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

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When to use nah or right in a sentence

When I was chatting with my friend, as a part of our conversation I used a phrase. "You have laptop nah." He replied, first try to change your English, it sounds ridiculous, using words nah, right. ...
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Can you say “are not we all?” instead of “aren't we all?”

Because "aren't" translates to "are not" I pose the question, can you use both interchangeably (in the context of "aren't we all?")? "Are not" sounds very grammatically incorrect in this situation. ...
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6answers
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Superlative + noun + “possible”: why does the adjective come after the noun?

Does someone happen to have an explanation or theory for why in phrases like "the best method possible" the word 'possible' comes after the noun?
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3answers
15k views

Where should the apostrophe go in “three days work”?

Which is correct? 1 Three day's work 2 Three days' work 3 Three days work I would probably guess (2) is right, since the work belongs to the three days ("three days of work"). But I'm ...
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3answers
483 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?
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2answers
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Dare + have done

Here is an example from an old book. I know it’s old but it can’t be simply discarded, I hope. "I never dare have spoken — never dare have told you that my love for you was killing me" So, I ...
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5answers
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Use of “-wise” in phrases or words

What is -wise in phrases or words that end with it? How do we use it correctly? Floor is obscenely expensive computational-wise. I found a similar thread here but I don't understand much.
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5answers
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When to use words quite, rather, pretty, fairly etc

Is there any logic to this or just decision? I would use the following combinations: quite amazing rather large pretty good I would not use the following combinations: pretty amazing quite large ...
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6answers
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Is it correct to use 'Forgot password' or 'Forgotten password'

Many websites use the phrase 'Forgot password?' when prompting users to renew their login passwords. Is this correct usage or should it be 'Forgotten password?'.
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2answers
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Use of “never” in questions

I was taught that ever should be used in questions (Have you ever...?) and never should be used in negations (I have never...). But reading "A wizard of Earthsea" by Ursula K. Le Guin I spotted such a ...
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1answer
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Past tense of 'to output': output or outputted?

According to Wikipedia, the past tense (and past participle) of the verb to output is either output or outputted. Are these two forms entirely interchangeable? Or do they have certain nuance in ...
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1answer
527 views

What does “I have no shame when it comes to ignorance” mean? [closed]

Does it mean one chooses to be ignorant regardless of shame, or submit to shame while admitting ignorance? Interviewer: Tell me about your first felony arrest? Candidate: I have no shame when it ...
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3answers
692 views

Pronoun immediately following its antecedent

Is placing a pronoun immediately after its antecedent in a sentence valid grammar? Is there a term for this construction? Some examples are: President Obama, he gave a speech last night. The ...
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2answers
373 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
1k views

Help identifying an error type “tried to help me learning”

I have a friend from Russia who is trying to learn English and recently used the sentence "He tried to help me learning..." (implied: the English language) It is obviously wrong and I corrected it ...
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3answers
9k views

“Elaborate” as a transitive verb?

It is common to speak of "elaborating on (or upon) a topic." However, I have been told that this is appropriate only when some explanation has already been given; if no information is yet known, then ...
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1answer
23k views

Starting a sentence with “rather”

I've sometimes heard people use rather for connecting two sentences where the second one sets counterexample to something negated in the first. This is not a meaningful sentence. Rather, it's an ...
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3answers
632 views

The ambitious/arrogant tone of “I”

I don't understand why but I feel arrogant or ambitious when I use a simple sentence in active voice using "I" especially while I was writing my college essay or curriculum vitae e.g. "I managed a ...
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1answer
5k views

“At home” or “home”

What is the rule of not using at before home? For example, When he called me I was (at) home. I am always (at) home on Sundays. He came to my place at 6pm and by that time I had already been (at) ...
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2answers
501 views

How did 'mad' come to be a determiner?

There's a group of words — I think they're called determiners — used to indicate number in some way... like many, few, most, etc. During a linguistics class my professor said this was a closed group ...
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1answer
475 views

Does “In the event of …” take the genitive case?

Is insisting on a genitive pronoun after "In the event of ..." pedantry or correct? For example: "In the event of ..." his/him winning the election my/me dying our/us leaving For those who ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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Why 'in itself', why not just 'itself'?

Life in itself is neither good nor evil. It is the place of good and evil, according to what you make it.
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Is it really wrong to say “I'm hearing”?

Many grammar books claim that ‘see’, ‘hear’, ‘taste’, ‘smell’, ‘feel’ are verbs that aren’t used in continuous forms, and yet, we do hear and see it quite often used by native speakers. For instance, ...
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0answers
410 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 ...
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3answers
231 views

How to categorize this phrase. Relative clause, Interrogative clause, Adverbial clause?

What is "Where to go" in the sentence "Where to go is the question." Is it a adverbial phrase or a relative clause? And what is "Why go" in the sentence "Why go when you can stay?" - is it a clause?
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7answers
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“I'm well” vs. “I'm good” vs. “I'm doing well”, etc

The greeting How are you? is asking How are you doing in general? — How are you? I'm well. [Misunderstood the question.] because well as an adjective which means: in good health ...
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3answers
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Why is this a fragment?

What's wrong with this sentence (other than that it is incomprehensible out of context): Because I don’t know what you don’t know. MS Word is telling me that this is a sentence fragment (I ...
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7answers
3k views

How to say “You have this much work to do because you decided to do that much” more elegantly?

I want to try word this a bit more elegantly, fancy, etc. Basically that is a reply to a co-worker who said to me in an email saying "Too much work to do!" and I want to reply to that in an ...
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13answers
9k 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 ...
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6answers
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Russian speakers and “I feel myself to be …”

I was told that it is a typical mistake for Russian speakers to say I feel myself badly instead of I feel ill. I wonder to what extent such constructs sound wrong to native speakers? I feel ...
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2answers
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Can “a person” be used as plural? [duplicate]

Is it acceptable to write: A person can develop their talent. or a person can develop their uniqueness? In this case the person is used as a general term, not a specific person.
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698 views

Is this translation of a joke grammatically correct? [closed]

I'm trying to translate this Dutch comic to English. I want to say that the probability of rain turns out to be higher than predicted, but that this probability is not of such magnitude that it ...
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6answers
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Use of “ever” in non-negated sentence

Is the sentence grammatically correct: I do recall ever seeing my mother in the light of day.
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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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3answers
911 views

Why some questions are written in this funny way?

There, I did it myself. Instead of asking "Why are some questions written in this funny way?", I produced what strikes me as bad English ever so often: Questions that are formed by starting out with ...
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3answers
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Each apple and each orange [has/have]?

For a phrase such as the following: each apple and each orange Is it correct to use "has" or "have" when describing properties of both apples and oranges?
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3answers
464 views

Is 'Single Sitting' a proper phrase?

Being an Indian, I don't like the way we Indians use the English. Of course I also make mistakes, but I will try to learn from time to time. I see and hear some phrases like, Please do the needful, ...
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6answers
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Why is “listen” always followed by “to” in the command voice?

When I say, read it or drink it or take me, there is no to in-between. Why is it that when I use the verb listen, I have to say listen to me or listen to it?
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Why does English need an article before any noun?

In my native language, we can say: I have dog Because I don't want to say a dog (one dog, how many dogs) or the dog (that dog, the listener don't care which dog). p.s. after 3 years later, I ...
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5answers
61k views

Which one is more appropriate to use: “send you” or “send to you”?

Are both of the following sentences correct? Let me know if there is still something I need to send to you. Let me know if there is still something I need to send you. Which one is more ...
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3answers
396 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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3answers
7k views

Is to + ing (to becoming) correct?

I have read in a newspaper, the writer is using 'to becoming'. eg: "We're on track to becoming developed nation." Is this sentence really correct?
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7answers
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Correct comma use with “but” and “that”

Compare these 3 sentences: Both are based on librsync, but above that they behave quite differently. Both are based on librsync, but above that, they behave quite differently. Both are ...
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6answers
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Is it supposed to be a HTML or an HTML [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “A” vs. “An” in writing vs. pronunciation Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? I've often seen people calling a ...
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2answers
4k views

Is “Should be *ing” a valid English phrasing?

I'm Portuguese and my girlfriend German. Because she is a Germanic-language native-speaker, she is constantly correcting my English. Though, often it is annoying that she corrects me in grammar ...
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1answer
202 views

What is the name of words like 'bottle' or 'clove' that provide a singular for a counted item?

Title pretty much askes the question. What is the term for words like 'bottle', 'cup' or 'clove' (as in clove of garlic). Are they counters, countables, determiners...? I swear it's on the tip of ...
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1answer
620 views

Using verbs with multiple meanings

Is it grammatically incorrect to use a verb with multiple meanings so that the meanings are used at once? I'm thinking of a line from the classic Flanders Swann song Madeira M’Dear: … he hastened ...
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4answers
822 views

What is the accepted stance on using “they” in a singular form? [duplicate]

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 ...
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2answers
3k views

“You” or “your” when using two subjects with a possession?

I came across your and Mr X's publication or I came across you and Mr X's publication