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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12
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3answers
28k 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
606 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
3k 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
4k views

How many tenses are there in English and what are they? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How many tenses are there in English? The number of grammatical tenses in English makes it confusing as to what they are exactly and what types of tenses there are. ...
4
votes
1answer
15k 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
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
2answers
4k views

Present perfect for past action with present effect

If I seem tired, can I say: "I haven't slept last night"? If not, why have I been told that we use present perfect for actions that have present effects?
3
votes
4answers
226 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
2answers
185 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
2answers
506 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
5answers
3k 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
3answers
800 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
1k 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
592 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
3answers
3k views

The whys and the hows

Are apostrophes needed in this phrase? The whys and the hows I searched for duplicate questions, but the closest I found was in regard to words inside quotes.
2
votes
2answers
2k views

May vs Might in Sentence

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

“I who has” vs “I who have.” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What rules make “Remember me, who am your friend” grammatical? Am aware it is correct to say "I have written..." and "I am a doctor who has writen..." I have, however, ...
2
votes
3answers
5k 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
4answers
24k views

If conditional “didn't” vs “hadn't”

Grammar rules say that hadn't is used for unreal past conditions, but why can't we use simple past negation instead of past perfect? If I hadn't come to the meeting, it wouldn't have happened. ...
2
votes
4answers
143k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Two adjectives for two nouns

I saw this on a billboard recently We have new and pre-owned cars and trucks Clearly the intention is to modify "cars and trucks" with the two adjectives "used and preowned" and although the ...
1
vote
2answers
670 views

What is correct form of writing: “users names” or “user names”? [duplicate]

Let me ask you a question which I've derived from my programming practice: Let's assume, I have a number of users represented by their names: John, Pete, Stanislaw, Marc, ... What words should I use ...
1
vote
2answers
933 views

“I know where you work at” vs. “I know where you work”

Which one is correct? I don't need to know where you work at. I don't need to know where you work. Could you also please tell me about this rule is called in grammar so I can learn more ...
1
vote
2answers
2k 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.
0
votes
1answer
176 views

present continuous or be going to?

In his book, Grammar and Vocabulary for First Certificate, Luck Prodromou has ruled out the possibility of using 'be going to' to complete the following sentence : 'What .......... you .......... ...
0
votes
3answers
22k views

How to know when to use “someone” or “anyone”?

I am trying to write a grammar rule that will be able to identify when to use someone or anyone, and I got confused. I couldn't find any clear way to do this. For instance, "anyone can do it" is ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Which is more correct “fewer than hundred people” or “less than hundred people”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is “less” appropriate vs. “fewer”? Which is more correct "fewer than hundred people" or "less than hundred people"? According to my grammar ...
-1
votes
1answer
2k views

Which is correct, I or me? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do I use “I” instead of “me?” Which is correct? The photo shows my kids and me at the party. The photo shows my kids and I at the party Another one: ...
-1
votes
4answers
3k views

Usage of “What” + verb without auxiliary one

This is a subquestion to my "And lead raptivity captive" question. As I understood from a comment by RegDwight, it was incorrect to ask: What mean raptivity and phrase "And lead raptivity captive"? ...
-2
votes
2answers
6k views

“Employee list” or “employees list” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: User’s Guide vs Users’ Guide should a list of tokens be called a “token list” or a “tokens list” I know we can use list of employees, but I'd ...
122
votes
3answers
5k views

Where were “should”, “shall”, and “must” in the 18th Century?

According to the following Google Ngram, in the U.K. the modals should, shall, and must were virtually missing from English writing during the 18th Century (I've added will for a comparison modal ...
27
votes
14answers
5k views

Sentence in which “its” and “it's” can be interchanged without changing the meaning? [closed]

A friend posed the following word puzzle to me: Can you think of a sentence that keeps the same meaning whether you use "it's" or "its"? He asserted that this puzzle does in fact have a ...
19
votes
6answers
37k views

“Replace with” versus “replace by”

I often see "replace with" and "replace by" used interchangeably, but this doesn't sound right to me: I replaced that component by this one. I would use "with" in such a sentence. "By" only ...
4
votes
1answer
36k views

'I was using', 'I have used', 'I have been using', 'I had used' - what is the difference amongst these?

First, is my question right? Does amongst fit here? Please differentiate the above phrases.
2
votes
2answers
52k views

What is the difference between “have to”, “must”, and “should”? [duplicate]

Is there any difference between have to”, “must”, and “should”? If there is some difference between them, when do I have to use (nor not use) each of the constructions below? have to do something ...
24
votes
7answers
5k views

Is it possible to start a grammatically-correct English sentence with the word “Than”?

Question: Is it possible to start a grammatically-correct English sentence with the word "Than"? If no, what other English words share this property? Background: Trevor claimed that it is ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

When can the -ing form of a verb be placed before a noun?

My native-speaker's grammatical intuition tells me that: There is a sleeping man under the tree. is fine but There is a fishing man by the river bank. is wrong. Why? I've thought about ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

May, might confusion

When should I use each of the following: This may help. This might help. I always get confused about the use of may and might.
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
539 views

Cooking apples and cleaning ladies

Consider the following sentences: Cooking is my favourite activity. Cooking apples are essential for this recipe. Cooking functions in the first sentence as a gerund. How does it function in the ...
37
votes
7answers
8k views

Why use “of” in the phrase “delivered of a baby”?

With all the "Royal baby" craze comes something that really confuses me. All the news media used pretty much the same sentence to make the announcement: The Duchess of Cambridge has been ...
16
votes
5answers
11k views

“anymore” vs. “any more”

any more requests anymore requests Are these two the same? It seems that "any more requests" is grammatically correct while "anymore requests" is not. Am I right? Why are they different?
20
votes
5answers
116k views

“It worths it”, “it worth it” or “it is worth it”?

Which one is correct and why? I think "worth it" is an adjective phrase. So what is "worth" then? Example: You should try spending money on her. It worths it. You should try spending money ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Do serious grammarians endorse the “Can I”/“May I” distinction?

Just now, I wanted to ask a question that was something like, "Can I get a thorough list of all the parts of speech that a sentence can be broken down into?" But then a nagging voice appeared in my ...
13
votes
9answers
2k views

What do you call something that is not first in a sequence?

Is there a word to describe something that is not the first element in a sequence, but can be in any other position? A synonym of "not first", in fact. This element is __ in this sequence.
10
votes
3answers
33k views

Difference between “are you done” and “have you done.”

I was just wondering, how can we differentiate "are you done?" and "have you done?", and what is the appropriate way to use each?
10
votes
4answers
15k views

Which is correct: “home in” or “hone in”?

I've heard people say "Home in on something", but I've also heard others say "Hone in on something". Which is the correct expression, and what is the etymology of these?
5
votes
2answers
13k views

Do you need the “why” in “That's the reason why”? [duplicate]

I often hear people say things like “That's the reason why I....” As far as I know, “That's the reason I...” would still be grammatically correct, but I can't find anything stating one way or the ...