Grammaticality refers to whether something obeys the rules of grammar in English. If your question is about grammar itself, please use the "grammar" tag.

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116
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13answers
21k views

When is it appropriate to end a sentence in a preposition?

Like many others, I commonly find myself ending a sentence with a preposition. Yes, it makes me cringe. I usually rewrite the sentence, but sometimes (in emails) I just live with it. To, with... ...
99
votes
11answers
60k views

What is wrong with the word “performant”?

I keep getting the red underlining in Word whenever I write the word "performant". Here I intend to refer to something that performs well or better than something else (i.e., it's more performant). ...
90
votes
8answers
10k views

Which is correct: “__ is different from __” or “__ is different than __”?

As someone who learned English later on in life, I was taught that different from is the correct grammar to use: this is different from that. However, it seems these days everyone uses different than ...
83
votes
8answers
290k views

“If I was” or “If I were”. Which is more common, and which is correct?

My question of whether to use if I was or if I were. Which one is incorrect or nonstandard?
81
votes
14answers
45k views

“Email” or “e-mail”?

Which way of writing the word: "Email" or "e-mail" is correct? Both variants seem to be in wide use. If both ones are okay, maybe there is a difference in contexts they have been used (one is more ...
79
votes
3answers
47k views

Is “believe you me” proper English?

I understand the phrase "believe you me" to be an emphatic version of "believe me" but how did it come to be? Is it a poor translation into English?
76
votes
12answers
67k views

When should I use “a” versus “an” in front of a word beginning with the letter h?

A basic grammar rule is to use an instead of a before a vowel sound. Given that historic is not pronounced with a silent h, I use “a historic”. Is this correct? What about heroic? Should be “It was a ...
69
votes
4answers
9k views

What's wrong with “I'll open you the door”?

When I call the buzzer outside my girlfriend's flat, she sometimes says *"I'll open you the door". I correct this to "I'll open the door for you". I've never heard a native speaker say it the first ...
69
votes
8answers
11k views

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses?

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses (for example, if I (meaning myself) write like this)?
51
votes
6answers
8k views

Is “Just a friendly advice” grammatical?

I know that "advice" is uncountable and thus is incompatible with the article "a". However, the phrase "Just a friendly advice" seems to be rather widespread. Is it idiomatic, or incorrect? What is ...
51
votes
10answers
63k views

Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular?

I'd say Microsoft have a way of bending the rules and I know that McLaren have won the championship. While this sounds strange, I believe it is correct English (sorry, I'm not native). But when it's ...
50
votes
9answers
5k views

Is “rather” shifting to become a verb?

In colloquial English, I constantly run across sentences of the form: I rather my [noun] [verb] A quick Google search returns tons of examples: I rather my opponents don't find out. I ...
49
votes
12answers
16k views

I can run faster than _____. (1) him (2) he?

Consider the sentence "I can run faster than 15 miles per hour." Its meaning is clear and to my eyes obviously grammatically correct. Now let me present some variations that have given me trouble for ...
48
votes
2answers
55k views

Is it “a user” or “an user” [duplicate]

Since user starts with a vowel shouldn't we use "an" ? I've seen many cases of using "a" .
48
votes
7answers
116k views

Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”?

Is this sentence grammatically correct? Anyone who loves the English language should have a copy of this book in their bookcase. or should it be: Anyone who loves the English language should ...
46
votes
7answers
118k views

When do I use “I” instead of “me?”

From some comments in the answers for common English usage mistakes (now deleted, 10k only), there's confusion around the usage of I vs. me: While the sentence, "the other attendees are myself and ...
43
votes
5answers
300k views

“My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends”

I've always been taught to put myself last when referring to myself in the same sentence as others but the usage of "me and..." seems to be everywhere these days. The misuse of the word "me" instead ...
43
votes
6answers
219k views

“Whether or not” vs. “whether”

This will depend on whether he's suitable for the job. This will depend on whether he's suitable for the job or not. This will depend on whether or not he's suitable for the job. ...
41
votes
5answers
41k views

Can “whose” refer to an inanimate object?

We lit a fire whose fuel was old timber wood. Is the word whose referring to fire, an inanimate object, correct in this sentence? Or is there a more appropriate word?
38
votes
5answers
171k views

Is 'Updation' a correct word?

I was wondering whether 'updation' is correct English or not. Sample sentence: I was involved in the updation of the website.
38
votes
10answers
82k views

Is there a standard ordering for the question mark and the exclamation mark used together?

We've all wanted to express certain questions, rhetorical or not, with annoyance, excitement, surprise, frustration and so on. What better way than with both a question mark (?) and an exclamation ...
38
votes
4answers
15k views

When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive adjective/determiner?

I assume that the following sentences are grammatically correct: He resents your being more popular than he is. Most of the members paid their dues without my asking them. They objected ...
38
votes
6answers
15k views

Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”?

I heard this lyric in a song the other day and it just sounded so wrong that I assumed it must be incorrect grammar, but I can't find any specific prohibition that applies. That's what it's. ...
36
votes
17answers
4k views

What is the player called who has a turn?

What is the player called who has a turn? I am guessing something like turning player. But I would like some confirmation or maybe is there an idiom for it? Explanation: In a round based game what ...
32
votes
6answers
134k views

What is the correct way to use “neither” and “nor” in a sentence together?

Given these facts: The tool cannot be found in the kitchen. The tool cannot be found in the bathroom. Which is the correct sentence to represent the situation above? I can find the tool ...
32
votes
7answers
24k views

Is it acceptable to start a sentence with “however”?

I have heard that starting a sentence with however is wrong. What are the grounds for this view and is it still held by a majority of pedants? They would suggest changing However, some people are ...
32
votes
3answers
65k views

Which is correct: “one or more is” or “one or more are”?

Should the phrase be "one or more is...", or "one or more are..."?
31
votes
6answers
108k views

Which is correct, “neither is” or “neither are”?

Bob: "Can I set the font color? Can I customize the text?" Frank: "Neither of these options is available. Sorry!" Is "neither is" always correct or should one use "neither are" in some cases and ...
31
votes
13answers
2k views

Why do I instinctively want to use the present tense with a conditional?

My boss is not a native speaker of English, so he often asks me to correct his writing. The problem is, he wants me to explain why I make changes, and doesn't accept "it just sounds better that way" ...
30
votes
4answers
24k views

Is it “despite” or “despite of”?

Should I always use 'despite' instead of 'despite of'?
30
votes
6answers
51k views

Why is it “on *the* one hand”?

According to all dictionaries I can see and everyday use by native speakers, this is the correct way: On the one hand, it's larger; on the other hand, it's more expensive. What makes no sense to ...
29
votes
3answers
9k views

“How does it look?”

Formally, in my English education, I have learned to ask for the outward appearance of something using the expression: "What does it look like?" Since my mother tongue is German and we say "Wie ...
29
votes
3answers
16k views

Can I use an “if” clause without “then”?

I have the following sentence: If T had still been alive, there is the great possibility that either T or C ... My teacher says that the word "then" must appear after the comma, but I think that ...
29
votes
6answers
46k views

Is it ever acceptable for a period to come after a quote at the end of a sentence? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it correct to use “punctuation outside of the quotations”, or “inside?” I've heard that you should always place ending punctuation inside of quotes, no matter what. ...
29
votes
9answers
87k views

Is “errored” correct usage?

If "errored" is not a valid word, then how should I say: The program errored at line 44 I guess I could say: The program threw an error at line 44 But why is "errored" wrong? Is there a ...
28
votes
9answers
279k views

Which is correct, “you and I” or “you and me”?

When the phrase is used as an object, why so many native speakers are saying "you and I" instead of "you and me"? I'm not a native speaker but I thought "you and me" is correct. Not sure if this falls ...
28
votes
7answers
25k views

Using “And” at the beginning of a sentence

Since I first learned English, I have been holding this understanding that "and", as a conj. but unlike "but", can only connect two clauses, not two sentences ended with periods. But recently, I ...
28
votes
11answers
8k views

Can a sentence start with “Because”?

In my grade school days, I recall a teacher proclaiming to the class: You should never start a sentence with the word "Because". Of course, I've since seen lots of examples to the contrary, and ...
28
votes
3answers
160k views

“Inputted” or “input”

I have used the word inputted in an assignment and am being forced to change it to input. However, both the Oxford English Dictionary (I am in New Zealand so this is most relevant) and MS Word list ...
28
votes
4answers
16k views

Correct position of “only”

Which is grammatically correct? I can only do so much in this time. or I can do only so much in this time.
27
votes
18answers
6k views

Was I driving more than 5 mph under the speed limit, or less than 5 mph under the speed limit?

Suppose I am driving 38 miles per hour in a 45 zone. This, of course, is seven miles per hour under the speed limit. Of course, I am driving this slowly because the road is wet, and safe driving ...
27
votes
7answers
2k views

Why “it’s turtles” not “they are turtles”

It is a third person singular and is used to refer to a thing. If that’s the case, then why do we say: A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on ...
26
votes
5answers
30k views

Is “might could” a correct construct?

I have a friend from the southern U.S. who uses the phrase “might could” quite often. He’ll say, for example: I might could do that this weekend. When I first heard him say this, it made me do ...
26
votes
6answers
26k views

“Who wants ice-cream?” — Should I say “(not) I” or “(not) me”?

With the enthusiastic question of "Who wants ice-cream?", what is the more correct response? (Not) I. (Not) me. Neither response is a sentence. The first response of "(not) I" sounds ...
26
votes
9answers
123k views

Is “receival” a valid word for the act of receiving something?

In the course of reviewing a standard operating procedure, I came across the subheading: "Receival, Costing and Charging of Work". I immediately began to doubt whether the word "receival" was a ...
26
votes
6answers
15k views

Types of things vs. types of thing

When speaking precisely or technically, one would say that "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominid" rather than "Homo erectus and homo sapiens are two species of hominids." The ...
26
votes
2answers
38k views

A number of questions “has been” or “have been” asked?

Formally, is it correct to write: A number of questions has been asked here. or: A number of questions have been asked here. As a non-native speaker of English, I would prefer the former: ...
25
votes
4answers
64k views

“Sit in a chair” vs. “sit on a chair”

What is the correct usage? I know you sit 'on' a sofa/couch. What about chair?
25
votes
7answers
3k views

Can a person happen? Is “Zodanga happened” correct?

I was watching movie John Carter where there was some dialogue like this: — What happened here? — Zodanga happened. Here Zodanga was a bad guy in the movie. I don't understand how a guy ...
25
votes
6answers
18k views

I <verb> and am <rest of sentence>

I sometimes find myself writing something like this: XXX is a project I admire and am very interested in. The "I <verb> and am <something>" feels strange here. It somehow sounds more ...