This tag is about how the grammar works: different grammatical usages, how they can be used, or what they mean.

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What is the name for the grammatical device of putting “not” after a verb to negate it?

Here's a passage (more or less taken randomly) from the American Standard Version of the Bible from 1901: 1 Peter 3:14 (ASV) 14 But even if ye should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are ...
12
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6answers
3k views

Why do we put the verb to be at the end of these questions? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Changing subject and verb positions in statements and questions Look at the following questions - can anyone give a simple grammatical explanation as to why we put the ...
11
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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 ...
9
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6answers
5k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
14k 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
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4answers
5k views

Is “It is you who are mistaken!” correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What rules make “Remember me, who am your friend” grammatical? This is a line spoken by the Emperor to Luke in Star Wars. I always wondered if this is grammatically ...
7
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2answers
249 views

Can I say “Coming!” for “I am coming!”, and why?

In some languages we can remove the subject (and sometimes a verb too) from a sentence. In Toy Story 3, the kid says "Coming!" instead of "I am coming!" to her mother. My questions are: 1.) Can I ...
6
votes
4answers
686 views

“I didn't realize it was him.”

Overheard on an elevator today, I didn't realize it was him. Corrected by the know-it-all, He. "I didn't realize it was he." The know-it-all then went on a rant about how everybody is a ...
5
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3answers
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needn't = don't need to?

Are these two sentences equivalent? You needn't pay at once. You don't need to pay at once. If yes, which one would you recommend? Is it an US/GB thing?
5
votes
3answers
14k views

“Wasn't” vs “weren't”

Which one would be correct? I wish it weren't raining today. I wish it wasn't raining today. I wish it were raining today. I wish it was raining today.
4
votes
1answer
956 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
20k views

“Is there” versus “Are there”

Are there any questions I should be asking? Is there any articles available on the subject? My instinct is that in the two questions above, it should be 'are' as the subjects of the sentences ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Should I use “will” or “would” here?

I doubt they will exchange the 20 inch monitor. OR I doubt they would exchange the 20 inch monitor. Which is correct, and why?
3
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2answers
386 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
1answer
12k views

Which one is correct? “has been taken already” or “has already been taken”

I'm creating a registration form. I want to display a message if a particular username already exists. So which sentence is correct? This username has already been taken by another user. Please ...
3
votes
4answers
180 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
5k 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
2answers
1k views

“One-Day Only Promotion” or “One-Day-Only Promotion”

A copywriter I'm working with wrote "One-Day Only Promotion" but my feeling is that "One-Day-Only Promotion" is correct. The first three words describe 'Promotion'. I know you don't hyphenate adverbs, ...
2
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6answers
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“Four plus two equals six” (or “is equal to six” or “is six”)

You write 4 + 2 = 6 and say "four plus two equals (or is equal to or is) six." In the question “Is equal to” or “equals”, I read the following comment: Equals is equal being a verb, in the ...
2
votes
2answers
835 views

Singular verb with plural numbers

In answer to the question, "Do we need any more chairs?" why does it sound correct to say, "No, three's enough." Why does "three are enough" sound wrong?
2
votes
1answer
791 views

“last year” vs. “the last / whole of the last year” vs. “whole the last year”

I would have question related to other question I asked today. I know that: last year refers to something that happens in the last year (which could be yesterday if today is 1.1.) the last year — ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

“I don't think you X” versus “I think you don't X”

Consider the following two sentences: I don't think you love your father. I think you don't love your father. Is the second sentence correct? I was taught it is wrong.
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3answers
2k views

Which tense after 'would I… if… ?'

I am struggling on a sentence here. Let me show u what I come up with; Would I fail if I won't study? In this sentence I am trying to indicate a possibility but I am not sure if I use this part ...
2
votes
4answers
423 views

Aren't adverbs related to the closest word? What about other modifiers?

Aren't adverbs related to the closest word? Does nightly in nightly business report refer to business? Update: I am still confused. Is relation of non-adverb modifiers different from that of ...
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vote
2answers
3k views

Which preposition: “Write on/at/to this address?”

My exam included this fill-in-the-blank question: Please write __ this address. (on/at/to) I filled the blank with on. Is that correct?
1
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3answers
93 views

Should I begin with uppercase when placing a sentence inside a apostrophes? [closed]

Here's an example: Warren said, 'could you help me remember some English basics?' vs. Warren said, 'Could you help me remember some English basics?'
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5answers
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Similar words that change from “-ter” to “tre”

I just found out that luster in British English was actually lustre. This was something that I did not know before. Are there any other words that behave like this? Why? (According to what?)
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3answers
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How do you make the possessive form with “He and I”-style subjects?

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
3answers
19k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Prepositions at the end of sentence and whom

I believe it's okay to end a sentence with a preposition. That seems to be the consensus here as well. Now I think that when who is the object of a preposition, it should technically be whom, e.g. ...
9
votes
2answers
443 views

Stop if you feel faint or pain! [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Ellipsis that results in one word serving as both subject and object I am “adjective” and I am “present continuous” in one sentence I was using some exercise equipment ...
8
votes
2answers
2k 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). What is the general rule?
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3answers
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Usage question: “I hadn't drank any coffee before I lived in Italy.”

Ok, so as an English teacher, I know that in the present and past perfect tenses, the auxiliary verb have is followed by the past participle form of the verb. Using most verbs, I find that this is ...
6
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1answer
220 views

What is the term for giving an action or phenomenon somebody's name, e.g. “Doing a Lord Lucan”?

A friend of mine is keen on taking the glory (or adverse publicity!) when something goes wrong on a job he's working on and he likes to give it his name, e.g., "this is turning into a right Simpson of ...
5
votes
4answers
183 views

Can I separate events with period to form past perfect?

Can I say the following? The doorbell rang. He had finished his meal. I know I could join the sentences into one sentence to get the same meaning. I want to know if this would be correct if I ...
5
votes
4answers
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Is “close proximity” a tautology?

I was rooting about in the OED and one definition is "The fact, condition, or position of being near or close by in space; nearness." Then in the citations for that definition they had: 1872 H. I. ...
5
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2answers
521 views

What do you call a verb which accepts 2 nouns?

In English, there are intransitive verbs which can't used with a noun, or aren't being used with a noun (eg. listen, die, ...), and transitive verbs which can be (eg. almost all of them). However, ...
5
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3answers
2k views

“My another account” vs. “my other account”

A little debate going on here so I just want to know which one it is; I'm saying it's my other account since my another would be my one other account. The other person insists they both can be used; ...
5
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1answer
117 views

“Is on” or “are on”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is staff plural? The family is on a tour The family are on a tour Which one is correct and why?
4
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1answer
647 views

A good and exhaustive book for English grammar [closed]

Before marking this post duplicate or voting to get it closed (the reason for which I simply don't get just because it is a grammar forum after all! If I am seeking recommendation for a book that ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

“Over vs Above” and “Under vs below”

Is is possible to say that "Above" means "over" and "Under" means"below", but not the opposite? According to my grammar: Over - In a higher position (close or touching) Above - In a higher position ...
4
votes
4answers
760 views

Is “since I'm” now an acceptable alternative to “since I was”?

In a recent episode of the television show Entourage, Ari Gold (a 40 year old man) says: I've known her since I'm 19. In an episode of Sex and the City, a character, who is 15, tells Carrie: ...
4
votes
3answers
378 views

Is “lay” in this sentence in the correct tense?

I'm making a description for an app, this strikes me as a bit awkward for some reason: "I wanted to create an app that lay somewhere between an ecosystem and a musical instrument." Is the word ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

“To enable him to escape” vs. “to enable him escape”

I have been coming across this kind of sentence more and more: She gave him a key to enable him to escape capture. She gave him a key to enable him escape capture. Which sentence is correct? ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Does the sentence of “Don’t you …”? have a connotation of accusation?

“Don't you want to know how Ginny got hold of that diary, Mr. Malfoy?” said Harry. Lucius Malfoy rounded on him. “How should I know how the stupid little girl got hold of it?” he said. ...
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4answers
606 views

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

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
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2answers
2k views

Analogy: “as if” vs. “as though”

This is something that confuses me from time to time. When making an analogy in literature, is it better to use the phrase "as if" or "as though", or is it completely a style thing? E.g. She ...
3
votes
1answer
626 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
770 views

Regionalism or just bad English?

I've encountered a particular type of writing occasionally and it being, derp, in writing, it's hard to tell whether there's an accent behind it. The English used seems to me to be simply incorrect, ...
3
votes
2answers
309 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 ...