual usage, the same as Sentence 1 "have our picture taken together." It's like the verb "cut" in "I cut my hair," when in fact the speaker has had his/her hair cut by someone else. If the speaker wants each of the participants to take a separate picture of the same object, the sentence would be Let's each take a picture of (X) Or possibly, in casual usage, Let's both take a picture of (X) Marilyn MartinRead More...

Tense

Please look at these sentences; 1. Tom goes away every weekend. 2. Tom went away every weekend. 3. Tom has gone away every weekend. 4. Tom is going away every weekend. I know sentence1 is correct, which shows a repeated action, habituality. How about the others? I think 2 and 3 are possible. But I'm not sure. And is 4 possible by any chance? thanksRead More...
In Sentences 2, 3, and 4, there needs to be either an understood or explicit time frame, such as Tom went away every weekend during the summer Tom has gone away every weekend lately/this month Ton is going away every weekend these days (a present activity in progress) Tom is going away every weekend until his in-laws go home from their visit (either a present activity in progress or a plan for future action) Marilyn MartinRead More...

if

Please look at this sentence. It would be a disaster, if the talks were to fail. Can I use 'if the talks fail'or 'if the talks failed' instead ? And any differences in meaning? thanksRead More...
All versions are possible. "If the talks fail" implies a 50-50 possibility. "If the talks failed" or "were to fail" implies less of a possibility. The past tense and "were to" are devices to express remoteness of the idea from the speaker's mind. They are used to reduce the degree of certainty of the idea. Marilyn MartinRead More...

"Why to verb"

Hello, teachers! Could you please tell me if these are correct or incorrect; common or uncommon? 1-1. I told him why to go to bed early. 1-2. I told him the reason to go to bed early. 1-3. I told him why he should go to bed early. 1-4. I told why he should go to bed early. 2-1. I don't know why to go to bed early. 2-2. I don't know the reason to go to bed early. 2-3. I don't know why I should go to bed early. 3-1. I told him to go to bed and why to go to bed. 3-2. I told him to go to bed and...Read More...
Hogel's query has two major focal points: 1) possible infinitive complements of "why" and 2) indirect object placement with verbs of communication like "explain" or "announce." (The other examples are grammatically correct and will not be considered.) I. Possibility of an infinitive complement with "why": You don't say *I told him/explained to him why to (verb) Exception: if "why" is paired with "how," it's OK: I'm going to a seminar about how and why to invest in socially responsible mutual...Read More...

"Knowing it was wrong"

Hello, teachers! - He lied to her, knowing it was wrong. Which does this sentence mean, 1, 2, or both? 1. Knowing it was wrong, he lied to her. 2. He lied to her, but/and she knew it was wrong. Thank you very much. Enjoy the warm weather.Read More...

conditional ?

Hello, Can someone please explain what kind of sentence is the following ( i.e. is it a special kind of conditional sentence ?) : "If ever there was a US presidential election that exposes the lazy lie that it does not matter which man wins, it is this one." Thank you. RickyRead More...
Yes, it's one of many ways to emphasize the obviousness of what is being asserted. You could also say Anyone/Any child could have seen that it's/it was a fake It didn't take a genius to see that it's/it was a fake Even a quick glance would have shown that it's/it was a fake These are only a few of the possibilities for expressing the obviousness of one's assertion. Marilyn MartinRead More...

tense

Please look at this; Several years ago, when he was 52,Anderson was informed by his superior at an aircraft corporation that he could no longer be a test piolot. He was told that he was being relieved of his duties beccause of his age. In the last sentence, I don't understand the usage of 'was being relieved'. Why is past progressive used? And can it be replaced with other tenses? thanksRead More...
The original words were probably in the present progressive, "You are being relieved of your duties." This could mean "the process has begun and is in progress at this moment" or "the action is to take place in the near future"--the progressive being one way or signaling a future action based on a plan or decision. If the original utterance had been in the simple present, You are [hereby] relieved of your duties [as of this moment] ...the utterance would have had the force of an official...Read More...

"Seem/look/appear/sound + the Noun complement"

Hello, teachers! I knew that we can't the structure [look/sound + noun] and we can use [look/sound/seem + like + noun] form, but I met the following sentences. - Your room looks a mess. - Do you compose music for a living, or for a hobby? / Right now it's my hobby, but I hope to make a living with it later in life. / Sounds a great plan to me! Here are my questions. Can I use all these sentences? 1. Your room seems/looks/appears a mess. 2. Your room seems/looks like a mess. 3. Your room...Read More...
The four verbs take various kinds of complements. "Seem," "look," and "sound" can be followed by "like" + a noun or noun phrase complement. "Seem" and "appear" (and rarely "look") can take the infinitive plus a noun or noun phrase complement. "Seem," "look," "appear," and "sound" can also take a noun or noun phrase complement. In this construction the noun or noun phrase is usually evaluative (expressing a judgment about the complement). You wouldn't say, for example, *He looks a professor...Read More...

"Their place" or "their places"

Please look at the sentence below Lecturers need to prepare their notes carefully so that they do not lose their place while they are delivering their speech(es). They use these expressions: 1)their notes, 2)their place and 3)their speech(es). I understand the use of 1)their notes, but I think 2)and3) should be their places and their speeches respectively. Help me! thanksRead More...
thanks a lotRead More...

"Finding living"

Hello, I can across this sentence: 1) How are you finding living in London? Is this the Present Continuous tense here? " finding living " sounds odd to me..any clarifications to understand it would be highly welcome. Thank youRead More...
Another possibility for avoiding two -ings in a row is How are you finding life in London? Marilyn MartinRead More...

"important to helping", or "to help"

I found the following sentence (1) in an English newspaper. (1) It's often hereditary, and spotting dyslexia early is important to helping children succeed in school. What is the grammatical category of "helping"? "helping children succeed in school" is a noun phrase? What difference does it make if "helping" is changed to "to help"? (2) (2) Spotting dyslexia early is important to help children succeed in school. Is there a difference between (1) and (2)? appleRead More...
(1) It's often hereditary, and spotting dyslexia early is important to helping children succeed in school. "Helping" is a gerund, the noun form of the verb. Sentence (1) in a fuller form would be Spotting dyslexia early is important to [the process of] helping children succeed in school "Helping children succeed in school" is a general category that includes, but is not limited to, the early spotting of dyslexia (2) Spotting dyslexia early is important to help children succeed in school. If...Read More...

"The payment " or "payment"

Please tell me which of the following is correct: 1- We demand " the payment of the rent". 2- We demand " payment of the rent". I have come across many count nouns that apparently do not take " a/an/the " articles, even though, it is my understanding that count nouns need to be identified with articles. For example, we see: Please acknowledege receipt of this e-mail. What is the position of " receipt" in the sentence? is it a count noun? if yes, why it does not take an article? Thank you for...Read More...
In Cyrus's sentences, "payment" and "receipt" are noncount nouns. According to the Collins COBUILD Dictionary of the English Language(1987) and the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Third Edition (1987), both "payment" and "receipt," when they describe the act or fact of receiving or paying, are noncount. The sentences could be paraphrased as We demand that you pay the rent Please acknowledge that you have received this e-mail For this reason neither noun has to have an article. It...Read More...

"Cake" or "a cake"

I saw a sentence, which says; What delicious cheesecake, Amelia! Is it okay to say 'what A delicious cheeccake, Amelia!' And any differences in meaning? Thanks.Read More...
Yes, both sentences are correct: "What delicious cheesecake, Amelia" refers to the idea of cheesecake. In this case, "cheesecake" is a noncount noun, and so does not have the indefinite article A in front of it. "What A delicious cheesecake, Amelia" refers to the idea of one cheesecake, probably the very one the speaker is tasting now and that Amelia very likely made (or bought). "Cheesecake" can be either a count noun or a noncount noun, depending on whether you are thinking of cheesecake...Read More...

Subjunctive

This question has been sent in by Komine. ________________________ Hello I'd like to ask about the subjunctive. When I tried to solve the exercises, I came across the following sentence which was required to change the word in the parenthesis. What should I do if my request ( be ) refused? 1) What should I do if my request should be refused? 2) What should I do if my request were to be refused? 3) What should I do if my request were refused? Are 1),2) and 3) acceptable? If so, do the...Read More...
Sentences 1) and 2) are acceptable. "What should I do if my request should be refused" is one correct sentence. It is similar to "what should I do if my request is refused," but expresses much more doubt. The speaker is assuming that the request will not be refused, but is speaking of the remote possibility that it could be refused. "What should I do if my request were to be refused" is similar in meaning. The expression "if something WERE to happen" means it is not expected to happen, but,...Read More...

"The summer"

Hello, teachers! 1. Come (the) summer, we will be married. - I guess both are correct with or without "the," but using "the" is better. Am I right? 2. When (the) autumn comes, leaves of trees turn red and yellow. - I guess we can't use "the" here even though we often use "the." Am I right? Thank you very much. Enjoy the nature.Read More...
Both sentences are correct either with "the" or without "the". "Come summer," is usual, as is "come winter," or another season. It's like "come March," "come Tuesday," etc. A Google search yields 4,840 instances of "come summer" in examples like these -- "¢ Come summer, and there's water, water nowhere. "¢ ... to start by early March. Come summer there will be nine versions,priced from £16,495 to £22,495. "¢ Come summer you may linger along the patio, late at night, to stare in wonder at the...Read More...

impersonal pronouns;one

Are those sentences possible or not? And what are the reasons? 1. One can't enjoy themselves if they are too tired. 2. One should ask oneself if one is doing everything in one's power in order to solve..... 3. One should take care of their health. thanksRead More...

Punctuation with appositives

Hello, teachers! Could you please tell if these are correct? 1-1. Susan, a kind person, was loved by all. 1-2. Susan, being a kind person, was loved by all. 2-1. She, a kind person, was loved by all. 2-2. She, being a kind person, was loved by all. [I guess 2-1 & 2-2 are incorrect, but someone says both are correct and including "being" is better. Will you be the judge?] 3-1. Treat it in/within two days, or I, myself, will get involved. 3-2. Treat it in/within two days, or I myself will...Read More...
1-1. Susan, a kind person, was loved by all. 1-2. Susan, being a kind person, was loved by all. Both 1-1 and 1-2 are correct. Both are formal, with 1-1 more formal than 1-2. 2-1. She, a kind person, was loved by all. 2-2. She, being a kind person, was loved by all. 2-1 is not natural. 2-2 is acceptable, although not frequent. 3-1. Treat it in/within two days, or I, myself, will get involved. 3-2. Treat it in/within two days, or I myself will get involved. Commas here are not natural. Marilyn...Read More...

"None too" vs. "not too"

Is there any difference in meaning or usage between "none too" and "not too" as understatement devices? Perhaps "not too" is more American English and "none too" more British English?Read More...
"Not too" and "none too" are both used, as you say, as understatement devices. "Not too" is, however, also used as equivalent to "not very," as in The dog was not too old, about five years, I'd say How are you feeling these days? --Not too good, I'm afraid Come on in--the water's not too deep, and it's nice and warm Dinner at the new Middle East restaurant was marvelous-not too expensive, either In contrast, "none too" + adjective implies that the exact opposite is in fact the case. The...Read More...

Plural of "aspirin"

A question came up in class today. Our pronunciation text, Targeting Pronunciation, had a sentence (page 33), "Which is better when you have a cold, several aspirin or homemade vegetable soup?" Doing a concordancer sample with the British National Corpus, I came across both "Took seventy aspirin!" and "He flies to the aspirin bottle for everything, but I'm afraid aspirins won't cure what I've got, which is a great indigestible lump" Google produced an almost infinite number of "Take two...Read More...
Here's one more dictionary definition, under "aspirin" in the Collins COBUILD*: aspirin...aspirins ; the form aspirin can also be used for the plural. .....An aspirin is an aspirin tablet. She took some aspirins [sic] and went to bed. Rachel _______ *The Collins COBUILD English Dictionary. HarperCollins. 1995Read More...

Meanings of "would"

Hello, teachers! Would you please help me with this? I guess original sentences can be interpreted as [A] or [B] according to the context. Am I right? [Original]*********** 1. I would have/eat pizza with hot/chili sauce. 2. I would have/drink some wine with boiled lobster. 3. I would live in a house on the beach. [A]** the present or near-future intention expression 1a. I [will, would like to] have/eat pizza with hot/chili sauce. 2a. I [will, would like to] have/drink some wine with boiled...Read More...
The original sentences can not be interpreted as future-possible situations, but as conditional situations. Sentences 1 and 2 are, for example, responses to questions like these: Q: What would you like to eat if you could have anything you wanted? A: I'd have pizza with hot chili sauce. Q: If you had your choice of beverage with any meal at all, what would you choose? A: I'd drink some wine with boiled lobster. Sentence 3: Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?Read More...
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