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guard the door / house

Do we say, The dog guards at night. The dog guards the house / door/ the gate at night.Read More...
Hi bear_bear Though that sentence might be OK in some contexts, I would recommend using something like this instead: - The dog stands guard at night. OKRead More...

come near / near to

Can I say, (a) It barks whenever strangers come near (to it). (b) It barks when the strangers come near (it). (c) It barks when strangers come closer / close.Read More...
Hi bear_bear OK. The words "to it" are not necessary. Don't use the word "the" unless you are talking about only a few specific strangers. If you are referring to all strangers in general, do not use "the". "Close" is OK. If you use "closer", then "closer than what " must be clear in either the sentence itself (i.e. you would need to add something), or in the broader context.Read More...

~times as ~ as/than

Dear teachers, I found the following sentence on the web site of Washington Post. However, I am not sure if the sentence is grammatically correct. In my opinion, "than" should be replaced with "as". In fact, I could find so many examples of ~ times as ~ than on the Internet. Do you consider they are formal and correct? Sixteen-year-olds are four times as likely than adult drivers to become involved in a crash. Sixteen-year-olds are four times as likely as adult drivers to become involved in...Read More...
The advice on the arithmetic comparison brought another question to my mind. Why the professor included "percent as much as" in "Don't say". The question might be more about Math than English because I think the expression is grammatically correct. Do you have any clue? http://web.augsburg.edu/~schie...984OfSigCompare3.pdfRead More...

Conjunctivation/Conjunctivization

(1) Is "conjunctivation" the right word for those which are not conjunctions but are used like conjunctions (e.g. the moment , the way , and even instead of as in “http://thegrammarexchange.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/340600179/m/346100823”)? What about "conjunctivization"? (2) Why do you think this happens in English? Any linguistic or extralinguistic causes or reasons?Read More...
I am going to look in every linguistic reference I have, and online, over the weekend to see if I can find either of these words. If I were to coin the word, I would use either 'conjunctionivation' or 'conjunctionization.' I can see the motivation for naming 'the moment that' and 'the manner how' with this term, but not 'instead of,' which Quirk lists as a two word preposition.Read More...

suit/match

cocoricot
Dear teachers, Please confirm these: 1. Blue suits/matches you. You should wear it more often. 2. I don't think that green dress suits/matches her. Thanks.Read More...
Thank you,Amy. I like your examples. They are so nice.Read More...

Capitalization

Do you capitalize names of games such as, patty cake or rock, paper, scissors?Read More...
I think that Mehrdad is correct. Names of games like the ones mentioned are not capitalized. Here’s an example – one of several – from the New York Times: • But ultimately, the jackals are less terrifying than the thought of one more minute listening to Nick’s tales of all the real adventures he’s been on that make this one seem like a game of patty-cake. I flee the tent, Here’s another, actually two examples from the same article. The first mentions the game generically, and the second...Read More...

a plate of cookies

Can I say, She is baking a plate of cookies.Read More...
We normally don't bake cookies on a plate. Usually we use a "cookie sheet" to bake cookies. Click on the link below to see a picture of a cookie sheet (with some cookies on it): cookie sheet and cookies After the cookies have been baked, it's possible that some of them might then be placed on an attractive plate and offered to guests. The people I know always bake many more cookies than will fit comfortably on a single plate (myself included). Thus, I'd recommend using the word "batch": -...Read More...

the more

Which are correct: 1-The more you can't have something, the more you want it. 2-The less you can have something, the more you want it. 3-The more I try, the more I can't concentrate on it . 4-The more I try, the less I can concentrate on it. 5-The more I don't eat it, the less I miss it. 6-The less I eat it, the more I don't miss it.Read More...
Grammatically, they are all correct, Navi. I think the best wording for any idea will vary.Read More...

a sensational four goals

Wayne Rooney scored a sensational four goals to send Manchester United top of the Premier League at a mutinous Old Trafford. Is the part in italics correct usage?Read More...
Re: "a" being curious I agree with Rachel's explanation that the phrase is semantically "a sensational [number of] four goals", though the structure with "number of" is less frequent, according to my BNC findings, than that without. "A" does appear curious, but is good English. Another example: (1) An estimated 10000 people are killed and many more are injured every year on roads.Read More...

Who are they? v. What are they?

Hi, Say there is a picture in a coursebook featuring some people. Teacher: How many people are there? Student: four. Teacher: Who are they? Student: John, Liz, Mike and Tom. Teacher: What are they? Student: John is a teacher. Liz and Mike are nurses and Tom is a policeman. Were the questions in bold answered correctly?Read More...
Thanks to Amy and to Okaasan for great answers. That's exactly right -- 'What are you?' is not a good question to ask someone. Here's another context in which it might be used. We hear a lot of this on the TV program 'Seinfeld.' One of the characters might say to another: 'What are you -- some kind of nut or something?' Spoken in this kind of idiolect it's not really insulting, but it isn't a compliment, either. Here are some lines from dialog of that show: George: Let me see the watch.Read More...

Watch and bow

- This morning I went to a pagoda. I had a chance to watch and bow the statues there with veneration. Then I went to a river to row my boat to midstream and let it drift downsteam freely. - Are these natural to say? Thanks so much to moderators! NamcoolguyRead More...
Hi Namcoolguy Here are my suggestions: - This morning I went to a pagoda. I had a chance to look at and bow to the statues there with veneration. Then I went to a river , rowed my boat out to the middle and let it drift freely downstream .Read More...

it's

Am I correct to think that it's = "it is" or "it has", but not = "it was" ?Read More...
I agree. If someone speaks very quickly, the word word 'was' is often not clearly enunciated at all. Still, there is usually at least a hint of the W-sound there. lolRead More...

edge/verge/brink

cocoricot
Dear teachers, These phrases have the same meaning, haven't they? How can I differentiate which from which or can I use either one or another. All are OK? "The panda has been on the edge/brink/verge of extinction for many years." Thanks.Read More...
You don't mean "on the edge of" and "on the brink of" aren't followed by a gerund, do you?!Read More...

fell down / fell

Can I say, (a) She slipped and fell down / fell at the bathroom. (b) She slipped and fell down on the floor (in the bathroom. c) She slipped in the bathroom and fell down.Read More...
"Fall down" is the same as "fall" in your sentences.Read More...

Participle

cocoricot
Dear teachers, "Keith spent a lot of time filling in job application forms because he was unemployed." I have two ways to change this sentence into the sentence with participle. Please tell me if they are correct. 1. Unemployed, Keith spent a lot of time filling in job application forms. 2. Being unemployed , Keith spent a lot of time filling in job application forms. Thanks.Read More...
Thanks,soguksu. Do you know the reason for adding "being"? Thanks.Read More...

price

What is the difference between the following two: 1. old books selling at 10 cents each. 2. old books selling for 10 cents each.Read More...
Oh, I forgot to answer your question about formality. The mere use of the word "bucks" automatically makes both sentences sound informal. And "got" is not a particularly formal word either. In a nutshell, using "at" rather than "for" basically only shifts the perspective a bit.Read More...

by/ on riding his motorcycle

Can I say, (a) He delivers newspaper (by)riding his motorcycle. (b) He delivers newspaper (on)riding his motorcycle.Read More...
Right. One more way to phrase this sentence, with 'newspaper' in the plural: He delivers newspaperS... He delivers the newspaperS...Read More...

taken into / to

Can I say, He was taken into / to the ambulance.Read More...
If, for example, on a TV news program, you see someone on a stretcher being carried, he is being taken to an ambulance. If you see the person actually being put inside the vehicle, then you see him as he is being taken into the ambulance. If you want to describe the whole scene later, you might say that he was taken to the hospital by ambulance or in an ambulance.Read More...

Appositives

Can an appositive have a predicate in it, or is it strictly a phrase? Thank you.Read More...
Hi Nakaman There are appositive clauses, and yes, those will contain a predicate. You will frequently find these used with abstract nouns -- nouns that are nominalizations of verbs. For example: - The belief that the earth is flat has been disproved. "that the earth is flat" is the appositive clause. The belief has been disproved. The earth is flat = the beliefRead More...

grumbled

Can I say, (a) His parents always grumbled (over) to / with his son. (b) His parents like to grumble.Read More...
Hi bear_bear Sentence (b) is OK. It suggests that his parents are in the habit of complaining about a lot of different things. Sentence (a): - His parents always grumbled to/with his son. Unlike sentence (b), this sentence refers only to the past. The sentence seems incomplete because it doesn't mention what the grumbling was about. However, I would interpret it to mean that they complained to his son about various things that they didn't like. - His parents always grumbled over his son.Read More...

some effort

He put some efforts on his work. Am I correctly using 'some efforts'? Thank youRead More...
'Effort' is also a count noun. Sometimes either the singular or plural form is all right, as in this sentence from the New York Times: Raise import tariffs to promote manufacturing here.and put efforts into legal alien enforcement and deportation. In this sentence, I think the writer means put one kind of effort into enforcement and another into deportation. _______ After the 'uncountable' definition in the LDOCE, there appears this definition of 'effort': attempt [uncountable and countable]...Read More...

About adjectives

Which is correct? (a) (i) The white rose is unusual. / is an unusual flower. (ii) The purple rose is more unusual than the white rose. (iii) The orange rose is the most unusual. / is the most unusual flower. (b) (i) The oil palm tree is useful. / is an useful tree. (ii) The rubber tree is more usuful more the rubber tree. (iii) The coconut tree is the most useful. / is the most useful tree.Read More...
Hi bear_bear In (a), all of the variations are possible and correct. In (b), all of the variations are possible as long as you make the corrections I've noted in boldface type in the quote:Read More...
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