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.

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Why is my English “worlds better” than yours but never “the best by worlds”?

In speech when making comparisons we can say: It is far better than It's way better than It's miles better than It's worlds better than For instance, British restaurant food is ...
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5answers
260 views

The “wrought /wreaked havoc” misunderstanding

According to the American Heritage Dictionary: the past tense and past participle of the verb to wreak is wreaked, not wrought, which is an alternative past tense and past participle of work. ...
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5answers
549 views

Can we contract plural nouns with present perfect?

In either in writing or speech, can we contract plural noun with the present perfect? For example, can we say or write: The children've eaten.
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6answers
2k views

What is the grammatical function of 'brand' in the phrase 'brand new'

A previous question on the forum asks what the meaning of 'brand' is in the phrase 'brand new' and the overall view seems to be that it means fire. Ie fresh from the fire. But what is its ...
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3answers
18k views

How to deal with quoting a grammatical error?

What should you do if you’re quoting someone, and that quote has a grammatical error? Say for example that I’m quoting this line from the American Pregnancy Association: The term used for a ...
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2answers
3k views

Can you use “same” without “the”?

I've been racking my brain trying to think of a grammatically correct sentence that uses same without the earlier in the same (see!) phrase. It is the same It is the very same I have 10 ...
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6answers
7k views

What tense is “If I were a bird, I could fly”

The sentence is not referring to any time past, present of future. It's just referring to an imaginary condition which has never existed and seemingly will never exist. Still, the sentence and other ...
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2answers
1k views

Some sentences in the beginning of movie “Forrest Gump”

In the beginning of movie "Forrest Gump", Gump said: 1. I wish I had shoes like that. Why did Gump said "that"? Is it correct? And what about "I wish I had shoes like those?" 2. She said they was ...
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2answers
582 views

Can I precede a noun with more than one determiner?

Is there a rule that a noun would take only one determiner at most? For example, according to “Determiner” at EnglishLanguageGuide.com, both both and the are determiners. Can I write an expression ...
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5answers
507 views

“There are no shortage of applications”

I've been having an argument with a colleague about this sentence, could you please let me know which one of us is correct: There are no shortage of applications for our product in this space. ...
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5answers
4k 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: ...
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5answers
14k views

On the use of “both”

I keep running into this debate with my thesis advisor. Are both of these forms correct? It can be seen that both the users are able to... or It can be seen that the both users are able ...
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3answers
1k 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
4k views

“The pair was …” or “the pair were …”

I've recently read a blurb from a local paper that included the following: The pair was drinking prior to the shooting. To me, this appears wrong and I would say that the proper way to make the ...
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3answers
1k views

Is “to” really part of the infinitive?

Consider this: I like to eat here. vs I would eat here. It appears to me that "to" has nothing to do with the infinitive form of the verb that follows. It is, in this example, an integral ...
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7answers
11k 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
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Is “worser” correct grammatically?

Is worser correct grammatically? I know it seems incorrect, but I stumbled upon the word when reading Hamlet: Oh, throw away the worser part of it, And live the purer with the other half. ...
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2answers
5k views

How should I avoid this reflexive pronoun, or is it okay?

I typed a sentence in Microsoft Word as: o Each mobile operating system implements encryption in their own way. It was part of a list of bullet points. I got dinged for their own being ...
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2answers
434 views

Is it ever appropriate to mix up “I” and “one” in the same sentence?

In my last question on English L & U SE, I was strongly tempted to write the following: Every so often I've thought I've chanced across most of them [literary Biblical phrases], but as one ...
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3answers
9k views

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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1answer
27k views

Rule on absence of the article “the” with plural nouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Definite article with plural nouns I recently reviewed (as I believe, rather thoroughly) the rules of using articles in English and I do not recall any rule on absence ...
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5answers
6k views

Beginning a sentence with a gerund?

My teacher recently marked on my paper not to use a gerund to start a sentence. I have been told by teachers in the past to use that format to vary sentence structure. It seems to make the paper flow ...
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3answers
707 views

The use of “therefor” in my High School Diploma

I just received my High School Diploma and want to make sure the following sentence is grammatically correct. The diploma contains the following line: "This certifies that [Name] has satisfactorily ...
9
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1answer
11k views

What is a finite verb?

What's a finite verb? It's not just the opposite of an infinitive, is it? Can I get some examples?
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4answers
2k 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 ...
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5answers
101k views

“Centered on” or “centered around”

I have often heard presenters talking about something centered around another thing, but it seems a bit illogical and hence improper to talk like this. Am I right about this?
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4answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
12k views

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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2answers
56k views

comprise or comprise of [closed]

I have found a similar topic addressing the use of "comprise" but my question is not exactly in line with that question. I did ask this question there to keep the topic related to the us of ...
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2answers
641 views

Stop if you feel faint or pain! [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Ellipsis that results in one word serving as both subject and object I am “adjective” and I am “present continuous” in one sentence I was using some exercise equipment ...
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3answers
880 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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1answer
2k 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 ...
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3answers
438 views

Does “They don't have a life” sound correct?

As he and I walked past a group of individuals, my rude friend said, "They don't have a life." I hadn't heard the expression before that. Does it make sense? They were individuals (plural) but he ...
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3answers
479 views

How to refer to dead and alive persons together?

Usually we refer to a dead person using the past tense. For example: Albert Einstein was wrong about... But when we are talking about both dead and alive persons in the same sentence, should we ...
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4answers
28k 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. ...
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2answers
390 views

Why is “them” and not “those” correct?

I have been preparing for the SAT, and this question has been confusing me a lot lately. Some scissors (A) are designed for left-handed use, although most (B) of them (C) sold in stores (D) are ...
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2answers
1k views

Do all words have a part of speech?

Do all words have a part of speech? The closest counterexample I can think of is yes. The dictionary says its supposed to be an adverb but it doesn't really strike me as something that modifies a ...
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5answers
8k views

Is “curious if” improper to use compared to alternatives such as “curious as to” or “curious whether”?

Consider the following line, which I've heard this particular construction frequently: "I’m curious if other people feel like I do." The construct specifically is that of using "I'm curious if" ...
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1answer
703 views

What is this ‘-ing’ structure?

Consider the following sentence: The Bactrian camel is well adapted to the extreme climate of its native Mongolia, having thick fur and underwool that keep it warm in winter and also insulate ...
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1answer
958 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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1answer
8k views

When to use “to” and when “for”?

Examples: It is important to me. It will be good for you. This sounds stupid to me. I'll make it comfortable for you. I'll make it available to you. Any rules here, dear native ...
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1answer
414 views

When can I use “Only do …” vs. when must I use “Only …” without the “do”?

I'm writing a scientific paper and my supervisor (who is non-native speaker, whereas I am a native speaker) asked me to change this construct: Only do males have a y chromosome. to Only ...
9
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1answer
264 views

Why can't you place pronouns after a phrasal verb?

Many phrasal verbs such as look up or knock out typically allow the object to be placed between the verb and proposition or to be placed afterward. For example, You can look my brother up on ...
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3answers
11k 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, ...
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2answers
443 views

sewer or sewers

I was playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES when I stopped to ponder; when in a place full of sewage, am I in the sewer or am I in the sewers? Mayhaps both? Also on further use of the root ...
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3answers
654 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 ...
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7answers
283 views

Is it okay to omit an article after the word “or” because it is redundant?

Example 1: I will bring a pen, eraser, or pencil. Example 2: I will bring a pen, an eraser, or a pencil. Are the above two examples both correct grammatically? If so, which is better to use in ...
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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 ...
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9answers
2k views

is there a replacement word for “previous of previous”?

I want to describe a situation that happened two levels earlier. I use the bash shell to navigate through directories. Say I started at the directory /home, and then I moved to the directory ...
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8answers
940 views

does the word “or” use Inclusive or Exclusive logic on my test? and how do I identify the logic that is being used? [duplicate]

I had taken a multiple choice business test the other day and the question was the following: 1. In Microsoft Word, the scissors function would be used to: A) Cut or select certain ...