Grammaticality refers to whether something obeys the rules of grammar for English.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

15
votes
6answers
21k views

“Like something more” or “like something better”

When people like something more than something else, it's common for me to hear them say they like it better than something else. Is this proper English? I've always thought the word more fits better, ...
15
votes
3answers
29k views

Is “misconfigured” a word?

I use the word "misconfigured" all the time, but MS Word, Chrome, and the two dictionaries I checked don't list it as a word. I'm going to keep using it instead of "configured incorrectly" because I ...
15
votes
5answers
8k views

Should I use 'or' or 'nor'?

This document does not cover the SDK interfaces nor any other reference material. I think the above is correct, but my grammatical checker in Microsoft Word underlines nor and suggests or. Why?
15
votes
3answers
759 views

What are wrong with this phrase?

Is the phrase what are wrong with XY and ZZ correct English? I stumbled upon it in a question on movies.SE: What are wrong with the bleach and the fish in the Machinist?, and instantly thought ...
15
votes
2answers
77k views

“Any” followed by singular or plural countable nouns?

This question has troubled me for ages despite my several attempts of looking it up in dictionaries or usage books. Do we say, "Do you have any ideas" or "Do you have any idea"? I do see an example ...
15
votes
5answers
72k views

Should an adverb go before or after a verb?

For example: The word rarely turns up outside of those contexts. The word turns up rarely outside of those contexts. Which one is correct and why?
15
votes
3answers
80k views

“Congratulate for” vs. “congratulate on”

Which is correct? I congratulated him for coming first in the race. I congratulated him on coming first in the race.
15
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it incorrect to say, “Why cannot…?”

At any point in history was "Why cannot...?" used as frequently as "Why can't...?" Is it even grammatically correct to say "Why cannot you do this?" I know it can be rearranged to be "Why can you not ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Definite article — “on television” vs. “on the radio”

Why are these different? We heard the news on the radio. We watched the news on television. In this book, the author says we must use television without the. Why? It makes me crazy. Is ...
14
votes
12answers
4k views

The grammaticality of “that don't impress me much”

I'd like to know how the sentence "That don't impress me much" sounds to a native English speaker. The phrase is the title of a song by Shania Twain, and to my eyes it contains a clear error. It is ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do we say “Present Arms” instead of “Present Your Arms”?

There is a military command to Present Arms. And, depending upon the military and the situation, the typical response is to either salute or hold one's weapon in front of them in the prescribed ...
14
votes
8answers
6k views

“I'm lovin' it”

How normal-sounding is the slogan "I'm lovin' it" to native ears? I know it sounded quite odd to me when I first heard it — and it still sometimes does —, but I can't even tell why. Sure, love is ...
14
votes
5answers
952 views

Can a noun (such as “duct tape”) be used as a verb?

I found the phrase “duct-tape together” in the following sentence of a Washington Post (June 21) article written by Chris Cillizza under the title “Gingrich campaign hit by more departures.” The ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

“Writing things down” vs. “writing things up”

Is there any difference in the usage of "writing things down" vs. "writing things up"? Are they both correct?
14
votes
7answers
55k views

“In time” versus “on time”

Which one is correct: Submit your work in time. Submit your work on time.
14
votes
6answers
51k views

“on the train” or “in the train”?

Which of these is correct: "I am on the train" or "I am in the train"?
14
votes
2answers
836 views

Ellipsis that results in one word serving as both subject and object

Quoting from Jeff Atwood's blog: [I expanded the team] by adding Kevin, who I didn't know, but had built amazing stuff for us without even being asked to, from Texas. And again by adding ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Descriptivism and widespread misspelling

If you search google for "fuscia" it asks "did you mean fuschia?". The correct spelling of the word is "fuchsia". (This was pointed out on the xkcd blog a while ago.) So enough people are spelling ...
14
votes
3answers
342k views

Is “agreeance” a proper word?

Many people in my area use the word "agreeance" and I find it irksome. Dictionary.com seems to be in agreement with me (har har): http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agreeance Main Entry: ...
14
votes
1answer
33k views

Independent/independently of/from

Which of these are correct, and why? Suggestions for rephrasing it are also welcome. [noun] was developed independently of [noun] [noun] was developed independently from [noun] [noun] ...
14
votes
4answers
383 views

“They had whatted the car?”

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language says this: Echo what is syntactically very different from the interrogative pronoun what. It can replace words of more or less any category, and can ...
14
votes
1answer
11k views

What are the rules about using 'half of' with plural nouns?

Here are some sentences with 'half of' and plural nouns that I consider to be well-formed: Half of all films are a waste of celluloid. Half of users surveyed said they preferred the old product. ...
14
votes
3answers
21k views

Where does “emphasis mine” go in a quotation?

I have often seen the term emphasis mine used whenever an author wishes to denote that emphasis in a given quotation originates from said author rather than from the original source. What is the ...
14
votes
4answers
39k views

“As part of” versus “as a part of”

When should I use "as part of", and when "as a part of"?
13
votes
4answers
592 views

Is it grammatical to split either/or into different sentences?

I came across the following sentence in Wikipedia: The bitangent lines can be constructed either by constructing the homothetic centers, as described at that article, and then constructing the ...
13
votes
5answers
6k views

Morbid curiosity about “more better”

I have a grammatical question regarding one of the worst pieces of grammar imaginable. One of my students made the argument that better things could be considered a single item. Is it possible for the ...
13
votes
4answers
701 views

Is “How and why child is become criminal” proper English?

My friend is writing a paper for his Criminal Justice class and has asked me to take a look the the rough draft and point out any grammatical errors that I can spot. The first thing that jumped at ...
13
votes
1answer
484 views

“All your commas are belong to Array” and similar — is this grammar form “proper”?

I've often come across "weird" sentences like, say, instead of: All of your commas belong to Array. It writes: All your commas are belong to Array. It's not just once or twice, I actually ...
13
votes
5answers
700 views

Which is right, “bananas and apples” or “apples and bananas” or both?

My English teacher just asked us to write a random sentence in English. Off the top of my head I wrote "I like to eat apples and bananas". She highlighted "apples" and said: "man, this is blatantly ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

why is “their” the wrong usage in this sentence?

Why is their in the following sentence wrong? The modern American family differs in many significant ways from their nineteenth-century counterpart.
13
votes
3answers
62k views

Sentences beginning with “so”?

This also came up on either a BBC or CBC science program, but not as a linguistically-oriented discussion. Over the last two or three years I've noticed a lot more people starting a sentence with ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

If I help “evacuate” a building, what am I doing to the people?

I remember reading somewhere that to evacuate a person is a medical procedure, and not something to be done during an earthquake. (I thought it was in Fowler, but I just looked and couldn't see it). ...
13
votes
5answers
12k views

Is it correct to say “the bird is in the tree” or “on the tree”?

In the children's rhyme: Johnny and July sitting in a tree K I S S I N G First comes love Then comes marriage Then come children in a baby carriage They are said to be sitting in a tree. ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “The City Beautiful” (Orlando's motto) grammatically correct?

I have always wondered why the motto of the City of Orlando, FL (USA) is worded as The City Beautiful instead of The Beautiful City: Is The City Beautiful grammatically correct? If so, do you have ...
13
votes
4answers
28k views

Is “redact” an acceptable substitute for “delete” or “omit?”

I am constantly reading comments and documents from people who use the verb redact to refer to the act of deleting or otherwise censoring content. This never seemed correct to me, but until today it ...
13
votes
7answers
24k views

Which is correct: “bored of”, “bored by”, “bored with”?

I have been asked by a young friend, "Which is correct: bored by, bored of, or bored with?" My instinct is to say that "bored of" and "bored by" are fine, but "bored with" sounds like she is being ...
13
votes
2answers
15k views

Why is the phrase “should have went” so widely used?

Rarely do we hear "should have gone" in common speech. Some background: My father immigrated to the US in the late 60s. He learned English first overseas, British English. Then he studied extensively ...
13
votes
2answers
38k views

“In detail” vs. “in details”

Which form is correct: "in detail" or "in details"? I want to use it while describing an algorithm. First I give a general description of an algorithm and then more detailed description.
13
votes
5answers
60k views

Is a thumb also a finger?

The thumb has a different name compared to the other fingers (index, middle, ring, little) and it does not end with "finger". Also, when referring to the hand, I have seen literature where it is ...
13
votes
1answer
9k views

Ellipsis or Ellipses?

Inspired by this question: What is the correct term to use when describing the "three dots" (. . .), ellipsis or ellipses? And are either of these terms considered plural? For example, if I wanted to ...
12
votes
7answers
35k views

How can I explain to people that the phrase “off of ” is grammatically incorrect?

How can I explain to people that the phrase off of is grammatically incorrect? I‘ve heard this phrase used a lot, especially by Americans (though they aren't the only ones). In my understanding, ...
12
votes
7answers
49k views

Is it ok to start a sentence with “also”?

Is it ok to start a sentence with also? Also, I had given him the file you sent me.
12
votes
4answers
939 views

“This box of matches is empty”

There are several Japanese books teaching Japanese students how to write in English. I found this example in 『英作文参考書の誤りを正す』 (Correcting Errors in English Composition Manuals) by Michio Kawakami and ...
12
votes
9answers
15k views

Is “I am sat” bad English?

Is "I am sat" bad English? I believe it is incorrect and instead either the present continuous I am sitting or the predicate adjective I am seated should be used. I hear this quite often, ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

Is it wrong to say “cook a cake”?

Is it wrong to say "to cook a cake"?
12
votes
3answers
38k views

“Invite” vs. “invitation”

I hear a lot of people saying "Send me an invite". I always thought that it was an 'invitation'. Is "sending one an invite" accepted usage? Or is it incorrect? If I need to get my wedding invitation ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

“This includes me” or “This includes myself”? [duplicate]

Which of the following is correct - or are both of these examples grammatical? This includes me, my friend and my brother. This includes myself, my friend and my brother. EDIT NOTE: ...
12
votes
2answers
21k views

Can you grammatically end a sentence with “with”?

Do you want to come with? Can I come with? I seem to hear this construction more often in recent years, but it still grates on my ear. I know it's often said that one shouldn't end a ...
12
votes
5answers
12k views

Future tense in conditional clauses

All the textbooks I have ever come across during the course of my studying English emphasize that future tense should not be used in conditional clauses. For example, If it rains in the evening, ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Can “real” be used as an adverb to describe an adjective?

Is this correct? That is a real cool answer. I learned that that was incorrect, since "real" is an adjective which can describe a noun, e.g. "real answer" but it is not an adverb which can ...