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Must

Can we use must + be + ing to express obligation or necessity? For example: You must be studying. I think that it can only mean a deduction that I'm so sure of and that it can't mean necessity or obligation. Am I right? Thanks for helping me with this weird question.Read More...
Thank you very much, David.Read More...
Last Reply By Rasha Assem · First Unread Post

playing pool

Which are correct: 1) He is amazing playing pool. 2) Playing pool, he is amazing. 3) He is amazing when playing pool. 4) He is a god playing pool. 5) Playing pool, he is a god. 6) He is a god when playing pool. Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Hello, Navi, All six sentences are correct. But (4) is ambiguous. Sentence (4) could mean that he is a pool-playing god.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

pronoun, it or them

"There isn't room for the slightest mistake-- and yet we can't avoid making them." I think "them" should be it, or "mistake" should be "mistakes" for the sake of noun and pronoun agreement. Or is "them" acceptable in this sentence? AppleRead More...
Ah,,,,OK. I got it now. Thank you, GUSTAVO.Read More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

defeated&defeatist

Do not Let yourself look so sad and....... Life is a mixture of gains and loses. (defeatist _defeated_defeating_defeat)Read More...
Welcome to the Grammar Exchange, Wael Shaltoot. Please note that the correct spelling is "gains and lo ss es." I'm curious. What did that author say that made you doubt?Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

That is the (a) woman we saw at the station three days ago.

Hello, Is there a difference between using "a" and "the " in the following sentences? 1.This is a (the) picture that made us smile. 2.That is the (a) woman we saw at the station three days ago. In sentence 2, "the" sounds more natural to me. I'm not sure about sentence 1. AppleRead More...
Thank you, GUSTAVO. So when "a" is used that picture is just one of several or many. When "the" is used, it implies, that this is the (very) picture(I was talking about) that made us smile. AppleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

adjectival or adverbial? No.3

The dog, frightened by the thunder , trembled. What type of participle is the above sentence? To me, it's adjectival, deriving from: - The dog, who was frightened by the thunder, trembled However, the link below says it's adverbial: http://grammarpuss13.blogspot.com/p/adverbial-clauses.html?m=1 Thanks.Read More...
Perfect! Can you introduce a comprehensive grammar book which explains these nuanced points?Read More...
Last Reply By Freeguy · First Unread Post

Look (at) what you've done!

Hi! Could I ask you this question? Practical English Usage (fourth ediction) says that the preposition "at" following the verb "look" is often dropped before a wh -clause. (1) Look (at) what you've done! I was wondering whether there is any semantic difference when the preposition is present/absent. I was also wondering whether the preposition can appear after "look" in the following sentences (taken from Practical English Usage ): (2) Look who's here! (3) Look where you're going. I would...Read More...
Thank you so much, Gustavo! I really appreciate your comments.Read More...
Last Reply By yasukotta · First Unread Post

all havoc breaks loose

Hi, What does "all havoc breaks loose" mean? Thanks a lot.Read More...
Hi, Kuen: I think you mean to ask about "all hell breaks loose." It should be "hell," not "havoc." If you Google "all hell breaks loose," you'll find definitions. The basic meaning is this: when all hell breaks loose, all sorts of things go wrong; many problems need to be solved. Think of a volcano erupting—a volcano of problems.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

a falling tree, a tree falling

Hello, 1. A falling tree made a sound like a thunder. 2. A tree falling behind me made a sound like a thunder. 3. A tree falling made a sound like a thunder. I think sentences 1 ,2 are correct, but not 3, because a single participial adjective "falling" has to be placed before the noun. Am I correct? AppleRead More...
Thank you, David, for clarifying that. I was in fact only agreeing with Apple's comments on the correct or incorrect position of the participle depending on whether it is used alone ( falling tree) or with some adjunct (tree falling behind me ).Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

infinitive/gerund

1) Why do they complain about cleaning the house taking too long? They have a servant to clean the house! 2) Why do they complain about cleaning the house taking too long? They have a servant for cleaning the house! Can we tell if they have only one servant or more? If they have one servant, is cleaning the house the only thing that servant does? If they have more than one servant, does the same servant clean the house every time? Gratefully, NaviRead More...
Thank you so very much, David, Yes, I agree with you. Having a cook does not mean one also has a chauffeur! But I wasn't even going for that interpretation. I find your analysis of my '1' very astute. But the 'restriction' you discovered in this construct (the sentences marked with *?) is a true gem! I hadn't thought of that at all. It looks like a real discovery to me. I wanted to mention that in my last post in this thread, and I hope this will be my last post in this thread, but I suspect...Read More...
Last Reply By navi · First Unread Post

Future simple or continuous

In 2030, we will treat people with diabetes .. Is "will be treating " incorrect here?why?Read More...
Hi, Ahmed55, I think "will be treating" is much better than "will treat" there, because the treatment involves an ongoing process consistent with the use of the progressive, but some more information would be necessary for the sentence to make sense, for example: - In 2030, we will be treating 100,000,000 people with diabetes. - In 2030, we will be treating people with diabetes by means of this new method .Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

which or where

The shop, ..........I visited last week, has good souvenirs. ( which/where) with explanation,please. Thanks in advance.Read More...
Hi, poet 20, (and my greetings from El-Madina El-Monawara), Choose: 'which'. There is an easy way to choose between 'where and which' here. Make a complete sentence without using any relative pronouns. That will be: I visited the shop. You see the object comes directly after 'visit' without using any propositions, which means that 'which' is the right choice. Change your example above to be: The shop..... I work, has good souvenirs. Making a complete sentence would result in: I work in a...Read More...
Last Reply By ahmed_btm · First Unread Post

Help Required: Is this a dependent clause?

The opposing army were masterful at spreading lies and hate throughout their region, people hated them and therefore feared them. Is this a dependent clause: "People hated them and therefore feared them".Read More...
It doesn't make much sense to say that a clause is dependent, let alone adverbial, nominal or adjectival, if no context is provided. The only section that makes sense on that website is "Dependent Clauses in Sentences ."Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

Using 'of' correctly

A few weeks ago I casually wrote out the sentence ''It was about time to see what he wanted of her.'' and didn't really think anything of it, even after reading through it again. Today however it made me question if 'of' was used correctly here. In context, the person is wanted to do something, not give something.Read More...
Hello, JayK, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange! To me, "want something of somebody" sounds similar to "expect something of somebody" and "demand something of somebody" (alternatively, from can also be used in all three cases, as far as I know). I don't find any possession meaning there as long as "somebody" is "somebody" and not "somebody 's ." Compare: - He wanted something of her. (which may mean: He wanted her to do something for him/to act in a certain way.) - He wanted something of...Read More...
Last Reply By Gustavo, Contributor · First Unread Post

trust believe

Hello, 1.I don't believe your story. 2. I trust you. 3.I cannot trust this research result. 4.I cannot believe this research result. I think 1,2,3,4, are correct, but what about the following sentence. 5. I can trust none of his success stories in business. Doesn't "trust" have to be replaced with "believe"? Or does "trust" work in this sentence? AppleRead More...
Thank you, David. AppleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

Since or That

It was only ten days ago ...... she started her new job. a) that b) since c) both A & B are OKRead More...
Yes, you are right, Coco. Very good. The answer is (a): It was only ten days ago that she started her new job. ( comes from : She started her new job ten days ago.) Des3 has given an incorrect answer. The answer is NOT (c) or (b). In order for "since" to work, two things would need to be different. "Ago" would need to be deleted, and "was" would need to be changed to "is" or "has been": It is only ten days since she started her new job. It has only been ten days since she started her new job.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

not only but also

cocoricot
Dear teachers, I have two simple sentences. I want to connect them using ''not only'' and ''but also''. I don't know where to place them properly. He is interested in gardening. He is interested in raising fish, too. 1. He is interested in not only gardening but also raising fish. 2. He is interested in not only gardening but he is also interested in raising fish. 3. He is not only interested in gardening but also raising fish. Can you tell me if ''not only '' ''but also'' can be placed...Read More...
Thank you, David, for your help. I got it.Read More...
Last Reply By cocoricot · First Unread Post

Which is correct? Is there a song... Is there any song... Are they any songs...

Hello, 1. Is there a song that you can sing in French? 2. Are there any songs that you can sing in French? 3. Is there any song that you can sing in French? I know sentences 1 and 2 are correct, but what about 3? I don't think it is correct, but is it acceptable? AppleRead More...
Thank you, David. appleRead More...
Last Reply By apple · First Unread Post

apostrophes

We're having an argument in my office. I say: Library Speakers Series has no apostrophe on Speakers. Others say it does have one. I say there's no possession. It's actually the "series of speakers," not that the series belongs to the speakers. Who's right? Thanks. SharonRead More...
Hi, Sharon, Since you are clear that you you don't wish the phrase to indicate that the series belongs to the speakers, I agree with you that it makes more sense without the apostrophe. Even the plural (speakers) is unnecessary, though it is not incorrect. Traditionally, attributive nouns were used in the singular even with there was plural meaning. Now it is common to see both types. Thus, you could say: the library speaker series compare : the fairy tale series the superhero novel seriesRead More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post

delay to repair the bus

a. We'll have a twenty-minute delay to repair the bus. b. There will be a twenty-minute delay to repair the bus. c. We'll have a twenty-minute delay in order to repair the bus. d. There will be a twenty-minute delay in order to repair the bus. Are the above sentences grammatically correct? Are they natural? The idea is that repairing the bus will take twenty minutes and therefore we'll be delayed by twenty minutes. Many thanks.Read More...
Hi, Azz, While none of the sentences is a disaster, all of them cry out to be repaired. If you changed "(in order) to repair the bus" to "for bus repairs," all would be well: (a'/c') We'll have a twenty-minute delay for bus repairs. (b'/d') There will be a twenty-minute delay for bus repairs.Read More...
Last Reply By David, Moderator · First Unread Post
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