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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

7
votes
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 ...
7
votes
6answers
6k views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

How to correctly use the present perfect tense

This link states that: When you use the present perfect tense you have to be talking about a period of time that you still consider to be going on. For example, if it’s still morning, you can say, ...
6
votes
2answers
15k views

Which preposition should I use here: “thinking of” or “thinking about”?

Thinking of getting an external keyboard Thinking about getting an external keyboard Which one is grammatically correct and why?
5
votes
3answers
203 views

Which is the object, 'one' or 'another' ? I just don't know how this sentence constructed

(All the condoms are faulty. Abed need to notice everybody) Go, Abed, Go. before people sex one another!
3
votes
2answers
164 views

Is “cook the steak” correct?

I was just asking a question on Cooking Stack Exchange and I have written the following sentence: how should I cook the steak at home Well, it looks wrong to me, but I couldn't find any ...
5
votes
1answer
22k views

Article when there is an adjective before a noun [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “a” versus “an” When to use a or an before a noun when there are adjectives before that noun? like the following example: An operator ...
3
votes
2answers
213 views

Transitive verbs where the object is the object of the effect rather than the verb

Consider the following examples: I ate myself sick. They drank the place dry. Is there a name for this kind of construction. How would it be analysed? Obviously the sense is: I ate (something ...
4
votes
2answers
408 views

What's the correct apostrophe usage in this case?

I just wrote a response on a meta Stack Exchange site to a question about tag usage and purpose. In that response, I found myself writing the following: I hesitate to argue for the tag's (and ...
9
votes
1answer
24k 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
3k views

Exclamation marks in the middle of a sentence

Would this usage of exclamation mark be correct? I want to — honest! — give you a slap! Yes, I know, it's a quite bad example, but I wonder if this usage of an exclamation inside a sentence is ...
1
vote
2answers
7k views

“What happens when” or “what happen when”?

Should I write "what happens when" or "what happen when"? Does it depend on if I know if the "what" that happens is plural or singular, or is it always the same? Provided "what happens" is correct in ...
2
votes
6answers
2k views

Should there be a “were” instead in “till there was you”?

Rachael Starr has a song titled "Till there was you". Shouldn't it be "Till there were you"? Why did she use it that way?
8
votes
3answers
502 views

What difference does using 'had' make to those two verb tenses, and if so, what is it?

What is the difference between if I had studied and if I studied? Can you provide an example of when one usage would be more appropriate than the other?
2
votes
2answers
297 views

Why does this sound wrong: “This is my car that is broken.”?

I know that you can say "This is the one that is broken," or "This is my car, which is broken," but as written it seems odd. Is it wrong? My theory is that a restrictive clause cannot be used in ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What do you call a noun that precedes and describes another noun? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the word that denotes the words preceding these nouns? Would it still be a noun, an adjective, or something else? Example: A stone fortress
2
votes
1answer
508 views

Possessive form in alternate names or other extra clarifying sentences?

Suppose I'd like to refer to a car owned by my neighbor. I write this as "That's Mr. Johnson's (my neighbors) car". Should I write the extra "my neighbor" in it's genitive form? Sorry if the title ...
2
votes
3answers
13k views

“will” vs “would” in this sentence

I am talking about events taking place in the known future: Would it be okay if I'll confirm around 3 pm? or should it be Would it be okay if I'd confirm around 3 pm? What is the ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a different grammatical term for “If I was” than for “If I were”?

Many people would say the correct form is "If I were rich ...". In modern colloquial English though most younger people would say "If I was rich ...". Prescriptivists might say the latter is "the ...
6
votes
1answer
116 views

“You took… and you…”

How would the grammar of this construction be analysed? I am trying to identify and define the difference between using this and the regular way of saying the same thing. Examples: You took this ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Use of “do” in affirmative statements [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When do you use “Did + 1st form” instead of “2nd form” When is do used in affirmative sentences? For example: I do think that this is going to be... Is it only ...
5
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What is “Godspeed”?

Title says it all. What does it really mean? What is its origin?
1
vote
1answer
7k views

What is the correct tense to use for a sentence like this?

The below sentence is wrong. I do not know why. It reads funny. I'm not an english expert, but... This website was first on the list of priorities and your feedback over the past two years ...
10
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the origin of the phrase “you've got another thing/think coming”?

What is the origin of the phrase "you've got another thing coming"? And — perhaps more importantly — is it more correct than the alternative "you've got another think coming"?
3
votes
4answers
7k views

Which one is correct: “1yr” or “1yr.” or “1 yr”?

I need to put one of the above on one of my app's buttons. Bonus question - does the same rule hold in plural? That is if I write "1 yr.", do I write "15 yrs." as well?
7
votes
2answers
8k 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.
3
votes
1answer
6k views

Why do we write 'He has an MA' and not ' a MA' even though MA does not begin with a vowel? Can anybody give me anymore examples like it? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do you use “a” or “an” before acronyms? Why do we write 'He has an MA' and not ' a MA' even though MA does not begin with a vowel? Can anybody ...
0
votes
2answers
219 views

What is the object in “Anna ate her cold chicken sandwich for lunch”?

In this sentence, where is the object? Anna ate her cold chicken sandwich for lunch.
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What words typically collocate with “quite”?

The word quite is often confusing to non-native speakers. Can you give me a list of words that typically collocate with quite when the meaning is 'extreme'?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the word “that” overused? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Use of “that” in a sentence Is it wrong or in bad form to constantly use the word "that" when it can be omitted? The test that she took was so ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Which is better grammar: “courteous of” or “courteous to”?

I saw this in a document today, and was wondering about which usage is more appropriate. Please be courteous of others vs Please be courteous to others I've seen it both ways. Is one ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Is “you” a direct object in “What can I do you for?”?

I've been told that it is okay to say "What can I do you for?" instead of "What can I do for you?" and in fact I myself have heard people say that many times. So, if it's correct, would "you" be a ...
6
votes
3answers
723 views

Which grammatical case is “him” in “I help him”, and why?

In languages which distinguish the accusative and dative cases, it is clear from the actual usage whether a divalent verb takes a direct or indirect object. For example, the German eat takes a direct ...
1
vote
1answer
274 views

Expanding “science” and “diligence” usage to direct object

I seem to have seen these phrases: to do science to do due diligence quite a bit in recent years, and they sound funny to me; I wonder whether this usage of "diligence" and "science" as ...
3
votes
1answer
215 views

“Whomsoever” as a subject

In the big-budget game Warcraft III, the following is written on a pedestal: Whomsoever takes up this blade shall wield power eternal. Is it correct to use whomsoever as a subject, as in this ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it correct to say “I go here”, when referring to attending a school?

I've often heard teens and grown ups saying "I go here" when referring to attending a school or an educational institution. For some reason, I want to correct them and have them rephrase it as, "I ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What part of speech is the “be + verb” here? What tense are these sentences in?

I shall have him be killed. She is to be stoned for adultery. What are the constructions be +verb called, grammatically? I feel like the above sentences are very adjectival in nature, more ...
1
vote
1answer
455 views

What is the “adjunct of space” in this sentence?

Can the adjunct of time be introduced in a sentence by the word to. like in the case The case, which opens in the High Court on Thursday, has led to the discovery of 300 boxes of documents filling ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Can someone help me diagram this sentence?

I'm trying to do a sentence/phrase analysis of the following sentence. I just can't figure out, what would “No matter the season” be (Adv. of ...) in terms of sentence elements. And the next question ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the opposite of the perfect aspect?

Most tenses exist in a perfect and non-perfect form, e.g. present vs. present perfect and past continuous vs. past perfect continuous. What is the group of tenses that are not perfect called?
2
votes
2answers
15k views

“Would” means something different in the past than in the future?

If you use would to describe your action in the future, it means that you plan to do it. But if you use it to describe something in the past, it doesn't mean that in the past you planned to do it, it ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What is “backshifting”, as applied to English grammar?

I saw this term, backshifting, in an answer to another question, that was not endorsed by the community: [T]he process called backshifting...signal[s] that the speech is not direct/quoted but ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

I have not gone. But I *have* gone!

Let's pretend that you recently started working for a company. This company has a yearly Christmas party, and you are wondering whether you're expected to go. You: Are we expected to attend these ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Plurality of numbers between -1 and 1

If I recall correctly, the Académie française states that, for French, quantities comprised within [-1,1] are singular, and anything else is plural. This means, for instance, that we should say (in ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

What is an adjectival complement in English?

How can one determine what an adjectival complement is in an English sentence? Are there are any subcategories to this classification? I'd love concrete examples, to help me better understand this ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

Is it better to use “a” or “the” here in my book?

I have a peculiar situation, I am not sure whether to use "a" or "the" in my book. This takes place in a footnote of the title of the work that I mention. Mario wrote the work "Principia de ...
5
votes
4answers
13k views

“Nobody want to go there,” or “nobody wants to go there”?

In English, the number 0 is treated as plural. It is then: 0 seconds 1 second 1.2 seconds 2 seconds Shouldn't it be "nobody want to go there," instead of "nobody wants to go there"? I also ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Punctuation for “then fine”

This is one of those colloquialisms that doesn't seem to translate to a complete sentence, but how would you properly punctuate and/or correct the following sentence? I'd like you to keep working, ...
11
votes
4answers
30k views

“I like to do (be) something” vs “I like doing (being) something”

This is what I read in an answer to a previous question: Verbs Followed by Either Gerund or Infinitive Sometimes the meaning changes according to the verb used. <…> (dis)like ...