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

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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
7k 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
598 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
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2answers
467 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
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1answer
361 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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3answers
2k 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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2answers
544 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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0answers
408 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
5k views

If the English language is always evolving, why do we need to learn and follow grammatical rules?

Since language evolves over time — the best example I can think of is slang where it mostly doesn't follow grammar rules — why is there a need to preserve grammar or stress that proper ...
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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
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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3answers
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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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3answers
671 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
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.
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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
847 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?
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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 ...
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3answers
6k 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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5answers
54k 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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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 ...
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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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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. ...
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1answer
559 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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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
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1answer
143 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
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3answers
148k 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.
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2answers
1k views

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 ...
7
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1answer
573 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
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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?
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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 ...
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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
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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
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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
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?
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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
146 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. ...
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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
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1answer
20k 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
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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 ...
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4answers
5k views

Emend and Amend- What's the difference? They both have the same definition

What's the difference between the words emend and amend? They both have the same definition.
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4answers
644 views

Why “present simple” and not “simple present”?

When reading grammar, I find the names of the tenses kind of weird to me; Present simple and not simple present past simple and not simple past present continuous and not continuous present etc ...
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2answers
146 views

why is the first sentence wrong out of the two given below?

*Her company is outperforming those of her competitors. *Her company is outperforming the companies of her competitors. The question is from a Manhattan GMAT book. It says there is lack of number ...
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2answers
7k views

Where should adverbs be placed?

There are two sentences: I completely understand. I understand completely. Which one is correct and why? Another example: I slowly opened the door. I opened the door slowly.
7
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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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1answer
4k views

Wasn't and weren't?

"I would if I wasn't American." "I would if I weren't American." Which one is correct?
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1answer
5k 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 ...