This tag is not for questions on whether something is grammatical. It's for questions about how the grammar actually works: different grammatical usages, how they can be used, or what they mean.

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7
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2answers
1k views

Does this sentence seem weird?

A line from William Golding's The Lord of the Flies: All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. Is it just me or does the sentence seem grammatically off?
5
votes
3answers
325 views

How can one determine if the opposite of an agent noun exists?

We know that the employer employs the employee and that the tutor tutors the tutee, but how do we know if the shooter shot the shootee? Is there a simple way to determine if an agent noun can be made ...
5
votes
4answers
14k views

“Nobody want to go there,” or “nobody wants to go there”?

In English, the number 0 is treated as plural. It is then: 0 seconds 1 second 1.2 seconds 2 seconds Shouldn't it be "nobody want to go there," instead of "nobody wants to go there"? I also ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Present Perfect vs Present perfect continuous

Could you correct the comments in parentheses, please? Are they right? I have lived in Los Angeles. (A completed action; the person does not live there anymore). I have lived in Los Angeles ...
3
votes
3answers
8k views

How to write numbers in words

How do we translate 1210 into words: 1) one thousand, two hundred, and ten 2) one thousand, two hundred and ten or without the commas 3) one thousand two hundred and ten 4) one thousand two ...
2
votes
3answers
194 views

“become a President” or “become President”

If he had not been a film star, he would not have become President. In my opinion, "a President" is correct. Examples: "My dream is to be a teacher" "My dream is to be a President" ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Not only X but also Y are (is?)

At first glance, sentence 1 below seems more correct because there are two subjects. However, something seems more natural about sentence 2. Maybe there is something abbreviated, elliptical, or ...
1
vote
2answers
161 views

Classification - There is/are

What is the official 'name' for the 'there is' / 'there are' construction? Is it a verb phrase or a lexical verb? I'd say possibly a verb but it must be the most difficult term to Google.
1
vote
4answers
158 views

be down to -infinitive without to

I've consulted different dictionaries but I've not found the usage of this structure like in the following example: ''I'm down to sell records but not my soul'' is it slang? What does it exactly ...
1
vote
3answers
20k views

What do brackets in a quote mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the proper use of [square brackets] in quotes? What do brackets around a word or words in a quote mean? This may seem silly, but I've never figured this out. ...
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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
2k views

In Moderation, In Revision

1 The forum comments are under moderation. 2 The forum comments are in moderation. 3 The book is in revision. 4 The book is under revision. Could 1 & 2 be the same? Could 3 & 4 be the same ...
18
votes
5answers
66k views

“Fill out a form” or “fill in a form”

Does one fill out a form or does one fill in a form? I've gotten different answers from the people I've asked. Google search results: fill in a form — 14,200,000 fill out a form — ...
14
votes
5answers
60k views

Placement of comma before quotation mark

What is the rule for comma placement before a quotation mark? When should the comma go before and when should it go after the quotation mark?
16
votes
7answers
2k views

An appropriate question tag for “He's too weak to walk.”

A couple of days ago, I sat for an English exam. There was a question there that asked for the appropriate question tag for the sentence "He's too weak to walk." I answered "isn't he?" but my teacher ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is “to” really part of the infinitive?

Consider this: I like to eat here. vs I would eat here. It appears to me that "to" has nothing to do with the infinitive form of the verb that follows. It is, in this example, an integral ...
27
votes
4answers
20k views

How does the phrase “used to” work, grammatically?

It is common to hear people say "used to" to indicate that they did something in the past but no longer do; for example, "I used to play basketball." How would "used to," used in that context, fit ...
18
votes
6answers
90k views

Which is correct: “special thanks go to” or “special thanks goes to”?

what is grammatically correct: Special thanks go to Tom... Special thanks goes to Tom... IMHO I'd say thanks is one of those plural nouns which implies it requires go but I'm not sure. It's for ...
11
votes
1answer
196 views

The hidden flaw in “singular they”—what to do about reflexive pronouns?

We have a highly regarded answer by nohat to a question about gender-neutral pronouns, in which he points to the "singular they" and its long history of use in English. (Note that he also advises ...
8
votes
5answers
53k views

When to use “me” or “myself”?

Which one is correct: Someone like me... or Someone like myself... Is "like myself" ever correct?
15
votes
6answers
1k views

What are the principles that make certain lists sound euphonious?

Has this ever happened to you: You write a question, include a list or two in the discussion, and then come back to edit that list because the order doesn't sound "right"? Off the top of my head, I ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Infinitives with “ought not”

Most of the references I can find about the word “ought” indicate that even when negating it, you should use an infinitive: “You ought not to go there.” That sounds quite bad ...
3
votes
1answer
12k views

“Might have” vs “could have”

What is the difference between might have and could have? He might have come. He might have studied. He could have come. He could have studied. How would you describe a possibility? For ...
11
votes
1answer
71k views

“Would you mind to do something?”

Is it correct to say "Would you mind to do something?". I've seen this usage in a few places, but it doesn't sound right to me. I would guess that it's proper to use "Would you mind doing something?" ...
8
votes
3answers
18k views

Where should the apostrophe go in “three days work”?

Which is correct? 1 Three day's work 2 Three days' work 3 Three days work I would probably guess (2) is right, since the work belongs to the three days ("three days of work"). But I'm ...
5
votes
3answers
19k views

When to use “Well” or “Good” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do so many people get this wrong? “How are you? / I'm well.” How would you answer the question "How are you?" I'm well. or I'm good. I ...
4
votes
4answers
11k views

“my friend” vs “a friend of mine”

I always found it weird to hear people say things like "My friend asked me to come" (with no prior mention of said friend), as opposed to "A friend of mine asked me to come". To me it seems as though ...
3
votes
4answers
840 views

The difference between “We’ll ever be back to normal,” and “We’ll never be back to normal.”

Time magazine (Aug.2) reported that Toledo Mayor instructed city residents not to drink tap water polluted with toxin caused by algae bloom under the headline: Toledo, Ohio without drinking water for ...
3
votes
2answers
10k views

Is the sentence “There is a large number of labourers who want to migrate to Japan for work.” correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: A number of questions “has been” or “have been” asked? There is a large number of labourers who want to migrate to Japan for work. I type ...
1
vote
1answer
10k views

Difference between verb+preposition and phrasal verbs

I am reading a book on grammar. Now I can't understand the difference between the verb+preposition and phrasal verbs. For example He never thinks about(or of) other people. and put on your ...
11
votes
4answers
824 views

“Employee” in the phrase “employee ID” is a determiner, not an adjective—right?

I am a software developer with a bit of a linguistic slant. We were recently given some training on how to name database fields and were told to avoid adjectives in names. Then we were given an ...
10
votes
3answers
19k views

What is the correct spelling of “dependent”? Which preposition should follow it?

Dependant or dependent really confuses me when to use, especially with the combination of, on, from or to. Mike was dependant to/from/on his mother. The states are dependent to/from/on the federal ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Use of “never” in questions

I was taught that ever should be used in questions (Have you ever...?) and never should be used in negations (I have never...). But reading "A wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. Le Guin I spotted such a ...
6
votes
6answers
4k views

Is this grammatically correct? “Thinking of you and I”

http://vaadin.com/ makes a tool for User Interfaces (UI). Their tag line is “Thinking of U and I.” A play on words, I suppose, for UI, and “you and I.” It bothers me, though, because I think both ...
4
votes
7answers
1k views

What is the difference between a part of speech and a syntactic function / grammatical relation?

What is the difference between a part-of-speech and a function? In other words: What is a part of speech. (e.g. noun) What is a grammatical function. (e.g. head, subject) [read "grammatical ...
4
votes
4answers
900 views

Why do not we ask negative questions without a contraction on the not after the verb?

I have found multiple questions touching on this but not a single one that has a comprehensive answer. The information is all there but in little bits. "Do you not" vs. "Don't ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

A study of awake and awaken

It has been drawn to my attention that I may not be using the verb 'awake'correctly in the active and passive. Please could someone confirm that I have now got this right. In their simple present ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Can “if”, “while”, “whenever”, “when” recurse deeply? How deeply? [closed]

I would like a generative BNF-style complete description for English grammar. Some of the more subtle stuff leads to awkward questions of grammaticality (a complete answer to this question, and all ...
4
votes
5answers
25k views

Is it 'a usual' or 'an usual'? Why?

is it 'a usual' or 'an usual'? 'A usual' sounds more correct in my head ('Today was a usual day.') than 'an usual', but u is a vowel. Which one is correct and why?
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Definite article with plural nouns

Are there cases where the definite article is used with a plural noun, or is it a rule that the definite article is never used with the plural of a word?
3
votes
2answers
15k views

Which one is correct: “wish I was here” or “wish I were here”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? Which one is the correct form: "Wish I was here" or "wish I were here"? ...
-2
votes
2answers
398 views

by 5.30 or until 5.30/ why future tense?

The shops are open only until 5.30. they will be closed by now. The shops are open only by 5.30. they will be closed by now. Greetings Would you kindly tell me the differences that are in the ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Please explain “I Am America (And So Can You!)”

As a non-native speaker, I found Stephen Colbert’s book title I Am America (And So Can You!) a little hard to dissect. Why so can you? Why isn’t it So Are You? What’s the full phrase that And So Can ...
12
votes
3answers
27k views

How do you make the possessive form with “He and I”-style subjects? [duplicate]

Despite being a native speaker of American English, I cannot find a construction that sounds natural when trying to form a possessive from coordinated subjects including a first person pronoun, like ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Why does “is” replace “has”?

I am continually surprised to hear people use has and is interchangeably. The erudite Peter Segal has been guilty of saying: This song is been written by XXX. YY is been a producer on the ...
9
votes
3answers
601 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

“Mom and Dad” vs “Dad and Mom”

I'm curious if the order implies anything here. I'm pretty sure "Mom and Dad" is standard in English. The issue was hard for me to google, so I'm asking it here: Is using "Dad" before "Mom" ...
8
votes
0answers
411 views

Infinitive without “to”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct way to use infinitive after the verb “help”: with or without “to”? Today I found this headline on bbc.co.uk How one ...
6
votes
1answer
400 views

Is “not eating or drinking” equal to “not eating or not drinking”?

Is "not eating or drinking" equal to "not eating or not drinking"?
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Why haven't we used “it” instead of “he or she”?

There is a related discussion on this forum. My questions is different. I'm all for gender awareness, but why hasn't a properly defined pronoun "it" been used instead of "he/she" or "he or she", etc. ...