Questions about prepositional phrases.

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38
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6answers
104k views

“Replace with” versus “replace by”

I often see "replace with" and "replace by" used interchangeably, but this doesn't sound right to me: I replaced that component by this one. I would use "with" in such a sentence. "By" only ...
30
votes
3answers
197k views

“Consist in” vs. “consist of”

I would like to clarify this once and for all: What is the correct use of "consist in" vs. "consist of"? "Meditation consists in/of attentive watchfulness." "The body consists in/of cells." ...
12
votes
3answers
7k views

Comma after introductory phrases

I am no native speaker and always confused about the comma in introductory phrases, in particular in prepositional phrases. Is there any hard rule when a comma must be set? If I make a google search ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Do brides in church weddings go up the aisle toward the altar or down the aisle toward the altar?

Nigel Rees, The Cassell Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins (1987) has this entry regarding the question "WHY DO WE SAY ... BRIDES GO UP THE AISLE?" Sir Thomas Bazley fired off a letter to The ...
10
votes
3answers
8k views

Near, near to and nearby. What's the difference?

Why isn't near, near to and nearby always interchangeable? They can precede the noun. I live nearby the railway station I live near the railway station I live near to the railway station ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

When can “very” modify a prepositional phrase?

In Hamlet, when Hammy Jr. asks Polonius whether a cloud looks like a whale, Polly replies, Very like a whale. In contemporary English, however, "very like ..." feels ungrammatical. You instead ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “nothing but birds and a few insects” singular or plural?

Nothing but birds and a few insects [was/were] to be seen. In that sentence, should the verb agree with "nothing" or with "birds and a few insects"?
7
votes
4answers
392 views

Ambiguous syntax tree and phrase structure rules

I’m studying for a final for my English Linguistics class and going through example sentences that we should be able to draw syntax trees for. The sentence He looked at the dog with one eye was marked ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Using “to” versus “for” between two nouns (“key to success”)

Another user provided an example and I have added others: Key to exercise Key for exercise Answer to a problem Answer for a problem Bullet to a gun Bullet for a gun She bought ...
7
votes
3answers
19k views

Is there a difference in meaning between “from the beginning” and “since the beginning”?

He’s been with us from the beginning. Is there a difference between from and since in the context of the quoted sentence?
7
votes
2answers
451 views

On Paddington Station?

I was interested to read that Paddington Bear was found on Paddington Station, not in or at Paddington Station. I would never have chosen this usage (I speak Canadian English). I had a look at Google ...
7
votes
2answers
197 views

Wikipedia's definition of “Adverbial”

On the Wikipedia page for Adverbials, it says [emphasis mine] 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
7k views

Is 'there' an adverb or a preposition? (Or something else entirely!?)

Most dictionaries seem to describe 'there' as an adverb. Oxford online dictionary definition Is this true? "Last year we went to Paris. We stayed there for three nights." In sentences like this ...
6
votes
1answer
220 views

“An” average of vs. “The” average of

When nouns such as average, total, sum, etc., are modified by a prepositional phrase, how do you choose between the definite and indefinite articles? I cited sentences 1, 3, and 5 below from various ...
6
votes
2answers
10k views

Can a prepositional phrase be the direct object?

We're covering grammar in English I, and we just got to gerunds. In one of the exercises, I had the sentence "Pilgrims learned about planting crops from the Wampanoags." I'm supposed to find the ...
5
votes
2answers
659 views

Prepositions: “The confusing widgets of language”

The title is adapted from an article in THE WEEK, written by James Harbeck. Well worth reading if you ask me. I don't particularly like prepositions. They are small, seemingly insignificant things ...
5
votes
4answers
991 views

Up my street and down the lane [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Do I travel “up” or “down” to London from north of the city? Except where there is obvious difference in elevation e.g. on a sloping road, how do ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a word for a verb which requires an adverb or prep. phrase in order to make sense?

Put is the one I'm thinking of. It is always transitive, but even with a direct object, it still makes no sense without an adverb or prepositional phrase. I put it somewhere. I put it on the ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

On the part of speech of “now”

I recently had a conversation about the Spanish word "ahora", in which my conversant claimed that "ahora" is always an adverb, and never a noun. This lead me to investigate the part of speech of ...
5
votes
4answers
10k views

“'To'/'on' the contrary” in these sentences: is the difference very slight?

I was interested in the following sentences which appeared, respectively, in a news article titled “Can’t Park? Blame a Condo" and in a news article titled "Senator Simmons on the Negro", both in The ...
5
votes
4answers
941 views

Which is better equivalent for “in stock”? “At hand”, “on hand”, or “in hand”?

Which is a better equivalent for “in stock” (meaning a product is in stock)? “at hand” “on hand” “in hand” Can any of them be used? Which is the most appropriate? Which is second-best?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How to distinguish between positions of prepositional phrases?

Is there a name for where prepositional phrases are in a sentence? For example, is there a name to distinguish between the following sentences? There has not been a queen on the island. On the ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Sentences start with Of

What is the meaning of of when it starts a sentence? For example, and what is the grammatically correct way to write a sentence starting with of?
4
votes
2answers
5k views

What are “up” and “down” in “up there” and “down there”?

"Up there" and "down there" are two of the most frequent expressions that I, myself, use often. I really don't know whether they are just expressions used to refer to a place to go ("I went down ...
4
votes
3answers
872 views

Test for intransitivity of verbs?

Is it true that if any verb is immediately followed by a prepositional phrase, then it has to be an intransitive verb? As a counter example, I need a sentence which: (i) has only one verb, and ...
4
votes
3answers
614 views

Part of speech of “brief” and “short” in the phrases “in brief” and “in short”

The phrases "in brief" and "in short" function as adverbs, but as what part of speech do "brief" and "short" function in these phrases? "Brief" stands alone as both a noun and adjective and could be ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the difference between prepositional phrase and adverbial complement?

“I try to give ‘em a reason, you see. It helps folks if they can latch onto a reason.” (Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird) When we say ‘prepositional verb’ and ‘adverbial complement,’ are they ...
4
votes
1answer
83 views

“frightened 'by' spiders” vs. “frightened 'of' spiders” in AmEng

Could you explain the difference between these two sentences: I'm frightened BY spiders. I'm frightened OF spiders. Obviously both are used in American English in the sense "have a fear ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

When are the phrases “in motion” and “in movement” used?

When are the phrases in motion and in movement used? In motion is the most popular form based on a Google search, but in movement still has 3 080 000 results.
4
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
824 views

“A threat to us people” or “a threat to we people”? [closed]

Which of these is correct: Global warming is a great threat to us people. Global warming is a great threat to we people.
4
votes
3answers
43 views

Will prepositional verbs always prevent us from moving the preposition to the middle of a sentence?

I'm bringing this question because I'm not sure whether a preposition in the end of a sentence can be moved to the middle, especially considering prepositional verbs. Also, I'd like to know which ...
4
votes
2answers
187 views

Can one talk “with” someone?

The verb talk usually has to preceding its complement/object: (I) I talked to him about his misbehavior. Is it idiomatic (and/or grammatical) to use with instead? (II) I talked with him about ...
3
votes
3answers
394 views

What function does this prepositional phrase have in this biblical sentence?

From Mark 7:13: Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. Although this sentence may be incomplete, I am wondering ...
3
votes
2answers
781 views

What's the most appropriate preposition to use with the word “status”?

Say I have application that tracks TODO items; each TODO item has a status, e.g. "Not Started", "In Progress", "Completed", etc. Which phrasing is the most appropriate to display in the application? ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Difference between 'to the left' and 'on the left'

I have encountered these expressions today, when I was describing a photo. People are lining up in the picture. I wanted to explain someone who is standing next to the person on the far left. And I ...
3
votes
3answers
849 views

Using “connotation of” in an active manner?

How can I use the word connotation is a more active phrasing? Often, if I want to say an object that suggests magic, I may say "the object has a connotation of being magical". But this phrasing is ...
3
votes
1answer
48 views

sentence structure: Why is the subject placed in the end of this sentence?

While I was reading a Barron's book, I saw this sentence. Its structure is not as what I always knew, but it seemed much more beautiful to me. "Along with the rise of agricultural societies came ...
3
votes
3answers
121 views

Do I need an extra “about”, or does one suffice?

Consider the following sentence: I have a lot to talk about with John about his project. Since I can swap the position of the first about to make it 'I have a lot to talk with John about', then ...
3
votes
1answer
299 views

Version control “in revision” vs. “at revision”

Should a programmer use in or at as a preposition when referring to the version-control revision number? Example: Which is correct, fixed in revision 12345 or fixed at revision 12345? The ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Ordering prepositional phrases

I have rewritten a sentence like the one below several times, and I could not seem to put the prepositional phrases in an order that sounded correct to me. Is there a better way to construct this ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

“My aunt is coming to dinner tomorrow” (grammar of 'to dinner')

My aunt is coming to dinner tomorrow. The meaning is clear. However, if you think about it, what this seems to literally say is that the aunt is going directly to some dinner (and not even an ...
3
votes
3answers
359 views

What preposition do we use with the adjective 'telling' when it means 'revealing'?

Example I: "How telling this is [of/about] the way international students continue to be perceived by their American peers on U.S. campuses?" Example II: "Public opinion is telling ...
3
votes
1answer
11k views

Is single-word “inbetween” becoming more acceptable? How far can it go?

I get the distinct feeling that "inbetween" occurs increasingly often as a single word, but I'm not at all clear on why it's used more in some contexts than others. What I can is see that in Google ...
3
votes
2answers
280 views

Omitting definite articles in prepositional phrases with specific objects

Hyphenated adjectives aside, is omitting the "the" in "on scene," "in studio," "on set" etc. any more or less correct than including it? My inquiry stems primarily from curiosity about the use of ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

'out of' vs 'from' (a series)

Is it acceptable to say something along the lines of "this microphone is out of the 122 series" instead of "this microphone is from the 122 series" ? I have a colleague who insists that using 'out ...
3
votes
4answers
155 views

Is the statement “to insert (one object) _over_ (another object)” acceptable usage?

The common definition for "insert" is: to put or place in, as in "to insert a key in a lock." Nonetheless, particularly in technical descriptions, you can find numerous examples where "insert" is ...
3
votes
4answers
230 views

Half doesn't or half don't? [duplicate]

What’s the right version of these two? Half of the students doesn’t bother to show up. Half of the students don’t bother to show up. Or are both right?
2
votes
4answers
512 views

Preposition used after “do”

I am an English native speaker working as a teacher in Germany. When marking my pupils' essays I often encounter the phrase "to do something against something", which is as far as I know simply a ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“Can we get this over with?”

I am confused about this sentence because it ends in a preposition, something that I thought was not really grammatically correct: Can we get this over with? In addition, I haven't found a ...