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.

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12
votes
2answers
86k views

How to use “to + V-ing”?

I saw some scenarios that used the structure "to + V-ing", such as the following: Looking forward to hearing. Disposed to using few words. I would like to apply what I learned in school to helping ...
0
votes
4answers
16k views

Using “compared with”, “in comparison with” or “than” to compare

Which one of the following sentences is correct and more appropriate? Please let me know. The configuration-A produces higher error-rate compared with the configuration-B. The ...
12
votes
3answers
26k views

How do you make the possessive form with “He and I”-style subjects? [duplicate]

Despite being a native speaker of American English, I cannot find a construction that sounds natural when trying to form a possessive from coordinated subjects including a first person pronoun, like ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Use of “and lo” in a sentence

What, if any, is the right way to use "and lo" in a sentence? My basic structure is "[discussion about thing], and lo, [example of thing]", kind of like: There's a cliche about circus clowns being ...
5
votes
4answers
15k views

Is “close proximity” a tautology?

I was rooting about in the OED and one definition is "The fact, condition, or position of being near or close by in space; nearness." Then in the citations for that definition they had: 1872 H. I. ...
5
votes
4answers
6k views

What do we call an adjective made of a verb?

What do we call adjectives formed from verbs? For example: Lost is an adjective made from lose, Forgotten is an adjective made from forget, Broken is an adjective made from break. What is the ...
2
votes
1answer
407 views

Which sentence is more acceptable? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: When do I use "I" instead of "me?" Which is correct, "you and I" or "you and me"? Which of the following sentences is more ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Why is “doing” used here instead of “to do”?

I have read this question: “I like to do (be) something” vs “I like doing (being) something” and I get (although the answer could not be applied to my example) that using "to do" means in general I ...
6
votes
2answers
944 views

What's the rule for writing sentences with parallel clauses?

I've sometimes seen very nicely written sentences that have 2 clauses: the first is a full sentence, while the second, which is supposed to have a similar structure, was shorten into a special ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Plural of “abacus”

A colleague and I were having a discussion as to the proper plural form of abacus. I believe the plural would be abacuses and he feels that the proper form would be abaci. I believe that abacuses is ...
2
votes
5answers
599 views

Is it correct for someone to say that they've “fixed the apparent problems” with something?

Either there were no problems and therefore nothing to fix. Or there were some problems are therefore something to fix. But how can apparent problems be fixed? Unless "apparent" in this context means ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Using “a/an” with uncountable nouns in exclamation sentences

I work with Chinese children to practice some English. I have a sentence like this: "What an useful advice you gave me!" However, on most Chinese materials I have with me, it is said that the ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Why do we say “This is ” instead of “This's”?

It is => It's I am => I'm That is => That's Why do we say "This is " instead of "This's"?
-3
votes
4answers
249 views

Number that should be used here

Ok, this question came from another question, in which my answer has a "problem". In this question, three conditions were given. In my answer to this question, I stated: You have listed a very ...
4
votes
3answers
563 views

Is “you’re the door on the right.” grammatically correct?

The you is Harry Potter. I’m really curious about the grammatical construction and the reason why JKR chose it. ”Mrs. Weasley, why – ?” ”Ron and Hermione will explain everything, dear, I’ve ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

Should I replace “It would be possible that” and if so, why?

At the end of the Wikipedia article on Jerusalem Colophon, it reads (regarding whether a text was written in Jerusalem vs. Greece), According to Caspar René Gregory it would be possible that the ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Use 'got' instead of 'was'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is “to get” sometimes used where “to be” could be used? Sometimes I hear people say things like this: I just got robbed. (Personally I would rather say 'I was ...
2
votes
1answer
31k views

'Seen as' or 'seeing as'

Look at these examples: You should clean the milk seen as you spilt it. You should clean the milk seeing as you spilt it. Which one is correct, and how is it grammatically defined/termed?
2
votes
2answers
6k views

“when would” vs “when will”

I'm trying to ask a question about the future. So which form of the verb "will" should I use? So, when will it be there? So, when would it be there?
0
votes
3answers
230 views

Meaning of “suits trading airport stories”

It's still from this sentence in New York Times, Despite all the sartorial trappings, guests dressed like any in your typical off-the-rack hotel. On a recent Monday, there were F.I.T. parents in ...
2
votes
1answer
428 views

Add one more level of indirection in ownership description: “Peter teacher's car”?

If I want to describe a car owned by Peter, I will say "Peter's car". But how do I describe the car his teacher owns? "Peter teacher's car" or do I have to be descriptive: "the car of Peter's ...
1
vote
3answers
125 views

“Had entries” or “had an entry”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: "Only those who qualify will be awarded a certificate" or "Only those who qualify will be awarded certificates"? In this question, there is a part ...
1
vote
1answer
174 views

“The fullness” vs “fullness”

When should one put a definite article before the word "fullness"? UPD: To be precise, I have the following sentence. The first condition is just (the ?) fullness of A. Here fullness is some ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

”See/wonder if +(a negative)” vs. “See/wonder if + (a positive)”

I’ve asked a similar question about ‘wonder if’ before, but I’ll give it a second try to learn more about a difference in nuance between a negative clause and a positive one. Just look at these ...
4
votes
2answers
546 views

Are there any definitive sources for English word forms?

My interest in English grammar began because of learning about the rules of grammar while learning Latin. In inter-language dictionaries, it's common to mention the declension of nouns, conjugation of ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

“Orthotopic” or “orthotopal”

An n-orthotope is a fancy name for an n-dimensional cube. I'd like to describe an object that has this quality. Which is the correct adjective: orthotopic or orthotopal?
3
votes
2answers
529 views

When writing instructions, is it OK to leave “and” out of a quick chain of commands?

I'm editing a series of instructions, and I keep stumbling over this issue of whether using "and" in a chain of similar commands is necessary. From the Start menu, select All Programs, then ...
1
vote
0answers
4k views

Why is it “This is he” rather than “This is him”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Should I use a nominative or accusative pronoun when making comparisons (e.g. “I run faster than _”)? “Me” versus “I” I've been ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

When to use split and split up

What should be used in below sentence: “split” or “split up”, and why? We need to split up the background image of the website into two parts.
6
votes
2answers
434 views

How can you make “to be” explicit and simple in this future conditional sentence?

I can say "Jerry's been a bad pussycat this morning" or "Hey, Jerry, you be a good pussycat now" or "Jerry's been active all morning so he's being a good pussycat now". All these involve the use of ...
3
votes
3answers
588 views

Pencil you in on/for Sunday evening?

When planning an appointment for a specific day (and time), for example, should on or for preposition be used? See the context below, though, I am guessing, the rule should be universal: Sure, I ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

“Done soon” vs. “soon done”

There are a number of colloquial expressions common to my area (see here, for example). I'm relatively recent to the area, so there are a number of expressions that just sound unnatural to me. ...
2
votes
0answers
114 views

Enumerations and conjunctions “and” and “or” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should I put a comma before the last item in a list? How do I know if I need to add a comma or not before a conjunction preceding the last item in an enumeration? For ...
1
vote
1answer
204 views

Is “the” required in “Welcome to [the] premier issue of”?

In the premier issue of a new magazine I saw today, the first line reads "Welcome to premier issue of Vegas/Rated." I was thrown by the lack of some other word preceding "premier". It could have an ...
3
votes
1answer
780 views

“Compound nouns list” or “compound noun list”?

I couldn't help but wonder every time I saw such a noun phrase. I've seen both forms used equally often, so I guess both of them can be used interchangeably. But do I guess right? Some examples: ...
1
vote
4answers
796 views

Is this a correct usage of “wait on”? [closed]

I've written the following phrase in a technical document: ... the Task is exposed, so it can be waited on In this context (.NET development), Task is an object instance, and by "waiting on" it, ...
0
votes
1answer
6k views

“I and others” or “me and others” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Which is correct, “you and I” or “you and me”? When do I use “I” instead of “me?” Could you please explain more in an ...
5
votes
4answers
37k views

What is the difference between syntax and semantics? [closed]

As a computer scientist and a writing hobbyist, I really ought to know these terms' meanings for memory. Can anyone clarify the difference between syntax and semantics, and provide some examples? For ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

“If he is polite, then he gets the job”, or “if he be polite, then he gets the job”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use the subjunctive mood? Which sentence is grammatically correct? Which sentence make sense (apart from syntactical analysis)? First? Second? Both of ...
2
votes
5answers
488 views

Is it all right to say “all men have one head”?

I've just found this quote, "All things have two handles: beware of the wrong one." (Emerson, The American Scholar; after Epictetus, The Enchiridion, 43) My questions are: Why shouldn't it be ...
4
votes
3answers
495 views

Is “lay” in this sentence in the correct tense?

I'm making a description for an app, this strikes me as a bit awkward for some reason: "I wanted to create an app that lay somewhere between an ecosystem and a musical instrument." Is the word ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Infinitives with “ought not”

Most of the references I can find about the word “ought” indicate that even when negating it, you should use an infinitive: “You ought not to go there.” That sounds quite bad ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Do 'whether' and 'either' go together?

I ran into this sentence in a friend's blog. I can't quite tell what's wrong, but it does feel wrong. Can anyone tell me if/why? The actual complete sentence: Secondly, we handle the most ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What does ‘peer around something’ mean?

Broadly speaking, peer seems to have two meanings, looking intently and being partially visible. a). She peered into the darkness. b). The moon peered from behind dark clouds. However, I ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

What construction does ‘A wise man is never less alone than when alone’ have?

I think this proverb roughly means that a wise man isn’t lonely even if he is without company. However, when considering its construction, my understanding is starting to get shaky. Let me explain ...
4
votes
3answers
828 views

Why is there a “one” before “hundred”, “thousand”, etc. but not “ten”?

As the title says, why is there a "one" before "hundred", before "thousand", and so on, but not before "ten"? This seems shared between some languages, including Chinese (10 = 十 = ten, 100 = 一百 = one ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

Clause following 'as same as'

I'm learning how to use 'as same as'. It's as hot as it was yesterday. It's as hot as yesterday. I go to the same school as you do. I go to the same school as you. I think only 4. is wrong. The ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is 'that' sometimes optional before dependent clauses?

Sometimes, the word 'that' to introduce a dependent clause is optional. For example, these sentences both make sense with or without 'that': Long books [that] religious people like tend to be ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there any difference between ‘wondering whether that hadn’t been Cedric’s plan’ and ‘wondering whether that had been Cedric’s plan’?

I’m thinking a whether clause with a negative sentence means the speaker thinks the situation is less likely. However, I can’t find any explanation in dictionaries at hand. He snapped it shut ...
4
votes
2answers
540 views

Is “Most of it's in English” normal English?

The phrase "Most of it's in English" is grammatically correct (it's short for "Most of it is in English"), but it doesn't feel right. Is there a reason it doesn't feel right? Edit: The thing I'm ...