All Forum Topics

throw rubbish anywhere / somewhere

Can I say, (a) Plese do not throw rubbish somewhere / anywhere. (b) Do not throw rubbish over the rubbish dump. (c) Do not throw rubbish in public places.Read More...
(a) Please do not throw rubbish/trash anywhere . (b) Do not throw rubbish/trash at the dump . (c) Do not throw rubbish/trash in public places. It's much more natural to say simply Do not litter . RichardRead More...

It is raining cats and dogs?

Which is correct, and why? 1. It is raining cats and dogs. 2. It rains cats and dogs.Read More...
Jerry's explanations are right on. I just thought I'd mention that idiomatic expressions like It's raining cats and dogs is the topic of the next piece I'll be adding to my blog after I'm back from the TESOL convention. Please go to http://azargrammar.com/grammarGuy/ and have a look at the latest piece I've posted there. You're always welcome at my blog, and you're always encouraged to leave a comment if you choose to. RichardRead More...

position of adverbials

-Do you drive your car often? 1-No, by car I only go to work. -How did you get to Lyon? 2-By train we went to Paris and then by car we went to Lyon. Are sentence 1 and 2 acceptable? I generally place the adverbs at the end, but I wanted to see if these worked.Read More...
1- Besides the fact that the word order doesn't work, as you suspected, the answer doesn't really even work in response to that question. I think it would be much more natural to say something like No, I only use/take it when I go to work. 2- Once again the word order doesn't work. The answer should be We went to Paris by train and then went to Lyon by car. RichardRead More...

where/which?

I came from a country.......has a great history. a. where b. which which is correct a or b?Read More...
Hello, Mero&mony! My half-penny: If your sentence is talking about the subject's nationality, it should be I come from a country ... To express nationality or national origin, we say I come from ... . To express where we have previously been before arriving, we say I came from ... / I've come from ... A: Ah! You're finally home! B: Yeah, I just came from the park. / Yeah, I 've just come from the park. RichardRead More...

About "sports day"

Can I say, (a) Last Friday was (a) Sports Day. (b) Last Friday was Jenny's school annual Sports Day. (c) Last Friday was Jenny's school Sports Day.Read More...
(a) Last Friday was Sports Day. (b) Last Friday was Jenny's school 's annual Sports Day. (c) This is the same as (b) except you've omitted annual . My correction for (b) applies here, too. RichardRead More...

would you mind...

Would you mind _____ me tomorrow? a. meeting b. if you met c. if you meet Are they all correct? If not, could you explain why? Thanks!Read More...
The best choice is a , Kis. The gerund noun phrase meeting me tomorrow works best after this kind of polite question. The alternative, grammatically speaking, is b , but it's not very natural sounding. Changing the subjects in the if clause works better: Would you mind if I met (with) you tomorrow ? Would you mind if we got together tomorrow ? Now, the reason that c does not work at all is that Would you mind ...? starts a subjunctive/conditional sentence, which is contrary to reality since...Read More...

a/an with parenthesis

Hi, I was wondering which is correct: 1. You are making a (bad) excuse. or 2. You are making an (bad) excuse. While the first sentence seems to read better and looks less clumsy, I'm not sure if it is correct; my understanding of parenthesis is that the sentence should flow as if the parenthesis element was not there. ThanksRead More...
Hi Rachel, Thanks very much for looking into that; however, please don't go to any trouble! Though, I would be quite interested to know if there is a rule; I was quite curious and searched on Google prior to asking in the forum, but I couldn't find an answer. KimRead More...

More on singular or plural verb

Hi, Thank you for letting me know about the British and American positions. Here is another practical situation: 1820 The first City of Inverness Games is held. As it is an event (City of Inverness Games) using the British approach it would be is, but the Americans would say are. Am I right? Thank you for your assistance. I look forward to hearing from you. Warmest regards, Susan MRead More...
Dear Rachel, Many thanks. Warmest regards, SusanRead More...

Another comma question

Hi, Is a comma needed in this sentence, ie before the word when? The Glengarry Highland Games in Ontario, Canada, is thought to have staged the world's biggest such event in 2005, when 25,000 people turned up. Many thanks for your assistance. I look forward to hearing from you. Warmest regards, Susan MRead More...
I think that comma is required, Susan. The way I interpret the sentence, when 25,000 people turned up is an appositive, so a comma is needed to separate it from the main body of the sentence. RichardRead More...

Are commas needed here?

Hi, Grateful to know whether commas are needed here ie ,in Fife,: The village of Ceres, in Fife, claims to hold the oldest Gathering. The village of Ceres, in Fife, claims to have held the oldest Gathering. Many thanks for your assistance. I look forward to hearing from you. Warmest regards, Susan MRead More...
I would say that the commas are necessary, Susan. Here are the reasons: 1. ... in Fife ... is an appositive, and appositives normally have a comma before and after them. 2. If we don't use those commas, it appears at face value that the name of the village is Ceres in Fife - which it isn't. RichardRead More...

alphabet?

The alphabet of the Modern English is 26. I wonder how many were there in the Middle and Old English?Read More...
Here's a nice Web site with great information on the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) alphabet, Ismael: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/oldenglish.htm Even though the Middle English alphabet was more or less like the Modern English one we use today, you might find this site interesting, too: http://faculty.goucher.edu/eng240/MS_spelling_conventions.htm RichardRead More...

thanks to

hi thanks to sb/sth means because of sb/sth do we use 'thanks to ',only with positive sense?like:-They passed the test thanks to hard work. is it right to use it when we don't feel good about sth? like:Thanks to the bad weather,we could not play football yesterday.Read More...
Yes, I wouldn't recommend it in the negative, except in an ironical sense.Read More...

Singular or plural verb here

Hi, I wonder whether we should use the singular or plural verb when mentioning the plans of a society. Sentence: <should it be plan or plans here?> Singapore St Andrew's Society plan to take a clan tent at The Gathering where we hope to bring together as many of our members, past and present, and past chieftains, to join in this wonderful celebration. Thanks for your assistance. Cheers, Susan MRead More...
Thanks Rachel, Cheers, SusanRead More...

Far more smokers die of lung cancer than nonsmokers do.

I'd appreciate it if someone would answer my questions. Thanks in advance. Are the following 2 sentences both correct? A: Smokers die of lung cancer far more than nonsmokers do. B: Far more smokers die of lung cancer than nonsmokers do. Again are the following 2 sentences both correct? Are the following 2 sentences also correct? C: In those days, oil was needed more than we had expected. D: In those days, more oil was needed than we had expected. Still again are the following 2 sentences...Read More...
"He drank water more than usual" does refer to the activity of drinking. It mean that he drank water more frequently than usual. To refer to the quantity of water, the sentence is this: He drank more water than usual. RachelRead More...

like usage

Are these sentences correct: 1-He'll fire you like Jane was . 2-He'll fire you as Jane was . (Meaning: He'll fire you in the same way Jane was fired.) 3-He'll fire you , like Jane was . 4-He'll fire you , as Jane was . (Meaning: Jane was fired and you too will be fired, by him.)Read More...
This is a good illustration, Navi. All of my sentences have commas and can be interpreted as manner clauses or not, right. Without commas, my sentences a-d are not manner clauses, I agree. I think that sentences e and f can not be correctly written without the comma. The subjects are different; the comma indicates a pause and the idea of "in the same way." RachelRead More...

blow it?

When a tyre is flat, which of the below choices is correct. a. Blow it [air]. b. Blow it [up]. c. Blow it [with air]. d. Blow it [up with air]Read More...
I have wondered how often a connection is made in the mind between "blow up" something like a tire and explode something. I, too, would probably use "inflate," but "blow up" is used in this case, too. RachelRead More...

About "accident"

Can I say, (a) He injured because he had an accident. (b) He was injured / injured in an accident. (c) He injured because he got an accident. (d) He was injured because he has an accident. (e) He is injured because of an accident. (f) His leg injured because an accident.Read More...
These sentences are correct: (b) He was injured in an accident. (d) He was injured because he had an accident. (e) He is injured because of an accident. The others are incorrect. The verb you want is "injure." In your sentences, "injure" has to be used in the passive voice: he was injured, his leg was injured. "Injured" can be a stative verb; (e) is used statively. His leg is in the injured state, a result of its having been injurerd. RachelRead More...

four?

We write [4] as [fo u r] but when we write [40] or [40th] we write [forty] & [fortieth] without the letter [u]. Is there a reason behind deleting the letter [u]from [forty] & [fortieth]?Read More...
All the numbers in the teens (13-19) are based on the numbers three to ten, but are 13 and 15 different in form: three – thirteen five – fifteen The numbers in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s are also based on the cardinal numbers 2-5, but are a little different in form: two – twenty three – thirty four – forty five – fifty "Forty" is derived from the Middle English fourty , which in turn came from the Old English feowertig . Of course, "four" and "fourteen" have the same derivation. I don't know...Read More...

restrictive postmodification for proper nouns

Which are correct: 1- John at the office is a nice guy, but John at home is unbearable. 2- John when at the office is a nice guy, but John when at home is unbearable. 3- John, when at the office, is a nice guy, but John, when at home, is unbearable. 1,2 and 3 are supposed to have practically the same meaning, but in 1 and 2 the clauses are supposed to be restrictive. 4- John on TV doesn't speak in the same way John at home does. (Meaning: The same person is virtually two different people as...Read More...
Sentences 1 and 3 as they are are fine. Sentence 2 is problematic. You really do need the commas around the phrase "when at the office," which is reduced from the clause "when he is at the office." Sentence 2 is unwieldy, and an editor would probably change it to either 1 or 4. Sentences 4 and 5 are all right, too. RachelRead More...

stump

She stumped on behalf of her husband, who was running for president. Am I using 'stump' correctly? Thank youRead More...
Yes, "stump" in this sense often has an object after it, meaning an area. However, "stump" can be either transitive or intransitive, so both your sentence, Welkins, and Jerry's improvement of it, are correct. From the LDOCE: stump [intransitive and transitive] American English to travel around an area, meeting people and making speeches in order to gain political support: [American English] Alexander has been stumping in New Hampshire . RachelRead More...

movable/moved

He was barely movable/moved. Am I using 'movable/moved' correctly? Thank youRead More...
You can say, "He barely moved," in the active voice. But suppose the poor guy is badly wounded, and someone has to move him. Then we can say: He had barely been moved to the operating table when the anesthesiologist began to administer .... or He was barely movable because he was so heavy. He weighed over 400 pounds. RachelRead More...

legislated

1)The legislature legislated a new law againt traffic violation. 2)The legislature legislated on traffic violation Am I using 'legislated' correctly? Thank youRead More...
Right. You could say: The legislature made a law... The legislature passed a law... The legislature passed laws about traffic violations... RachelRead More...

News Flashes?

"US envoy Dennis Ross opened crucial talks with Syrian leaders today, on the Middle East peace process, and said Washington was committed to breaking a Syrian-Israeli deadlock." What a long sentence it is! I was told that this type of sentence is called [News Flashes]. Is that right?Read More...
Normally, a prepositional phrase is not separated from the noun it modifies. In this case, the noun is "talks" and the prepositional phrase is "on the Middle East peace process. "Process" is the last word in that main clause, and the comma correctly goes after it before starting the next clause. In looking at the sentence again, I see that a case can be made for including the comma. The sentence is long, and if the comma serves to clarify, then you can use it. I would not use the comma, but...Read More...
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