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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How to correctly use the present perfect tense

This link states that: When you use the present perfect tense you have to be talking about a period of time that you still consider to be going on. For example, if it’s still morning, you can say, ...
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“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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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 ...
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5answers
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Adjective + to infinitive vs. gerund

I recall being taught that normally after adjectives we use the "to infinitive": It's easy to say. It's hard to do. But how do the following examples fall into this rule? "It was great talking to ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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4answers
675 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 ...
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2answers
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Capitalization After Colon

Should the first word after a colon be capitalized? "For example: This." OR "For example: this."
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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?
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“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 ...
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2answers
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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?
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3answers
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“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 ...
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1answer
494 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?
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“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.
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“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
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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When would you say “I seen it.”

I am not looking for explanations of why "I seen it" is wrong (though with sight there's an unfair grammatical burden that doesn't impact the other senses, whose past tense and past participle are the ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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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. ...
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2answers
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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). Is there a general rule?
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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 ...
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5answers
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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: ...
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1answer
758 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 ...
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2answers
431 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 ...
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3answers
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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?
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562 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 ...
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2answers
333 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 ...
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2answers
30k 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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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, ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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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?
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2answers
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“Subject, verb, direct object, object complement” versus “subject, verb, indirect object, direct object”

Reading English Grammar (HarperCollins College Outline, published by HarperResource, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers) I found a chapter (Sentence Basics) that explains that in English there are ...
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1answer
794 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: ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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“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, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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3answers
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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. ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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3answers
978 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? ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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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?
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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 — ...
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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 ...