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when/if

Amy : I want to go to your country to teach English to children. Peter : I think you are going to be a great teacher when/if you come there. Which is correct, when or if? Thanks in advanceRead More...
How about something like this? Amy : I want to go to your country to teach English to children. Peter : I think you're a great teacher. You'll do well when/if you come there. I didn't interpret it the way Amy did -- that she's not a great teacher now but would be if she went to Peter's country. I think Amy was just being modest.Read More...

HELP!!!

Entities like family, committee, team, organization, jury, and the like are treated as its instead of theirs, correct? Which examples below are incorrect, and how would you correct it? I have numbered each one for ease in responding. Please answer each one. Thanks very much to all!!! 1. The family brought its or their camper on the trip to Ocean City. 2. BUT: The family's members brought their camper on the trip to Ocean City. 3. The union will make its or their decision shortly. 4. BUT: The...Read More...
They're all correct. In both American and British English, such collective nouns can use either a singular or plural verb and pronoun. American English tends to use singular verbs here, while British tends to use plural, but both can be used. The difference is whether you are thinking of the group as a whole -- use a singular verb -- or you are thinking of the individual members of the group -- use a plural verb. In the cases you give, American English could easily use plural with all but...Read More...

at no time

cocoricot
Dear teachers, I chose (d) for this sentence. Is it correct? "At no time .........your a pay rise." a. had I ever promised b. I've ever promised c. do I ever promise d. did I ever promise Thanks.Read More...
Hi Coco Yes, I would choose option (d). The present perfect would also work, however it would also have to be inverted (have I ever). There is also a typo in your sentence. The word 'your' should be 'you'.Read More...

a structure

We have sometimes found ourselves short of staff and production has suffered . I don't understand the part in bold. I guess 'we' is a subject, 'have found' is a verb, 'ourselves' is a object, and 'short of staff and production' is a object complement. I don't get that bold part. Please let me know.Read More...
Hi Jey You're parsing the sentence incorrectly. There are two independent clauses joined by 'and'. Look at it this way: We have sometimes found ourselves short of staff. AND Production has suffered.Read More...

Put you through to reservations

cocoricot
Dear teachers, "I'd like to book a room please." "Certainly Sir, I'll put you through to reservations." Please explain "put you through to reservations" Thanks.Read More...
"Put sb through to sb" means "connect sb to sb through telephone." (Merriam-Webster) put through 1 : to carry to a successful conclusion 2 a: to make a telephone connection for b: to obtain a connection for (a telephone call) (Word Net) 2. connect by telephone; "the operator put a call through to Rio"Read More...

too big

cocoricot
Dear teachers, Please tell me which is correct. "Too big and too heavy ... behind passenger cars, these mobile homes are moved by tow trucks." a. to have been pulled b. to pull c. pulled d. to be pulled. Is (c) correct? Thanks.Read More...
(b) and (d) are correct, but (b) is more common although (d) is grammatically correct too. After "too" + adj, we very often use infinitive with "to." An example: This book is too difficult to read.Read More...

birthday

cocoricot
Dear teachers, "Do you think it is interesting that ......both fall in May?" a. My wife's and my daughter's birthday b. My wife and my daughter's birthday Is (a) correct? Thanks.Read More...
And (b) is wrong because it is not a birthday shared by two people. Each person has her own birthday. An example: Ali and Reza's laptop (one laptop owned by both Ali and Reza)Read More...

more than three weeks

cocoricot
Dear teachers, Is this sentence correct? "Mr Lu is concerned because there is no news about shipment that was made more than three weeks ago." Thanks.Read More...
Yes, that's OK. Just there should be a "the" before "shipment."Read More...

tired VS. tiring

Dear teachers, First, is the following word - tired or tring - correct in use grammatically and semantically? 1-1) Peopl dance for many reasons: from worshipping God to escaping tired lives or showing strong power. 1-2) Peopl dance for many reasons: from worshipping God to escaping tiring lives or showing strong power. 2-1) African slaves danced the Samba in order to forget their homesikness and the pressures of their tiring lives. 2-2) African slaves danced the Samba in order to forget...Read More...
Hello, Sungwoo Lee, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange. First, 'tiring' would be correct in all sentences. The people's lives make them tired, so the people are tired and the thing that is doing the action to make them tired is tiring. We could also say that the people's lives are tiring them; therefore, the lives are tiring. There is an additional meaning for 'tired,' too, which applies to the first two sentences. Occasionally, 'tired' can mean tedious and boring, as in this entry from the...Read More...

Last decade

We call the years 1900 - 1909 the "nineteen hundreds." How should we refer to the years 2000 - 2009? Thank you.Read More...
Hehe. Something may eventually come into vogue ... sooner or later. As of right now, I have yet to hear anyone in my neck of the woods refer to the years 2001-2009 as "the aughts". Not once have I heard it used. I haven't heard anyone call those years "the naughts" either. And basically the only time I've seen those phrases in print was in a discussion about what that decade is supposed to be called (typically after someone asked).Read More...

The word "default"

Writers nowadays seem to love this word, and I am probably not the only ordinary person to get confused. Somebody was criticizing a magazine for the words in a caption. S/he then continued: The caption writer has merely lapsed into the DEFAULT tone of Internet tabloids like (name deleted by me) .com. Would you please tell me what s/he means? Would the adjective "preconceived" work here? Thank you.Read More...
Thank you, Amy. I shall add your comments to my notes.Read More...

any longer

1. It shouldn't take any longer than an hour. 2. It shouldn't take any more than an hour. 3. It shouldn't take more than an hour. Do thoes sentences have the same meaning? Thank a lot.Read More...
I'd say they can be used interchangeably. The word 'any' adds a bit of emphasis.Read More...

The first conditional

"If I HAVE time, I WILL VISIT you." NOT: "If I WILL HAVE time, I will visit you." I understand that rule. I recently read something that broke this rule, but I am not sure that it is "bad" English. Let's say there's this neighborhood. Some people want a park. Others don't. The writer (who must be a native speaker or at least very fluent in English -- he's a university professor!!!) wrote something similar to: If there WILL BE no park, then the neighborhood will become an area of constant...Read More...
Thank you, Seiichi Myoga, for the intriguing update. The sentences from Close 1980 were most helpful.Read More...

Should I use a comma?

Consider the following: "He performed a solo acoustic set that lasted several hours and included many of his own tunes as well as covers from other artists." Should there be a comma in front of "as well as"? Can someone explain why or why not? Thanks!!Read More...
Hello, Vanderson, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! No, you should not use a comma for "as well as" here (especially in a language test). It is a conjunction here and means sth like "and" or "and in addition." He performed a solo acoustic set that lasted several hours and included many of his own tunes and covers from other artists.Read More...

sales manager

1. In my current position as sales manager , our division began experiencing falling revenue. 2. In my current position as a sales manager , our division began experiencing falling revenue. Which one is correct? sales manager? or a sales manager? Thanks in advance.Read More...
I agree with Amy. In the first sentence, using only the title without any articles suggests that you are talking about a position , so it is more likely to be only one person holding that position, but "a sales manager" in the second sentence points to a person with that position, and thus, it is more likely that there are other persons having that position too.Read More...

with

I stepped forward and suggested that all sales managers get together and decide how to assign roles with more clear responsibilities. Does 'with' in the sentence mean #2 in this site: http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/withRead More...
Yes, Jey, I think that's it. It's like the second example under number 2: a book with a green cover . And you could say "with" here has the meaning of "having" (as said in no. 2) because you could rewrite the sentence with a present participle this way: I stepped forward and suggested that all sales managers get together and decide how to assign roles having more clear responsibilities.Read More...

most/the most

Can I say (1) I like my father the best. (2) I like my father best. If both are possible, is there a difference? Is it correct that the 'the' is dropped when best is an adverb?Read More...
Both 'best' and 'the best' seem fine to me, Rasha Assam. However, the LDOCE gives examples of the superlative adverb 'best' only without the article: best 1 in a way that is better than any other: It works best if you let it warm up first. This can best be described as a series of steps. the best-dressed man in Paris 2 to the greatest degree [= most]: You know him best - you should ask him. The part I like best is the meal afterwards. He's perhaps best known for his role in 'Midnight...Read More...

in which

Tell me about a situation at work in which you experienced conflict and how you resolved it. Is it right that the above sentence is combined with #1 and #2? 1. Tell me about a situation at work where you experienced conflict. 2. Tell me about how you resolved it. Thanks.Read More...
Hello, Jey: Yes, the sentence you wrote combines the ideas of the two sentences. Take a look here, at this site. Click on the link, and open the first link that appears. Then open the Excel attachment. You will find that sentence in a group with many other similar sentences. It's a good interview topic. fficial&client=firefox-a" target="_blank">http://www.google.com/search?q...ial&client=firefox-aRead More...

Climate change

Climate change may cause ice caps to melt. I think climate change in UNCOUNATBLE. But what if I use, though I'm aware that climate change is used more frequently, climatic change. Is climatic change countable or uncountable or BOTH?Read More...
This is very interesting! The noun which is either countable or noncountable is 'change.' Both ‘climate change’ and ‘climatic change’ are treated as count nouns and also noncount nouns. There are examples of ‘climate change’ as a noncount noun in the New York Times, like these: • A survey in February by the BBC found that only 26 percent of Britons believed that “ climate change is happening and is now established as ... • A person who believes climate change has been happening might also...Read More...

will

1-a:There is little possibility that the book will help you. 1-b:There is little possibility that the book helps you. 2-a: It is quite rare that the idea in your book will help you. 2-b: It is quite rare that the idea in your book helps you. Now, which is grammatically correct; the one with or without 'will'? Or are they both grammatically correct but semantically a little different?Read More...
Hi Taka The phrase 'it is rare that' is a reference to the frequency with which something generally happen s , so the simple present tense would be the most logical choice. Here are some examples taken from COCA: - It is rare that a bit of dry humor sneaks into her writing. (i.e. A bit of dry humor rarely sneaks into her writing.) - It is rare that you meet a fireman who is not a very kind person. (i.e. You rarely meet a fireman who is not a very kind person.) - It is rare that the needs of...Read More...

Responding to a negative question

Hello friends on the GE powered by Social Strata (Ahem! Rachel still hasn't told us what this means...) What is the correct response to a NEGATIVE QUESTION? I did some checkin' up and found a book that says that 'We should expect a positive answer ' (Advanced Learner's Grammar - Mark Foley & Diane Hall). Then the Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching & Applied Linguistics (Jack C. Richards & Richard Schmidt) says that 'In English, negative questions are answered in the same way...Read More...
Thank you so very much, Rachel. You really have a knack for making difficult things, simple. I think you should run for the U.S. Presidency! Out of curiosity, doesn't it snow in Southern Canada? (I know that it doesn't rain in Southern California ...!) ( Let me tell you how to answer this, Rachel. Although I'm expecting a positive answer from you, you may give me a negative one because the truth is the truth. If it does snow, you have to say, 'Yes, it does' and if it doesn't, you will have...Read More...

Changing statements to questions

Hi Rachel & I'm sorry for asking another silly question. Let's say I want pupils to write negative questions . Let's take this one as an example: Haven’t they started the race? Now, they can't create the question out of nothing, right? So, I have to give them something to turn into a question, and I guess it has to be a statement. Now, which would be grammatically correct to give? A positive or negative statement? Should I give them: 1 They have started the race . OR 2 They haven't...Read More...
I knew this was too good to be true! Okaasan, You're right about the different verb tenses but I think the students should be able to handle them. Anyways, I just want to know why you have made particular mention of the Tom and Jerry sentence? In your opinion, is it really that difficult to do? WAIT! OH I SEE...! After reading my sentences again... No, No... it's a typo - it should be 'last night' in both the statement and the question... Sorry for the blunder! Thanks. GilbertRead More...

Does the subject or the verb determine the question word?

Hi, I have a statement: Ali rides his bicycle to school. I can change the statement above into a question: Does Ali ride his bicycle to school? Kindly tell me which word ( Ali or rides )determines the use of 'Does' in the question above. Thanks. GilbertRead More...
Phew! It's good to know that at least someone believes that I haven't lost my marbles yet! Thank you Okaasan. Have a great Friday! GilbertRead More...

neither ....nor

with neither....nor we use plural verb? neither Zahra nor Zohre.....to the party yesterday.(come)Read More...
Hello, Elham: Since this sentence refers to an event in the past (we know this because of yesterday), the verb will be in the simple past form. The simple past form is the same for all persons. In this sentence, it is 'came.' _______ If this were in the present tense, the verb 'come' would agree with the subject closes to it: Neither Zahra nor Zohre comes to class on time. Neither Zahra nor her friends come to class on time. Neither the boys nor Zahra comes to school on time.Read More...
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