A sentence is a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate.

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72
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12answers
9k 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... ...
27
votes
12answers
5k views

“Nothing to tell” versus “nothing to say”

There's nothing to tell. There's nothing to say. Can anyone explain the difference between those two statements and give some examples on how they should be used? I think I do have a basic ...
25
votes
10answers
4k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
6k views

How do you capitalize a proper noun such as “iPhone”?

I was always taught to capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence, and also the first letter of proper nouns. In the last few years it's been common for certain firms to name their ...
20
votes
6answers
870 views

Is there any valid rule discouraging the use of a certain word to start a sentence?

Is there any rule you think is valid that discourages the use of a certain word to start a sentence? Because I suspect the answer is no. But it would be good to have a blanket answer to this kind of ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

How should I end sentences with a URL as the last word?

For example, The website I was referring to is hosted at http://english.stackexchange.com. How should I place the fullstop at the end?
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Is it really incorrect to start a sentence with “and”?

I know it's wrong, but I do it all the time or else my sentences would go on forever.
16
votes
14answers
29k views

Shortest complete sentence in English

What is the shortest complete sentence in English?
14
votes
4answers
5k views

Is there an online sample sentence database or search engine?

Sometime, I am not sure if I use a specific word correctly. I would like to get some sample sentences to learn from. So, is there a online sample sentence database/search engine?
13
votes
1answer
986 views

How to deal with abbreviations at the end of a question?

In a sentence like Should we host them on imgur et cetera? where I want to abbreviate the "et cetera", what is the correct punctuation? Using a period after the "etc." like mid sentence usages ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Starting an independent statement with “I mean, …”

A friend was noting that his daughter would occasionally start sentences with the phrase "I mean, " simply for emphasis, not for clarification: Friend: How was the Miley Cyrus concert? ...
12
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
737 views

What does “Has it come to this?” in “Republican leaders quickly voiced horror at these tactics. ‘Has it come to this?’ said John Boehner” mean?

There was the following sentence in July 19 New York Time’s editorial titled “Democrats Gain the Upper Hand”: “Senator Patty Murray, a member of the Democratic leadership, said Monday that her party ...
10
votes
5answers
801 views

“Since” vs “ever since”

Example: Tufy was our Chihuahua. He'd been in the family (ever) since I was born. Would adding ever change the meaning of the sentence?
10
votes
4answers
427 views

Why am I always compelled to begin a response with “Well, ”?

Because of a certain 140 character limit I've learned where I can trim characters on responses but even after all this time I still reply with "Well, so and so . . ." and I go back and have to delete ...
10
votes
2answers
914 views

What does the phrase, “there is properly no history, only biography” mean?

I found Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous words, “there is properly no history, only biography,” in his “Essay I” being quoted in the article titled “Keeping the dream alive: A biography,” appearing in ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

The sentence with the most prepositions at its end — does it really work?

What did you bring that book that I don't want to be read to from out of about 'Down Under' up for? I was wondering whether this sentence is actually correct and if it is, whether someone could ...
10
votes
3answers
461 views

Do listeners understand different adjective orders?

I found Adjective order, but I keep wondering if listeners actually understand what I mean when I don't follow that order. For example, if I say, "a lovely long white coat," I may change it to "a long ...
9
votes
5answers
10k views

Can you use two “and”s in a sentence?

For example, I like chocolate, vanilla, and lemon and orange ice cream. Indicating "lemon and orange" is a combined flavor, as an item in the list needing an initial and.
8
votes
7answers
3k views

What's wrong with “We hope you will find our Qualifications to be well-organized, concise, and most of all, to exceed your expectations.”

Why is the following sentence grammatically incorrect? We hope you will find our Qualifications to be well-organized, concise, and most of all, to exceed your expectations. I've asked three ...
8
votes
7answers
15k views

Is it correct to start a sentence with 'also'?

Is it correct to start a sentence with 'also'? Also, I had given him the file you sent me.
8
votes
3answers
543 views

The ambitious/arrogant tone of “I”

I don't understand why but I feel arrogant or ambitious when I use a simple sentence in active voice using "I" especially while I was writing my college essay or curriculum vitae e.g. "I managed a ...
7
votes
5answers
630 views

What does “I believe in making America safe for old-fashioned light bulbs and not those weird curly ones,” mean?

I saw the line, “That’s all I believe in. That and making America safe for old-fashioned light bulbs and not those weird curly ones,” in the speech of Michele Bachmann quoted in Maureen Dowd column in ...
7
votes
4answers
804 views

Why must you capitalize the first word of a sentence? [closed]

My suspicion is it provides more visual indication that a new sentence is starting, but it bothers me because I think a period / exclamation / question mark seems sufficient to me. Plus, if a proper ...
7
votes
3answers
246 views

Breaking or break the habit

Which of these sentences is grammatically correct? Imagining the ill effects of smoking led him to ultimately break the habit. Imagining the ill effects of smoking led him to ultimately breaking the ...
7
votes
2answers
760 views

Is it okay to start a sentence with a Greek letter (variable)?

Is it okay to start a sentence with a variable? Do I need to rewrite a sentence just because the subject is typeset as a Greek letter? For example: Φ is treated in a special way. vs. ...
7
votes
2answers
340 views

Help me parse this sentence so I can understand what joke my ancestors played on the King

I'm reading an old history book about my ancestors entitled "Rulewater And Its People: An Account Of The Valley Of The Rule And Its Inhabitants" published in 1907 by George Tancred. In it, I'm having ...
7
votes
2answers
510 views

Longer than a word — smaller than a sentence

What would you call a linguistic construct that is just big enough to convey a meaning within a context, longer than a word but not having the length and proper form of a complete sentence? Like, for ...
6
votes
3answers
11k views

What does “find someone well” mean?

I got some email from a stranger that contains: I hope this email finds you well. So what does "find you well" means here? Does it mean "Are you well" or "The email find the right guy"? I'm a ...
6
votes
4answers
886 views

Attributive and predicative position of an adjective

I have some difficulty understanding the position of adjectives. In English I have to put the adjective before the referred name (e.g., I'm an Italian man). In some languages (as Italian or Ancient ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

What does “Watch the plain clothes” account for in terms of “Cheap liquor nationalism”?

International Herald Tribune (September 30) introduced a commentary of Japanese novelist, Haruki Murakami who is regarded as a favorite for this year’s Nobel Prize in literature on Japan’s dispute ...
6
votes
1answer
147 views

Is ‘Today, Japan’s old age social security system is running at a deficit, is the whole country” in Forbes magazine a right sentence? [closed]

I’m puzzled about the meaning of “is the whole country” in the following sentence of the article titled “Japan’s choice: Sink the welfare state or collapse – Whither Japan,” in October 21 Forbes ...
6
votes
8answers
692 views

Superlative and definite article “the”

I have seen similar questions like this here on ELU. However, I am still confused with my particular question. (a) She gets up latest in her family. (b) She gets up the latest in her family. ...
5
votes
6answers
4k views

Is a sentence always grammatically incorrect if it has no verb?

Is the following grammatically correct? My friend says the second sentence is grammatically incorrect, but couldn't explain why. I have always been fascinated by statistics. The different ways in ...
5
votes
7answers
2k views

“Viewer discretion is advised”

This program contains material that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised. Is that 100% correct English? This is the text shown before some TV programs. When I first ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “Please advise” a real sentence?

Is Please advise really a sentence? If so, is it because there is an implied subject (I am not sure if that even exists)?
5
votes
4answers
7k views

Active to Passive voice: “Go to School Now”

How would you convert the imperative sentence: "Go to school now." to the passive voice? While discussing it in class, our teacher gave the following solution: "You are ordered to go to school now." ...
5
votes
2answers
313 views

Is this a valid sentence using “approbation” [closed]

I believe the word means to approve or praise. So can I use it as Are you looking for an approbation from your boss ? or Why are you still standing here ? Do you want me to approbate you ? ...
5
votes
1answer
314 views

Need clarify the use of word “locates” in the sentence

My English teacher asked a quiz question: The dancing club ___ north of this district a. lays b. lies c. locates d. lain The answer was given as c. locates. I feel something ...
5
votes
3answers
8k views

What does “pass it on” mean?

I love the song Pass It On by The Coral, but I can't understand the meaning of this sentence: Just find the feeling, pass it on. What does pass it on mean?
5
votes
1answer
361 views

Job requirements. Why do they write words with capital letters within sentences?

I noticed the capitalization within sentences. For example, Great experience in Java, Android SDK with core knowledge of Object Oriented Programming principles and Design Patterns. Is there a ...
5
votes
1answer
591 views

“I give nothing to no-one” or “I do not give anything to anyone”

I have a bit of an issue with negations. Are the following correct? I do not give anything to anyone //I guess this is correct I give nothing to no-one //can I say that? Generally, is it the same ...
5
votes
1answer
83 views

Is there a proper way to refer to the “source” and “destination” of a phrase used in communication?

The terms topic or subject can be used to describe what a sentence refers to. What are the proper terms for the "source" (the person who is speaking or writing) and "destination" (the person who is ...
5
votes
4answers
756 views

Using “basically” in an interview

Can I use word basically in an interview? For example I basically belong to X but I am working at Y from last 10 years. Or can I use I belong to X and I am working at Y from last 10 years. ...
5
votes
2answers
862 views

Is “to [verb] will [verb]” a complete statement?

Let's have, for example, the following phrase. To create fancy product will require more effort. Is it a grammatically complete and correct sentence?
5
votes
3answers
662 views

Shortest correct sentence in English- use of contractions [duplicate]

I often hear people saying that "I am" is the shortest sentence in the English language. I know that there are also discussions about sentences using the imperative mood such as "Go." that would be ...
5
votes
2answers
257 views

English sentence structure

My daughter wrote a short story at school and wrote ''said the woman'' the teacher corrected this and wrote '' the woman said'' Is it not correct either way?
5
votes
1answer
559 views

Is every sentence in a tense?

I know that "tense" indicates time. If that is true, then not every sentence can be indicated of its tense. Please review these sentences: "If I could go to the market , I must have taken breakfast ...
5
votes
2answers
447 views

OK to use two “there”s in a sentence?

A teacher once told me that it is improper to use two there words in a sentence, such as There is a woman there. or Is there a man there? and instead state A woman is there. or ...
5
votes
2answers
329 views

When talking about something, where do we place its name in the sentence?

In Computer Science papers (and I'm sure that in papers in many other fields, too), we often have to describe a new tool or method that has a name. Let's talk for instance about Eclipse, and its wide ...