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

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3
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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
852 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
890 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
453 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?
12
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3answers
421 views

BBC: “Man convicted of murdering his girlfriend and their 10-month-old daughter at Winchester Crown Court”

What do you make of the following BBC News headline: Man convicted of murdering his girlfriend and their 10-month-old daughter at Winchester Crown Court Is it just me, or does this read as if ...
7
votes
4answers
6k 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.
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Which punctuation for definition

I have the following sentence: To this end, I first devised a novel algorithm to enumerate all possible partitions; ways of dividing a network into meaningful parts. I was told that the ...
1
vote
2answers
377 views

Potential future events

Does the following correctly express potential consequences of meeting someone? A chance encounter is a great idea. However, in this case, chances would be very slim to meet her this way. Even ...
8
votes
3answers
636 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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
31
votes
10answers
11k views

What does “it” refer to in “it's raining”?

I wanted to leave the question title as is so as not to take away from my amusement :). Anyway, It's raining. What is raining? Is it the sky? The clouds? The weather? The rain? What is "it"? ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Which prepositions should I use after “do your best”?

I always have been having problems how to understand which preposition to use. Of course there are examples, in which the preposition is obvious. For me the problem occurs when "Do your best in/on/at ...
6
votes
7answers
5k views

Use of the superlative when only two items are present

When speaking with my mother a couple of days ago, I read to her a message I was sending to my cousin on her behalf ending with: "... the birthday of your youngest." [implying her child] She ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Is the question mark misused in affirmative sentences?

For example, I found the following sentence written by a native English speaker (UK) so I'm going to assume that he knows how to put it the right way, although I wouldn't use this form. I now have ...
2
votes
3answers
595 views

go pay in “Why don't you go pay for them”

Why don't you go pay for them? It's pretty common in USA to form this question in this form. However, I suspect that we need to or "and" between go and pay. Why one is correct and why? Why ...
21
votes
5answers
100k views

Difference between “I have got” and “I have gotten”

I see these two expressions are used almost identically in different contexts. Is there a difference between I have got and I have gotten?
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“What kind of stuff is it?” vs “What kind of stuff it is?”

Please advise which version of the question is correct and what's the rule governing it?
3
votes
1answer
198 views

“Would have us view” — is it correct?

It probably is correct since the article is from Bloomberg.com website. However, I am not sure what it really means and why it's correct Mark Twain once quipped that “everyone complains about the ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

“currently not” or “not currently”

What's the correct order: Lessons are not currently being offered. or Lessons are currently not being offered.
58
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9answers
3k views

Is it ever worth the time and effort to correct someone else's grating grammatical mistakes? [closed]

Whenever I hear statements like "It was a great deal for he and I" and "Call Karen and I in the morning," I die a little. Such solecisms, as Twain said in another context (Cooper's prose style), ...
7
votes
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
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are words such as “that” and “those” not considered articles?

According to Wikipedia (disclaimer: of course I realize that Wikipedia should not be regarded as an absolute authority, but I generally consider it to be a fairly accurate and reliable resource): ...
1
vote
6answers
2k views

“Checked into the database” versus “checked in to the database” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should “into” be used rather than “in to,” and vice versa? I was recently submitting ("checking in") some data to a database and composed an ...
2
votes
1answer
643 views

“none of them sound right” or “none of them sounds right” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: None as plural indefinite pronoun because none of them sound/s like the obvious choice to me
3
votes
3answers
4k views

“bound” or “bonded”

If I use a computer command like: bind keystroke macro I refer to that keystroke as being bound to that macro. Is it also correct to say that they are bonded? If I bind a bunch of twigs together, ...
7
votes
5answers
22k views

“This works fine” Is this correct?

Is the usage of the word "fine" correct in the following sentence? This works fine It seems that the author of the statement wanted to say that something was working, but not working well.
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Should I use “will” or “would” when I suggest that something will/would come in handy?

This second part would hopefully come in handy tonight. This second part will hopefully come in handy tonight. Which one is correct and why?
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vote
2answers
10k views

Is using “both of you” along with “each other” redundant?

OK, things are going well, both of you are enjoying each other's company, and both of you are attracted to each other. Is the usage of "both of you" correct? Sounds a bit off to me. BTW what ...
2
votes
0answers
693 views

Difference between 'If ..was' and 'If …were' [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct? Hi, I have seen different usage of the phrase 'If..was' and 'If..were'. ...
6
votes
2answers
269 views

Why Should One Capitalize Titles When Publishing?

What is the motivation behind capitalizing the first letter of each word except prepositions in news, articles and blog post titles?
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “Stick no bills” correct English?

'Stick no bills' sounds awkward. Shouldn't it be something like 'Do not stick any bills'?
3
votes
3answers
218 views

Why use the prep “to”, why not others like “of” in the following sentence?

There are three fundamental parts to the <locale> header.
9
votes
3answers
591 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
18k views

Difference between “should” and “ought to”

What is the difference between You should go and You ought to go? I rarely use the latter.
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Does one stand by or at the bar?

When you are in the pub, ordering a drink from a bartender, which of the following is the correct way to say it? When both of you're stand by the bar ordering a drink, and a bartender asks to ...
2
votes
1answer
295 views

Verb agreement in the sentence

I suspect my verbs do NOT agree =) In the below sentence, I'm trying to say that I've asked this girl out for drinks in the past. However, every time I'd ask, she would agree at first and later bail ...
1
vote
1answer
824 views

“the best you could say” vs “the best you can say”

One want to ask a question in regard to a person's suggestion to contribute: Tina: "You should get laid more than once a year" Tom: "the best you could say? should I use can or could?
2
votes
1answer
517 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “clean up after” and when and how to use it?

The guarantees made by constructors and destructors offer a nice way to let the compiler clean up after you.
5
votes
1answer
2k views

“e-mail me” or “e-mail to me”?

What is the correct way to direct a request: "Would you please e-mail me the check?" or "Would you please e-mail to me the check?" And why?
8
votes
2answers
376 views

Chainsaw-equipped or chainsaw equipped?

Is it chainsaw-equipped or chainsaw equipped? And with what kind of former words to use "-" properly?
2
votes
1answer
5k views

“Hopefully you’d make some time for me.”

It's a never ending barrage of doubts about a difference in meaning using auxiliary verbs would as opposed will. I've just written this sentence, and once gain was unsure whether I should have used ...
12
votes
7answers
16k views

Which is correct: “If it were I” or “If it were me”?

I'm fairly sure it's the former, but it sounds even more stilted than the usual cases in which "I" is less common, but more correct.