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

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5
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2answers
6k views

“understand” or “understood”?

When I explain something to my friend and I want to make sure they got what I said, what should I say? "Do you understand?" "Did you understand?" "Have you understood?" etc.
4
votes
5answers
4k views

Is “I lost my bus” correct usage?

Is it correct to say, "I lost my bus," when you miss a bus? I have seen it commonly used.
5
votes
4answers
6k views

What is an “infinitive”?

I've heard that a verb usually follows the 'infinitive' but how does one define an 'infinitive'?
3
votes
4answers
10k views

“I am working” or “I have worked almost two months at this project”?

Which one is correct? "I am working almost two months at this project" or "I have worked almost two months at this project" I want to give this meaning: I'm still working on it.
5
votes
3answers
203 views

Parenthetical double negation?

Is this a double negation? Is it still grammatically correct? If not, what is a better form? He cannot go outside (legally, not physically), because he is under house arrest. The meaning is that ...
6
votes
2answers
19k views

“has been” vs “have been”

I am answering an online English grammar test and encountered the following question Where was Jack yesterday? —I don't know. He ________ seeing the doctor. My answer is: might has been Correct ...
1
vote
0answers
273 views

Should one use 'a' or 'an' when the following word is in parentheses? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “a/an” preceding a parenthetical statement This question is a little hard to summarize in the title. I sometimes like to use parentheses to add additional ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the grammatical function of 'that' in this sentence?

Scenario: 'Are you stressed by his threat?' Answer: 'I'm not that concerned.' What is the grammatical function of 'that' in this sentence?
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Why can't I say “I have a brown hair”?

Why can't I say, "I have a brown hair," to describe the colour of my hair?
2
votes
1answer
3k views

“It's too late for me to do that now.”

Is this sentence OK? Is the "now" at the end of the sentence redundant?
2
votes
2answers
169 views

“grew warmer” vs. “became warmer”

Can "grew warmer" be used as a replacement for "became warmer" anywhere? I've started to think of the phrase "grew warmer" and it seems kind of strange. Things can become warm, but it sounds strange ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Do serious grammarians endorse the “Can I”/“May I” distinction?

Just now, I wanted to ask a question that was something like, "Can I get a thorough list of all the parts of speech that a sentence can be broken down into?" But then a nagging voice appeared in my ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Do people in Miami really talk like they do in the television series “Dexter”?

as I'm far from being good English speaker, I use to watch series to improve my skills. I'm fan of various genres, from Star Trek to How I Met Your Mother and I can say until now, I felt "aligned" ...
2
votes
3answers
465 views

Is “is” an auxiliary verb?

John is working now. Is the verb 'is' in this example an auxiliary verb?
16
votes
8answers
1k views

Why do we say “Japan earthquake” and not “Japanese earthquake”?

Isn’t earthquake a noun and the preceding word an adjective? Isn’t “Japanese” the adjectival form of “Japan”?
0
votes
2answers
93 views

Should I say this forum is a free 'voting discussion' or 'voted discussion' site?

I'm building a forum where people can ask questions and get replies. Those questions and replies can get votes but no one can be targeted as best answer. What's the right way of saying that? This ...
2
votes
3answers
803 views

Valid or not: “Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you”?

Is this valid? Treat others with the same respect you’d want them to treat you. I'd normally phrase this as: Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you with. Or, ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Should “that” and “the” be used in these situations?

I'm always uncertain whether or not I should use "the" and "that" in the following cases: There is no guarantee (that) measurement values are the cause of . . . and Which will lead to (the) ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Can adjectives always be used as nouns when they denote a plural and are preceded by the definite article?

An adjective appears to be used as a noun when denoting an animate plural and preceded by the definite article: 'The successful are those who strive.' 'The foolish are those who ...
1
vote
0answers
143 views

What does 'it' refer to in this example? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: It's raining. What is? 'It is raining.' What does 'it' refer to? I know some people might say 'the weather' but you wouldn't say: 'The weather is raining.' But ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Simple present used to describe past events as a list of actions?

In relation to you not meeting me at the train station yesterday: 'I wake up early, travel all that way, wait for you in the rain, and you don't meet me!' Is this not the simple present being used ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How should lists of questions be punctuated?

If one wishes to pose a series of questions in the form of a list, how would one go about punctuating that list? For example: I write to a colleague asking for an update on a project he is working ...
1
vote
2answers
611 views

Do I need to use comparative degree?

Maybe it's a little long story. Maybe it's a little longer story.
4
votes
2answers
769 views

Can I drop the second “having” in this sentence?

Can I drop the second having in this sentence? : So, having looked through your posts and having read all the materials that you referred me to, I came to the conclusion...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

Is the following sentence grammatically correct? It doesn't sound right [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “A total of 10 babies is sleeping.” v.s. “A total of 10 babies are sleeping.” v.s. “Ten babies in total are sleeping.” Is “a total ...
3
votes
10answers
1k views

Is this grammatical construction an imperative for the third person?

Is the construction 'Let + subject + verb' considered as an order/imperative for the third person: Let every man count his days when it is intended to mean 'must'/'is ordered to'?
2
votes
1answer
547 views

Using “it's” vs. using “it is” at the end of a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”? Why is it that the following sounds incorrect: "Would she know where it's?" ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

What are the principles that make certain lists sound euphonious?

Has this ever happened to you: You write a question, include a list or two in the discussion, and then come back to edit that list because the order doesn't sound "right"? Off the top of my head, I ...
5
votes
1answer
462 views

What is the possessive for several names?

If Alice and Bob each has a house, are these "Alice and Bob's houses" or "Alice's and Bob's houses"? Does that change anything if each of the houses belongs to both of them?
1
vote
2answers
138 views

Does the verb 'skid' take an object?

Does the verb “skid” take an object? So is it OK to say: He skidded his car on the road.
0
votes
2answers
2k views

“All Things Is/Are Ephemeral”

All Things Is/Are Ephemeral I know that are is meant to be the verb connecting the two fragments together, but why...? (Gut instinct)
0
votes
2answers
184 views

How should I construct “the who”?

In correspondence this morning, I found myself using a very verbal construction: Your Recommendation is entirely up to you in terms of the who and why. With due respect to the he:him::who:whom ...
1
vote
2answers
723 views

What does “an adverb tells us something about the sentence” mean?

Wikipedia states : In grammar an adverbial is a word (an adverb) or a group of words (an adverbial phrase or an adverbial clause) that modifies or tells us something about the sentence or the ...
0
votes
0answers
330 views

Recommendation for English Grammar books? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are some of the better English reference grammars? I grew up in a non-English speaking country. During my elementary and middle school years, I self-studied the ...
3
votes
2answers
16k views

Usage of “When doing something”

How to understand the usage of "when/while doing something" in grammar? For example, I am watching TV, when sitting in my sofa. I think "when" and "while" can never be used as prep.. They are ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the grammatical difference behind “is interesting” and “is interested”?

I am a native English speaker, yet I cannot explain to a non-native speaker why I say: I am interested in history. as well as History is interesting to me. Why is it "is interesting" when ...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

An error message should display or should 'be' displayed?

If the writer means to say that an error message should 'appear' can he phrase the sentence as 'When user clicks the button, an error message should display' or is it more correct to say 'When user ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

How to correctly write this conditional phrase?

I’m struggling with a conditional clause. This one is easy: If I were you, I would do xyz ... But I have these three statements: I was a student. It was my vacation. My professor ...
9
votes
2answers
49k views

“Most of which” or “most of whom”?

I am very uncertain about when to use "most of whom," "most of who," or "most of which." Please give concrete examples instead of only rules like, "this is the subject, so you should..."
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Confusion about “would it not be better if” vs “it would be better if”

non-native speaker here and I have problems with the following sentence. 'My friend asks if it would not be better for you to come here.' Does the sentence mean a) 'My friend thinks it would be ...
3
votes
3answers
771 views

“Exchange emails with whomever you want to put me in contact [with]”

I realize the "never end a sentence with a preposition" rule is controversial these days, but let's assume for the sake of argument that it should be followed. What is the proper construction of a ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Omitting “and” in a sentence

He called her, emailed her, texted her, tweeted her—all to no use. Strictly speaking, I would need to write texted her and tweeted her, but I'm omitting and to convey a rhythm and sense of ...
4
votes
3answers
665 views

Is this use of present participle grammatically correct?

We are a Zhongguancun-based English training school looking for native English speakers from the US and Canada. If you are interested in this position. Please send your CV and photo to [email ...
2
votes
2answers
569 views

How would you name these two different types of adjectival qualifying?

If I say "Max is quite joyful right now" that would mean that Max is experiencing a feeling of joy, right? But if I say "This needle is rather painful" that would mean that somebody else is ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Should the past perfect be eschewed?

The past perfect serves a purpose: When describing things that happened in the past, it allows us to discuss things that happened before (i.e., in the past’s past). However, a procession of had, had, ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it: My apples and orange are/is wrong?

Simple question: My apples and orange are wrong or My apples and orange is wrong I am not a native English speaker, and I am having some trouble choosing between plural are or singular is ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “Have we a menu?” a correct sentence?

Is this a correct sentence? Have we a menu? It sounds a little bit strange to me.
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Saxon genitive usage question

My colleagues are in the design department of a given product, and when asked to add that information to the e-mail signature, they have written: ProductName's Design I'm objecting that the ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

What's the difference between these sentences?

He walked out, Rachel's words indelibly etched into his memory. vs He walked out, Rachel's words being indelibly etched into his memory.
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“Will be like” or “would be like”?

I'm making wild guesses about what the future would/will be like. Is either legitimate? If so what's the differences in meaning?