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had not the entrance been spotted by the distinguished French potholer, Berger.

Hello, everyone. Would you please do me a favour? The cave might never have been discovered had not the entrance been spotted by the distinguished French potholer, Berger. (New Concept English book 3 by L.G. Alexander) My question: Is the word order “had not the entrance been” correct in the sentence above? To be exact, is the position of the word “not” correct? I was hoping someone give could me an explanation. Thank you very much.Read More...
Hi, Sunshine, I've had to check this with David, because -- familiar as I am with several of L.G.Alexander's books -- I was not sure myself. In US English, the structure above is not ungrammatical but is considered extremely unnatural and unidiomatic, and possibly even archaic. If inversion needs to be used, it is much safer to say: - The cave might never have been discovered had the entrance not been spotted by the distinguished French potholer, Berger. Surfing the Internet, I have found...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Issue with 3rd person verbs in a list on resume

Hello all, question for you. I’m turning the first entry of my resume from past tense to present tense/3rd person tense. It’s been easy to change except that the first sentence (underlined section) is really giving me a hard time, because it sounds awful to the ear in 3rd person. I’m looking for other suggestions/possibilities. Thanks in advance for any help. I’m turning “ Researched, analyzed, and interpreted policies and procedures , made final decisions on post-entitlement actions, and...Read More...
"Analyzes" sounds fine to me. What don't you like about it? DocVRead More...
Last Reply By Doc V · First Unread Post

have some time getting it out

Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. My questions: 1. Why did you author use "getting" instead of "to get"? 2. Is it correct to replace "getting" with "to get"? If so, is there any difference? I expect to have some time getting it out. We heard today for the first time of the peace talk. I am not putting any faith in it at all and I guess it is just our business to ... (from A Canadian's Road to Russia: Letters from the Great War Decade by Stuart Ramsay Tompkins, ‎Doris Hinson Pieroth -...Read More...
Got it. Thank you, GUSTAVO.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

infinitive usages. 2

Cars may be stuck in heavy traffic because there are no traffic lights to guide , and food goes bad in silent refrigerators. (Source: Iran's university entrance exam) Which usage of an infinitive has been illustrated here? 1. a direct object 2. subject complement 3. as a postmodifier after indefinite pronounsRead More...
Yes, without "them" the sentence is wrong because the verb "guide" requires an object.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

away from

1) That was three years away from his graduation from high school. 2) That was three years from his graduation from high school. 3) He was three years away from graduating from high school. 4) He was three years from graduating from high school. Can one tell if 'away from' and 'from' mean 'before' or 'after' in these sentences? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi, As a native speaker of American English, I understand "away from" as ambiguous between "before" and "after" in (1) -- I can get either reading -- and as indicating only "before" in (3). As for the sentences with just "from," I understand (2) as ambiguous between "before" and "after" -- I can get either reading -- and as unidiomatic in (4). However, if I had to specify a meaning in (4), it would be "before."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

to keep the talking at library tones

Hello, everyone. Would you please do me a favour? “Of course, you are still encouraged to keep the talking at library tones and, whatever you do, keep the information you share simple, like a grocery list. ”(from: http://www.kekenet.com/cet6/201712/535779.shtml ) My questions: What does the writer mean by “ at library tones ”? Is the preposition “at” in the phrase “at…tone” correct? I think the appropriate preposition should be “in”.Read More...
Thank you, DAVID. Your explanation really helps.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

the tulips most prized for their uniqueness

Hi, everyone. Please do me a favour. Some say " most prized" in the context above is the superlative of the adjective of “prized”. Others say " most" is an adverb meaning extremely and that " prized" is a past participle . I want to know your opinion about this question. Thanks.Read More...
Thank you, GUSTAVO. I am sorry to have paid TOO much attention to "I don't see much contradiction ..."Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

things like you did

1) He did things like you did. Can '1' have both these meanings: 1a) He did things as you did. He did things in the way you did. 1b) He did things like the ones you did. ================= 2) He said things like you did. Can '2' have both these meanings: 2a) He said things as you did. He said things in the way you did. 2b) He said things like the ones you said. ================= 3) He said things like you said. Can '3' have both these meanings: 3a) He said things as you did. He said things in...Read More...
Thank you very much, David, Very interesting. Sentence '1' strikes me as a very rare specimen. It can have two meanings. That is of course no big deal. But if we assume that its meaning is '1b', then there will still be a 'grammatical ambiguity' (I am using that for want of a better word). One can't tell whether the second 'did' is an auxiliary verb or not! The sentence be parsed in two ways. I suspect that the speaker would know which 'did' he or she used, but the listener won't be able to...Read More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

"Will buy" vs "going to buy" vs "buying"

Hi there, could you please tell me which ones are correct in the following sentences? Are there any difference in meaning? 1-Hey John, I am buying a mobile tomorrow. 2- Hey John, I am going to buy a mobile tomorrow. 3- Hey John, I will buy a mobile tomorrow. And........ 4- Hey John, I will get a new car tomorrow. 5- Hey john, I am going to get a new car tomorrow. 6- Hey john, I am getting a new car tomorrow. And..... 7- Let me look into the matter, I am having a discussion with James...Read More...
Concerning the usage of the future tenses, I see that all the sentences above are grammatically correct. With 'will', there is determination and willingness. With 'be going to', there is a strong intention. With the present progressive, emphasis is on arrangement. I mean something like calling the car agency and making an appointment with the manager to buy a new car or getting the money from the bank to buy it.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

the usage of 'impossible'

I wonder if the conversion below is allowed. It is impossible for them to carry the box. -> The box is impossible for them to carry.Read More...
Hello, yy, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! I find your first sentence above to be more usual, but I don't think the other one is incorrect, but just awkward or less straightforward, if we consider that these two sentences are fine: - It is impossible for me to do this. - This is impossible for me to do. In the second case, I feel tempted to add something to complete the sense of "do," for example: - This is impossible for me to do on my own / by myself.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

modifying problem

Hello forum, Then I discovered, what was news to me , that his wife was Tom's niece. What section does the underlined part modify? a). (that)his wife was Tom's niece. b) Then I discovered that his wife was Tom's niece. I think it modifies b), the whole sentence. If the sentence is reworded as " Then I discovered that, what was news to me , his wife was Tom's niece", then the underlined part may possibly modify the clause section. And I also think it is a general way to identify what an...Read More...
Thank you, David, for making that clear. I think I should also clarify that "which was news to me" in end position also refers to the "that"-clause, being a clausal rather than a sentential modifier: - Then I discovered that his wife was Tom's niece, and this (the fact that his wife was Tom's niece) was news to me.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

relative clauses

China is the country that paper, silk and gunpowder were first produced in . China is the country which paper, silk and gunpowder were first produced in . China is the country in which paper, silk and gunpowder were first produced. China is the country where paper, silk and gunpowder were first produced. To me, the second one is wrong. What do you think? (Source: Iran' university entrance exam.)Read More...
Hi, Freeguy, Please number your examples the next time. All four sentences are correct. The second and third sentences are essentially the same sentence. In the second, the preposition is stranded; in the third, it is fronted. That said, I do find the second sentence to be the least natural of the four.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

had almost

1) He had almost written the letter. Could '1' mean both: 2) He had almost finished writing the letter. and 3) He almost wrote the letter. (but didn't even start writing it) Gratefully, NaviRead More...

excited about

1) I am really excited about the movie 'Wind' coming out in September. 2) I am really excited about the movie 'Wind' in September . 3) I am really excited for the movie 'Wind' coming out in September. 4) I am really excited for the movie 'Wind' in September. The idea is that I am really excited that the movie 'Wind; is coming out in September. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Thank you very much, DocV, That makes perfect sense!... As usual!! Respectfully, NaviRead More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

He's always game for a laugh. (from Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, entry: game (adj))

Hello, everyone. Would you please do me a favour? He's always game for a laugh. (from Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English , entry: game (adj)) My questions: Is the word “game” an adjective or a noun? What is the meaning of the word “game”? How to parse the sentence “He's always game for a laugh”? I would appreciate it if you would give me an explanation.Read More...

the effects on these of viperine poison is almost immediate

Hello, everyone. Would you please do me a favour? Snakes did not acquire their poison for use against man but for use against prey such as rats and mice, and the effects on these of viperine poison is almost immediate. ( from New Concept English, book 4 by L.G. Alexander ) I wonder why the writer has used the word "is" instead of "are". I was hoping you would give me an explanation. Thank you.Read More...
GUSTAVO , you are great. Thanks very much.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

as between

Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. 1. What does the phrase "as between" mean in the context? 2. Is it correct to replace "as between" with "between"? If so, is there any difference? The context is as follows: The house, which she could see was going to be burned to its bones before any help could reach it, was the summing up of her life. Logically included in the slant of its roof, its closet spaces, its lonely distance from the village, was everything that had ever happened to the...Read More...
Thank you very much, GUSTAVO . It really helps.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

a factor that most workers have attributed to nutritional stresses of postweaning diets.

By and large, however, most reports on age patterning in hypoplasia occurrence indicate a peak in defects at 2 to 4 years of age, regardless of geographic or ecological setting, a factor that most workers have attributed to nutritional stresses of postweaning diets. from: https://mafiadoc.com/the-cambr...97c4706398b457d.html Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. 1. What does “a factor” refer to, according to the text? 2. What is the meaning of “have attributed a factor to nutritional...Read More...
Thank you very much.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post

Do you like to

Hi, What's the difference between these sentences below? 1. Do you like living in the city? 2. Do you like to live in the city? 3. Did you like living in the city? 4. Did you like to live in the city? Thank you very much.Read More...
Hi, Kuen, A Practical English Grammar (Thomson and Martinet) 4th edition says: This means that both 'ing' form and 'to+ inf.' could sometimes be used interchangeably without a great difference in meaning. So, in answer to your questions about the listener and the speaker, I see both your suppositions are perfectly fine. However, they are not strict (fixed) rules to follow. Suppose I live in the city and my friend says: - After witnessing this human misery, do you still like to live / living...Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

"Will buy" vs "going to buy" vs "buying"

Hi there, could you please tell me which ones are correct in the following sentences? Are there any difference in meaning? 1-Hey John, I am buying a mobile tomorrow. 2- Hey John, I am going to buy a mobile tomorrow. 3- Hey John, I will buy a mobile tomorrow. And........ 4- Hey John, I will get a new car tomorrow. 5- Hey john, I am going to get a new car tomorrow. 6- Hey john, I am getting a new car tomorrow. And..... 7- Let me look into the matter, I am having a discussion with James...Read More...

bully vs. bullier

a. A lot of these tough, cool guys are bullies of weak people. b. A lot of these tough, cool guys are bulliers of weak people. Which is grammatically correct? I don't think (a) works. As 'bully' is a verb, I'd say 'bullier' is a legitimate word, and we need that word in this context. I'd vote for (b). It is possible that neither is really grammatically sound. One could always go for c. A lot of these tough, cool guys bully weak people. But I'd like to emphasize what they are . Their identity...Read More...
Hi, Azz, Unfortunately, "bullier" is not a word in the English language. It does not appear in the OED. To me, it sounds as if it were the name of a type of dog. My vote is for (c), the sentence with the verb "bully." If you must go with the noun, I recommend using "to" instead of "of" (d) A lot of these tough, cool guys are bullies to weak people. I have confirmed that this usage exists -- e.g.: "We treat our patients with respect and compassion, yet we are bullies to our coworkers" (...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

This is the first time for me to go to London.

Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. Oxford dictionary says this sentence is not correct. This is the first time for me to go to London. I wonder why. I was hoping you could give me an explanation. Thank you.Read More...
Yes, Ruifeng, we can use either "to" or "in" there, and with "to" there is more of a dynamic feel, a sense of the speaker's having taken a trip to London. In that context, I'd use "This is the first time I've taken a trip to London", a sentence which also works in the first context you asked about.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

She was telling me about her exploits while travelling around Africa.

Hello, everyone. Please do me a favour. I have trouble analysing the word "while" in the following sentence. She was telling me about her exploits while travelling around Africa. (from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary ; entry:exploit) Some say: While-clause is an adjectival clause modifying "exploits". Others say:her exploits while travelling around Africa=her exploits done/achieved while travelling around Africa. That's to say, while-clause is an adverbial clause modifying the...Read More...
GUSTAVO , thank you very much. Your explanation really helps.Read More...
Last Reply By sunshine · First Unread Post
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