This tag is for questions about how grammar works, e.g. different grammatical usages, how they can be used, or what they mean. For questions that ask whether something is grammatical, please use the "grammaticality" tag instead.

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2answers
45k views

When to use “is” and “was” for thing that has happened?

I've found some sentences that seem odd for me such as, "She is married" instead of "She was married" or "This transaction is approved" instead of "This transaction was approved" I want to know which ...
1
vote
1answer
190 views

Punctuating and constructing a confusing list

I need to write a list that I cannot find a great parallel construction for because certain items in the list use "of" and one uses "to". The sentence as originally written: Ratification, ...
0
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4answers
836 views

Statement of fact: future simple

Why is the simple future used in the following sentence instead of the simple present? A client software will not transfer files.
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Which verb form for helper in question?

I encountered the question, "Which trait does a savings account and a checking account have in common?" I suggested that it should read, "Which trait do a savings account and checking account have in ...
63
votes
3answers
202k views

What is the difference between “till” and “until”?

What is the difference between till and until? When to use till or until? Please explain with examples.
9
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2answers
2k views

Capitalization After Colon

Should the first word after a colon be capitalized? "For example: This." OR "For example: this."
0
votes
1answer
385 views

Can “a person” be considered a collective noun

If used in the sentence: "Once a person has become X their psychological state becomes Y." does the "a person" count as a class and thus make the use of the plural "their" correct?
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3answers
2k views

Choosing a section title for scientific papers: “How it works” or “How does it work?”

I am writing a scientific paper and confused with choosing the correct form to use as the section title. Which one is the correct one? How it works or How does it work?
7
votes
4answers
888 views

What is the accepted stance on using “they” in a singular form? [duplicate]

Is it good English to say "They have just left", when talking about a single person (perhaps someone you don't know the gender of)? (I am a native English speaker, I'm looking for the view held by ...
3
votes
1answer
567 views

What is “depth grammar”?

I remember learning about it (ha) in linguistics class at uni, but then I went to the pub. I remember the idea was interesting. It had something to do with the undiscovered rules of language that we ...
4
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1answer
926 views

Why can we not use the pattern “If S will V, S will V”?

In English grammar, the following pattern is regarded as a wrong pattern. My parents will send me to a mental hospital if I will kill someone.
5
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2answers
1k views

Could “are he” be correct?

I was just trying to formulate a sentence in an email, and wanted to reference a third person, inquiring as to which of something that person was referring in the forwarded mail message. Is it: ...
1
vote
1answer
494 views

“… help you get oriented for …” or “… help get you oriented for …”?

We will look at just a few key things to help get you oriented for the recipes discussed in this chapter. or We will look at just a few key things to help you get oriented for the recipes ...
4
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4answers
2k views

What's the best way to find the subject in a sentence?

What's the best way to find the subject in a sentence? How do you define a subject? I am especially curious about such cases, in which the subject seems to be represented by more than one word: The ...
6
votes
2answers
11k views

Why is 'an' used with 'an honour'?

Why is 'an' used with 'an honour'? Isn't 'an' limited to the vowels?
7
votes
1answer
209 views

What is the name of words like 'bottle' or 'clove' that provide a singular for a counted item?

Title pretty much askes the question. What is the term for words like 'bottle', 'cup' or 'clove' (as in clove of garlic). Are they counters, countables, determiners...? I swear it's on the tip of ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

Adjectival step by step

When used as an adjective, is it step by step or step-by-step? Example, Thank you for this step by step guide. or Thank you for this step-by-step guide.
5
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2answers
3k views

Have grammar rules changed through the history of the English language?

When I want to know what form a word has say in 12th century (end Old English, begin Middle English), 14th century (end Middle English), or any other time in England history, I only need to track the ...
8
votes
2answers
544 views

How did 'mad' come to be a determiner?

There's a group of words — I think they're called determiners — used to indicate number in some way... like many, few, most, etc. During a linguistics class my professor said this was a closed group ...
13
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6answers
6k views

“Bob and us” or “Bob and we” or “Bob and ourselves”?

In the singular, it is quite clear that one uses "I" when referring to a third party and oneself, as in: Bob and I are going to build an aircraft. However, in the plural, it is a lot less clear. ...
8
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4answers
8k views

Does “whereabouts” function as a singular or plural noun?

His whereabouts is unknown vs His whereabouts are unknown Which is correct, or is this simply a matter of preference?
12
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3answers
446 views

BBC: “Man convicted of murdering his girlfriend and their 10-month-old daughter at Winchester Crown Court”

What do you make of the following BBC News headline: Man convicted of murdering his girlfriend and their 10-month-old daughter at Winchester Crown Court Is it just me, or does this read as if ...
11
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5answers
8k views

Emend and Amend- What's the difference? They both have the same definition

What's the difference between the words emend and amend? They both have the same definition.
4
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2answers
1k views

Which punctuation for definition

I have the following sentence: To this end, I first devised a novel algorithm to enumerate all possible partitions; ways of dividing a network into meaningful parts. I was told that the ...
1
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2answers
387 views

Potential future events

Does the following correctly express potential consequences of meeting someone? A chance encounter is a great idea. However, in this case, chances would be very slim to meet her this way. Even ...
8
votes
3answers
681 views

The ambitious/arrogant tone of “I”

I don't understand why but I feel arrogant or ambitious when I use a simple sentence in active voice using "I" especially while I was writing my college essay or curriculum vitae e.g. "I managed a ...
7
votes
1answer
6k views

When to use “to” and when “for”?

Examples: It is important to me. It will be good for you. This sounds stupid to me. I'll make it comfortable for you. I'll make it available to you. Any rules here, dear native ...
32
votes
10answers
13k views

What does “it” refer to in “it's raining”?

I wanted to leave the question title as is so as not to take away from my amusement :). Anyway, It's raining. What is raining? Is it the sky? The clouds? The weather? The rain? What is "it"? ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

Which prepositions should I use after “do your best”?

I always have been having problems how to understand which preposition to use. Of course there are examples, in which the preposition is obvious. For me the problem occurs when "Do your best in/on/at ...
7
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7answers
6k views

Use of the superlative when only two items are present

When speaking with my mother a couple of days ago, I read to her a message I was sending to my cousin on her behalf ending with: "... the birthday of your youngest." [implying her child] She ...
5
votes
5answers
2k views

Is the question mark misused in affirmative sentences?

For example, I found the following sentence written by a native English speaker (UK) so I'm going to assume that he knows how to put it the right way, although I wouldn't use this form. I now have ...
2
votes
3answers
659 views

go pay in “Why don't you go pay for them”

Why don't you go pay for them? It's pretty common in USA to form this question in this form. However, I suspect that we need to or "and" between go and pay. Why one is correct and why? Why ...
22
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5answers
143k views

Difference between “I have got” and “I have gotten”

I see these two expressions are used almost identically in different contexts. Is there a difference between I have got and I have gotten?
2
votes
3answers
3k views

“What kind of stuff is it?” vs “What kind of stuff it is?”

Please advise which version of the question is correct and what's the rule governing it?
3
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1answer
222 views

“Would have us view” — is it correct?

It probably is correct since the article is from Bloomberg.com website. However, I am not sure what it really means and why it's correct Mark Twain once quipped that “everyone complains about the ...
7
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3answers
9k views

“currently not” or “not currently”

What's the correct order: Lessons are not currently being offered. or Lessons are currently not being offered.
59
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9answers
4k views

Is it ever worth the time and effort to correct someone else's grating grammatical mistakes? [closed]

Whenever I hear statements like "It was a great deal for he and I" and "Call Karen and I in the morning," I die a little. Such solecisms, as Twain said in another context (Cooper's prose style), ...
7
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3answers
5k views

“You” or “your” when using two subjects with a possession?

I came across your and Mr X's publication or I came across you and Mr X's publication
4
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2answers
3k views

Why are words such as “that” and “those” not considered articles?

According to Wikipedia (disclaimer: of course I realize that Wikipedia should not be regarded as an absolute authority, but I generally consider it to be a fairly accurate and reliable resource): ...
1
vote
6answers
3k views

“Checked into the database” versus “checked in to the database” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should “into” be used rather than “in to,” and vice versa? I was recently submitting ("checking in") some data to a database and composed an ...
2
votes
1answer
745 views

“none of them sound right” or “none of them sounds right” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: None as plural indefinite pronoun because none of them sound/s like the obvious choice to me
4
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3answers
5k views

“bound” or “bonded”

If I use a computer command like: bind keystroke macro I refer to that keystroke as being bound to that macro. Is it also correct to say that they are bonded? If I bind a bunch of twigs together, ...
7
votes
5answers
28k views

“This works fine” Is this correct?

Is the usage of the word "fine" correct in the following sentence? This works fine It seems that the author of the statement wanted to say that something was working, but not working well.
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Should I use “will” or “would” when I suggest that something will/would come in handy?

This second part would hopefully come in handy tonight. This second part will hopefully come in handy tonight. Which one is correct and why?
1
vote
2answers
11k views

Is using “both of you” along with “each other” redundant?

OK, things are going well, both of you are enjoying each other's company, and both of you are attracted to each other. Is the usage of "both of you" correct? Sounds a bit off to me. BTW what ...
2
votes
0answers
696 views

Difference between 'If ..was' and 'If …were' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? Hi, I have seen different usage of the phrase 'If..was' and 'If..were'. ...
6
votes
2answers
291 views

Why Should One Capitalize Titles When Publishing?

What is the motivation behind capitalizing the first letter of each word except prepositions in news, articles and blog post titles?
6
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3answers
4k views

Is “Stick no bills” correct English?

'Stick no bills' sounds awkward. Shouldn't it be something like 'Do not stick any bills'?
3
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3answers
220 views

Why use the prep “to”, why not others like “of” in the following sentence?

There are three fundamental parts to the <locale> header.
9
votes
3answers
613 views

*all of us's friend

There's this funny gap I tried to write a paper once upon a time when I studied linguistics, and I'd like to know if anyone has insight into it. The construction in question is the possessive ...