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

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6
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3answers
559 views

In “Enter John”, is John in the nominative or accusative case?

This question made me think about the structure of the sentence. I'm familiar with the expression 'Enter Michael'/'Exit John' to represent Michael's or John's entry or exit, respectively, to a ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there an EBNF that covers all of English

This almost feels like a SO question. Is there an EBNF that covers all of English, and if so, what is it?
4
votes
3answers
440 views

“The me of the past”

When talking about one's self in the past, is "the me of the past" grammatically correct? I'm trying to make a sentence like this: The me of the past who was popular with girls, I'm jealous of ...
18
votes
7answers
14k views

Is using passive voice “bad form”?

Whenever I create a document in Microsoft Word, it complains about a lot of my sentences being in passive voice. But, when I read that sentence aloud, it sounds fine to me. I am not sure if it is just ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

“Can't” vs. “won't be able to”

Which of the following is grammatically correct? Even if ____, I probably won't be able to ____. Could it be rephrased this way and still remain grammatically correct? Even if ____, I ...
3
votes
3answers
888 views

Is this sentence truly a fragment?

Microsoft Office is claiming a statement I recently made is a fragment, however I do not agree with its opinion. Bob, to my knowledge that resource is currently unsupported. Can anyone provide ...
6
votes
1answer
254 views

What is the term for giving an action or phenomenon somebody's name, e.g. “Doing a Lord Lucan”?

A friend of mine is keen on taking the glory (or adverse publicity!) when something goes wrong on a job he's working on and he likes to give it his name, e.g., "this is turning into a right Simpson of ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

“To enable him to escape” vs. “to enable him escape”

I have been coming across this kind of sentence more and more: She gave him a key to enable him to escape capture. She gave him a key to enable him escape capture. Which sentence is correct? ...
-6
votes
2answers
169 views

Wrapping with “of” [closed]

How should the following sentence be wrapped: Data compression of file system or Data compression of file system "of" should stay on the upper line, or should be placed in next line?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Does this ‘be going to’ have an emotional meaning?

Here is a skit from a radio English conversation program, dealing with American English. A: guest B: front desk clerk C: A's wife (at the front desk of a hotel) A: I have a reservation ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
291 views

Check source “into” or “in to” SVN? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Checked into the database” versus “checked in to the database” I understand the difference between "into" and "in to". The first involves the ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

The grammatical function of “How”

What is the grammatical function of "how" in this sentence: He told us how to do it.
2
votes
3answers
662 views

Percentage expression

Is it correct to say "15 percent less than 25"? To me, it doesn't make 100% sense.
3
votes
1answer
924 views

Usage of [to be] + had

While discussing What does "I was had" mean? I've found there are some not so common usages of had in English like: I have/had been had (meaning "to get fooled") but further Google ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

What does “I was had” mean?

Maybe he would help me with Deborah's pablum, take turns pushing the wheelchair. It's good to have someone. That reminded me that I had someone -- or perhaps I was had. In any case, Rita would ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Understanding appositives and the use of the m-dash ( — )

My understanding of a dash is that it sets off a lengthy appositive, but can also be used to introduce a summary. Consider the following passage from Stephan Jay Gould: If evolution worked ...
15
votes
5answers
10k views

“anymore” vs. “any more”

any more requests anymore requests Are these two the same? It seems that "any more requests" is grammatically correct while "anymore requests" is not. Am I right? Why are they different?
3
votes
2answers
4k views

When and why is “flied” used as the past tense of “fly”?

Why is the form "flied" used in baseball instead of "flew"?
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Is this sentence structure correct?

I'm trying to state in one sentence several things that are lacking. There's no A, or B, or C. What about There's no A, no B, and no C. Are these both grammatically correct? What's the ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

“Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back”

Does the phrase "satisfaction guaranteed or your money back" make any sense from a grammatical standpoint?
1
vote
4answers
146 views

“Arrival of Nightfall”

Does it make sense to say that something waited until the "arrival of nightfall"? It sounds a little awkward (maybe because nightfall occurs rather than arrives?). Perhaps there is a better way to say ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Meaning in context and grammar

From Narnia book 1 chapter 1: "Is Mr Ketterley really mad?" "Well either he's mad," said Digory, "or there's some other mystery. He has a study on the top floor and Aunt Letty says I ...
0
votes
3answers
17k views

When to use “I was … ” and when “I had been … ”? [closed]

I guess it's about simple past vs. past perfect usage but some examples are welcomed, I'm really not sure if I understand it correctly. EDIT: Right, probably I should be more specific. The thing is ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

Should it (always) be “contact me” or (sometimes) “contact with me”?

I think it should always be "contact me" as contact is a transitive verb and should be followed by an object. But could someone clarifies? Is "contact with me" correct usage in some context?
1
vote
1answer
951 views

What is the meaning of “zen is the art of being at one with the two'ness”

zen is the art of being at one with the two'ness What's the being at one? What's the two'ness? Why two'ness not twoness? I just don't know the meaning of this sentence.
2
votes
1answer
345 views

this is the first year + clause

In a sentence such as This is the first year I’ve lived in a house with a yard. Is it all right to have a clause other than present perfect? That is, can you say, for instance, sentences like ...
1
vote
2answers
6k views

How to ask questions with “how many” in them?

I would like some guidance on how to ask questions with "how many" in them. For example, does one say From how many minutes is the train late? or simply How many minutes is the train late? ...
2
votes
2answers
12k views

“Who wrote … ?” or “Who did write … ?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is there no form of “do” in questions of the type “who knows?” I want to know which is the correct way to ask this question: Who wrote ...
2
votes
1answer
310 views

“He loves baseball like his father does” OR “He loves baseball like his father”?

When I was learning English (non-native speaker here), I was taught that there is concept called "parallelism" in English grammar, which in my own understanding means that if I want to combine two or ...
5
votes
2answers
359 views

“If the bowl had been stronger, my song had been longer.”

In the original version of the nursery rhyme, The Wise Men of Gotham, the word 'had' is used in the main clause of a sentence where it seems modern English would commonly use 'would have'. The full ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it more correct to say “repeat”, or “resay”?

Telling a person to repeat something they have said sounds better to me, but is it more correct to ask them to resay what they said? If I say something then resay it, then I have said it again. I ...
11
votes
6answers
6k views

“It is me” vs. “It is I”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which is correct to say: “It's me” or “It's I”? Tonight I watched a movie (The Gospel of John) in which Jesus said (as quoted from the ...
2
votes
2answers
409 views

Is “gets” the correct tense to describe a continuous process in “John gets mentored on a daily basis”?

John gets a mentor to guide him throughout his life. — OR — He gets mentored on a daily basis. I believe this is just as acceptable as the simple past: John got a mentor to guide him ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Superlatives with “the”

What is the rule regarding using the with superlatives? For example: John is the fastest among his friends. John is fastest among his friends. Both appear to be correct. I have seen ...
8
votes
6answers
2k 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?
1
vote
1answer
50k views

“if it were possible” vs “if it was possible” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? " If it were possible, and it were possible to do..." that sounds wrong, ...
19
votes
7answers
222k views

“I use to”, or “I used to”

Which is the correct way of saying the following sentence (if there is a correct version)? "I use to be a hitman" "I used to be a hitman" I've read the 2nd recently in a book, but was sure it ...
2
votes
4answers
175 views

How to restructure this agglomeration of adjectives so it gets readable?

A co-worker is writing an important document. There is text which explains the diagrams, but we expect that many diagonal readers will just try to understand everything from the pictures, so we need ...
1
vote
2answers
242 views

Is there any nuance in ‘I was kind’ when it means ‘I treated her kindly”?

"But I was patient. I wrote back. I was sympathetic, I was kind. Ginny simply loved me. No one’s ever understood me like you, Tom …. I’m so glad I’ve got this diary to confide in …. It’s like ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

“to” vs. “until”

If I wanted to say that something lasts all night and ends in the morning, I could use, "until morning." But what about "to morning?" Would that also be correct? I'm not sure because "to" here is ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What is the usage of “wore on”?

22- It was hard work and, as the day ……………, I became more and more tired. a) wore on b) wore out c) wore off d) wore down The answer is "wore on": what is the meaning of it?
5
votes
3answers
29k views

“Types of” followed by singular or plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Types of things vs. types of thing When using the phrase "types of" or "kinds of," it often seems appropriate to follow with a singular noun (e.g., types of rock), but ...
1
vote
4answers
32k views

“As of late” or “as of lately”?

The title pretty much summarizes my question. For example, in the following sentence She has developed an accent while living overseas, which as of late(ly) became more pronounced. I usually ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is “ouster” the act of ousting and not one who ousts?

The question should be clear enough from the title. Also: What are we supposed to call one who ousts? [If this warrants another question, I will edit this out and open another question.]
2
votes
1answer
10k views

Please explain the: upwards vs upward difference [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “Backward” versus “backwards” — is there any difference? Afterward versus afterwards — which, and/or when? I have seen both used ...
1
vote
3answers
1k views

“Excuse I” correctness

I had a gentleman say "Excuse I" to me the other day as he passed me in the hallway. He was a professor at the university I attend, and so it got me thinking: Is "Excuse I" acceptable grammar even ...
1
vote
5answers
19k views

Can I use “I have asked something”

I wonder whether “ask” can be used as verb in past or present perfect tense. I used “I have asked something from somebody” in email, but this sentence sounds a little weird to me. So I want to check ...
2
votes
5answers
538 views

Forming the negative with “no?”

I sometimes see sentences like I no go to Rio (note that no is before go)—as the title of this blog post. Is it considered slang or is there an actual rule? p.s. While related, this is not a ...
23
votes
1answer
51k views

Why use “need not” instead of “do not need to”?

The header of psyco.sourceforge.net states: High-level languages need not be slower than low-level ones. Why use need not instead of do not need? What does it mean? Also, why no to before be? ...