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

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3answers
655 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 ...
8
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2answers
335 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
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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 ...
8
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3answers
8k 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 ...
8
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3answers
609 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
474 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
393 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 ...
8
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1answer
17k views

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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3answers
3k views

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, ...
8
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4answers
10k views

Grammar parsing for “if need be”

I have a 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 ...
8
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3answers
568 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
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0answers
409 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 ...
7
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
7
votes
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
8k 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
7k views

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 ...
7
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3answers
1k views

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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3answers
679 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 ...
7
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6answers
2k views

Use of “ever” in non-negated sentence

Is the sentence grammatically correct: I do recall ever seeing my mother in the light of day.
7
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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
866 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 ...
7
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3answers
7k views

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?
7
votes
6answers
5k views

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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6answers
3k views

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 ...
7
votes
5answers
56k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
362 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?
7
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6answers
1k views

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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7answers
2k views

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 ...
7
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6answers
5k views

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 ...
7
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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 ...
7
votes
1answer
201 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

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. ...
7
votes
1answer
579 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 ...
7
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3answers
14k 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 ...
7
votes
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
7
votes
1answer
145 views

What is the name of the type of sentence that's formatted like “performing an action”?

So I am sure the title of this question makes little sense, but I don't know how to ask it (feel free to edit it to make it more direct, but not so direct that it answers the question). There is a ...
7
votes
3answers
159k 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.
7
votes
1answer
585 views

Is it right to use a verb in singular form for a noun in plural form as in “Your pigs is so much better than our pigs”?

I felt a bit puzzled to find the line “Your pigs is so much better than our pigs” in the following section of Jeffrey Archer’s novel Not a penny more, Not a penny less: Harvey could never resist ...
7
votes
3answers
5k 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?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Does this sentence seem weird?

A line from William Golding's The Lord of the Flies: All round him the long scar smashed into the jungle was a bath of heat. Is it just me or does the sentence seem grammatically off?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Why use “his” in association with the word “mankind”?

I have a doubt. The economist Keynes in a book wrote: The power to become habituated to his surroundings is a marked characteristic of mankind. I would have used "its" instead but since English ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

“going to” vs “will”

I know several questions were asked about the difference between "going to" and "will". Based on several answers (see, for instance, here, here and here), I understood that "will" is more spontaneous ...
7
votes
3answers
18k views

“It would be better if you drink/drank all the water”

Which one of the following is grammatically correct? It would be better if you drink all the water. It would be better if you drank all the water. The question is, obviously, about the use ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

Infinitives with “ought not”

Most of the references I can find about the word “ought” indicate that even when negating it, you should use an infinitive: “You ought not to go there.” That sounds quite bad ...
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3answers
10k views

“was able to” vs “could”

According to my grammar book, here are some usages of was able to and could could can be used to refer in general that someone has a skill. e.g. At that time I could still read without spectacles. ...
7
votes
1answer
161 views

Concessive “as much as” and “much as”. Which came first?

Related: "Much though" vs "much as", Use of 'Much as' [closed], Using “as much as” at start of sentence Consider the following two variations: As much as I hate to admit it, I cannot swim. ...
7
votes
1answer
4k 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) ...
7
votes
1answer
21k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

“I'm having” - an illness?

What is I'm having in grammar terms? Is it something near the present, the near future? As in I'm having a party tomorrow? Example (not about the near future), I'm having trouble coming up with a ...