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

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4
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4answers
4k views

Isn't “behind your back” in front of you?

We've all heard the phrase that usually goes along the lines of "blah blah did something behind my back". I've always thought that from your back's point of view, anything behind you is in front of it ...
3
votes
1answer
155 views

What are the specifics of King's quote?

Stephen King (author of "The Shining") in his book "On Writing", writes: American grammar doesn`t have the sturdiness of British grammar (a British advertising man with a proper education ...
21
votes
4answers
51k views

Is there a more common phrase that means “preponed”?

I was aware of this and this stackexchange post discuss the same. There is no prepone in English. Ok, then how do I say Our meeting is preponed in correct way? What is the correct word/phrase for ...
3
votes
0answers
964 views

What to use - 'I' or 'Me'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Which is correct, “you and I” or “you and me”? When do I use “I” instead of “me?” Which one of the below sentences is ...
6
votes
5answers
13k views

Which preposition should be used after the verb “request”?

Which is correct? I would like to request you to refrain from shouting. I would like to request of you to refrain from shouting. I would like to request from you to refrain from shouting. Something ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

What are rules to reverse the position of subject and predicative when the former is too long

For example, in this sentence where the subject is qualified by a clause: The assumption that a new airport will for sure make Tudor a flight hub is highly dubious. I thought we could move ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Why do we use the object instead of the subject pronoun in constructions like “stupid me”?

I'm trying to find out how come we say lucky me and stupid us rather than lucky I and stupid we. My understanding is that this is not a recent invention, but a relic from the distant past where it was ...
35
votes
7answers
11k views

Are there any simple rules for choosing the definite vs. indefinite (vs. none) article?

I can’t for the life of me figure out where to use a and where to use the — and where there is no article at all. Is there a simple rule of thumb to memorize? The standard rule you always hear: ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Please explain “I Am America (And So Can You!)”

As a non-native speaker, I found Stephen Colbert’s book title I Am America (And So Can You!) a little hard to dissect. Why so can you? Why isn’t it So Are You? What’s the full phrase that And So Can ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

“Subject, verb, direct object, object complement” versus “subject, verb, indirect object, direct object”

Reading English Grammar (HarperCollins College Outline, published by HarperResource, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers) I found a chapter (Sentence Basics) that explains that in English there are ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Changing subject and verb positions in statements and questions

We always change subject and verb positions in whenever we want to ask a question such as "What is your name?". But when it comes to statements like the following, which form is correct? I ...
17
votes
8answers
32k views

Why do you say “friend of mine” instead of “friend of me”?

I think friend of mine can be translated to my friend. In that case, doesn't friend of me make more sense? If we translate friend of mine to one of my friends then I guess friend of mine makes sense ...
18
votes
5answers
61k views

“Fill out a form” or “fill in a form”

Does one fill out a form or does one fill in a form? I've gotten different answers from the people I've asked. Google search results: fill in a form — 14,200,000 fill out a form — ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

Each apple and each orange [has/have]?

For a phrase such as the following: each apple and each orange Is it correct to use "has" or "have" when describing properties of both apples and oranges?
4
votes
1answer
413 views

Grammatically speaking what role does 'him' play in this sentence?

I like him working out.
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Is correct to use an adjective as appositive?

We youngsters admired our grandmother very much. You ignorant don't understand what I am talking about. Can I use an adjective as appositive, as in the second sentence?
9
votes
4answers
7k views

When should I use the subjunctive mood?

In which cases should I use the subjunctive mood? I suggest that every applicant fill out the form carefully. If she were rich, she would live on Long Island.
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Why haven't we used “it” instead of “he or she”?

There is a related discussion on this forum. My questions is different. I'm all for gender awareness, but why hasn't a properly defined pronoun "it" been used instead of "he/she" or "he or she", etc. ...
20
votes
7answers
23k views

Where should the comma be placed in the salutation of a letter?

Sometimes I see a comma after the proper name: Hello Mr. Black, In order to give you.... But my native language is not English and I think that the comma in this phrase should be placed ...
17
votes
4answers
9k views

What part of speech is “on” in “on fire”?

A while ago, there was an answer on Jeopardy! along the following lines: In the sentence he was on fire, the word on is this part of speech. The judges ruled that it was a preposition. But I ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Definite article with plural nouns

Are there cases where the definite article is used with a plural noun, or is it a rule that the definite article is never used with the plural of a word?
10
votes
2answers
4k views

When to use 'an' and when to use 'a' with words begining with 'h'?

Some h-words need 'an' for the indefinite article (I will be there in an hour). Other h-words need 'a' for the indefinite article (It is a history of sadness). Is there a general rule?
4
votes
4answers
682 views

Are there cases where a possessive pronoun is omitted?

Are there cases where the possessive adjective is omitted in a sentence, or is it always used? For example, in a sentence like "Susan was walking with her hands in her pockets", is it necessary to ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Correct usage of ‘on’, ‘at’ and ‘in’ from a foreigner’s point of view

As a foreign English speaker who never really studied too much English grammar other than the basics at high school, I am often struggling to use the correct form in certain phrases. At being ...
8
votes
6answers
6k views

Is it correct to use 'Forgot password' or 'Forgotten password'

Many websites use the phrase 'Forgot password?' when prompting users to renew their login passwords. Is this correct usage or should it be 'Forgotten password?'.
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What can I use to remember the difference between “well” and “good”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between “good” and “well” Okay, I actually have no idea when it's okay to say well or good but once again I vaguely ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the best way to explain how to choose between “its” and “it's”?

Probably one of the most frequent grammar mistakes in the English language is: The dog sat on it's mat. Since spelling checkers don't catch it, and it is even logical, since you would correctly ...
7
votes
7answers
90k views

“I'm well” vs. “I'm good” vs. “I'm doing well”, etc

The greeting How are you? is asking How are you doing in general? — How are you? I'm well. [Misunderstood the question.] because well as an adjective which means: in good health ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Answering “Have you got” questions with “I do”

For the question "Have you got any ice cream?" which is correct: Yes I do Yes I have or inversely No I don't No I haven't got any
16
votes
8answers
3k views

How can I reliably and accurately identify the passive voice in writing or speech?

How can I reliably and accurately identify the passive voice in writing or speech? I'm not interested in advice about whether or not to use it yet... I just want to know for sure what it is, so that I ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

How does one know when to use a gerund or an infinitive?

As a native speaker of English, the gerund version of this sentence sounds better: infinitive: When used together in chains, extension methods are an unprecedented tool to produce extremely ...
23
votes
4answers
12k views

When should a verb be followed by a gerund instead of an infinitive?

Some verbs are followed by ing, e.g. I enjoy swimming. We can't say I enjoy to swim. Likewise, some verbs are followed by to, e.g. I decided to make a plan. Which particular verbs are followed by ...
42
votes
7answers
70k views

When do I use “I” instead of “me?”

From some comments in the answers for common English usage mistakes, there's confusion around the usage of I vs. me: While the sentence, "the other attendees are myself and Steve," is agreed to be ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Why do some people pedantically cling to dying word forms (e.g. die, oxen)?

The only times I have ever heard the word "die" to refer to one dice are from my mother, and from my primary school English teacher. Every person I ever hear always says, "give me a dice" if they want ...
11
votes
4answers
807 views

“Employee” in the phrase “employee ID” is a determiner, not an adjective—right?

I am a software developer with a bit of a linguistic slant. We were recently given some training on how to name database fields and were told to avoid adjectives in names. Then we were given an ...
27
votes
4answers
20k views

How does the phrase “used to” work, grammatically?

It is common to hear people say "used to" to indicate that they did something in the past but no longer do; for example, "I used to play basketball." How would "used to," used in that context, fit ...
15
votes
2answers
912 views

What is the correct spelling of “buyer* remorse”?

Apostrophical query: a) Buyers Remorse b) Buyer Remorse c) Buyer's Remorse d) Buyers' Remorse My guess is b or c, as it seems like any example is talking about the remorse of one specific buyer, ...
25
votes
11answers
13k views

“May” & “Might”: What's the right context?

I may not be coming in tomorrow... I might not be coming in tomorrow... When could I use "may" & "might"?
23
votes
7answers
2k views

When did “while” and “whilst” become interchangeable?

I think most folk happily use either "while" or "whilst". I've a vague recollection that at one time "while" indicated the passing of time and "whilst" was essentially the same as "whereas" or ...