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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“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
3k 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
13k 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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3answers
11k views

“currently not” or “not currently”

What's the correct order: Lessons are not currently being offered. or Lessons are currently not being offered.
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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
50k 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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2answers
4k 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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7answers
10k 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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2answers
431 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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5answers
4k 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
687 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 ...
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5answers
93k 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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1answer
62k views

Correspond to vs. Correspond with

Is there any significant difference between Correspond to and Correspond with? I only mean in the sense of "matching", here, rather than "communication". I've looked at a few sources, but I can't ...
9
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2answers
628 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 ...
9
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3answers
839 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 ...
9
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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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2answers
11k 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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1answer
12k 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
350 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
394 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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1answer
33k 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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4answers
24k 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
332 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
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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
667 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
920 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
7k 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
353 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
231 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
9k 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
435 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
641 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
247 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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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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6answers
11k 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 ...
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11answers
1k views

One’s love confession vs. One’s confession of love

The following is an extract taken from an Italian student's piece of English homework before I corrected it. Also Mr Amos’s girlfriend, Sabina, arrives to the restaurant, and she assisted to ...
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5answers
2k views

“I didn't realize it was him.”

Overheard on an elevator today, I didn't realize it was him. Corrected by the know-it-all, He. "I didn't realize it was he." The know-it-all then went on a rant about how everybody is a ...
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4answers
725 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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6answers
8k views

Is it supposed to be a HTML or an HTML [duplicate]

I've seen many people who say: This is a HTML page. Yet I've also seen many people who say: This is an HTML page. Are both usages equally correct? Or, which is the grammatically correct ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
8
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2answers
443 views

Chainsaw-equipped or chainsaw equipped?

Is it chainsaw-equipped or chainsaw equipped? And with what kind of former words to use "-" properly?
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3answers
10k 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?
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5answers
1k views

What does it mean: “… was three days dying”?

Not being a native English speaker, I still like to read in English from time to time. In my current book was written that someone "... was three days dying." Does this mean that the person died three ...
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3answers
640 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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2answers
5k views

Plural of “abacus”

A colleague and I were having a discussion as to the proper plural form of abacus. I believe the plural would be abacuses and he feels that the proper form would be abaci. I believe that abacuses is ...