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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

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
3answers
6k 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
617 views

Tensed verb form or the plain form when used after “that” (in a mandative construction)

I know that each is a singular subject, but in certain cases it seems that is not the case. For example, in this sentence below, why would the correct verb be "keep" instead of "keeps?" The tour ...
2
votes
2answers
4k 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
2answers
24k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
5k 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
4answers
32k 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
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

“However, this book is anything but” meaning

What's the structure and meaning of this sentence in the following text: A friend lent this to me before I headed over to Italy and France this summer. I was a bit skeptical at first as he's ...
2
votes
4answers
187k 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
2k 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
305 views

Is it grammatically correct to combine 2 phrases into 1 sentence?

Is this sentence acceptable or correct "You're welcome, have a nice day ahead." ?
1
vote
2answers
936 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
1k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
220 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
27k 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
3k 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
2answers
9k 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 ...
-1
votes
4answers
4k 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"? ...
132
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
6k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
22k views

“Logged-in”, “log-ined”, “login-ed”, “logined”, “log-in-ed”, “logged in”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “log in to” or “log into” or “login to” This following question, where and how to append "-ed", is not addressed in thу "possible ...
20
votes
5answers
44k views

“Which one is you?” vs “Which one are you?”

Imagine I'm looking at a photo containing a number of people's faces and I can't tell which one belongs to a certain friend of mine. I could ask him one of two things: "Which one is you?" or ...
4
votes
1answer
45k 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.
25
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
14k 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?
13
votes
5answers
140k views

“At/on (the) weekend(s)”

Which expression is better? Which is right? Why? A. Sorry to disturb you at weekend. B. Sorry to disturb you on weekend. C. Sorry to disturb you at weekends. D. Sorry to ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What's this? What is it? but not What's it? - Why?

Can anyone give a cogent, simply described explanation of why the verb BE in: What is it? ... doesn't seem to be able to be contracted with the subject: What's it? * Compare the sentences ...
2
votes
2answers
71k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
5k 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.
10
votes
4answers
421 views

Is “now” a “preposition”?

My question starts from this question which asks about difference between currently and right now, which is not that complicated. However, in the middle of exchanging comments, I found a few points ...
7
votes
5answers
610 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 ...
39
votes
7answers
10k 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 ...
25
votes
7answers
3k views

Can a person happen? Is “Zodanga happened” correct?

I was watching movie John Carter where there was some dialogue like this: — What happened here? — Zodanga happened. Here Zodanga was a bad guy in the movie. I don't understand how a guy ...
21
votes
5answers
162k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
43k 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?
7
votes
3answers
294 views

I haven't seen her “for”/“in” two days

What's the difference between using either for or in in the following examples? Bill hasn't taken a vacation for/in two years. Jack hasn't been to school for/in four days. I hadn't seen ...
7
votes
2answers
22k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
48k views

Was vs had been

I guess this question has been asked before, but please take a look the following sentence and tell me if there is a difference between them. When the transaction had been completed, A was still a ...
15
votes
3answers
21k views

Grammar parsing for “if need be”

I have the following question. There is an idiom 'if need be'. The meaning is clear, but I can't comprehend it from a grammatical point of view. How should I parse it? 'if [smth] needs to be'? Why not ...
15
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
664 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 ...
14
votes
10answers
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.
12
votes
13answers
16k views

Plural of “advice”

The dictionary says that advice can only be used in the singular. But in a specific part of computer science (aspect-oriented programming) this word is used to reference some object that implements ...
4
votes
2answers
606 views

What evidence is there that 'to' belongs to any particular part of speech?

Reopen note: There is a quite finite and modest amount of evidence in the literature about this issue, which members can record here as they see fit. Less than there is for example about what a noun ...
4
votes
4answers
3k 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.
11
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
297k views

When to use “lives” as a plural of life?

I am confused when talking about a general idea using "our life" when sometimes I feel like using "our lives". Please tell me the correct answer with appropriate explanation.