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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1answer
2k views

Why is the comma inside quotation marks when people are quoted? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should end punctuation go inside quotes? From a AMS blog post: Some organizations have temporarily suspended their polling, and with the news media tabbing ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

position of “only”

Which sentence is correct? (A) Mosquito larvae can only be seen through a microscope. (B) Mosquito larvae can be only seen through a microscope. (C) Mosquito larvae can be seen only through ...
3
votes
2answers
26k 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
403 views

“Give him a box that everyone knows what it contains.”

"Give him a box that everyone knows what it contains." Is this correct English? It sounds wrong to me.
6
votes
4answers
21k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
375 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
349 views

Subject with a Gerund: “is” or “are”?

Making adult decisions are/is really not fun. What is the proper answer and why? My gut says "is" but I can't explain why.
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2answers
3k views

How to write out dates correctly

I have a document dated 05/05/2012. What should I say? Based on the document from 05 May. Based on the document from 5th May. Based on the document from 05 of May.
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3answers
3k views

Present perfect continuous for finished actions

Since present perfect continuous is used to talk about an activity that has finished, but whose results are visible now, can I use it for an action like these two ones; 'I have been living in Los ...
0
votes
1answer
4k views

I'd better vs I better [closed]

English is not my native language, so I'm wondering, should I say: I'd better go away now. or: I better go away now. or even (I think I've heard this one): I better go now. Thanks in ...
-1
votes
0answers
63 views

Asking question about position of a person in a list [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)? How to ask a question to get a cardinal number answer In my ...
60
votes
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), ...
26
votes
5answers
148k 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 — ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

You don't want to answer this word-placement question, now do you?

Prompted by this question I got to thinking about the placement of the word now. If it's placed before the comma, it refers to an immediate condition: You don't want to answer this word-placement ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

What is a gerund? A noun or a verb? 'His smoking upset me’

I've been studying the Huddleston and Pullum book for four months now. So far only one thing confuses me: the identity of gerund. Is it a noun or a verb? His constant smoking upset me. smoking ...
11
votes
5answers
86k views

When to use “me” or “myself”?

Which one is correct: Someone like me... or Someone like myself... Is "like myself" ever correct?
9
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1answer
8k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
316k views

When do we use “had had” and “have had”? [duplicate]

I have seen several sentences in English where some writers have written had twice in a row. I am a bit confused about when the grammar calls for using had had. For example: I had had my car ...
12
votes
2answers
78k views

“Most of which” or “most of whom”?

I am very uncertain about when to use "most of whom," "most of who," or "most of which." Please give concrete examples instead of only rules like, "this is the subject, so you should..."
12
votes
6answers
12k views

Is “Don't you know? ” the same as “Do not you know?”?

Well, we know don't is the same as do not, right? Therefore, can I say "Do not you know?", instead of "Don't you know?"? Well, I know that chances are I can't do that, but technically that should be ...
11
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

When is the use of “north” more appropriate than “northern” and vice versa?

North, South, East, West, can be used as adjectives, but so can Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western. What rules, if any, govern which is appropriate when?
5
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2answers
2k views

The habitual past “would” versus “simple past” tense

One can use the habitual past 'would' to describe past events. For example one could say, Jim would spend weekends at the farm. He would cut weed and water the plants. One can also use the ...
4
votes
2answers
9k 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?
17
votes
9answers
60k views

At Night or In the Night?

Why do we refer to morning, afternoon and evening as 'in the morning', 'in the afternoon', 'in the evening' but not 'in the night' instead we say 'at night.'
15
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the origin of the phrase “you've got another thing/think coming”?

What is the origin of the phrase "you've got another thing coming"? And — perhaps more importantly — is it more correct than the alternative "you've got another think coming"?
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How should lists of questions be punctuated?

If one wishes to pose a series of questions in the form of a list, how would one go about punctuating that list? For example: I write to a colleague asking for an update on a project he is working ...
11
votes
3answers
8k views

When to use 'an' and when to use 'a' with words begining with 'h'?

Some h-words need 'an' for the indefinite article (I will be there in an hour). Other h-words need 'a' for the indefinite article (It is a history of sadness). Is there a general rule?
8
votes
4answers
375 views

Omission of 'for' with various quantified time intervals: influence of verb

I came across these two examples, given to illustrate 'a case' where the inclusion of the preposition for is considered optional in the paper "Acquisition of Preposition Deletion by Non-native ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Superlative + noun + “possible”: why does the adjective come after the noun?

Does someone happen to have an explanation or theory for why in phrases like "the best method possible" the word 'possible' comes after the noun?
8
votes
1answer
14k views

“They're not” vs. “they aren't”

How dissimilar are "they're not" and "they aren't"? Is it dependent on context or are these exactly the same? They are supposed to be going, but they are not. They are not going.
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Could you help me to do a syntax analysis of this sentence?

The more I use Froyo the more new stuff I discover. Does it mean: I more use Froyo, I discover more new stuff.
4
votes
3answers
15k views

Difference between “did + verb” and just “verb+ed”

This is something I always get confuse with (native language German). As far as I know "did + verb" is something done and finished in the past. But isn't it the same with "verb + ed"?
4
votes
5answers
19k views

When is “to” a preposition and when the infinitive marker?

I want to see you. I look forward to seeing you. How can one say "to" in the first sentence is an infinitive marker and in the second sentence a preposition when we are given just the ...
3
votes
4answers
235 views

“Paul would later transfer to McKinley High and join Kevin and Winnie.”

I read the following: After graduating from Junior High, Kevin and Winnie both go to McKinley High and Paul attends a prep school. Paul would later transfer to McKinley High and join Kevin and ...
0
votes
1answer
394 views

Is it required to use “that” here?

First sentence: I contribute to projects I love. Second sentence: I contribute to projects that I love. I used to use the first one, but I am not sure if it is right or wrong when omitting ...
18
votes
4answers
75k views

“Criteria” versus “criterion”

I came across several forums and articles saying that criteria is plural and criterion is singular. Some gave me the impression that criterion is used to denote a set of rules. What is the correct ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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?
6
votes
5answers
65k views

Correct use of will & would?

What would be the correct use of will & would in these sentences? 1) What will happen if I say to my boss that I will not come tomorrow? 2) What will happen if I would say to my boss that I will ...
4
votes
1answer
199 views

Use of subjunctive form

I know that when you introduce a statement with 'if,' you are speaking in the subjunctive and therefore use 'were' instead of 'was' (e.g., "If I were to do this thing, something else would happen."). ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Ending a sentence with “because [noun].”

I've noticed an interesting usage where "because [noun]." is used at the end of a sentence to mean "because [...everything that word implies. Nothing more needs to be said]". It often has a wry or ...
4
votes
6answers
2k 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
295 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" ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Does the English language have an official Academy?

For some languages, there are academies that decide topics such as grammar and spelling of things, for example, for the Spanish language, there are 22 academies in 22 different countries, all making ...
3
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
10k 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
8k views

Using “and” twice in a list

About using and, I've learned it is usually used in lists, between the last two items. For example: I like movies, traveling and going out with friends. Please tell me if the use of and ...
2
votes
6answers
4k 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
vote
4answers
245 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 ...