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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

4
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
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
votes
2answers
2k views

“is” vs “are” when followed by a number

I read the following sentence on YouTube and initially thought it was grammatically incorrect: Here are 10 minutes of the movie Black Hawk Down! I thought "are" should have been "is" but then I ...
3
votes
1answer
9k 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
175 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
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
votes
6answers
2k views

“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
1answer
6k 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 ...
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.
2
votes
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
412 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
2k 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
vote
3answers
88 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?'
1
vote
5answers
2k views

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?)
11
votes
3answers
13k views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
15k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
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. ...
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?
6
votes
3answers
3k views

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
votes
1answer
212 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
180 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
8k views

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
votes
2answers
508 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
116 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
votes
1answer
3k 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
676 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
367 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
votes
2answers
838 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. ...
4
votes
4answers
599 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
237 views

When is “that” superfluous? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “that” in a sentence What are some of the rules surrounding the word "that" and its inclusion or omission in a sentence? For example, "My boss ...
3
votes
1answer
575 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
272 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Repeating “to” and “will” in enumerations of verbs

Should I use the second "will" in constructions like this one: "it will definitely help you and will make the text more readable" And should I write "to" before every infinitive in enumeration, or ...
3
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

“I am working” or “I have worked almost two months at this project”?

Which one is correct? "I am working almost two months at this project" or "I have worked almost two months at this project" I want to give this meaning: I'm still working on it.
3
votes
3answers
576 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
86 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
76 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
224 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
181 views

“greater than I am” versus “greater than myself”

If I look in the corpus of contemporary American English, I mostly find the ... greater than I am/he is/etc. ... version. But there are a couple of instances, even in academic texts, of the sort ... ...
2
votes
3answers
3k 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"?
2
votes
2answers
662 views

Uncountable nouns

When is it possible to use an indefinite article before uncountable nouns? Only when they are defined in some way? music, art, love, happiness advice, information, news (It was a good ...
2
votes
3answers
656 views

Usage of “ever” in a negative statement

I know that "ever" can be used to express the strengthened negation but would it work like that? I created a session but nobody ever joined. Is it possible? It does not sound right to me. If ...
2
votes
2answers
3k 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
2answers
220 views

“Dazzling images do not a shining nation make” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is “xxxx doth not a yyyy make” considered valid English? Is Dazzling images do not a shining nation make correct grammatically? To me it should be ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
534 views

About the use of future tense

Which is better: "I am not having lunch tomorrow unless I am really hungry." "I am not having lunch tomorrow unless I will be really hungry." Something else
2
votes
1answer
439 views

Overusing “and” and how to fix it

Several months ago, I was writing a fan-fiction story set in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe and I ended up constructing this sentence: "...Sonic and his allies and Dr. Robotnik and his allies..." ...