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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2
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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
829 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
8k views

Past tense of 'to output': output or outputted?

According to Wikipedia, the past tense (and past participle) of the verb to output is either output or outputted. Are these two forms entirely interchangeable? Or do they have certain nuance in ...
36
votes
8answers
4k views

Why is there no plural indefinite article?

The takes either a singular or a plural subject. A/an only takes the singular. When we pluralize a noun preceded by an indefinite article, we simply drop the article (sometimes replacing it with ...
3
votes
2answers
420 views

Use of ‘or’ when it means ‘and’ in negatives [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How does negation affect the use and understanding of “or” and “and” If I want to negate a sentence such as I like beer and whiskey. [Most ...
1
vote
1answer
984 views

Can “along with” be used to mean “as a consequence of”?

I have this sentence: Along with something (cause), something else (effect) happened. From text books I know that parts that are connected by “along with” should be in the same form and in the ...
12
votes
3answers
688 views

Unusual verb form: “While the parcels were bringing down and displaying”

In Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma, she writes (Volume 2, Chapter 6): They went in; and while the sleek, well-tied parcels of 'Men's Beavers' and 'York Tan' were bringing down and displaying on the ...
2
votes
3answers
36k views

“Whole day” or “all day”?

Which phrase is more correct when I want to tell a client that I'm on Skype 24hrs? I'm there all day. I'm there whole day.
3
votes
3answers
644 views

“We care for our Nature” or “We care for Nature”?

Was drafting an email and my senior wanted to type "Planting saplings is our way of saying we care for our Nature". I felt that's wrong English. Shouldn't it be "we care for Nature"? (it makes it a ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Is “as [adjective] as [can/could] be” grammatical?

It occurred to me while reading the line "He was as happy as could be." that part of it is quite vague. As happy as he could be, or as anything could be? I'm not a linguist or anything, but I haven't ...
1
vote
3answers
531 views

Collective agreement: “their risks” or “their risk”

"Individuals with high LDL cholesterol levels increase their risk of developing coronary heart disease." Would it be "their risks"? Does each individual have a separate risk...therefore "risks"? Or ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Use of “respectively”

He has two sisters who live in southern and northern California, respectively. I saw this on IMDB and I was wondering if the respectively was grammatically correct. Since nothing is being listed ...
0
votes
1answer
20k views

“Simpler” or “More Simple” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “More clear” vs “Clearer”, when to use “more” instead of “-er” Which of these two terms is correct? If they are both ...
2
votes
2answers
290 views

Using “staffs” to refer to people

This is a sentence in a book by Rudy Giuliani. I could ensure my deputies and commissioners were working off the same page and could carry a coherent message back to their staffs. Isn't staff ...
4
votes
2answers
880 views

Why is it “sheet music” and not “musical sheet”?

I always had problem in understanding the reason people call it sheet music. Isn't it a sheet (an object) that has an adjective of being related to music? We don't say things like sheet Excel, or ...
5
votes
3answers
29k views

“Is there” versus “Are there”

Are there any questions I should be asking? Is there any articles available on the subject? My instinct is that in the two questions above, it should be 'are' as the subjects of the sentences ...
5
votes
4answers
17k views

“If I would go there, I would be in trouble” - correct?

Occasionally I've seen the construct: If I would [verb], I would [verb]. ... used, to indicate that the second clause is a condition of the first. For example, If I would go there, I would ...
7
votes
1answer
642 views

Using verbs with multiple meanings

Is it grammatically incorrect to use a verb with multiple meanings so that the meanings are used at once? I'm thinking of a line from the classic Flanders Swann song Madeira M’Dear: … he hastened ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Past tense vs Past participle tense [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Present perfect tense versus past tense Here is the example: I haven't spoken any English for more than 3 years. vs. I didn't speak any English over the past 3 ...
4
votes
4answers
10k views

“my friend” vs “a friend of mine”

I always found it weird to hear people say things like "My friend asked me to come" (with no prior mention of said friend), as opposed to "A friend of mine asked me to come". To me it seems as though ...
2
votes
2answers
9k views

Are W and Y vowels? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: When is “Y” a vowel? Is the 'w' in 'cow' a vowel or a consonant? Are W and Y vowels? I learned it depends on the conditions. But I don't ...
10
votes
3answers
31k views

Difference between “are you done” and “have you done.”

I was just wondering, how can we differentiate "are you done?" and "have you done?", and what is the appropriate way to use each?
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Which is more correct “fewer than hundred people” or “less than hundred people”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When is “less” appropriate vs. “fewer”? Which is more correct "fewer than hundred people" or "less than hundred people"? According to my grammar ...
7
votes
2answers
13k views

“I would have never said” vs. “I would never say”

I know a lot of questions have been asked about would or would have but I haven't found any answers that help me understand this three-party conversation, with C possibly a native speaker: A: How ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a term for the part of a sentence that is in the form “Customers who …” or “Products that …”?

For the purpose of building a dynamic user interface within an software application I wish to separate parts of a set of phrases which would be in the form of the examples below. Examples: ...
-2
votes
1answer
5k views

In this sentence “Me and you” or “You and I ” is correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which is correct, “you and I” or “you and me”? Consider this conversation: "Hey, we've been seeing each other for a couple of months" ...
5
votes
1answer
225 views

Does “will” and other auxiliary verbs spread on all the sentence?

Consider the following example — I want to write down several sequential actions in future. Should I write: I will go home, will have dinner, will play tennis, etc. or: I will go home, have ...
8
votes
3answers
10k views

“Elaborate” as a transitive verb?

It is common to speak of "elaborating on (or upon) a topic." However, I have been told that this is appropriate only when some explanation has already been given; if no information is yet known, then ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Do all words have a part of speech?

Do all words have a part of speech? The closest counterexample I can think of is yes. The dictionary says its supposed to be an adverb but it doesn't really strike me as something that modifies a ...
5
votes
2answers
577 views

What do you call a verb which accepts 2 nouns?

In English, there are intransitive verbs which can't used with a noun, or aren't being used with a noun (eg. listen, die, ...), and transitive verbs which can be (eg. almost all of them). However, ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

How to write numbers in words

How do we translate 1210 into words: 1) one thousand, two hundred, and ten 2) one thousand, two hundred and ten or without the commas 3) one thousand two hundred and ten 4) one thousand two ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

How to determine what an attributive clause modifies

I was wondering how to determine what an attributive clause modifies? For example: It has been associated with neoclassical economics and with the neoclassical synthesis, which combines ...
10
votes
4answers
14k views

Which is correct: “home in” or “hone in”?

I've heard people say "Home in on something", but I've also heard others say "Hone in on something". Which is the correct expression, and what is the etymology of these?
2
votes
2answers
616 views

“than would be”

I was wondering if "... than would be ..." is Irrealis subjunctive mood? What is neglected between "than" and "would", given that "than" is conj.? For example: Programs are larger, more ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

What usage and meaning of “else” is this

What is the usage and meaning of "else" in this example? The key difference between a program and a project is the finite nature of a project - a project must always have a specific end date, else ...
6
votes
3answers
577 views

In “Enter John”, is John in the nominative or accusative case?

This question made me think about the structure of the sentence. I'm familiar with the expression 'Enter Michael'/'Exit John' to represent Michael's or John's entry or exit, respectively, to a ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there an EBNF that covers all of English

This almost feels like a SO question. Is there an EBNF that covers all of English, and if so, what is it?
4
votes
3answers
458 views

“The me of the past”

When talking about one's self in the past, is "the me of the past" grammatically correct? I'm trying to make a sentence like this: The me of the past who was popular with girls, I'm jealous of ...
18
votes
7answers
15k views

Is using passive voice “bad form”?

Whenever I create a document in Microsoft Word, it complains about a lot of my sentences being in passive voice. But, when I read that sentence aloud, it sounds fine to me. I am not sure if it is just ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

“Can't” vs. “won't be able to”

Which of the following is grammatically correct? Even if ____, I probably won't be able to ____. Could it be rephrased this way and still remain grammatically correct? Even if ____, I ...
3
votes
3answers
913 views

Is this sentence truly a fragment?

Microsoft Office is claiming a statement I recently made is a fragment, however I do not agree with its opinion. Bob, to my knowledge that resource is currently unsupported. Can anyone provide ...
6
votes
1answer
258 views

What is the term for giving an action or phenomenon somebody's name, e.g. “Doing a Lord Lucan”?

A friend of mine is keen on taking the glory (or adverse publicity!) when something goes wrong on a job he's working on and he likes to give it his name, e.g., "this is turning into a right Simpson of ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

“To enable him to escape” vs. “to enable him escape”

I have been coming across this kind of sentence more and more: She gave him a key to enable him to escape capture. She gave him a key to enable him escape capture. Which sentence is correct? ...
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votes
2answers
170 views

Wrapping with “of” [closed]

How should the following sentence be wrapped: Data compression of file system or Data compression of file system "of" should stay on the upper line, or should be placed in next line?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Does this ‘be going to’ have an emotional meaning?

Here is a skit from a radio English conversation program, dealing with American English. A: guest B: front desk clerk C: A's wife (at the front desk of a hotel) A: I have a reservation ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

“The pair was …” or “the pair were …”

I've recently read a blurb from a local paper that included the following: The pair was drinking prior to the shooting. To me, this appears wrong and I would say that the proper way to make the ...