This tag is not for questions on whether something is grammatical. It's for questions about how the grammar actually works: different grammatical usages, how they can be used, or what they mean.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

7
votes
3answers
24k views

“It would be better if you drink/drank all the water” [duplicate]

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 ...
56
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the first part of a joke called?

How does one refer to the first part of a joke? The follow up is often referred to as a punchline but I'm unsure how to refer to the first part. Is it a 'joke' or does a 'joke' include the punchline? ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Double Copula or “double is” in professional/technical writing

I am proofreading a professional, technical text written by someone else. In the text, I encountered, "But, the reality is is a..." My intuition says that this should be rewritten as, "But, the ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Is the use of past tense as “let me know if you needed” common?

Here is a literally-quoted passage from Martyrs in Paradise: Woman of Mass Destruction by Terry Reese Downing: "How nice of you. And thank you," she again was appreciative. "My pleasure. Go ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

“Object of” vs. “subject of” — which one is correct? Does it depend on context?

(Tried to search to see if this question had already been asked, but could not find it amongst the many questions concerning pronoun declension and objects and subjects as parts of speech.) What, ...
1
vote
4answers
416 views

Can you say “Why Tom let Katie win”

Some one pointed to me that in this Star magazine from cover, the editor used the sentence "Why Tom let Katie win" instead of "Why did Tom let Katie win". Is it a correct form or is the grammatical ...
2
votes
2answers
923 views

How to describe time “offset”?

My friends and I are in different time zones, so I'm trying to say, We have a 10 hours time offset Is that right for this situation ? If not, what's the right replacement of offset here ?
0
votes
1answer
742 views

Which is correct? in my folder/on my folder [closed]

So I am writing an email to my peers. So I wrote: "I am having troubles creating files in my folder". Or it should be "on my folder"?
4
votes
4answers
961 views

“When all you hear is fear and lies”

The first time I heard it (When You Believe by Leon Jackson), my grammar instinct screamed "When all you hear are fear and lies." But then again, I feel that the phrase "all you hear are" sounds a ...
2
votes
1answer
512 views

superlative and “elative”: What is “Elativ” in English?

I always forget that "elative" is no grammar term in English. In Latin grammars (at least in German ones) "Elativ" is a superlative form that is not translated as superlative but with "very/highly", ...
2
votes
2answers
604 views

How to make a statement and then iterate through a list thereafter

I would like to state a fact, and then, if possible, in the same sentence, iterate over a list of properties related to that fact. Here are a few examples: The construction site had two ...
3
votes
2answers
11k views

Grammar: For vs to? [closed]

In my mother tongue both for and to have the same meaning, therefore it is hard for (is it being correctly used here?) me to know when I should use one instead of the other. After some google's ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it correct to write: “She told her to phone him the morning of the next day.”

Is it grammatically correct to leave out in and write "She told her to phone him the morning of the next day" instead of "She told her to phone him in the morning of the next day"? If not, why not, ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

The difference between “the way” and “like”

What's the difference between these two sentences: "He treated his children like an officer treats his soldiers" "He treated his children the way an officer treats his soldiers"
1
vote
2answers
59 views

Why “face by” in the following

In one of today's nydailynews headlines, the writer writes the following: India reminds world of cross-border terror faced by Kabul. The face by usage doesn't seem to convey the right meaning ...
1
vote
1answer
325 views

What is the correct punctuation to use in this case?

If I have a sentence like: The royal family is extremely rich: The sled that pulls the princess is shaped like a golden swan, the celebrations last 3 days, and the bride and groom walk under a ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Special plural forms without -s [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Irregular plurality situations in English 'sheep, deer, fish' are some of a row of animals where singular and plural have the same form, i.e. the plural (normally) has ...
3
votes
2answers
263 views

“Nobody ever joined” vs “Nobody joined at all” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Usage of “ever” in a negative statement Yesterday I read a discussion here and I still cannot figure it out. What is the difference between the following: ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Usage of “ever” in a negative statement

I know that "ever" can be used to express the strengthened negation but would it work like that? I created a session but nobody ever joined. Is it possible? It does not sound right to me. If ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Other ways of saying “except for one”

For example in the sentence All datapoints, except for one, lie on a line. to me (not a native English speaker), the "except for one" part sounds too heavy. Are there other, lighter ways of ...
5
votes
1answer
102 views

..can stop the equipment work/working/from working?

I've just returned from an English exam and there was a sentence that made me wonder (I'm not exactly sure about the wording). The sentence ran like this : Overheating can stop the equipment ...
4
votes
2answers
133 views

Relative nonrestrictive clause: “where they can debut unreleased and sought-after music”

It has been designed to become an artist’s haven for unannounced top DJ performances where they can debut unreleased and sought-after music. What kind of clause is "where they can debut ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Inversion + past tense

There is a sentence: No sooner had he sat down than he fell asleep. I just do not understand, is this an inversion? And if so, I still do not understand the sentence.
4
votes
1answer
128 views

“It is a highly unusual form of melody, one that…” — what is the referent of “one”?

It is a highly unusual form of melody, one that occurs only in this composer's work In the above sentence, what is the referent of the pronoun one? Is it melody or the entire prepositional ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

“Without that” clause

I'm reading Cory Doctorow's Eastern Standard Tribe. He keeps using a sentence construction that I have never seen before: "...my poor pineal gland has all but forgotten how to do its job without ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Is this xkcd sentence grammatically correct?

So I saw this xkcd, and when I tried reading it, I always felt like the ending was a bit... unbalanced. It says: You're in a box on wheels hurtling along several times faster than evolution could ...
4
votes
2answers
19k views

Should we use “not to” or “to not”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Order of “not” with infinitive It's OK to make mistakes; it's not OK not to learn from them. What kind of grammar structure is this? Could I use "to ...
5
votes
3answers
576 views

Our coach forbids (us) 'drinking'/'to drink'

In my grammar book "Grammatica Inglese Facile (Simple English Grammar)" I read that the following sentences are both correct: Our coach forbids drinking. Our coach forbids us to drink. ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Would certainly have or certainly would have?

I have these confusions sometimes. Firstly, which among the following are grammatically correct to use in sentences- She would certainly have loved that. She would have certainly loved ...
7
votes
1answer
7k views

Why does Word not like this statement, “For each iteration”

Every time I type "after each iteration", Word tells me it has an issue with it. The specific issue is "Number agreement". What am I missing? My text is "XYZ must occur after each iteration."
4
votes
4answers
4k views

“Extremely appreciate”: grammatically correct?

I've seen the word Extremely used to modify adjectives. Would it also be correct to use it to modify verbs? For example, "extremely appreciate", or "extremely enjoy". Thank you.
3
votes
3answers
20k views

Using “so that” without modal verbs

I know that usually with "so that" there is a modal verb. However, I do not know if this is correct because there is not a modal verb. I will wake him up so that he does not (will not) miss the ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

How to create a questions from past modal verb sentences

I have no idea why my question was closed as it was pretty clear (at least for a person of average intelligence) so I am trying again: There is a sentence, e.g: He could have seen that. Will the ...
0
votes
0answers
54 views

When can one use a contraction at the end of a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”? Sometimes it's fine to use a contraction at the end of a sentence: "If you're ...
5
votes
3answers
12k views

“at the floor” vs. “on the floor”

For the following sentences: He threw the book at the floor. He threw the book on the floor. I know the book hit the floor in both sentences but which one is more commonly used and also ...
1
vote
1answer
30k views

Keen on vs keen to

I would need to understand the difference between the following sentences: I am very keen to do that. I am very keen on doing that. I am keen that I can do that.
-2
votes
2answers
7k views

“Became” vs “become”

I'm not sure about the verb tense I should use here: Run this definition so that the previous changes become/became visible. I think the correct one is Present Simple but it sounds better with ...
-1
votes
2answers
340 views

Can I omit a colon and use a comma instead in this sentence to dramatize?

original sentence -> The purpose is to disclose some information new sentence -> the purpose: to disclose some information last version(I'm asking about) -> The purpose, to disclose information
-2
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the actual meaning and purpose of saying “I'm in a call”

What is the actual meaning and purpose of saying "I'm in a call" Ex: if a person pinged me when am talking with someone over phone at the same time then what would be the simple and correct way to ...
3
votes
1answer
669 views

Old-fashioned use of “because”

In books written in the nineteenth century, you can come across sentences like this (quoting from Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary): A Pilgrim Father was one who, leaving Europe in 1620 ...
3
votes
2answers
562 views

“Why wouldn't they process?”

Today I was talking to one of my friends who couldn't process her application. So she told me the following: I just don't understand. Why wouldn't they process my application? I was only 5 minutes ...
9
votes
3answers
600 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
685 views

Using modal verb 'could' for simple past

If I form a sentence like: I could read the book if I hadn't wasted my time. Would it be considered a past perfect sentence with the part I could read the book being in simple past for context ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Can “should be” be used for past possibility?

I was reading the following report on the NY Times, and came across the following: The goal has to be to shut down all of the program that gives Iran the capability to build a bomb. The United ...
2
votes
1answer
410 views

Are general questions formed in plural or in singular?

When asking a general question about something in English, should they be formed in plural or in singular? Or rather what is a good way of forming it? How are articles used in English? Or ...
-1
votes
1answer
646 views

Rule for present perfect continuous

Consider the following sentence: Have you been watering the plants? Is the above sentence grammatically correct? Or should it be something like: Have you been watering the plants for 5 minutes? ...
1
vote
2answers
166 views

Is this headline as redundant as it seems?

Drunk driver found hiding after hit-and-run Is it necessary to write "found hiding"? It seems like the only time you can find something is when it is hidden or missing. Is this statement ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Future Perfect with the preposition 'since'

I have a question regarding the future perfect tense and which prepositions go with it. Understandably, by, for, and in work very well with the future perfect. By friday, I will have been working ...
0
votes
4answers
11k views

I lived vs I used to live

I cannot see any difference between these two sentences. I assume both express the same but what is the difference? I thought that "used to" is used to describe an action that was happening in the ...
-3
votes
1answer
267 views

“How did you sorted among such large number of t-shirts?” Correct or not? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Question about interrogations in past tense I asked this question to a friend of mine and he said that you can't use "sorted" with "did". Is he correct? If yes, what is ...