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as lovers can

a. You will write poems as lovers can. b. You will write poems as only lovers can. (You will write poems the way (only) lovers can) c. Your love will fade away as certain memories can. d. Your love will fade away as only certain memories can. (Your love will fade away the way (only) certain memories can fade away.) Are the above sentences grammatically correct? I have rarely heard 'as' used this way with 'can'. I can only think of: "He does it as only he can." and "He did it as he could." I...Read More...

Tense Simplification in Subordinate Clause (Future Form)

In Michael Swan's book "Practical English Usage", entry 231, it is indicated, we often use tense simplification in subordinate clause. In its first part two examples are given and asked for comparing: 1) This discovery means that we will s pend less on food. 2) This discovery will mean that we spend less on food. Since the subordinate clause is after that , so the second one may be right; however, the first one seems more natural for me. I wanted to ask, which one is the right answer, and if...Read More...
Hello David, Thank you for your reply.Read More...
Last Reply By Amirhossein Asgharnia · First Unread Post

How to use "This, that, these, those" to refer back?

Hello teacher! Can I ask you a question? 1 When we talk about one person, one thing, one event and then we refer back them, we will use "he, she, they, it", not "this, that, the". Ex: - I met my friend last night - Were they a doctor. (not that person / this person / the person) 2 When we talk about more than one thing, person, event ... and then we refer back them, we will not use "he, she, they, it", we can use “the". Ex: - I bought a cat and a dog yesterday. I will give John the cat and I...Read More...
I was confused about using "this, that, these, those" to refer back something, but this explanation helped me so much! "They imply that there are other cats and dogs being discussed, so that these need to be singled out from among the others." Thank you for your help!Read More...
Last Reply By Kimconu · First Unread Post

Sociable

Hello, He lives in the ( sociable - affluent ) part of the city. I think that both choices can work. What's your opinion ? Thanks in advance.Read More...

Choice of the appropriate modal

"Fill in the blank with the appropriate modal in the following sentence" is one of the questions in an English test at a Japenese high school. In the first years of his premiership, back in the 1960s, increasing business efficiency by installing air-conditioners in government buildings ( ) be the top priority. What would be the correct answer?Read More...
No, "would be" definitely doesn't work. "Would have been" would work, but "be" prevents it. If the answer has to be a modal, then the answer has to be "had to." Alternatively, the test makers could revise the question.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

profession

Are these sentences correct: 1) They want me to give a lecture about my profession of acting. 2) In my profession of acting such things are considered normal. 3 ) In my profession of actor such things are considered normal. I think we should have 'my profession as an actor', or 'my profession, which is acting'. '1' and '2' seem to me to have defining postmodifying phrases and imply that I have more than one profession, one of which is acting. Gratefully, NaviRead More...

pronoun form after prepositions

Dear Marilyn / Rachel How are you ? Would you please help me with this question ? ** Which of the following experssions is correct ? 1) a) between he and them . b) between he and they . c) between him and they . d) between him and them . 2) a) between she and we . b) between she and us . c) between her and we . d) between her and us . 3) a) between we and her . b) between we and she . c) between us and she . d) between us and her . *** Also , would you please tell me what is the rule to be...Read More...
Many thanks for the welcome and the clarification.Read More...
Last Reply By David Walker · First Unread Post

with a sprained ankle

Which are correct: 1) He was limping with a sprained ankle. 2) He was limping, with a sprained ankle. 3) I noticed that he was hurt, with a sprained ankle. Gratefully, NaviRead More...

somebody/anybody

Is there a difference between the meanings of these two sentences: 1) The insinuation that he has been paid by somebody is ridiculous. 2) The insinuation that he has been paid by anybody is ridiculous. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi, Sentence (2) expressly has in mind more than one possible payer. I think that "anybody" needs to receive emphatic stress for (2) to be acceptable. The two sentences could actually be combined, with (2) amplifying the message of (1): (3) The notion that he has been paid by somebody— anybody —is ridiculous.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

So or such

There were .......... few people around, the streets were almost deserted. a) too b) enough c) so d) such I think (d) is the right answer because the space is followed by ( adjective + noun ). But, I often hear " so few " and " too few ". In case my guess was right, can you tell me why (a) and (c) aren't suitable? Thanks. P.S. I took this question from an outside book called " the best ".Read More...
Thank you all very much. This has been very helpful.Read More...
Last Reply By Yama · First Unread Post

small vs. little

a. What he had in his pocket was not real money. It was small money. It came from a board game probably. b. What he had in his pocket was not real money. It was little money. It came from a board game probably. Are both versions acceptable? Many thanks.Read More...
Azz, I don't like either of your examples. The size of the notes or coins doesn't necessarily indicate whether or not they are real. I've seen low-denomination notes from Indonesia that were smaller than some postage stamps. In many countries, the size of the notes and coins is reflective of their value. For example, in France prior to the adoption of the euro, a five-franc note was much smaller than a hundred-franc note. If I were to describe someone as having little money in his pocket, I...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

present perfect or past tense?

a. How many girlfriends have you had? b. How many girlfriends did you have? c. How many girlfriends did you have before you got married? Let us say I'm talking to John, who is now married. I know that he is a faithful husband and the assumption is that John and his wife will live together till the end of their days. But John had girlfriends before he got married. Now which of the sentences (a), (b) and (c) could I use when talking to John? Many thanks.Read More...
Azz, The simple past is used to refer to states or actions at a specific instant in time in the past or during a specified period of time that ended in the past, so (c) clearly refers to the period that ended at the time john got married. You must have known this, since you said "John had girlfriends before he got married", not "John has had girlfriends before he got married". The present perfect refers to states or actions that continue up to the present, so (a) would include any...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

{homeless} as a nominalized adjective

grammarcrazed
Hello everyone: Can I use 'homeless' as a nominalized adjective in the following sentences? a. I spotted three homeless in this area this morning. b. Three homeless were arrested for trespassing on private property. ThanksRead More...
Otto Jespersen noted in the early nineteen-hundreds that the construction was once used but is now "generally avoided": Jespersen also notes: Poutsma says: It's interesting that he mentions the military. I believe that even today one can, in a military context, speak of, say, thirty wounded instead of thirty wounded men or thirty wounded soldiers . Then we have the King James Bible, which contains some of the most beautiful English ever written. I am confident that, given enough time, I...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Drive someone up the wall vs. give someone gray hair(s)

grammarcrazed
Hello everyone: Is there a difference in connotation between these two expressions? My kids have been driving me up the wall since we moved here . My kids have been giving me gray hair(s) since we moved here . ThanksRead More...
Grammarfan, Both of these expressions are, of course, figurative. Kids can't literally drive a man up a wall, and, although there is evidence that prolonged stress can cause premature graying, there is no way for someone to be aware in the short term that the process is occurring. There is considerable overlap between the two expressions, in that both of them indicate that the kids are causing the speaker a great amount of stress. My general sense is that (1) conveys the sense that the...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

this group of

This group of chemicals .... believed to be harmful to people with asthma. 1) is 2) are Me: #1 Answer key: #2 My take: "This group of chemicals .... believed to be harmful to people with asthma." I take out "of chemicals", it is just a modifier. "This group .... believed to be harmful to people with asthma." Now it is clear the missing work must be [is]. Correct me if I am wrong. (Two separate sources that contradict each other, though: 1. you know, this is a democratic party, who just...Read More...
The transcript of Ben Collins on Tucker Carlson Tonight has a few inaccuracies. What he actually said was: The fact that he said "this group the democrats" rather than "this group of democrats" does not contradict David's point, but rather reinforces it. Earlier in the passage, he speaks of "the democrat party, who just recently now was raising their arms up". As David says, singular collective nouns can sometimes take a plural verb, and "party", in this sense, is such a noun. You can't have...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

in any country

Are these sentences correct: 1) Not all people are wealthy in any country. 2 ) Not all people, or even a majority of people, are wealthy in any country. 3 ) Not everyone is wealthy in any country. 4 ) Not everyone, or even a majority of people, are wealthy in any country. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
No, I think you're right. This makes perfect sense to me. DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

people do that

Are these sentences all correct: 1) People scuba dive in Spain. 2) People do scuba dive in Spain. 3) People do scuba diving in Spain. 4) People do do scuba diving in Spain . Do they mean: a) That there are at least some people who scuba dive in Spain (maybe only tourists do it!) b) There are a lot of people who scuba dive in Spain c) Scuba diving is a common activity in Spain. It is widespread d) Everybody scuba dives in Spain Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Navi, for what it's worth: With regard to your examples (3) and (4), I have never heard anyone say "do scuba diving" before, and can find very few examples of it in print. I'm not saying it's incorrect, but it sounds awkward to me. "Scuba dive" is certainly used often enough that I would say there is no question as to its acceptability, but I can find more instances of it being used as a noun phrase (as in "to perform a scuba dive") than a verb phrase. Furthermore, it doesn't seem to lend...Read More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

active voice + by

Hey, Is this sentence natural? - The company transports the products by the best vans in the market. I would say: The products are transported by the best vans in the market.Read More...
Hello, Freeguy, I don't like the preposition "by," because it seems to be introducing an agent when the sentence is in the active and therefore has a subject that performs the action. I'd use "by means of" (also "by using") or the causative "have" or "get." Also, we generally say "on the market," not "in the market." The company transports the products by means of/by using the best vans on the market. The company has / gets the products transported by the best vans on the market. The...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post
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