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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4answers
1k views

What part of speech is “worth”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the lexical class of the word 'worth' when used in a sentence like “Is this apple worth $3?” In a sentence like the following: The ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is 'that' sometimes optional before dependent clauses?

Sometimes, the word 'that' to introduce a dependent clause is optional. For example, these sentences both make sense with or without 'that': Long books [that] religious people like tend to be ...
8
votes
4answers
662 views

Is this contraction of 'there is' acceptable to native speakers of English?

In the Slate article, The Curse of “You May Also Like”, the following sentence has a contraction of there is that doesn't sit well with my ear for American or British English. I wonder whether any of ...
8
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2answers
2k views

Capitalization After Colon

Should the first word after a colon be capitalized? "For example: This." OR "For example: this."
7
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3answers
6k views

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?
6
votes
3answers
30k 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 ...
6
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2answers
15k views

Which preposition should I use here: “thinking of” or “thinking about”?

Thinking of getting an external keyboard Thinking about getting an external keyboard Which one is grammatically correct and why?
5
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3answers
29k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
479 views

What is the possessive for several names?

If Alice and Bob each has a house, are these "Alice and Bob's houses" or "Alice's and Bob's houses"? Does that change anything if each of the houses belongs to both of them?
5
votes
3answers
21k views

“Wasn't” vs “weren't” [duplicate]

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
2answers
5k views

Singular vs. Plural with Multiple Gerunds as Subject (IE: [Gerund] and [Gerund] are/is [something].)

I'm trying to find out whether I should use a singular or plural verb when there are multiple gerunds as the subject of the sentence. For example: Running the correct course and keeping a steady ...
4
votes
3answers
3k 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
1answer
4k views

“I saw him crossing” vs. “I saw him cross”

I saw him crossing the road. I saw him cross the road. Which one is correct and why?
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2answers
820 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 ...
14
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6answers
1k views

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
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
205 views

Does the word “and” always mean a logical (boolean) operation?

For a simple phrase like "macaroni and cheese" it's clear you want both macaroni and cheese, not one or the other. But as more and more words are added, I've noticed a tendency to begin to read "and" ...
9
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5answers
1k views

Parts of speech and functions: “Bob made a book collector happy the other day”

Having been bamboozled by various questions and answers on this site, I'd like to know what are the parts of speech (POS) and grammatical functions of the words and phrases in the following sentence: ...
9
votes
1answer
719 views

When can a noun be used attributively?

Nouns can modify nouns: cat food, coffee cup, gold ring, laser surgery, flood insurance. It seems to me there are even cases where a noun sounds better than the corresponding adjective: sociology ...
8
votes
2answers
407 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
504 views

What difference does using 'had' make to those two verb tenses, and if so, what is it?

What is the difference between if I had studied and if I studied? Can you provide an example of when one usage would be more appropriate than the other?
7
votes
3answers
484 views

“Be like” usage

Of late, I have been noticing a lot of casual memes floating around, particularly on Facebook, that involve this phrase. Typical constructs could be like the following examples: B*&^%$# be ...
6
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2answers
325 views

Unorthodox article placement

In my English class yesterday we looked at the following example: Monica is such a beautiful woman. We learned that the above sentence could also be written as: Monica is so beautiful a ...
5
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2answers
27k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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, ...
4
votes
7answers
2k views

Confusing structures with modal verbs

I have skimmed through the part on modals of a classic grammar book (Murphy's "Grammar in Use") and picked up all the structures that look strange to me. Could you, please, explain how often they are ...
4
votes
5answers
8k views

When is “to” a preposition and when the infinitive marker?

I want to see you. I look forward to seeing you. How can one say "to" in the first sentence is an infinitive marker and in the second sentence a preposition when we are given just the ...
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
3answers
8k 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
1answer
780 views

“Compound nouns list” or “compound noun list”?

I couldn't help but wonder every time I saw such a noun phrase. I've seen both forms used equally often, so I guess both of them can be used interchangeably. But do I guess right? Some examples: ...
3
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
2k 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
1answer
59 views

What is the concept of “using an adjective instead of adjective+noun” called?

In "Medical team", Medical is an adjective. In "Legal team", legal is similar. But in some situations, some people use only "Medical" or "Legal" , eg "Get approval from Legal team" becomes "Get ...
2
votes
3answers
733 views

to finish vs. to have finished

One of the rules of using the perfect infinitive says that it can refer to something that will be completed at a point in the future. We hope to have finished the building works by the end of March. ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Geometric or Geometrical?

I have read the excellent answers to Why is it "geometric" but "theoretical" - my question is specifically about usage. Is there a best practice for deciding between the variants "geometric" and ...
2
votes
2answers
1k 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
3answers
916 views

Feel confused about to-infinitive in a sentence

In order to understand the English grammar, I have to read the Grammar Section in OALD. I don't understand the grammar constituents of to-infinitives in these sentences. How can I understand them? ...
2
votes
6answers
3k 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
2answers
1k 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
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“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
1answer
4k views

What does “I was had” mean?

Maybe he would help me with Deborah's pablum, take turns pushing the wheelchair. It's good to have someone. That reminded me that I had someone -- or perhaps I was had. In any case, Rita would ...
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
470 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
317 views

A case of optional “that”: “check the” vs. “check that the”

Consider the following use case: Please check the username and password are correct. Please check that the username and password are correct. In this case, I would say that that is required ...
1
vote
2answers
248 views

“Give him a box that everyone knows what it contains.”

"Give him a box that everyone knows what it contains." Is this correct English? It sounds wrong to me.
1
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2answers
7k 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
2answers
194k views

When do we use “had had” and “have had”? [duplicate]

I have seen several sentences in English where some writers have written had twice in a row. I am a bit confused about when the grammar calls for using had had. For example: I had had my car ...
1
vote
3answers
111 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?'