All Forum Topics

Comma Wars

Hi, Matured over a century, their individual distinctive characters meld into an enticing blend. Do I need to add a comma after the word individual? How do I identify when I should put a comma -- I never seem to think of one until someone says -- there should be a comma there ie individual, distinctive characters. Is this a mandatory or optional comma situation? Cheers, SusanRead More...
Thanks Rachel.Read More...

sentence correction

People stand waiting for a table outside the town's only restaurant silently. Is the sentence correct? If not, could you correct it? Thanks!Read More...
Or: People silently stand,... or: Silently, people stand,... or: People stand, waiting silently ... RichardRead More...

prepositions

You can eat macaroni with cheese as a stand-alone dish or serve it ____ a meal. a. of b. in c. by d. with Which is correct? Thanks!Read More...
Hmm . . . "macaroni with cheese"? I've never heard of the dish referred to this way. It's macaroni and cheese . By the way, Kis, I really don't like any of the possible answers. I don't find even with as natural sounding in this context. That's the answer they're looking for, I guess, but I think it would be much more natural to say something like serve it as part of a meal / as a side (dish) in a meal . By the way, in common vernacular, people usually call the dish mac and cheese . RichardRead More...

memory

In the opening pages of the book, the writer conjures _______. a. Dickensian memories b. a Dickensian memory c. Dickensian memory Which is correct? What does 'Dickensian' mean here? Thanks!Read More...
Without much more context, Kis, I'm afraid it's impossible to know if a or b is correct for this question. Grammatically speaking, both are correct. The adjective Dickensian refers to one of the most famous British writers of all time, Charles Dickens, who wrote most of his works during the second half of the 19th century. If you do a search for him, you'll understand the times he lived in and what he wrote about, and you'll get a good understanding of what Dickensian memories might be. RichardRead More...

the letter "t"

Is the letter "t" in the word "match" silent? that because when the two letters ie [ch] come together there are pronounced sometimes as /tsh/.Read More...
Yes, it is. The combination of /ch/ has been retained from the Latin schola , and the Latin word with the /ch/ reflects the fact that it came from the Greek word s ch olei , in which the /ch/ was pronounced like the "kha" in the Arabic word for lamb, " kh aroof." Other words in English with a similar etymology are scholar, scholastic, scheme, and schedule , although the last one is pronounced something like [ské - ju - Ul] in AmE but [shé - ju - Ul] in BrE. RichardRead More...

Punctuation Is Powerful!

An English professor wrote the words: 'A woman without her man is nothing' on the chalkboard and asked his students to punctuate it correctly. All of the males in the class wrote: 'A woman, without her man, is nothing' All the females in the class wrote: 'A woman: without her, man is nothing' Cited from http://www.wataonline.net/site/modules/newbb/viewtopic....pic_id=3438&forum=77 My Q: Are the two sentences punctuated correctly? if not, how then?Read More...
As you see, the sentence can be interpreted in different ways. That's why -- if the writer means one thing instead of another -- s/he puts in the punctuation to make sure the reader interprets it as s/he wishes the sentence to be interpreted. Ordinarily, this sentence would not have commas or a colon. They are put there to make a point, as the writer and the professor wish to illustrate. RachelRead More...

Marlboro?

I have been told that Marlboro which is a brand of cigarette, stand for: M= men A= always R= remember L= ladies B= because O= of R= romantic O= occasions and M= men A= always R= remember L= love B= because O= of R= romance O= only which of the two is more accurte?Read More...
"Prozac" is a brand name. You can see the R in a circle next to its name. That means that "Prozac" is the registered trade mark, and the name of the product is "Prozac." The chemical combination, or the name of the compound, appears below the word "Prozac." This name is "fluoxetine hydrochloride." _______ Thank you, Ismael, for making this easy to explain. As you know, "one picture is worth a thousand words." RachelRead More...

pecking on / at / in /through

Can I Say, (A) The woodpecker is pecking (on /at /in / over/through) the tree. (b) The woodpecker is pecking (on /at / in / over / to) the tree trunk / tree trunk / trunk of the tree.Read More...
. Use these: (A) The woodpecker is pecking (on /at) the tree. (b) The woodpecker is pecking (on /at) the tree trunk /the trunk of the tree. .Read More...

as early as

Dear experts, Could you comment on the difference in meaning of AS EARLY AS and AS LATE AS: The Society began issuing its Dictionary of Architecture as early as 1852, but it took 40 years to complete. China could suffer a shortage of copper, as early as this month, as domestic stocks and imports decline. The spokesman was denying as late as yesterday afternoon that Gonzales planned to leave the administration. The Middle Ages in Britain saw the development of alphabetization, though the...Read More...
Yes, that is what the writer thinks.Read More...

Scotch whisky and Highland distillers

Hi, Grateful for your help. This is about capitalisation. 1. Scotch whisky and when we just refer to it as Scotch in the middle of a sentence: Eg The original Chivas Regal was the first luxury Scotch. Should Scotch be upper or lower case? I think it should be upper case, but if it is just the variety should it be lower case? Grateful for your input. Times style guide: Scotch, the whisky not to be used as a substitute for the adjectives Scottish and Scots. But note Scotch broth, Scotch mist,...Read More...
Thanks Rachel.Read More...

mopping up / draining off

What are the differences in meaning of these words? Can I say, (a) She is mopping up / draining off the water on the floor. (b) She is draining off the clothes.Read More...
After you pluck all the feathers from that chicken, hold it under the faucet to drain off all the little bits and pieces and any dirt sticking to the chicken's skin. RichardRead More...

slang words

Hi I'm translating a comic book into Portuguese and I'm having some difficulties with some slang expressions. Could you help me? This is a dialog between two criminal buddies while playing billiards. They are laughing. A; looks like it's three games to none... B: what, we're keeping score now? A: purely for the purpose of shaming you... and taking your money. A (continues): now pay up. B: You sure I wasn't solids? ( I didn't get the meaning of SOLIDS) A(pointing a gun at B and laughing):...Read More...
There are two kinds of billiard balls, Schaly. The ones with just one color and a number on them are called solids . The other balls have a wide stripe running around their "equators," and they're called stripes . I imagine that when Genocide asks, "You sure I wasn't solids?" he's trying to tell the other hood that his balls were the solid-colored ones. Unfortunately, I can't help you with that expression. I've never heard it, but perhaps Rachel, Jerry, or other members are aware of it. RichardRead More...

the location of for example or however

I have seen more sentences where "for example" or "however" is located in the middle of a sentence than in the beginning. I think that it is better to understand sentences when for example or however is put in the beginning of a sentence, because I can guess what kind of the sentence will be. However, (I am not sure) native English speakers prefer to put it down not in the beginning. Why? Does it have any advantage? In England and Wales, "for example", the proportion of brides marrying a...Read More...
Richard is correct about the placement of "however" and "for example" not mattering much to many English speakers. There are, however, some who object to "however" at the beginning of a sentence. I used to work with an editor who would not permit "however" at the beginning of a sentence. She believed that the word "however" should come just after the word or phrase it emphasized. Garner* believes this, too, and it makes some sense. He states: "It seems everyone has heard that sentences...Read More...

Whom should he see coming ...

Hello, Rachel and Richard: What's the exact reason for using should and not would here? ------- After a while whom should he see coming along but the priest and the provost and the mayor, walking arm-in-arm as bold as you please. ... The Baldwin Project: The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle ------- Could it be the fact that a chance meeting is timed/arranged by the fate/providence, and thus "will/would" wouldn't fit, as they indicate personal discretion, thus we need "shall/should," which...Read More...
I knew about the "putative should," but the connection to chance wasn't that clear in my mind. Thank you, Richard.Read More...

to / for selling

Can I Say, (a) He goes to the playground and sells ice cream. (b) He goes to the playground for selling ice cream. (c) He goes to the playground to sell ice cream. (d) He rides the motorcycle around (in) the housing estate for selling ice cream (s).Read More...
(a)Fine. (b)He goes to the playground to sell ice cream. (I explained this in a previous posting of yours.) (c)Fine, as in (b). (d)I corrected this in your previous posting. RichardRead More...

I wish...

A: Did you go to the spring art show last week? B: No, I wish _______ . a. I had b. I had gone c. I had been Are they all correct? If so, which is the most natural? Thanks!Read More...
"I wish I had" is the most natural. "I wish I had gone" might be OK. It would probably be better as "I wish I had gone there." "I wish I had been" is not correct as this response. The verb that Speaker B is replying to is "go," so you need to use "go," not "be," in your answer. RachelRead More...

cycle / rode a bicycle

can i say, (a) He rode on a / rode the bicycle. (b) He cycle a bicycle.Read More...
He rides a motorcycle to go around the housing estate to sell ice cream. We use to/in order to , not for , when we mention the intention a person has. Ali's intention is to sell ice cream and make money. RichardRead More...

those (who) wish to

Is the following sentence correct as it is? If "wish" is a verb, which I think it is, isn't a relative word "who" before "wish" obligatory? The monthly fee for tennis lessons is 50 dollars, and 70 dollars for those wish to take optional golf lessons. AppleRead More...
You are right, Apple, and Ismael is totally correct in his response. Thanks, both of you. RachelRead More...

go-getter

Dear experts, Will it be right to assume that whereas HAVE GET UP AND GO can be used of people, horses and cars: You need to demonstrate, through concrete examples, that you have ˜get up and go'! Firms don't give jobs to people who expect the world on a plate... Steering and agility is great for a vehicle of its size. The performance is sluggish but it still has get up and go when you really need it. BE A GO-GETTER is somewhat different in meaning and only used of men: As it is a sales...Read More...
. Yes, I agree, Yuri. 'Go-getter' can of course be used of women as well, and probably of pets and other intelligent animals. After all,it is derived from 'go and get' or 'fetch'. Go-getters can also be more aggressive than people with get-up-and-go, too, I think. .Read More...

The position of "after"

cocoricot
Dear teachers, To me, both sentences are correct. Is it right? 1. That's the dog we've been looking after. 2. That's the dog after which we've been looking. Thanks.Read More...
In a word, Richard is correct. "Look after" is often described as an inseparable phrasal verb. Here's a previous discussion of phrasal verbs on the Grammar Exchange: https://thegrammarexchange.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f...=652108504#652108504 RachelRead More...

broke out/had broken out

cocoricot
Dear teachers, I doubt about how to report the sentence below. I am not sure if I use the tenses correctly. Our teacher said, "The Second World War broke out in 1939." 1. I used the past perfect. Our teacher said the Second World War had broken in 1939." 2. I keep the tense as it is. Our teacher said the Second World War broke out in 1939." Thanks.Read More...
Using the past perfect is fine: Our teacher said the Second World War had broken out in 1939. This is the more correct version and is preferable in written language. Using the simple past for both verbs is also fine in conversational/ informal language as long as the chronology is clearly understood: Our teacher said the Second World War broke out in 1939. RichardRead More...

improve (in)

1. I want to improve my English. 2. I want to improve in my English. 3. He has improved in English. Can 'improve' be used with 'in'? Are the above sentences correct? Many thanks.Read More...
Thanks for your replies.Read More...

more young people that

Which is correct: 1-There more more young people who participated than old. 2-There more more young people than old who participated.Read More...
Thanks a lot Richard and Rachel, I have to inform you Rachel that the mistakes were quite deliberate. Richard and I were trying to see if we could attract intelligent women's attention by making typos. Apparently it works!Read More...

sounds / press the horns

Can I say, (a) Ali is an ice cream vendor. Whenever he goes around (our) neighbourhood, he will sound (got any words to replace?) the horns to attract the children's attraction. (b) Whenever he goes around the street, he presses the horns to attract the children. (c) Whenever he goes to the street, he sounds his bells.Read More...
(a) Ali is an ice cream vendor. Whenever he goes around our neighborhood, he honks his horns to get the children's attention . (b) Whenever he goes around the street s , he honks his horn to attract the children. (c) Whenever he goes down the street, he rings his bells. RichardRead More...

as long as

The computer is patient and will tirelessly go over the same points for as long as is necessary. Is it correct that a clause(as long as is necessary) is put after "for"? Can you explain why the last part(as long as is necessary) is correct grammatically? What is the subject to Be verb "is" in the last part? That's because the subject looks omitted.Read More...
It's okay to use for in this context because it's quite common to use for before time phrases (e.g., for a long time / for quite awhile ). In the time phrase you're pointing out, you're right in noticing that the subject ( it ) has been omitted before is . In fact, we don't even need is in the phrase: for as long as necessary works fine, too. RichardRead More...
×
×
×
×