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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Nearly or Almost

The words nearly and almost seem to be interchangeable to me. I can't think of any instance when one can be used where the other cannot. eg: I almost fell I nearly fell Are there any ...
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2answers
64k 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 "comprise"...
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2answers
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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
16k views

“Alternative to” vs “Alternative for”

I'm wondering whether there is a difference between these two expressions. I never know which one to use. Google seems to return the same amount of results for both, so I suppose there might be a ...
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3answers
967 views

Correct usage of SIC to express verbatim statements expressed vocally?

Taken literally, sic erat scriptum would imply that "[SIC]" is to be used only when expressing a written statement. Can it also be safely applied to express that which has been expressed vocally? i.e, ...
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3answers
524 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
18k 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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2answers
484 views

In the armpit or under the armpit?

Which is the right thing to say? Put the thermometer in the armpit. Put the thermometer under the armpit. Put the thermometer under the arm.
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1answer
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How do I determine subject and subject complement in “A side-effect is the spread of commercialese to other domains.”?

Consider this example: Commercialese is an instrument of art, designed to enrich and invigorate our language—surely you will all agree with this—, and we should encourage newcomers to learn ...
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5answers
450 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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1answer
999 views

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 far/...
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5answers
330 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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6answers
796 views

Conflicting Advice: “Not Only,” “But Also” Constructions — Comma, No Comma, Parallel Structure?

I've searched for the answer on this site and other websites, and found conflicting advice and sample sentences that look wrong to me. I'm posting this question hoping for clarification. My ...
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5answers
595 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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5answers
79k views

What's the difference between “speak” and “talk”, grammatically speaking?

There are a number of questions e.g. What is the difference between “speaking” and “talking”? and “Speak to” vs. “Speak with” that deal with the slightly different connotations of the words "speak" ...
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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
20k 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
99k views

“Have you got a chance to” vs “Did you get a chance to”

What is the difference between following two statements? Have you got a chance to look into this? Did you get a chance to look into this?
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6answers
8k 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
591 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
708 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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1answer
5k views

“created at” or “created in”

I'm making a program and I need to label a "creation date" field. I'm not sure whether to write Created in __ or Created at __
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5answers
15k 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
2k 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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6answers
65k views

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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3answers
51k views

First, Second, Third, and Finally

Is it grammatically correct to sequence paragraphs using First, Second, Third, and Finally? If not, is there a good word that replaces Finally? Starting a paragraph with Final doesn't sound correct. ...
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4answers
6k views

“Mom and Dad” vs “Dad and Mom” [duplicate]

I'm curious if the order implies anything here. I'm pretty sure "Mom and Dad" is standard in English. The issue was hard for me to google, so I'm asking it here: Is using "Dad" before "Mom" incorrect,...
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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
440 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
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What is a gerund? A noun or a verb? 'His smoking upset me’

I've been studying the Huddleston and Pullum book for four months now. So far only one thing confuses me: the identity of gerund. Is it a noun or a verb? His constant smoking upset me. smoking ...
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3answers
10k 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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5answers
7k 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
740 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 ...
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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 knight’s ...
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3answers
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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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5answers
108k 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
668 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
903 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
3k 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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4answers
31k 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
428 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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1answer
24k views

“Should I” vs. “Shall I” vs. “Do I” in AE

In colloquial prose, is there some difference to saying "Should I/we", Shall I/we", "Do I/we" to ask someone's advice? E.g. Should I call the police? Sounds like I'm asking someone (or myself) ...
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2answers
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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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3answers
116k views

Welcome on board vs Welcome aboard

Is it grammatically correct for a pilot or airline cabin crew to say "welcome on board", rather than "welcome aboard?" Is there a difference?