Verbs are words that express an action, occurrence, or a state of being.

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Why put the verb before the subject?

The opening sentence to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien reads, In a hole in the ground there lived [verb] a hobbit [subject]. I wonder if there are accepted stylistic purposes for such a structure. ...
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What is the meaning of “ought not”?

Consider this example: A few strong branches over water reach for what they ought not reach. Which of the meanings comes closest to “ought not” in this sentence? Is it “doesn't have to”, “should ...
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What do you call a verb which accepts 2 nouns?

In English, there are intransitive verbs which can't used with a noun, or aren't being used with a noun (eg. listen, die, ...), and transitive verbs which can be (eg. almost all of them). However, ...
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What is the difference between “horrify” and “terrify”?

When would I use one, versus using the other?
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When to use “use” and when to use “utilize” in a sentence?

Sometimes I go through articles and find the expression utilize, I've always been wondering if there are special cases in which it should be used instead of used. Also because google ngram clearly ...
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406 views

Verb form of “to blacken” versus “to brown” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Verbed color names and “-en” It just sounds right, but why is brown its own verb when "to make Black" turns into blacken? I assume it's something to do with ...
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448 views

Usage of “compensate” as a recompense for gain instead of loss [closed]

To keep this PG, I've changed the popular saying we've all heard: "He has a huge truck to compensate for his small ego" But I've recently been using a sort of counter to the joke, in one form or ...
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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" ...
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Which past tense of “to light” should I use here?

I know that there are two ways to form the past tense of to light (i.e. lit/lighted). Which one is appropriate for the sentence below? His thoughts lighted our way. or His thoughts lit our ...
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1answer
4k views

“I finally was able” or “I was finally able”?

Is one form wrong or more correct than the other? Or do they have different meanings? I'm a non-native speaker trying to figure it out.
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Is “lay” in this sentence in the correct tense?

I'm making a description for an app, this strikes me as a bit awkward for some reason: "I wanted to create an app that lay somewhere between an ecosystem and a musical instrument." Is the word ...
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The times are a-changing? Why a-? [duplicate]

I'm Italian so I don't know English very well. While listening to Bob Dylan songs I've heard some strange use of progressive tense (is that the correct term?), the title of this question is one ...
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Historical Basis for “To Graduate” Being Only a Transitive Verb

About nine years ago, I received from a quite insistent source the claim that the verb "to graduate" is transitive, and, specifically, that the intransitive usage was wrong. For example, the ...
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To write or to write to?

Is it correct to say "I wrote him" or "I wrote to him"? My Mother was a stickler for English grammar and would say "I wrote your Uncle..." rather than "I wrote to your Uncle..."
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“Would you have liked to have been” vs. “would you have liked to be”

I was interested in the following sentence which appeared in an article titled “No Rest for the Weary” in The New York Times (February 15, 2008). Would you have liked to have been president from ...
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1answer
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Present perfect and present perfect continuous for actions in progress

My grammar book says that both present perfect and present perfect continuous, when used with "for, since, etc", express a situation that began in the past and continues to the present. When used ...
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1answer
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“has” vs “have” usage after enumerating two subjects, the first one in plural [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Singular or plural following a list I'm inclined towards the 2nd sentence, because 1) the first subject is plural and 2) there are two subjects. Sub-question: but what ...
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“Please explain” or “explain please”

Which one is correct in this context? Person A: I think Apple will displace Google. Person B: Please explain. Should he say/write "Explain please"?
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Does the verb after 'set of' agree with 'set' or the plural noun that follows?

Does the verb after 'a set of + plural noun' agree with 'set' or 'noun'? For example: 'Law is a set of rules that govern/governs society.'
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What is the correct verb for 'driving' a ferry?

The captain of a ferry appears to steer or drive it. What is the correct verb for this?
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What are the antonyms of “append” and “prepend”?

I need the antonyms for "append" (that is, I need a word that means "to remove at the end", since "append" means "to add at the end") and "prepend" (that is, I need a word that means "to remove at the ...
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2answers
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“has been raised” or “was raised” in an academic journal [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Past simple and present perfect The first line in my research is the following: Since the May 6, 2010 ``Flash Crash’’ event, the following question has been raised ...
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Using verb tenses correctly

I'm trying to keep this descriptive essay in the past tense. I bolded the words of my concern (and italicized the ones I believe are in the right tense) in the following passage: As a result of ...
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“A classmate and I was” vs “A classmate and I were”

I'm writing a resume right now targeted towards a specific company. My girlfriend (a classmate) and I were (see, I don't know if that's the right word, hence this question!) the first from our school ...
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Explain the verb tense in “I wish I never woke up this morning”

This is from a song by Police, Darkness: "I can dream up schemes when I'm sitting in my seat I don't see any flaws 'til I get to my feet I wish I never woke up this morning Life was easy ...
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Is the sentence “I want to take a rest” wrong?

I heard that we should use "I want to rest" instead of "I want to take a rest." I also heard that "I want to take a rest" is not a sentence a native speaker would use. Is that correct? Should we ...
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Close by or nearby? [closed]

The cops traced residential address of his relatives who lived close by. Close up/down, close off, close in are terms well understood, I have not seen such usage of close + by. Would it be ...
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1answer
340 views

There is vs There are [duplicate]

I'm aware of (multitudinous) related, similar questions concerning this, but I still feel tentative for the following example. I also referenced ...
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1answer
331 views

Unusual word order in “Fear not this night”?

Yesterday, I've listened to a song called "Fear not this night". I find the syntax unusual (as a foreigner, I have never encountered it). Is it the same meaning as "Don't fear this night" ? What's the ...
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6answers
918 views

Verb to describe “to enable or to disable”

I'm looking for a word that describes "to enable or to disable". This related question found the hypernyms mode and state, but I am looking for a verb. I.e. a word for "(potentially) change ...
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Sum up the users? Or sum up the number of users?

Let's say that there is a list of users and I want to know how many users are in the list. Would I 'sum up the users,' 'sum the users,' 'sum up the number of the users,' 'sum the number of users,' or ...
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1answer
926 views

Under what circumstances can the word “be” be used directly without any change? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use the subjunctive mood? 2 examples first: 1.It is announced that the accounting class of the 3rd and 4th hours on the morning of this Wednesday be ...
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“Thank you for coming” and “Thank you for your coming”

Consider "Thank you for coming" and "Thank you for your coming". Would the latter one be grammatical? Why? Is it possible to recognize latter "coming" as noun? Some say you need no pronoun because it ...
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Difference Between “Sell” and “Sale”?

I'm a copy editor at a law firm and need to give a quick-and-dirty explanation of the difference between "sell" and "sale" to a native English speaker (a legal secretary) who is very self-conscious ...
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“Fetch some water in a quiver” or “Get some water in a quiver”?

What is the most effective and correct way to use the sentences? 1) He requested his friend to fetch some water in a quiver. 2) He requested his friend to get some water in a quiver. Is there any ...
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1answer
234 views

We was gonna have some fun [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “You was trouble”? In the movie "Thelma & Louise", Thelma says: You said we was gonna have some fun, so let's have some! So my question is why does ...
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How is “all your data are belong to US” grammatically correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “All your commas are belong to Array” and similar — is this grammar form “proper”? What's the necessity of "are" before "belong" in this ...
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You right/you are right

I often encounter people saying "you right" instead of "you are right". Is it correct? UPDATE. I meant I often encounter things like "yes, you right" in written form.
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Is it correct to say “John helps you talk with people”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct way to use infinitive after the verb "help": with or without "to"? Sorry if this is a stupid question, but English is not my first language. For me ...
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Which of these is the correct usage of the words “listen”, “hear”?

Which of these sentences is correct? Why? You must hear to this song. You must listen to this song. Have you heard to this song? Have you listened to this song?
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There was a rumor + is/was

Could anyone tell me that if the sentence "There was a rumor that Citibank is in debt." is grammatically correct ? Please advise me. Some say it is correct while others say it is ungrammatical. I'm ...
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Simple past vs. present perfect [closed]

I have a few questions about simple situations. What should I say to another person right after falling? a) I fell b) I have fallen What should I say to another person right after throwing a ball? ...
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“Can” vs “Able to”: People/Animals vs. Inanimate Objects

I’m wondering if the English grammar “rule” given below, which I have heard from numerous non-native speakers, has any validity. “can” is used for people, animals, and inanimate objects. ...
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“Could not have been” vs. “must not have been”

What's the difference between "could not have been" and "must not have been"? For example, That could not have been an easy task. That must not have been an easy task. I've seen both ...
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1answer
265 views

Singular or plural verb with two subjects [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using “do” or “does” for two things connected by “and”? I'm writing an interrogative sentence questioning someone else's writing: "Is grammar and spelling correct?" ...
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6answers
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“I am angry to die” or “I am angry to death”

I want to say that I may die because I am angry. Can I say "I am angry to die" or "I am angry to death" to express the above?
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“I didn't spend” vs “I didn't spent” [closed]

Which is the correct grammar? Which is correct?
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Which one is correct: “was/were dead” or “is/are dead” years ago? [closed]

What are the differences between “was/were dead” and “is/are dead”? For example, Osama is/was dead years ago. Are they interchangeable?
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Difference between “delete” and “remove” [closed]

I am writing a mobile application that will, as a part of its functionality, display a list of recorded thoughts. Now I am deciding the textual content of the menus and that left me thinking whether ...
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You “show” someone a picture. You “---” someone a song?

In Maltese, we have a verb meaning "to show" corresponding to "to see/to look", and we have a different verb corresponding to "to hear/to listen": inti tara stampa (you look at a picture.) ---- ...