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

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2
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3answers
887 views

“it would take me 1–2 seconds”

or "it would took me 1–2 seconds"?
4
votes
5answers
22k views

Is it 'a usual' or 'an usual'? Why?

is it 'a usual' or 'an usual'? 'A usual' sounds more correct in my head ('Today was a usual day.') than 'an usual', but u is a vowel. Which one is correct and why?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

“Would not pass” or “would not have passed”?

Here is a situation: (Jack and Dorothy are in the car) Silence. They pass Blumergton. Dorothy looks out of the window, her face is obviously surprised. Silence again. They pass Himilgreens. ...
33
votes
5answers
20k views

What's the negation of “I used to be”? Surely not “I didn't used to be”?

What is the negative form of "I used to be"? I often hear "I didn't used to be" but that sounds awfully wrong in my ears.
3
votes
2answers
808 views

Where can we find anacoluthon nowadays?

An anacoluthon <...> is a rhetorical device that can be loosely defined as a change of syntax within a sentence <...>. Grammatically, anacoluthon is an error; however, in rhetoric it is a ...
6
votes
3answers
431 views

Where does the -en come from in misshapen?

We can say both misshapen and misshaped. Where does the misshapen form come from? What other words use this form?
5
votes
3answers
3k views

“in the year 1908” or “in the year of 1908”

Do we need preposition "of" after a year? Freud is a visitor at James’s Sussex residence, Lamb House, in the year 1908
1
vote
4answers
437 views

Is “Actor Peter Fonda found dead body inside car” correct?

"Actor Peter Fonda found dead body inside car" - that's the title that Yahoo first chose for its news article confusing so many people Is this kind of title correct? (They just changed to "Police: ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this correct: “.. get us one of them thousand foot perimeters.”

In a recent Daily Show episode, Jon Stewart said this (position: 00:40 in video): Can the rest of us get us one of them thousand-foot gun-free perimeters? I am not a native speaker, so I am ...
2
votes
1answer
301 views

Where is the modifier in “the majority of senators”, “a number of students”, “the range of documents”?

Where is the modifier in "the majority of senators", "a number of students" and in "a range of documents" in these sentences: The majority of senators will be fired tomorrow. A number of students ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
9k views

“I am hungry/hunger of/for knowledge”

I am not sure which one is the correct one: A: I am hungry of knowledge. B: I hunger of knowledge. C: I am hungry for knowledge. D: I hunger for knowledge. But my feeling says that A and ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

May, might confusion

When should I use each of the following: This may help. This might help. I always get confused about the use of may and might.
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Can ‘although’ be used in this way?

We still haven't got a sponsor although the fact that we've written to dozens of companies. What's wrong with ‘although’ in the sentence above?
6
votes
7answers
98k views

Which is correct: “drive safe” or “drive safely”?

Which one is correct? Similarly, is "do good" correct?
0
votes
2answers
105 views

What are the reasons that its decision to open itself automatically or not is based on?

Is the following phrase grammatically right? "When Twitter shows a notification, what are the reasons that its decision to open itself automatically or not is based on?" This question is probably ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Did the English language ever have noun genders?

And if so, how did they differentiate between male, female or neuter nouns? Did English ever have gender-specific (in)definite articles? (like der/die/das in German)
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Two adjectives for two nouns

I saw this on a billboard recently We have new and pre-owned cars and trucks Clearly the intention is to modify "cars and trucks" with the two adjectives "used and preowned" and although the ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“Adapt himself to being/be free”

A sentence from my reference book is He can't adapt himself to being free again. Why is being used instead of be? Isn't verb form and not verb + ing form used after to?
2
votes
1answer
220 views

Choice of an agent to give an active voice - me or the computer program

Background I am writing a scientific article that describes a computer program. Although it is common in the field to use a passive voice, it is also acceptable, and my preference, to diversify the ...
2
votes
1answer
572 views

What is “however” in this sentence referring to?

No definite mass is identified. However, for further evaluation of this patient given his symptoms, an MRI is recommended. In the above sentence, does the "however" refer back to looking for a ...
1
vote
1answer
825 views

“Recommend someone to represent…” vs. “recommend someone represent…”

Looking at the sentence below I have a feeling it is wrong, though I can't explain why: I highly recommend Dave to represent you in Korea with your software. I have thus rephrased it to the ...
1
vote
2answers
765 views

About the use of the definite article “the” before a word starting with capital letters

I am writing a scientific paper. I have made several assumptions which are properly ordered. When I cite them, shall I use, i.e., "... by the Assumption 1,..." or simply "... by Assumption 1,..."?
4
votes
0answers
182 views

When can you leave off 'that' in a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “that” in a sentence Some times I find myself leaving out the 'that' that binds two parts of a sentence together, because it reads 'smoother'. Here's ...
2
votes
2answers
158 views

Usage of “the” for possible future objects

I am writing a software user manual so the topic is about possible situations which its users may come across. Here is an example sentence below: Enter the window ID which contains an image.
4
votes
2answers
775 views

What do you call “that” or “where”?

For words that sit as placeholders for other words (and introduce subordinate clauses), is there a name? For example, The quick brown fox that jumped over the lazy dog. The man who killed ...
1
vote
2answers
506 views

In a conditional sentence where the condition contains a list, which serial punctuation mark is used in the list?

For example, If Bobby buys a pencil, an eraser, and a pad of paper, then he can write his essay. To remove the ambiguity in the final comma, my instinct is to write: If Bobby buys a pencil, ...
15
votes
2answers
12k views

Can “due to” and “because of ” be used interchangeably?

Is it fine to use due to in place of because of ? How about the other way around? Are any of these sentences ungrammatical? He was lost because of the storm. He was lost due to the storm. He lost ...
0
votes
4answers
756 views

What's the meaning of “he walked away a free man”?

I am reading a grammar book. There is an example sentence I can't understand. There is a special pattern where a complement occurs with an action verb, not a linking verb. The related example ...
0
votes
2answers
34k views

When to use “is” and “was” for thing that has happened?

I've found some sentences that seem odd for me such as, "She is married" instead of "She was married" or "This transaction is approved" instead of "This transaction was approved" I want to know which ...
1
vote
1answer
184 views

Punctuating and constructing a confusing list

I need to write a list that I cannot find a great parallel construction for because certain items in the list use "of" and one uses "to". The sentence as originally written: Ratification, ...
0
votes
4answers
732 views

Statement of fact: future simple

Why is the simple future used in the following sentence instead of the simple present? A client software will not transfer files.
3
votes
1answer
149 views

Which verb form for helper in question?

I encountered the question, "Which trait does a savings account and a checking account have in common?" I suggested that it should read, "Which trait do a savings account and checking account have in ...
54
votes
3answers
153k views

What is the difference between “till” and “until”?

What is the difference between till and until? When to use till or until? Please explain with examples.
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Capitalization After Colon

Should the first word after a colon be capitalized? "For example: This." OR "For example: this."
0
votes
1answer
368 views

Can “a person” be considered a collective noun

If used in the sentence: "Once a person has become X their psychological state becomes Y." does the "a person" count as a class and thus make the use of the plural "their" correct?
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Choosing a section title for scientific papers: “How it works” or “How does it work?”

I am writing a scientific paper and confused with choosing the correct form to use as the section title. Which one is the correct one? How it works or How does it work?
7
votes
4answers
822 views

What is the accepted stance on using “they” in a singular form? [duplicate]

Is it good English to say "They have just left", when talking about a single person (perhaps someone you don't know the gender of)? (I am a native English speaker, I'm looking for the view held by ...
3
votes
1answer
536 views

What is “depth grammar”?

I remember learning about it (ha) in linguistics class at uni, but then I went to the pub. I remember the idea was interesting. It had something to do with the undiscovered rules of language that we ...
4
votes
1answer
851 views

Why can we not use the pattern “If S will V, S will V”?

In English grammar, the following pattern is regarded as a wrong pattern. My parents will send me to a mental hospital if I will kill someone.
5
votes
2answers
886 views

Could “are he” be correct?

I was just trying to formulate a sentence in an email, and wanted to reference a third person, inquiring as to which of something that person was referring in the forwarded mail message. Is it: ...
1
vote
1answer
449 views

“… help you get oriented for …” or “… help get you oriented for …”?

We will look at just a few key things to help get you oriented for the recipes discussed in this chapter. or We will look at just a few key things to help you get oriented for the recipes ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the best way to find the subject in a sentence?

What's the best way to find the subject in a sentence? How do you define a subject? I am especially curious about such cases, in which the subject seems to be represented by more than one word: The ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Why is 'an' used with 'an honour'?

Why is 'an' used with 'an honour'? Isn't 'an' limited to the vowels?
7
votes
1answer
202 views

What is the name of words like 'bottle' or 'clove' that provide a singular for a counted item?

Title pretty much askes the question. What is the term for words like 'bottle', 'cup' or 'clove' (as in clove of garlic). Are they counters, countables, determiners...? I swear it's on the tip of ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

Adjectival step by step

When used as an adjective, is it step by step or step-by-step? Example, Thank you for this step by step guide. or Thank you for this step-by-step guide.
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Have grammar rules changed through the history of the English language?

When I want to know what form a word has say in 12th century (end Old English, begin Middle English), 14th century (end Middle English), or any other time in England history, I only need to track the ...
8
votes
2answers
501 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
4k views

“Bob and us” or “Bob and we” or “Bob and ourselves”?

In the singular, it is quite clear that one uses "I" when referring to a third party and oneself, as in: Bob and I are going to build an aircraft. However, in the plural, it is a lot less clear. ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

Does “whereabouts” function as a singular or plural noun?

His whereabouts is unknown vs His whereabouts are unknown Which is correct, or is this simply a matter of preference?