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Possessive adjectives -- nomenclature

I am really riled at the classification of possessive adjectives as pronouns in some circles. And I am writing to you because Longman belongs to these circles. There is a Longman book I just bought at the TESOL conference which compounds the error by calling possessive adjectives pronouns and then setting up some weird categories for these 'pronouns.' The simple answer is the better answer. New categories of pronouns do not need to be invented. The definitions of the parts of speech, which I...Read More...
Thinking of the words my, your, his, her, its, our , and their as adjectives seems to make a lot of sense. They precede and modify nouns, and tell "which" noun(s) is/are being referred to. In fact, the traditional grammar that many of us learned in school and that is still widely taught calls them "possessive adjectives ." They seem to fill the "job description" for adjectives. Why, then, do some modern linguistic grammars call them "possessive pronouns "? For a couple of reasons. First,...Read More...

Two comparative structures

Thank you, Marilyn, for your explanation. I took a close look at the search findings from BNC, Cobuild and my own corpus and found that none of the "twice more" sentences is of the "twice more than" structure. I should have done that before my second post.Read More...

Fruit

If we want to say a generalization with fruit, can we say, Fruit smells good. It sounds a bit awkward.Read More...
"Fruit smells good" is a perfect sentence. See the discussion on the Grammar Exchange several postings below (previous to) this one, under the heading: "Fruit" -- always a noncount noun? RachelRead More...

"Propose" vs "suggest"

What's the difference between "propose"" and suggest," both in meaning and usage?Read More...
Propose and suggest mean virtually the same thing when they are used to mean "put forward a plan or idea for [someone] to think about":* ....We have to suggest/propose a list of possible topics for next term's seminars.... Might I suggest/propose that you offer your manuscript to Collins?* Likewise, they may both be used when recommending a person for a certain position, or a place to visit: Helen has suggested/proposed Richard as the next chairman of the society....Can you suggest/propose...Read More...

"Lain" or "laid"? Direct object or indirect object?

Which sentence fragmen tis correct: ". . .an argument to which he had lain witness" or ". . .an argument to which he had laid witness"? Why I'm confused: Lay/laid/laid refers the placement of a (material) object (such as a book) while lie/lay/lain refers to the reclining of one's self. Since there is reference to "he," it seems as though the word choice should be "lain," especially since there is no placement of a (material) object. MS Word's "grammar" doesn't agree with this reasoning and...Read More...
Neither the construction "to lay witness to" nor "to lie witness to" is treated in any of my grammar sources. A Google search turns up relatively few examples of either one, but those with some version of lay far outnumber those with lie . 1 present perfect example with lie : I have lain witness t o one of these masterful creatures 13 examples with lay : ... Mr. McMahon was talking about one of most recognized factions this industry has ever laid witness to . After Polly Jean came the camp...Read More...

Special adjective clause - some of whom are / some of whom being

We often come across sentences like: They have invited lots of guests, some of whom are specialists The chidren, all of whom had played the whole day long, were quite exhausted It's imperative that we go over the main points, a few of which are still not clear The products, several of which have been recently launched, seem to be well accepted Celso Charure, all of whose teachings revolved around developing one's awareness as fully as possible, was an exceptional man It seems to me that...Read More...
Chuncan Feng is correct in the posting below: a relative clause (a.k.a. adjective clause), whether restrictive or nonrestrictive, must have a fully tensed verb . A nonfinite form of a verb, e.g. a present or perfect participle, is not tensed and therefore cannot serve as the verb in a relative clause. In some cases, as Chuncan Feng says, an absolute construction could be used with expressions of quantity such as some of or many of , instead of an adjective clause, but then the relative...Read More...
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There is or There are

According to the following sentences: [S1] Like having more than one way to meet someone in real life,there is more than one way to meet someone in cyberspace. [S2] There are more than one way of recovering from an economic downturn. These sentences are selected from google.com. The question is whether we should use "there is" or "there are" for such a phrase as ...more than one way...Read More...
Corpus findings of "more than one" from my own written English corpus: A. When it is used alone, it can be treated as either singular (the focus is on "one") or plural (the focus is on "more"): S1 LADY STUTFIELD. Oh! ... yes. I see that. It is very, very helpful. Do you think, Mrs. Allonby, I shall ever meet the Ideal Man? Or are there more than one? S2 MRS. ALLONBY. There are just four in London, Lady Stutfield. Were there more than one, dolt, that you ask the question?--If that gentleman...Read More...

Verb "to have"

Is it correct to say "I don´t have" instead of "I haven´t got" ?Read More...
Is it correct to say "I don´t have" instead of "I haven´t got" ? _______ Yes. In American English, "I don't have" is used most of the time. In British English, "I haven't got" is sometimes used.. Both are conversational. In British English, "have" – with the "do" auxiliary – would be used to refer to something of habit or repetition, whereas "have got" would be used to talk about something happening at one point in time. Compare: Do you often have meetings? Have you got a meeting today?*...Read More...

"Travel," "journey," and "trip"

Can someone help me with the difference among: travel,journey, and trip? HerlindaRead More...
Trip is common as a noun to refer to a journey . Like journey, it is a count noun, and can be singular or plural: Bob and Lana met on a trip to the Caribbean. Our family has taken many trips together. How do we embark on this inner journey to understand ourselves? In your journeys throughout the world, have you found the meaning of happiness? A trip is routine, and, you might be able to buy a ticket for it. A journey is somewhat more poetic, and can refer to more spiritual things. _______...Read More...

As well as

Can we put the phrase 'as well as' at the beginning of a sentence? Is the following sentence correct? As well as making the corridors smelly,this also attracts cockroaches and even rats.Read More...
By all means, yes. Here's a sample sentence from the Collins COBUILD English Dictionary*: As well as a good academic record, I look for people who have climbed mountains or been captain of a team . Here are beginnings of sentences from the Collins COBUILD concordancer online**: As well as lending her services, purely for... As well as putting up the finance for the... These last two sentence fragments were two of forty items containing "as well as." The thirty-eight others did not begin the...Read More...

Impressed AT?

Can "impressed" be used with a preposition "at" as used in this sentence? though impressed at the company's incredible winning streak through such acts as Britney Spears, R. Kelly, Nsync, The Backstreet Boys and Joe. PromegaXRead More...
1. Of the 1295 occurrences of "impressed" in my written English corpus (mainly literary works): impressed by 249 impressed with 210 impressed at 6 2. The Longman Contemporary English-Chinese Dictionary (1988), adapted for Chinese people from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, gives the following example under the word item "impress": I was very impressed by/at/with his performance.Read More...

Verb forms in questions

Why is it that sometimes helping verbs are necessary in forming questions and sometimes they are not? example - "who visited you?" vs. "who did you visit?"Read More...
A simple way to look at it is to consider the following. In general you don´t need to use an auxiliary/helping verb when you´re interested in the performer of the action, in other words, in the subject part of the answer: Who visited you? Many people visited me Who usually wins? Bob usually wins Who has been practicing? Everybody who wants to improve has been practicing Who will go? Some people will go Who would have prefered to stay? A few people would have preferred to stay What...Read More...

The noun "curiosity"

I read something today which I thought would be considered grammatically wrong in standard textbook English, but I wasn´t totally sure. It was a sentence where the noun "curiosity" was followed by the preposition "of", followed by a gerund; something like: "He no longer has the curiosity of reading tourist guides". I´m aware that one can be "curious about something" or "curious to do something" or there may be "curiosity about something" but is it normal to say "have the curiosity of doing...Read More...
You are correct in stating that the preposition "about" follows "curiosity." This definition of curiosity would be "a desire to know or learn," as in "We're very curious about the source of his funding." It may be, however, that the sentence you are remembering does not mean curiosity *towards* something, as "curious about" would mean. It may be that "curiosity" is a synonym for "peculiarity" or "strange or odd aspect," which is one of the definitions in the American Heritage Dictionary of...Read More...

"Was being"

Hallo, It`s greenrat again. I`ve got a question to ask. When do we say "He was being unfair / He was being funny"? What is "being unfair"? Gerund or participle? And what do we need that structure for? Is it past continuous or not? I mean why would we use it instead of simple past like "he was unfair"? Thank u / wish u all the best yuri greenrat@yandex.ruRead More...
In "Understanding and Using English Grammar, Third Edition," by Betty Azar, there are these words as part of an explanation of "as/is/are being + adjective" on Page 17: "...(b) Jack doesn't feel well, but he refuses to see a doctor. He is being foolish. (c) Sue is being very quiet today. I wonder if anything is wrong." The short explanation that goes with those examples is: "Sometimes main verb "be" + an adjective is used in the progressive. It is used in the progressive when it describes...Read More...

Regret doing == regret having done?

S1 I regret having called him a thief, but I regret even more his stealing my watch. S2 I regret calling him thief, but I regret even more his having stolen my watch. S1 comes from the Longman Contemporary English-Chinese Dictionary (1988:1186), an English dictionary with Chinese translation. S2 is my imitation of it. Do S1 and S2 have the same meaning? (I think they mean the same because, in these sentences, what one regrets is something that has already taken place.) Thank you.Read More...
Yes, S1 and S2 have the same meaning. As you know. "regret" + the gerund refers to a time in the past. The meaning of the verb "regret" ensures that, when used with the gerund, the situation referred to is in the past: (a) I regret leaving my job. (b) I regret marrying too young. (c) I regret not being kinder to my old grandmother. These sentences have the same meaning as (d) I regret having left my job. (e) regret having married too young. (f) I regret not having been kinder to my old...Read More...

"Who is..." or "who are..."

When you ask, "Who is coming to your party?" but you know there will be many people, why do we use "who is" rather than "who are"? There must be a simple answer to this, but I can't seem to come up with it. Thanks for your help, Lois Bascom loisbascom@schooloflanguage.comRead More...
(Rachel, I couldn't reach you by email.) It is true that Q1 and Q3 are the default question patterns with regard to S1. When we use them, we do not presuppose what the "what" is and the number of it and both a singular and plural answer are acceptable. What I intended to say in my previous post is that, sometimes, we might presuppose the number of the "what". Such presuppositions might occur in both questions and statements. Students often have difficulties in understanding the subject-verb...Read More...

Phrasal verb: "put up with "

I am attending an Applied Linguistics class this spring at the School for International Training (SIT). This week we've been engaged in a lively debate about a particular phrasal verb. Here goes... "put up with" Is it a verb + particle + particle or verb + particle + preposition? We've been using "The Grammar Book" by Marianne Celce-Murcia and Diane Larsen-Freeman as our main resource. Our instructor has encouraged us to explore other avenues of enlightenment outside of our text. We hope you...Read More...
Dear Richard, I don't know the answer to your question. The term particle is used in various ways by various grammarians and dictionary writers, it seems to me. The Collins COBUILD dictionary says "put up with" is a verb + adverb + preposition. I think that seems a good analysis. In a phrasal verb, a particle can be either a preposition or an adverb, depending on its function. So "put up with" = verb + particle + particle OR verb + adverb + preposition OR verb + particle + preposition? Are...Read More...

Modals and simple pres/past with expressions of urgency

Originally posted March 28, 2003 11:10 PM I found in a corpus that in "suggestion-that clauses ""must","could","might" can also be used. e.g. ...suggestion that she ought to have a man to knock round and look... ...suggestion that it would seem more natural for her to summon Sophy Viner... It is the same case with "essential that" clauses: ...suggestion that any one are... her could be sick.... ... a Reference Number will be given and it is essential that this number is written in the space...Read More...
Some modal auxiliaries-- notably should in British English--as well as the simple past and simple present tenses of verbs, do occur in noun clauses after 1) verbs of suasion like suggest and 2) adjectives of urgency such as essential , but they are used in different proportions in AmE (American English) and in BrE (British English). In addition, the simple present and simple past of verbs in the noun clause, rather than the subjunctive form, are sometimes found in AmE and very often in BrE.Read More...

Special meaning of "though"???

Needless to say, word soon spread about Nivea in A&R offices across the country. Both manager and artist had their sights set on Jive Records, though impressed at the company's incredible winning streak through such acts as Britney Spears, R. Kelly, Nsync, The Backstreet Boys and Joe. The above sentence is an excerpt from an article about Nivea Hamilton. You can see the whole article at http://www.hiponline.com/artist/music/n/nivea/ I have 2 questions about this sentence. 1. What does...Read More...
1. It has no special meaning- it was misused. "Though" is usually used to demonstrate to opposite conditions/situations: "Both artist and manager didn't want to sign with Jive Records though they were impressed by its track record." Another way to say it would be: "Although the artist and manager were impressed by Jive's achievements, they still did not want to do business with them." 2. "Impressed" is used with the preposition "by". Hope this helps.Read More...

"Fruit" -- always a noncount noun?

Can "fruit" be a count noun as well as a noncount noun? Kayn Karyn.DeParis@adelphia.netRead More...
Two more common words of the similar nature: food and tobacco. Generally known as non-count nouns, they also occur in the plural when it comes to different kinds of foods or tobaccos. Chuncan FengRead More...

"The third" or "a third"?

We usually use "the" with ordinal numbers. But sometimes "a/an" is used with them such as "a third" and so on. What is the difference between "the third" and "a third" ? Thank you. KenRead More...
It seems to me that "a third" plus a singular noun does suggest "yet another ..." or "one more ...". A non-native speaker of English, I often fail to express myself.Read More...

"Whole nother"

This may not actually be a "grammar" question, but it's an interesting phenomenon: Why do we often say "a whole nother" instead of "another whole," as in, "The piece of cake was so good, I ate a whole nother one"? Susan sgzamora@hotmail.comRead More...
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company) has this entry for "nother": noth·er (nÅ­TH'É™r) adj. Informal . Other. Usually used in the phrase "a whole nother," as in the sentence That's a whole nother story . [From alteration of ANOTHER (interpreted as "a nother").] RachelRead More...

Names of sports teams -- singular or plural?

What about plurals in the use of sports teams: The Bulls are a good team. The Magic is a team from Orlando. During World Cup soccer, many announcers were using sentences such as, "The U.S. are in the quarterfinals." Is this a difference in British/American/World English? Jon jlath@lssm.orgRead More...
The question of subject-verb agreement with the names of sports teams has come up before, and was addressed on the old Newsgroup. Here is a passage from the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English * (BrE=British English; AmE=American English): "Another special case is the use of plural concord with singular proper names where they denote sports teams: Reg, see where Tottenham are in the league? (CONV) England have been here almost a week, practicing every day in sauna-bath temperatures...Read More...

"Supposed to"

Do sentences with "was/were supposed to" always signal past unfulled expectation? Suzan suzanoni@metu.edu.trRead More...
Be supposed to expresses both expectation and mild obligation. Quirk et al.* describe it thus: "As [a semi-auxiliary], be meant to and be supposed to have meanings similar to those of ought to ..." (Section 3.47, note (b)) Examples of the expectation meaning, from a Google search, include — Mr Haider said that the equipment, which was supposed to arrive by June 14, would now be here sometime next week. — He was not supposed to die. It was not his destiny. He was supposed to recover from this...Read More...
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