All Forum Topics

expense

A: Why don't we travel to Japan and take a reat at a spa? B: That sounds good. Let me check the date and _____ . a. expense b. expenses c. the expense d. the expenses Which is correct? And could you explain some? Thanks!Read More...
I think this is a typo. Is it 'take a rest ' at a spa? If so, a case could be made for each and every choice. If this is a test, it is a bad question. All might be considered correct since 'expense' is both a count and noncount noun. In addition, 'expense/ expenses' might be considered general -- therefore used without an article -- or specific, and used with an article.Read More...

exist; existed

Several years ago, scientists estimated that over 1.5 millon species of animals _______ on earth. More recent estimates have increased that number to about 3 million. a. exist b. existed Are they both correct? Thanks!Read More...
Even though b is not technically wrong, I would go with a . The reason is that the animals that existed then still exist now, so there's really no need to place exist in the past in this case.Read More...

could/was able to

In the sentence below; I went to Mexico last week, and I could meet/was able to meet her then. Are both 'could meet' and 'was able to meet' correct?Read More...
One little caution, if I may: If the context in which you find this sentence tells us that the speaker/writer had tried to meet her previously but failed to, then it's okay to say .., and I was able to meet her then . But if that is not the case and the speaker/writer succeeded on her first attempt, using was able to is wrong; the sentence should be .., and I met her then.Read More...

to OR in?

Any difference between "to" and "in" here? A: "Is Monica here?" B: "No, she is off to the restroom." OR "No, She is off in the restroom."Read More...
I wouldn't say She's off in the restroom. She's in the restroom. Off to the restroom doesn't mean that she's in the restroom. It means that she's headed that way. She may or may not have reached there.Read More...

just to make sure?

Examine this sentence please: 1. What we need now (are/is) chairs. Although The two advanced grammar books I read regarding this issue in particular agree that both answers are correct,they differ with respect to style. One says (are) is more formal and the other says (is) should be used in more formal and serious writing. Now does this have to do with BrE and AmE? ThanksRead More...
I still think that it is a matter of BrE and AmE but I haven't found a confirmation yet and I would be obliged if someone helped me further. The following are the original examples followed by the comments of the authors: - What is needed (are) additional resources. (or more collquially ... needed is) / Advanced Grammar in Use/ Martin Hewings. -What we need are more housing units for married students. (However , it is best to avoid such a construction in formal usage)/Modern English: A...Read More...

General tenses

Can anyone tell me what tense : You shouldn't take a lot of luggage & I wish I had more money ... GabrielleRead More...
We can't understand your question, Gabrielle. Would you please rephrase it? Thanks.Read More...

if a minister preach

Dear experts, Should we say "a minister preach" as in: http://www.google.com/search?h...&as_nhi=&safe=images or a minister preaches? Thank you, YuriRead More...
The phrase you're citing, Yuri, is from an old style of speaking and writing that was common only to certain English-speaking groups back in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of these groups were religious ones. In the phrase If a minister preach , the verb is in an archaic form of the subjunctive. In more modern parlance we'd say either If a minister should preach , If a minister preached when offering a hypothetical situation, or If a minister preaches when offering a more factual situation.Read More...

(the) best

Can anyone please tell me what are the differences between the following sentences? 1. She knows me best. 2. She knows me the best. 3. She knows me most. 4. She knows me the best.Read More...
Ah, an interesting point Amy has raised. I probably would have shot from the hip and said they're the same, because I've recently had to look up this issue for someone. But usually best and the best are interchangeable, aren't they? Also most and the most ? In the sentence that I was asked about (I think it was I like that subject ... )), all four were possible. But yes, with this verb (the) most doesn't work. Hope I don't ever have to explain why.Read More...

with or without [a]?

which is ceorrect and WHY? 1. interaction between writer and reader. OR 2. interaction between a writer and a reader.Read More...
Thank you very much for the always enlightening information, Rachel.Read More...

know

Can one say: 1-All they know is swimming. instead of: 2-All they know how to do is swim.Read More...
Yes, that's fine, Navi.Read More...

shall/will

As I mentioned yesterday, we shall be going on a nature hike up the mountain instead of joining the other students on the trip to the aquarium. What is the difference between shall and will ? As I mentioned yesterday, we will be going on a nature hike... As I mentioned yesterday, we shall be going on a nature hike... Thanks in advance.Read More...
No, Jey. Look carefully at what I said about that rare emphatic use and the example I gave. It's the ending, saying and so you shall that shows the emphasis, my friend.Read More...

passive with certain verbs?

Are the following passive sentences correct ? and if yes what are the active versions of each, please? thanks in advance. - He was intended to be hired. - He was arranged to be hired. - A new hospital has been decided to be built. - She was arranged to work as a secretary. - It is intended that he be killed.Read More...
Hi Rachael, I also agree with you about the "official avoidance" of the passive voice. People do tend to get carried away with things like that, don't they? There are many situations in which the only good choice is the passive. My pet peeve stems from the fact that in my years as an ESL teacher, I have run into what I view as an over-abundance of poorly conceived grammar exercises in which students are told to transform active sentences into passive ones that nobody would ever actually use.Read More...

Turned out

It is a movie that they have been waiting for, but it turned out that it was not a good movie. Am I correctly using 'turned out'? Thank youRead More...
Sometimes people do say, 'It turns out that..' when referring to a past event. They might say it when telling a story. It's a 'historical present' that people sometimes use in narration. As for you three sentences at the end with negatives: they are all correct. (I notice that you are looking for the proper way to negate s verb.) They all mean the same, with a slight, slight different nuance in each: - "It was a movie that they had been waiting for, but it turned out to be not a good movie."...Read More...

double the time than usual or as usual?

"It takes me twice as long as usual to get to work now." That sentence should be alright. What about the following sentences: 1) I need double the time than usual to... 2) I need double the time as usual to... I don't like either. If I had to pick one, I would choose 1).Read More...
For me neither sentence works well; that's why I commended Apple's suggestions.Read More...

not to / to not

I am never sure about whether to say "not to" or "to not". For examples: 1. This means not to go behind the yellow line. 2. This means to not go behind the yellow line. Are they both OK?Read More...
Years ago only not to go would have been accepted, but now it's become acceptable to say to not go as well. There's a long explanation that comes from some of the history of the English language, but suffice it to say that both are acceptable these days, Alex.Read More...

cowardice

She cannot live a life with such cowardice. Am I correctly using 'cowardice'? Thank youiRead More...
I would remove the word "a": - She cannot live life with such cowardice. Or you might want to word it this way: - She cannot live such a cowardly life.Read More...

lied down/lay down

It was Saturday night. He heard gun shot, looking out the window. Someone lied down on the road. Am I correctly using 'lied down'? Should I say 'lay down'? Thank youRead More...
The correct usage of lie and lay is tricky. 'Lie' -- meaning to lie down -- has these principal parts: lie, lay, lain . 'Lay' -- meaning to put something down -- has these principal parts: lay, laid, laid . If you want to change this to the past tense: Grandpa lies down every afternoon. Grandpa lay down yesterday afternoon. But, your sentence shouldn't have a simple past tense. If it did, it main that someone started to lie down on the road. What you should say in your sentence is this:...Read More...

Lives

His books touched millions lives. Am I correctly using 'lives'? Thank youRead More...
Your sentence is OK if you add the word "of": - His books touched millions of lives.Read More...

Education -- uncountable??

LDOCE defines an uncountable as a noun that doesn't have a plural form and that "refers to something which cannot be counted or regarded as either singular or plural." I've always thought of uncountables as nouns that cannot take a definite article. You can't say *a milk or *an information . But you CAN say an education , but (probably) not educations . (Perhaps you can say "Their educations were paid for by X."??) Why? Is this word an exception, or is there more to the definition of...Read More...
In addition, many noncount counts are used as singular count nouns when they refer to 'a type of,' especially when used with an adjective or post-modifier. These can have the indefinite article. For example: a fine wine, an exceptional coffee, a superior intelligence, a collosal stupidity, an honesty beyond question, a greed of such intensity . Some of these nouns above often do appear in the plural when they refer to different kinds of something: wines, coffees, etc. These are generally...Read More...

There is an importance in taking

I'd appreciate it if someone would answer my question. Thanks in advance. Concerning the sentence; There is an importance in taking the economic situation into account. Does "am importance" in this sentence mean a certain kind of importance or some amount of importance or some degree of importance? Sorry for no context.Read More...
Thank you very much. Rachel.Read More...

Here and there

Do we need to have an "in" in front of "here" and "there"? - It's cold here/there! - It's cold in here/there!Read More...
When you use the preposition, you're talking about an enclosed place -- a room, tent, house, etc. Without the preposition, you're talking about an open place -- a park, city, country, etc.Read More...

noun clauses and tenses

"The fact that I almost drowned makes me very careful about water safety whenever I go swimming." Does the tense need to agree with the noun clause? So, it becomes: "The fact the I almost drowned made me very careful about water satefy whenever I went swimming.Read More...
I think so.Read More...

leave for

I know it is fine to say "I am leaving for London", "I am leaving for work"... But I just saw "Before you leave on your trip,..." instead of "Before you leave for your trip..." in a book. I wonder if both sentences are the same.Read More...
We use 'for' when we mention the place, specifically, as in your example, Alexwlh, of 'leaving for London.' With a noun phrase like 'your trip,' we'd usually say 'on your trip.'Read More...
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