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comma

Man : What has been the strangest, or if you like, the funniest case brought into your courtroom? Woman : That is a tough one. I would have to say it was about a young man being tried for breaking and entering and attempted robbery. The young man climbed onto the roof, made a hole in the roof and fell through the ceiling. He didn't injure himself, thank god, but he couldn't get out of the store. You could see him on the camera. He tried everything possible. He even threw a hammer at the door...Read More...
That comma is absolutely necessary, Jey. If there's no comma after door , it's the door that came back and hit him in the head! But I have to tell you that the sentence, which works fine in spoken English, I suppose, still isn't good because it can be ambiguous. Since there are two things mentioned before that relative clause (the hammer and the door), common sense tells us which object hit the guy in the head, but grammatically speaking, we can claim that which is ambiguous since it can...Read More...

uncountable nouns

Which are correct: 1-I have a different humor from you. 2-I have a different humor from yours. 3-I have different humor from you. 4-I have different humor from yours. 5-We have different humor from each other.Read More...
I agree with Amy that the sentences are all unnatural. However, 2 and 4 are constructed grammatically, though awkwardly. Your questions and the subject of this posting show that you are wondering whether 'humor' is a count or a noncount noun. 'Humor' is listed as a noncount noun in the LDOCE, but one of the examples shows in that definition shows it as a count noun. http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/humour_1 In addition, it is possible to make almost any noncount noun a count noun when...Read More...

If it was / were / is

Dear teacher, Please kindly advise me which of the following three sentences is correct. Or, all the three are correct but their meaning is different? (1) If it was done too much, exercise might not be good for health. (2) If it were done too much, exercise might not be good for health. (3) If it is done too much, exercise might not be good for health.Read More...

using 'already'

Is it correct to use 'already' at the end of a sentence? For example, can I say, "I've been there already?" Is this considered informal usage when speaking or is it an acceptable position when writing?Read More...
Hi, Diane! This is more a stylistic issue than anything else. I consider it less formal to place already at the end of the sentence, but it's certainly acceptable. The more "formal" placement would be between the auxiliary ( have ) and the past participle, in this case been . There are even times when already is used in initial position, for example when somebody is reporting something and wants to emphasize that time factor: "Already we've seen large troop movements along the border between...Read More...

will be ~ing/will

Woman: Is he okay? Have you heard anything yet? Man : I have just spoken with the doctor and Jeremy will be fine. He has a consussion and should be okay in a couple of weeks. However, he won't be playing football for the rest of the season. What is the difference between won't be playing and won't play : However, he won't be playing football for the rest of the season. However, he won't play football for the rest of the season. Thanks a lot.Read More...
I see, Jey, that I answered your question with some general rules. I did not answer your specific question here. About 1)'He won't play football for the rest of the year' and 2)'He won't be playing football for the rest of the year,' either could be used. If you use 'won't' alone, this is a stark prediction. If you use 'won't be playing,' it's a little softer, describing the situation in the future.Read More...

to infinitive or a that clause

cocoricot
Dear teachers, Can I say: "She made it clear to object to the proposal." or must I say: "she made it clear that she objected to the proposal." Are they different? Can I use both? Thanks.Read More...
First, what Okaasan has said is fine. But Coco, could you please produce some context for your sentences so that it's easier to see whether they work or not? After thinking about it, I've concocted a scenario in which I can plug in your first sentence: ( a meeting of corporate lawyers ) A: I'm really not clear what the CEO wants us to do when we meet with XYZ Corporation. I can't figure out if she wants to go along with or object to the proposal as it's written now. So what do you think? B:...Read More...

Linking Verb

In the following sentence, is Matthew being linked to tall or fellow? ** Matthew is a really tall fellow. Also, in the following sentences, is remained being used as a linking verb or action verb? ** Mary and Ben remained friends for life. ** The guilty person remained silent.Read More...
Because of the indefinite article 'a,' we can see that Matthew is being linked to 'a....fellow.' 'Tall' modifies 'fellow,' and 'really' modifies 'tall.' _______ In the other sentences, Sayed, 'remained' is a linking verb.Read More...

Preposition

Can I say, (a) A whale is the largest animal on / in land. # (b) The man rode the people with a trishaw / by trishaw. (c) The coconuts dropped on / onto / in the ground. (d) The cactus lives in / at a desert.Read More...
I hope you realize the funny mistake you made in (a), Vincent! (a) A whale is the largest animal in the ocean. (b) The man transported the people in a trishaw / by trishaw. (c) The coconuts dropped on / onto the ground. (d) The cactus* lives in a desert. *Even though it's acceptable to use the definite article and singular noun when discussing a general observation about something, it's more common to use the zero article and a plural noun. It would be more common to hear this: Cacti...Read More...

alone time

Liam is perfectly happy having some alone time for now. He 's an independent and responsible kid. The sentence above is from The Washingon Post. Can you say "alone time?" I'd say "happy having some time alone for now." AppleRead More...
I didn't say that you can use alone before any noun you choose, Apple. I was only talking about the expression alone time . So the answer is no, you can't say an alone man .Read More...

World / worlds / me?

Hi, "For the worlds I know, the errors are legion. For the world I know best - me - I'm tired of correcting the errors that are introduced by unknown forces in the 'David Crystal' entry." 1. For the word world I wonder which is correct to use; the plural form or the singular. 2. I don't understand the use of me in this context. Please elaborate.Read More...

Answer to/report to

Hi all, Please have a look at this sentence: - Phillip answers to Bill and he reports to Julia. My questions are: 1. Do answer to and report to have the same meaning? 2. Who does he refer to, Phillip or Bill? Many thanksRead More...
You're welcome, TonyC. I hope the explanation has been helpful. I don't know where the sentence came from, but it is not really clear because of 'answer to.'Read More...

business/company

Phishing is a kind of cybercrime where thieves assume online identities to dupe or trick victimes. To trick victimes, thieves employ a variety of methods. One such method is to design false websites of trusted businesses companies such as banks or government agencies. Is the bold sentence above correct? I think there should be comma between businesses and companies. Thanks!Read More...
There should be an 'and' between 'businesses' and 'companies': One such method is to design false websites of trusted businesses and companies such as banks or government agencies.Read More...

will/would

What is the difference between will and would in the two sentences below? 1. Mike, what activity will I give your students while you're out? 2. Mike, what activity would I give your students while you're out? Thanks a lot!Read More...
Thank you, both of you. I found the two sentences while surfing the web. Several people learning english wondered about what the difference was between 'will' and 'would'. Most of them was thinking that 'would' was expressing 'politeness'.Read More...

Difference in clause.

Hi ,Rachel.. When checking , i realized something...please scroll down..do you think what is the difference? http://thegrammarexchange.info...=728106732#728106732 http://thegrammarexchange.info...=828102032#828102032 Thanks.Read More...
In "the rumors that you come home late", the "that you come home late" part identifies/defines which rumors you are referring to. In this case, the rumors are all simply slight variations of "you come home late" (similar to what I mentioned in my last post). You cannot then go on in the sentence and say that "you come home late" equals (means the same thing as) "you have a girlfriend". Those are two completely different ideas; they do not mean the same thing. However, you CAN say that the...Read More...

adjective clause

joan
Our research suggests that hoarding is a complex problem in which people have difficulty processing information to organize items and solve problems. How do we separate the above sentence into two independent sentences? Thanks!Read More...
what a problem!Read More...

Being that

Dear Richard / Rachel Would you please tell me whether the following sentence is correct or not? Please tell me why? - Being that the crime took place in front of him, he gave an accurate description of it. ** I have been told it's wrong because we can not put " that " after " being "! Also, we can only put a noun , an adjective or verb +ing ! *** Please let me know your comment. I'm waiting for your kind relpy. Thank you very much. SayedRead More...
Thanks for the link, Sayed.Read More...

brand vs make

Dear teachers! Could you kindly explain the difference between these words? What make of car do you drive? What brand of washing powder do you use? Can I say *What brand of cars do you prefer? Thanks, GailRead More...
Thank you, Richard!Read More...

gang / cloud / group / swarm of flies

Which is the answer? I got confused. There is a gang / cloud / group / swarm of flies on the heap of rubbish.Read More...
Well, if you want to say a cloud of flies , Vincent, you go right ahead. I've never heard anybody say that, so I'll stick to a swarm of flies .Read More...

Can or Would

Can a flower grow up without rain? Would a flower grow up without rain? How should I say?Read More...
The verb grow up means "reach adulthood" or "mature," and is used for people and animals, Volcano. That's why Okaasan said you should't use it when talking about a flower. One of the most typical questions that adults ask little kids is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And usually, at least in the US, kids will say things like a doctor, a nurse, a fireman, etc.Read More...

Say ah?

Hi, Please see the attachment. Since the word "instruction" is followed by "to", I think the verb "say" shouldn't be put between the two inverted commas. That is: "...doctor's instruction to say "ah";" If "say" should be put between the two inverted commas, I think the preposition "to" have to be omitted. That is: "...doctor's instruction "say ah";" What do you think?Read More...
Thanks a lot, Richard. This is too from Crystal's.Read More...

Translating

It was not a bad idea translating from English to your native language when you read the paper. Am I correctly using 'translating'? Thank youRead More...
Yeah, Richard, I was away for the summer. I think sometimes you saw me online here because I put this page as my home page when my brother used the computer.Read More...

Think about and think of

Dear Richard & Rachel Would you please tell me what is the difference between " think about " and " think of " ? ** Also , is there any difference between the following sentences ?: a) I'm thinking about you. b) I'm thinking of you. I'm waiting for your kind reply. Thank you very much. SayedRead More...
Yikes! This is a very complex item in English vocabulary, Sayed. The best thing I can suggest is that you go to the link I'm listing below that will take you to the right page in the LDOCE Online. They've got very good entries to show you all the various uses of think of and think about , which sometimes are interchangeable, but sometimes aren't. Just scroll down and begin at listing no. 5. http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/think_1Read More...

find a mistake

cocoricot
Dear teachers, Is there a mistake in the sentence? I don't see any. "Graham Bell was once a teacher who ran a school for the deaf in Massachusetts." Thanks.Read More...
Indeed, yes, Richard. But I think in the UK, they don't use the hyphenated compound last names as we do here. It's just as you say, the two last names. And, I forgot to add Lloyd to my list of first names/ last names, but as you know, this list could go on forever.Read More...
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