Questions about the structure of grammar

learn more… | top users | synonyms

3
votes
3answers
153k views

My family *is* or My family *are*? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular? Which is correct: The rest of the staff is or are? The rest of my family is or are? I've done a bit of ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

“Even were he not to…”

I am currently reading "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" by P.K. Dick and I have come across a grammatical structure I don't quite understand. The excerpt is the following (no spoilers, don't ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

'The X-ing of Y' vs just 'X-ing Y' : why are both 'the' and 'of' necessary together?

Take the example of There is very little that a conforming POSIX.1 application can do by catching, ignoring or masking SIGSYS (From the SIGSYS article) This can be rewritten as There is ...
1
vote
3answers
267 views

A blinding light / blinding sunlight / a blinding sunlight

"Mornings came and cast a blinding sunlight over everything, and he felt like nothing worthwhile could be accomplished." For some reason, I feel like "a blinding light" is ok, but if its sunlight, ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Which is the correct passive construction of 'she bore him on the Christmas day'?

I think I understand the difference of meaning between 'born' and 'borne', plus I have also checked out a few questions that were asked about the two terms on this forum. So, I hope I am not posting a ...
4
votes
4answers
471 views

Why is “there” a subject while “here” isn't?

The question about "the role of infinitive in this sentence" prompted me to ask the following question. English uses a "dummy" such as it and there to start a sentence when there is nothing else to ...
1
vote
2answers
323 views

Explanation of Grammatical structure is needed

The crowd saw him clap his hand to his mouth. This is a sentence from Harry Potter I. I don't understand how "clap" is used right after "saw". Shouldn't there be a "to" in between? i.e. "saw ...
0
votes
3answers
29k views

How to know when to use “someone” or “anyone”?

I am trying to write a grammar rule that will be able to identify when to use someone or anyone, and I got confused. I couldn't find any clear way to do this. For instance, "anyone can do it" is ...
19
votes
15answers
12k views

Is “Am I needing to. . . ?” grammatical?

In the course of answering this question (which is now deleted and may be viewed only by 10K+ community members), we have evoked some dispute over whether the phrase Am I needing to read this ...
7
votes
3answers
29k views

How do I properly use [sic] for a phrase? Or do I use it at all?

The actual sentence I am quoting is: Company A will provide regular communications to Company B on the status of level of effort in comparison the projected monthly amounts contained in our ...
4
votes
6answers
383 views

Is there a functional difference between “not believing” and “believing not”?

If you tell your friend some incredible story and they say, "I don't believe you!" It seems like they are pretty obviously trying to say that they believe that your story isn't true. I have someone ...
4
votes
8answers
2k views

What is the difference between a part of speech and a syntactic function / grammatical relation?

What is the difference between a part-of-speech and a function? In other words: What is a part of speech. (e.g. noun) What is a grammatical function. (e.g. head, subject) [read "grammatical ...
5
votes
2answers
29k views

Verbing, or turning nouns into verbs [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is it called when a non-verb is used as a verb? The phenomenon of turning a noun into a verb is very common. Some are more well known, like "shouldering the blame" or "...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Is 'so I did', and other like expressions, at the end of a sentence good English?

In Northern Ireland people will say 'He went to Bohemia on holiday, so he did', or 'I need to do some shopping, so I do'. Is this correct English?
-1
votes
1answer
338 views

Why are these words ungrammatical

I can't find the reason why : riceful and antful are ungrammatical. Can someone help me? Thanks
13
votes
2answers
14k views

Meaning and usage of “be of”

I see such sentences all the time and I'd like to learn more about their grammatical structure (e.g. how they are described in grammatical terms), their meaning and how to use them in different ...
23
votes
6answers
6k views

“Don't let's fight”

I was watching a movie the other day and one character said to another, "Don't let's fight" instead of "Let's not fight." Is this proper usage, and if so, what is the grammatical rule that applies ...
13
votes
5answers
899 views

I have no money to buy a bed [with]

BACKGROUND In this question, it was asked why it sounds better to omit 'with' in I have no money to buy a bed (with). whereas 'with' sounds right in I have no ball to play soccer with. ...
9
votes
4answers
5k views

When to use this construction: so Adjective a Noun

In "The Quiet American" by Graham Greene, Mr Fowler says: I watched her closely while she asked how I was and touched my splinted leg and gave me her shoulder to lean on, as though one could lean ...
6
votes
12answers
638 views

Subject, Verb Object (and so forth) sentence analysis. In particular: What's the Verb here?

I need help! Could you please look at this sentence: When I obtained a credit card, I began spending money recklessly. I'm doing basic sentence patterns, and I don't know how to analyse this ...
12
votes
5answers
10k views

Is “criterions” a valid plural for “criterion”?

Is criterions a valid plural for criterion? Dictionary.com says it is, but Oxford does not confirm or reject it.
6
votes
6answers
1k views

“I had John return the video”: why do we use “return” instead of “returns” or “returned”?

I had John return the video for me. In this sentence, why do we use return and not returns or returned?
2
votes
5answers
140 views

“hadn't have killed” vs “hadn't killed”

Can someone help? "Dave killed Peter." Dave asked Susan, "why was Peter here?" Susan said, "Maybe he would have told you if you hadn't have killed him." Would there have been any difference if she ...
2
votes
4answers
24k views

Should there be a comma after 'and'?

This is a bit of a strange question because I know that there should never ever be a comma after 'and.' But what if there's a parenthetical statement/clause-thing right after it? Let me demonstrate. ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

Is this proper English: “I am student”? [closed]

So, I have a debate with my associate. We are debating whether one can say something like "I am student." It was argued that this was proper and that indeed you can use a verb followed by a noun ...
2
votes
2answers
199 views

In place names, do the words qualifying the place act as an adjective?

If you have a place name such as “The Sierra Nevada Mountains”, does Sierra Nevada act as an adjective? My guess is yes, since they qualify the noun mountains, e.g.: “Which mountains? The Sierra ...
0
votes
2answers
251 views

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time?

Does tense change when the narrator (present) writes about what a person (past) could have said about their time? For example A person who lived during 1790 could truthfully claim that Washington ...
7
votes
3answers
264 views

“To buy a bed with” vs “to play a ball with”

I got into a discussion with a friend and we're trying to figure out why we omit with when we say I have no money to buy a bed [with] when, grammatically, it's the same as I have no ball to ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the grammar behind “Thanks be to God”?

What is the grammatical interpretation of the phrase? I don't understand what verb tense or voice is used.
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Suggestion phrased as a question

I recently received a mark-down for the following phrase: With this regard, will you please accept the Takeover agreement on this quote so that we can proceed with the validation process? The ...
1
vote
3answers
88 views

In “Dear X” what function does “X” serve?

I answered a question (Should I use capital or small letter here? "Dear All" or "Dear all"?) about capitalizing "all" in "Dear All," In answering this, my thinking was "what ...
1
vote
1answer
302 views

“I am having…”

People say "I'm having a baby." "I'm having a good time," or "I'm having friends over for dinner." but normally don't say "I'm having a car," "I'm having a cold." or "I'm having a solution." The ...
1
vote
1answer
108 views

Is a preposition of place required when replacing “where” with “that”?

A preposition appears to be needed when that is used in sentences such as: That's the store where I bought my computer. That's the store that I bought my computer (at?). with exceptions ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

What part of speech is 'pooped' in “I am pooped”

I have a wager that 'pooped' in "I am pooped" is not an adjective; however the betting party contends that it is an adjective since "it describes the state of the subject, I". The other party also ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

You are in Jonathan’s circles: “too” or “as well” or “also”?

I just read on Google+ that: You are in Jonathan’s circles too But I always thought that you couldn't use too there. Am I wrong? (because Google can't be wrong, right?)
-1
votes
2answers
117 views

Is asking question with intonation grammatically correct?

Is asking question with intonation grammatically correct? the context: had a discussion with colleague about the correct formal way to ask a question in English language. From all what i recall about ...