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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14
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2answers
702 views

Is there a name for the abbreviated syntax used in signs?

For instance, a train sign might say South bound trains this platform rather than Use this platform to take a Southbound train. There is an interesting lack of articles and sometimes verbs, is there ...
11
votes
3answers
39k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Difference between 'part' and 'a part'?

This question may seem to be very simple, but something I get confused whenever I want to speak. I read a book entitled "re-start your English", and saw a sentence. This is a leg. It is part of ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

would have and would in non conditional statements

Can we use both would have and would in non conditional past statements? For example: Last year during the summer, I would go home on weekends. past habitual Last year during the summer, I ...
20
votes
8answers
57k views

Why do you say “friend of mine” instead of “friend of me”?

I think friend of mine can be translated to my friend. In that case, doesn't friend of me make more sense? If we translate friend of mine to one of my friends then I guess friend of mine makes sense ...
19
votes
6answers
7k views

How do I pluralize a name ending in “y”?

Frequently when I refer to or address a family, I do so by pluralizing their last name, e.g., The Smiths, or The Ramones. But suppose I want to address a family whose last name ends in a "y", e.g., ...
12
votes
1answer
101k 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?" ...
7
votes
3answers
50k views

“Types of” followed by singular or plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Types of things vs. types of thing When using the phrase "types of" or "kinds of," it often seems appropriate to follow with a singular noun (e.g., types of rock), but at ...
5
votes
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
36k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
988 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 ...
2
votes
6answers
9k views

What is the category name for words like notwithstanding, forthwith, etc…?

These words all have something in common: heretofore, forthwith, notwithstanding, therefore, etc... what are these kinds of words called? And where can I find a list of them?
13
votes
6answers
8k 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
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
4k 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. ...
6
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
521 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"?
5
votes
2answers
29k views

“Hope you won't” vs “Hope you don't”

What is the difference between "Hope you don't mind" and "Hope you won't mind"? What could be a contextual difference between the two? In a situation like the following, which one seems more ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the uses of ellipses in essays? [closed]

I’m wondering about how ellipses are used in essays. Are there any examples that I could see?
4
votes
2answers
723 views

Tense agreement in conditional statements: “I could do whatever I want” vs. “I could do whatever I wanted”

Consider the following sentences: If I had my own place, I could do whatever I want. If I had my own place, I could do whatever I wanted. She said I could do whatever I want. She ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

How is 'get' being used in these sentences?

What grammar structure is this? Bob got/had me drunk. She's got me spending. Get moving! Get going! That music gets/has me dancing! He had/got me stumped. She had/got me stoned. Is it possible to ...
4
votes
4answers
459 views

Why is “there” a subject while “here” isn't?

The question about "the role of infinitive in this sentence" prompted me to ask the following question. English uses a "dummy" such as it and there to start a sentence when there is nothing else to ...
4
votes
2answers
10k 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
16k 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"?
3
votes
2answers
3k views

“Any” or “some” in various questions?

I'm wondering why I always hear "some" in questions, although according to English grammar there should always be "any". At least the one I'm looking at uses "some". For example: Why are some ...
3
votes
3answers
384 views

To infinitive used after adjective

This question is relatively simple. I don't understand why we never use passive form of to infinitive after the adjective unless the subject is "it". For example: He is difficult to please. ...
3
votes
2answers
28k 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"? I've ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Confusion in using “due to”

I usually meet "due to" usage in a document or conversation, but in different ways. I did some research and found out that "due to" is adjectival. Thus, the correct sentence should be: The ...
3
votes
3answers
6k views

Use of “respectively”

He has two sisters who live in southern and northern California, respectively. I saw this on IMDB and I was wondering if the respectively was grammatically correct. Since nothing is being listed ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“Do the media…” or “Does the media”?

I saw a headline: Do the media exploit personal tragedy? This sounds wrong to me, I would've have written "Does the media exploit personal tragedy?". Which is correct?
0
votes
1answer
440 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

“the average person” vs “an average person”

There's a question in a forum I frequent, and I'm trying to decide whether "the average" or "an average" is appropriate in its title. Let's say the question is: "Why is the average Canadian ...
6
votes
4answers
292 views

Problem with backshift in reporting clauses

This is the subject that's been bugging me for quite some time now, even though I believe I've managed to grasp the entire reported speech pretty well. If I want to repeat to someone what I ...
6
votes
4answers
22k 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
3answers
723 views

Is this use of present participle grammatically correct?

We are a Zhongguancun-based English training school looking for native English speakers from the US and Canada. If you are interested in this position. Please send your CV and photo to [email address]....
4
votes
3answers
1k views

“Exchange emails with whomever you want to put me in contact [with]”

I realize the "never end a sentence with a preposition" rule is controversial these days, but let's assume for the sake of argument that it should be followed. What is the proper construction of a ...
4
votes
10answers
1k views

Why is it ‘A God,’ not ‘God' in Mark Sanford’s “I want to acknowledge a God not just of second chances, but third, fourth, eighth chances”?

There was a quote of ex-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford in his victory speech in the House vacant seat election in the New York Times article (May 13) written by Gail Collins under the title “...
4
votes
5answers
5k views

Exclamation marks in the middle of a sentence

Would this usage of exclamation mark be correct? I want to — honest! — give you a slap! Yes, I know, it's a quite bad example, but I wonder if this usage of an exclamation inside a sentence is ...
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
366 views

How to write correctly chains of nouns with plurals like “Messages List” and “Apple Count” for IT

Especially in IT it is often neccessary to write chains of nouns like "Messages List" because one cannot use "The list of messages" for variable name in a programming language. I can't understand how ...
3
votes
2answers
246 views

Antecedent Precedence?

Background: I was working on a project and was having a colleague of mine proof-read a piece of documentation. He said that one sentence was ambiguous because he couldn't determine what the antecedent ...
3
votes
4answers
572 views

Polite or unrectified placement of the word please

I would please prefer to take both parts of the test on Monday. Is the placement of the word please in this sentence grammatically correct?
3
votes
4answers
214k views

If you are talking “on behalf of” you and someone else, what is the correct usage?

If you are talking on behalf of you and someone else what is the correct usage? On behalf of my wife and me On behalf of my wife and I On behalf of me and my wife On behalf of ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

May vs Might in Sentence [duplicate]

On an average Sunday, you might find yourself In the sentence above, the possibility of the person reading finding themselves doing what it says is pretty high. It's almost certain. Should I use may ...
3
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
614 views

Is 'had have + past participle' a correct grammatical form?

It has been suggested in some quarters that had have, followed by a past participle, is a regionalism that has no place in standard English grammar. If I had have known you were coming, I would have ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Usage of “just”, “only” and word-order [intended meaning]

I've got these sentences, which meanings are correct (my interpretations are in brackets): Use of only: (1) Only in 1996, Ford sold a rebadged Mazda 626 GV over here as its rebranded Japanese mid-...
2
votes
2answers
200 views

“of the” vs noun adjunct

Please note: This may be a complex question, references would be great, search engines do not help with "of the". Looks like we can remove the use of "of the" with a noun adjunct switching the order ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Should I use a hyphen after -ly when modifying a verb in the past participle verb?

Which of these are acceptable? Is one preferable over the other? "Chemically-deposited tourmaline is never periwinkle." "Chemically deposited tourmaline is never periwinkle." Also, is the title to ...
2
votes
2answers
28k views

“I am done” or “I have finished” or “I am finished” or “I finish”

I was trying to say the following and got bewildered with the different choices. I have "To Kill a Mockingbird" on my list. I will write you about it when I am finished reading it. I have "To ...