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

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“They knew what mercy is” vs. “they knew what mercy was”

They knew what mercy is. They knew what mercy was. Mercy is something that always exists so can I say is as in the quoted example?
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“Will discuss the matter” vs. “will discuss on this matter”

I received an email with the following sentence: The meetings will be discussing on this early next week. I have two questions: Should we use will discuss rather than will be discussing? I don'...
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Present perfect tense with the verb 'is'

I would like to know how to use the verb to be and its past participle. For example: The rain is gone. Is is present perfect tense here?
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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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3answers
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Direct and Indirect Objects with the verbs: Give, Buy, and Bring

Both these phrases are correct, Give me it Buy me them so why are these sentences wrong? Give John it Buy John them In these sentences, "me/John" are both indirect ...
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Does “help” take the preposition “to”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct way to use infinitive after the verb “help”: with or without “to”? “Help rule out” vs. “help to rule out” ...
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“Is” vs. “Are” when using the word “Pair” in a mathematical setting

I've seen equally good arguments for and against using "is" for this sentence. The pair of polynomials (f,g) is/are related by the reciprocity law. Which verb is used correctly?
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What are all the words that make up a complete list of linking verbs in English?

What are all the words that make up a complete list of linking verbs in English? My English teacher from what I can remember listed them as follows, am I missing any? is • am • are • was • were • ...
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4answers
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login and payoff are nouns. But can they be used as verbs?

I know that words like login and payoff are properly nouns but I increasingly notice many (not at all uneducated) people use them as verbs: Will you payoff your credit card this month? and ...
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“Hello” as a verb

A dictionary says that Hello could be a verb, noun and interjection. I'm not sure I saw it to be a verb though. Q: Could someone provide an example of 'hello' where it's used as verb. In the meaning ...
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588 views

'Hark' and 'behold' call attention to what we can hear or see. Is there an equivalent for smell?

'Hark' calls attention to something that we hear - for example: "Hark, the herald angels sing" (hymn of the same title, by Charles Wesley) 'Behold' calls attention to something that we see - for ...
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3answers
870 views

Evolution of irregular verbs over the last century

I learned at school that irregular verbs are slowly disappearing from the language: "spelled" is more used than "spelt", "learned" than "learnt", etc. But recently, someone told me that some new ...
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Historical usage of “was”/“were” with “you”

I was reading letters from a surgeon to his wife during the Civil War and noticed he used "was" as opposed to "were" on many occasions. Examples: I truly wish you was here with me. Was you ...
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Is “want” a causative verb?

I've always held on to the definition that Causative Verbs express how the Noun before the Verb influences the execution of an action. Similarly, the Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written ...
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4answers
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Is 'quantitate' a synonym for 'quantify' or just a misnomer?

I have always used quantify, but have been encountering quantitate more and more in scientific literature. Is quantitate a "valid" verb and a synonym for quantify? Otherwise is there a subtle ...
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“I am thinking to invest” or “I am thinking investing”?

Which of the following sentences is correct? I am thinking to invest in stocks. I am thinking investing into stocks.
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399 views

“Gadhafi forces retreat” - how do you understand that?

Our local newspaper had the headline today "Gadhafi forces retreat" and I read it with "retreat" as the verb instead of "forces" as the verb. I know it is a poorly written headline, but which way is ...
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2answers
3k views

What is the difference between “raise” and “rise”?

What is the difference between raise and rise? When and how should I use each one?
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320 views

“What questions [is/are] your data team hoping to answer?”

Over at stats.stackexchange we are having a minor kerfuffle over whether a title is using incorrect grammar. It has been edited and re-edited several times. It would be great to get some arbitration ...
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“Cancellation”, “Canceled”, “Canceling” — US usage

I'm trying to figure out if there is a specific rule behind the word "cancel" that would cause "cancellation" to have two L's, but "canceled" and "canceling" to have only one (in the US). I ...
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2answers
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Why is “can” such an odd verb?

The English verb can is very strange for several reasons: It drops the to on any infinitive verb forms that follow it. That is, unlike in the verb want in the sentence I want to eat, you would not ...
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“How much water do you take a bath with?” — Is this sentence correct?

I corrected the student, saying that he should write "How much water do you use to take a bath?" because his sentence seemed unnatural to me. Do you consider it correct? Would you use it?
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Verb agreement in “Where is the Messiah and his Kingdom?”

Where is the Messiah and his Kingdom? I think it should be "Where are the Messiah and his kingdom"; it just sounds better! But my friends and even a teacher claim that "is" would be correct.
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Here's — Plurality Question

A phrase I came across tonight was "Here's the good news and the bad news." Trouble is, "Here's" means "Here is", and "is" is meant for one thing, not two things. I'm describing two things. However, "...
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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" or "...
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Hyphens in verb construction containing prefix such as “re”

In semi-formal business writing in the United States, I often observe that writers tend to add a hyphen between a prefix and the root infinitive of verbs. In many of the cases, the resulting verb ...
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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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I'm looking for a word that describes that moment you feel overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of nature

I was on a mountain the other day and had a moment where I just had to stop and take it all in. I felt insignificant (in the best way) and just stopped to admire where I was. The closest words I could ...
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4answers
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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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318 views

“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Is become” vs “has become” This is a famous quote from J. Robert Oppenheimer after the successful detonation of the first nuclear weapon. The quote ...
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1answer
482 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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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 if ...
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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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If I can “fall in” love, can I “fall in” depression?

In Italian we say essere innamorato (to be in love) whereas the English idiom, to fall in love, expresses the idea of abandonment, of letting oneself go. mi sono innamorato = I am in love, and ...
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2answers
156 views

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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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 sentence parts needs to be repeated here?

What of the following is right? "We need to find out..." "...how to lower the costs or how to produce more." "...how to lower the costs or to produce more." "...how to lower the costs or produce ...
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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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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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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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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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“Could help avoid” vs. “could help to avoid” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Help to do” or “help do”? Is it correct to say: The right sitting posture could help you avoid back problems. OR The right sitting ...
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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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5answers
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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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1answer
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“The number of residents has grown” vs. “the number of residents have grown” [duplicate]

Duplicate: “A number of students” vs. “the number of students” “Number of attempts per question is unlimited” or “are limited”? “A number of questions has been asked” or “have been asked”? ...
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Having a singular subject and a plural object - which form to choose for the verb? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: In special cases, can you use “one such family are” vs. “one such family is”? [Singular] Is/Are [Plural]? I often encounter sentences like ...
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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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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 http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/...
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What is the logical difference between “to seek” and “to look for”?

I have seen a non-native English speaker write "Still seeking for a job". That got me thinking, what is the difference between to seek and look for?
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Does using “did” to form the past tense make a difference? [duplicate]

The two sentences here both indicate that, at some point in the past, I performed some work: I did work I worked What is the difference between these two sentences? Does constructing one with did ...