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Past perfect progressive

Is it a must to put a simple past in the sentence of past perfect continuous tense? I mean can i say for ex : I had been working for 8 hours... Without giving the simple past or should i complete the sentence giving a simple past sentence? Like in : i had been working whole the summer untill the schools started. So which one is correct?Read More...
Thanks a lot 🙏Read More...
Last Reply By Hossam · First Unread Post

build it back better

1) We will build it back better. 2) We will build back better. I think those sentences are ambiguous! 'We built (it) well, and we'll build it back better (than we did before). We will built (it) back better (than it was.). In other words, 'better' could be an adjective or an adverb. It could be the comparative of 'good' or the comparative of 'well'. 3) We will build back bigger. That one is unambiguous, because 'bigger' can only be an adjective. Would you agree with that analysis?Read More...
Very nice analysis, Navi. I agree with you one hundred percent, though I can't say I find the sentences one hundred percent natural. I would like to note that the first interpretation that you give could be given a "they" variation: "They built it well, and we will build it back better than they built it."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

before = past simple or past perfect

Hi all Is the following sentence grammatical ? Sadly, the author died before he had completed the series. I think it is not grammatical. I think it should be reword like this: Sadly, the author died before he completed the series.Read More...
Hi, Dr. Ahmed, No, the usage of the past perfect here is perfect. The past perfect can be used after 'before' to show that an action wasn't done or wasn't complete when the past simple action happened. Your usage of the past simple is also correct here.Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

there was this man

a. I told you that there was this man among the people standing there, and we didn't know whether he was a journalist or not. He started filming the incident. b. I told you that we didn't know if a man who was among the people standing there was a journalist or not. He started filming the incident. c. I told you that we didn't know if one of the men who were among the people standing there was a journalist or not. He started filming the incident. Are all of the above grammatically correct?Read More...
Hi, Azz—All of them are grammatically correct, but they don't all have the same meaning. Sentences (a) and (b) may be interpreted as having the same meaning, but the first sentence of (b) may also be interpreted as a different way of saying "I told you we didn't know if anyone there was a journalist." Sentence (c) seems to be speaking of two groups of people; one group, the genders of whose members are unspecified, was standing there, and the other group, all of whose members were men, was...Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Investigate is an adjective?

How could a verb, "investigate", is used as a adjective? Carl Bernstein, the investigate reporter known for breaking the Watergate story that took down President Richard Nixon, told Stelter on Reliable Sources Sunday that anonymous sourcing is often a crucial tool for reporters. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/06/media/jeffrey-goldberg-atlantic-trump-reliable-sources/index.htmlRead More...
Hi, Joshua—"Investigate" is a verb, not an adjective. I suspect you are seeing a typo. The writer intended to write " investigat ive reporter ."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Using capital letters in headings?

Some news organizations use news headings with the first letter of each word being a capital. Is it correct to capitalize each and every letter of ever every word in a heading? For example - 'Our Total National Clients For The Month Of August' - Is this correct? OR - 'Our Total National Clients for the Month of August' - Is that correct? I've come across some headings where they don't capitalize words like "of" and "to", so which one is more correct to use for a news heading?Read More...
Hello, Egolfer07, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. The capitalization of headlines, as well as of titles in articles and books, usually follows the general rule that open-class words (which are semantically richer, such as nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs) will be capitalized while closed-class words (articles and other determiners, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions) will tend to be written in small letters unless they are sufficiently meaningful to be capitalized (e.g. numbers,...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

A and The

I am super confused with the use of "A" and "the". Can someone explain why in the 1st example below, it is appropriate to use "A" but the second example is to use "the". e.g. 1: A formal notice was issued to you on 1 January 2000 with a response date of 28 January 2000. (Why cant we use the as we refer to a specified formal notice. e.g. 2: On 1 January 2001, you responses to the formal notice issued to you.Read More...
Hi, Cristi, I'm not sure what you mean by "with a response date of ..." in e.g. 1. In e.g. 2, you should use a verb after "you": you responded to ... The first time you mention something, you use "a." After that, you use "the": A formal notice was issued to you on January 1, 2000. On January 1, 2001, you responded to the formal notice issued to you. Another example: Yesterday I received a notice . The notice said I had to go to court.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

verb agreement with 'as well as'

Hello everyone! The Cambridge First Certificate of English exam has a task where students are required to paraphrase a sentence using a given word. The original sentence is: In the morning, she goes jogging and answers important emails The paraphrase using 'well' given in the answers is: In the morning, she goes jogging as well as answering important emails. The sentence offered as correct in the book rubs me the wrong way as it sounds as if she were jogging and answering emails at the same...Read More...
Dear David! Many thanks for your reply! I am happy to know that it wasn't just due to my being a non-native speaker that the phrase sounded slightly wrong to my ear! As you mention, developing a perception of as well as as a preposition, which, like all other prepositions, would take an -ing form after it, is very helpful in learning to put -ing after it. The examples you wrote out in colour are useful in that respect! Once again, thank you!Read More...
Last Reply By Sofiah · First Unread Post

Using the Zero article before downtown.

Hello, Even after reading a former thread on this forum, I am still confused about why you use a zero article before downtown and yet a definite article is used before city . e.g I'm going downtown tomorrow. e.g I'm going to the city tomorrow. From what I've read, downtown is considered to be an adverb of place and as an adverb can't take an article. Is that correct? It seems to me that downtown is a noun = the name of a specific place. Therefore ,I'm confused. Why is downtown classified as...Read More...
Thank you both for your great answers. This is the best grammar forum out there.Read More...
Last Reply By Mrchuffie · First Unread Post

Response and responses

e.g. 1: I outlined several questions to my clients and he provided a response/response / responses. e.g. 2: In his response to my information request (please note I asked more than 1 questions), he noted the following: Question: 1. Is response always in singular form 2. Should I use a response/response/ responses in the above examples. Thanks so muchRead More...
I said the singular is the correct form in the sentences you provided.Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

had flown - had been flown

Hello. Which one is correct? Why? - Spaceships (had flown - had been flown) to the moon many times before Apollo 11 in 1969. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your help.Read More...
I have been searching for a similar sentence in the Teacher's Guide and finally here it is in the attachment highlighted in yellow. What do you say? Thank youRead More...
Last Reply By Ahmed Imam Attia · First Unread Post

Is it an informal pattern? "I prefer it sweet."

Hi everyone. The verbs like need, want, prefer accept the pattern V + n + adj, but I'm not sure if it is more appropriate in an informal context. Am I right? Thank you.Read More...
Hi, mmd—No, that syntactic pattern is not marked by informality. You can go right ahead and use it. "I prefer it sweet" means "I prefer it when it is sweet."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Which one is grammatical, punctuational and natural?

Which one is grammatical, punctuational and natural? 1) This famous novel is a little, let's face it, dull. 2) Let's face it, this famous novel is a little dull. 3) Let's face it; this famous novel is a little dull. 4) This famous novel is a little dull, let's face it. 5) Let's face it — this famous novel is a little dul.Read More...
All five versions are grammatical and acceptable with regard to punctuation, Toaha. The naturalness of each will vary according to context, here nonexistent.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Using comma

Can I use "comma" instead of "em dash" in these sentences? 1) Let’s face it — we just don’t have enough money to buy a new car. 2) Let's face it—my test scores are not good enough to get a scholarship to college.Read More...
Yes, Toaha, it is acceptable to use a comma in place of the em dash in those sentences. "Let's face it" is an idiomatic expression and is very short, so you needn't fear that a comma will result in a comma-splice run-on sentence.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Feet in the ring

What does it mean? Biden puts two feet in the ring as Trump wobbles. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/05/politics/joe-biden-donald-trump-election-2020-atlantic-story/index.htmlRead More...
Hi, Joshua—It's a boxing metaphor. "Two feet in the ring" means "two feet in the (figurative) boxing ring." Biden is climbing into the political boxing ring with Trump with the intention of—figuratively speaking—knocking Trump out.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Passive voice

People have to take care of these patients.Read More...
Hello, sansing10, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. I agree with Gustavo's answer to the question that we suspect you are asking. In the future, please actually ask a question. Do not leave it to your readers to infer your question from a title and an example. Thank you. Again, welcome to the forum.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

Goosebumps

If I think that a song can give me more goosebumps than any other songs, can I say this then? "Which song could give me more goosebumps than this one?" I mean, I find that it can give me way more goosebumps than other songs. If I use "could", will it indicate hypothetical? Or do I need to use "can"? I am confused about it. Please explain. PS: Can I say this as a rhetorical question? â–Ş Which song could give me more goosebumps than this (one)? I think "could" makes it a rhetorical question,...Read More...
Thanks David đź’–Read More...
Last Reply By Toaha · First Unread Post

GRAMMAR CHECK REQUIRED

I came across two different ads and wanted to check which of the two is correct: 1) Car service due today? 2) Car servicing due today? If someone could clarify with reason it will be great.Read More...

Kept (myself) busy.

"At least I've been keeping (myself) busy." According to the dictionary both 'keep yourself busy' and 'keep busy' are correct. But are they interchangeable? Lastly which one's more frequently used in daily conversations?Read More...
I wanted to say that I didn't waste my time during the lockdown. I was learning English. Should I say: "I was keeping busy" or "I was keeping myself busy?'Read More...
Last Reply By Ashraful Haque · First Unread Post

that was kind

Which of these sentences are correct: 1) That was kind of you to say. 2) That was kind of you to do. 3) That gesture was kind of you to make. 4) That gratuity was kind of you to give. Gratefully, NaviRead More...

Singular they

It is known that we use the pronoun they to refer to words like: someone, anyone, every body, person. But I came across a passage where the writer uses " they" or " he " to refer to " a person" in the same passage. I want to know if this can be applied to the other words like: someone, everybody. In other words can a sentence like the following be written in two ways? Someone is waiting at the door. Let them come in. Someone is waiting at the door. Let him come in.Read More...
Hi, Ahmed—Yes, both of those sentences are acceptable. "They," "them," and "their" are often used nowadays to refer to one person in a gender-neutral way. A number of generations ago, "he," "him," and "his" could be used to refer to "someone" whose gender was not known to the speaker. The latter usage is considered both old-fashioned and sexist nowadays. It is better to use "they," etc., or to say "he or she," "him or her," "his or her."Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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