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I'm trying to find a forum where I can ask very meticulous little things about grammar and stylization and usage.

Hi everyone, I write a Substack (https://join.substack.com/) and I'm extremely meticulous when it comes to little things about grammar and stylization and usage. I'll give you guys an example of the finnicky little things that always nag at me. Today I published a piece that has these paragraph: https://join.substack.com/p/whats-the-actual-science-on-covid But if you can’t do that, I recommend the virologist- and immunologist-run podcast This Week in Virology that will give you detailed and...Read More...

Future Forms

I am as an ESL teacher. I teach my students that we use the present simple tense to express future with schedules and timetables. But when searching the internet, I found this: What time _________? The answer is does the film start or is the film starting. Really, I am confused. Is it possible to get some help? ThanksRead More...
Hi, Izzathanna—Normally, we would use the present simple there: "What time does the film start?" But the present progressive is also fine: "What time is the film starting?" The latter formulation seems almost to personify the film as a being capable of intending to do something at a certain time. Compare: "What time are they [the people at the movie theater] starting the film?"Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

will be studying - will have studied

Hello Moderators, Could you please help me choose the correct choice? Why? simple explanation, please. - I'll begin to study at 4, I (will be studying - will have studied) when you come at 5. Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia—There needs to be a period between the two sentences. Right now you have a run-on sentence with a comma-splice error. You can say "I will be studying when you come at 5" if you will still be studying at five o'clock. You can say "I will have studied when you come at 5" if your study period will come to an end before five o'clock. You can also say "I will have studied for an hour when you come at 5" if you intend to conclude your study period when the addressee comes.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

what their story tells them they mean

Hello, everyone, THAT’S MY STORY AND I’M STICKING WITH IT People interpret facts to mean what their story tells them they mean . If someone has a story that life is hard, they will interpret someone else’s happiness as delusional, fake, or inappropriate. If a veteran salesman embraces the story that savvy manipulation is the only path to success, he may interpret the success of a young salesman who believes honesty is the best policy as “beginner’s luck.” * source;...Read More...
Hi, David, I'm really happy to hear that. Thanks again.Read More...
Last Reply By deepcosmos · First Unread Post

Might as past of may?

"They were even more than sufficient, if his uncomfortable glances at them might be taken to mean anything." From Book 2, Chapter XII of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. Is it possible to use might as the past of may, or there should have been used 'might have been taken' instead of 'might be taken'? See the attached file for the context.Read More...
Thank you, David.Read More...
Last Reply By David Toklikishvili · First Unread Post

The meaning of should + present perfect

"I have often dreamed of myself as back there, seeing faces in the yard little known, and which I should have thought I had quite forgotten." - from Book 2, Chapter XI of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens. What does 'should have thought' mean in this sentence?Read More...
Thank you, David.Read More...
Last Reply By David Toklikishvili · First Unread Post

for fear

Are these sentences correct: 1) He screamed for fear. 2) He didn't scream for fear. Isn't '2' ambiguous? a) He screamed but not because of fear. b) As he was afraid, he avoided screaming. (He didn't scream for fear of waking his wife although he was in pain)/ c) It is not true that he screamed for fear. He didn't scream at all. (Someone says: "He screamed for fear." and another person replies: "He didn't scream for fear.") I am not sure that '1' and '2' are natural. They might even be...Read More...
Hello, Navi—I agree with you that (2) is triply ambiguous and think that you have expressed the three possible meanings nicely. Arguably, the (b) reading would be assisted by a comma: He didn't scream, for fear. He didn't scream, out of fear. Out of fear, he didn't scream.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

will study , will have studied

I am confused about the use of future forms. Are both of these verb forms? if so, what is the difference in meaning? 1) a- In two years' time, Emad will study English at university. b- In two years' time, Emad will have studied English at university. 2) a- They will eat lunch by 2 o'clock this afternoon. b- They will have eaten lunch by 2 o'clock this afternoon. Thank you.Read More...
Hello, Ahmed Imam Attia—All four sentences are fine. In the (a) sentences you have the future simple, and in the (b) sentences the future perfect. The (a) sentences indicate when the action (studying English, eating lunch) will start, and the (b) sentences indicate when the action will have concluded.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

"did she say", as used parenthetically

1. Is it likely, did she say, that the proposal will be accepted? (CGEL, p1024) I'm not sure about the intended meaning of the example sentence itself. Is the sentence asking asking whether she said that is likely? Or is it saying that she asked whether it is likely? Any help is appreciated.Read More...
Thank you, David.Read More...
Last Reply By Robby zhu · First Unread Post

Swamped

Hi, Can I use the following two sentences interchangeably without changing its meaning? I swamped with works (In-transitive verb) I got swamped with works (Transitive verb)Read More...
Hi, Cristi—"Swamped with work" is basically an adjectival passive. Nobody talks about who swamped whom or about whom someone was swamped by. The point is just that somebody is swamped. The plural form does not refer to stuff you have to do, not even emphatically. "Works" refers to things already accomplished and therefore makes absolutely no sense in that context.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

restrictive or non-restrictive

In the third sentence in "A," there isn't a comma after "my parents" even though it is a specific noun. Ordinarily, "who were on a waiting list" would be a non-restrictive clause. Although I've forgotten, someone told me that there isn't a comma after "parent" because it has something to do with the word "so" that begins the sentence. In sentence "B," the noun, Guion, is a proper noun which should make the relative clause, "who later became an astronaut," non-restrictive. "Guion...Air Force"...Read More...
Ok, thanks, David!!Read More...
Last Reply By clueless · First Unread Post

Position of negative adverbs in ellipsis

Hi, I wonder if there is any rule in placing negative adverbs like hardly/scarcely/seldom/rarely/not/little when words following auxilliary verbs are ellipsed. quote: 1) Political lies, so often assumed to be trivial by those who tell them, rarely are . In this sentence, if I change "rarely" into "not", the following sentence seems to make sense to me. 2) Political lies, so often assumed to be trivial by those who tell them, are not . Placing "not" in front of "are" doesn't feel right to me.Read More...
Hi Gustavo, Well understood. Thank you very much. MoonRead More...
Last Reply By moon2 · First Unread Post

which she never does

Which are correct: 1) I drink a lot, which my wife never does. 2) I love drinking a lot, which my wife never does. 3) If she drinks a lot, which she never does, I will be surprised. 4) At the dinner there were a lot of people drinking heavily, which my wife never does. 5) At the dinner there were a lot of people who were drinking heavily, which my wife never does. How about this one: 6) In fact, he has never shown any inclination to join a club. He always says they are full of cigar smoke,...Read More...

Neither using infinitive nor gerund

Why do the verb "make" and "help" are not followed by either gerund or to-infinitive. Example: - I make her cry - I help him make more money Any other verbs that have the similar application?Read More...
Hi, TonyC, You can use either: ' make + obj. + inf.' or 'be' made to + inf. Verbs like 'hear, see, notice, watch' can have the same rule when you follow the whole action. You can also say: - I help him to make more money. 'Help' can be followed by an object + 'inf.' or 'to + inf.' I can't remember a verb that works like 'help'.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Engine

The engine is too hot . The car ...... . 1- won't work 2- isn`t going to workRead More...
Hi, Egyptian2017, IMO, ' won't work ' sounds more natural. 'Won't' is used here to express refusal. It is a special, metaphorical usage of 'won't'. You imagine that the car has a will and will refuse to start (because the engine is too hot).Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Adjective clause

Today most books tell us that "It is I who am at fault" is correct. But some scholarly books tell us that from a strictly grammatical point of view, it should be "It is I who is at fault." Such sentences were occasionally used in much older English. Could someone explain the reasoning behind the use of "is" in such sentences? Thank you.Read More...
Thank you very much for the excellent answer and the referral to earlier posts on this topic. (I wanted to give a "like," but a message told me that I am not allowed to give "likes.")Read More...
Last Reply By TheParser · First Unread Post

In case if

Can I put the word "if" after the word in case? For example: Can you pass on this information to your director in case if they need our services. or Can you pass on this information to your director in case they need our servicesRead More...
Hi, Cristi, I agree with Ahmed. The only possibility to use two conjunctions together is that they are different and coordinated (e.g. if and where ), or that, even if similar, they are at different syntactic levels (as is the case when one condition is inside another): - Can you pass on this information to your director in case, if they need our services , they decide to call us?Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Co-Moderator · First Unread Post

subjunctive

Hello, everyone, 1. “I sometimes wonder what sort of life I would be living, if I had known then what I know now .” 2. “I sometimes wonder what sort of life I would be living, if I knew then what I know now .” While I think no.1 conditional sentence for the unreal past situation is grammatically correct due to ‘ then ’, do the some natives also use no. 2 in a informal style? Your valuable comments would be much appreciated.Read More...

The same as

Which is wrong? 1- We are the same age. 2- We are of the same age. 3- We have the same age. 4- We are not at the same age. I think only no.3 is wrong because ( have ) with ( the same ) expresses possession، and we don't possess our age.Am I right? Thanks in advance.Read More...
Native speakers say: "We're the same age." I parse it as having an omitted "of."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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