This tag is for questions about the correct order of words in a phrase, or a sentence.

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4
votes
2answers
499 views

When should I repeat the definite article?

I am a bit confused about the rule of setting the definite article in a sentence when it is associated to two nouns. The beginning and end of the channel. The beginning and the end of the ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

Is there a difference in meaning between “does not seem to” and “seems not to”?

Consider the following sentences: Try not to be alarmed if a rule doesn’t seem to work for a specific sentence. Try not to be alarmed if a rule seems not to work for a specific sentence. ...
3
votes
1answer
333 views

Semantics and frequency of use of different adverb orderings

Is there any semantic difference between these two sentences? Also, is any of them more "correct" or frequently used than the other? This problem has been recently addressed by several authors ...
2
votes
3answers
217 views

Adjective + “of them”

My wife and I were discussing whether it is allowable to put an adjective in front of "of them". For instance, I could say "I want 5 cats" and "I want 5 of them". However, while it sounds perfectly ...
17
votes
2answers
957 views

What is wrong with “Where should this car be parked?”?

Why does Microsoft Word 2010 show an error for the following sentence? 1. Where should this car be parked? Word 2010 also suggests changing the sentence to 2. Where this car should ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

How does one correctly punctuate a sentence that declares that one has a question? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Punctuation with “The question is…” '.', '?' or ' “… ?” ' Position of question mark when sentence doesn't end ...
10
votes
3answers
5k views

Prepositions at the end of sentence and whom

I believe it's okay to end a sentence with a preposition. That seems to be the consensus here as well. Now I think that when who is the object of a preposition, it should technically be whom, e.g. ...
5
votes
5answers
3k views

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. ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How to properly write sentence with double words

I commonly come across sentences where I have to write the same word twice such as, This is what I've been looking for for a long time. and in these cases I just try to rewrite the sentence to ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Auxiliary verb and adverb ordering

(I'm not really sure if the title is a correct definition of my problem at all) I'm not a native English speaker, and I'm used to say: Spaghetti suddenly can talk But I've seen a phrase from a ...
4
votes
1answer
218 views

Where does the verb go on this question? Is it even a reported question?

I understand that when I report a question, I put the subject back in front of the verb, as in: "He asked if she was going to be late." But I always get puzzled when it comes to reporting a question ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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.
4
votes
2answers
4k views

“Subject, verb, direct object, object complement” versus “subject, verb, indirect object, direct object”

Reading English Grammar (HarperCollins College Outline, published by HarperResource, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers) I found a chapter (Sentence Basics) that explains that in English there are ...
3
votes
2answers
654 views

Position of “now”

What is the difference in meaning between these two sentences? This feature is now disabled. This feature is disabled now.
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Proper usage/origin of the generic phrase “[action phrase] does not a [noun] make” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is “xxxx doth not a yyyy make” considered valid English? I occasionally come across a sentence formulated in a manner similar to the following: ...
3
votes
4answers
838 views

“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"?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Usage of “just”, “only” and word-order [intended meaning]

I've got these sentences, which meanings are correct (my interpretations are in brackets): Use of only: (1) Only in 1996, Ford sold a rebadged Mazda 626 GV over here as its rebranded Japanese ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Use of “only” and word-order

I'm writing an automobile website and some of my paragraphs contain the word "only". I understand the following. As far as I'm aware, this is right: Only the Volkswagen Polo, Golf, Passat, Passat ...
1
vote
1answer
180 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Noun order: “He and we…” or “We and he…”? Similarly, “…him and us” or “…us and him”?

It's convention and polite to always list yourself last in a list. I say "John and I went to the store" and not "I and John went to the store." So does that mean that I should always list myself ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Position of “of which” in the sentence [closed]

In a post here I found that both following sentences are correct..is that true? Is the first one really grammatically correct? A camera of which the wires go through the wall. A camera, the ...
0
votes
2answers
186 views

What are the differences between “go to school happily”, “go happily to school” and “happily go to school”?

There are three similar phrases which I would like to know the differences between: go to school happily go happily to school happily go to school I have long been confused by the ...
0
votes
2answers
568 views

“Sometimes also” or “also sometimes”?

I have a sentence where I think I could use either of these two constructions. They seem very similar in meaning, so I'm not sure which I should prefer. There might be some subtle point of grammar ...
0
votes
1answer
595 views

“have basically been doing something” or “have been basically doing something” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Position of the adverb “of course” Should an adverb go before or after a verb? I was wondering what position of an adverb relative to more than one ...
0
votes
1answer
701 views

“Data source types” vs. “types of data sources”

Is there any difference in meaning between "Many different data source types" and "Many different types of data sources"? I have no strong understanding on the use of "of".
26
votes
6answers
2k views

How is “Can anyone tell me how can I solve this” wrong?

I posted a question somewhere that said... Can anyone tell me how I can solve this? ...but someone edited it to... Can anyone tell me how can I solve this? ...and it was accepted. That's ...
10
votes
2answers
8k views

“Built-in” or “In-built”

Is there any difference between using in-built or built-in? Is one more correct than the other, or does it depend on the context, or ”house style”? This oven comes with a built-in extractor fan. ...
35
votes
7answers
5k views

Why use “of” in the phrase “delivered of a baby”?

With all the "Royal baby" craze comes something that really confuses me. All the news media used pretty much the same sentence to make the announcement: The Duchess of Cambridge has been ...
18
votes
6answers
24k views

Why do you say “so do I”?

Why is the order of the words in "so do I" or "nor do I" different from the normal order?
14
votes
3answers
814 views

Difference between styles of English in technical communication

I have a collaborative software project with two other users. Nearly every technical report and documentation written goes through the following editorial changes to some of the sentences (examples ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

“Why is this not” versus “why is not this”

Should I use "why is this not" or "why is not this?" Or are both correct?
13
votes
2answers
569 views

“Who turned off the lights?”

Who turned off the lights? Who are you? Why do the words in those questions have a different order than the following questions? Does she like ice cream? Where do you live? Where do you ...
7
votes
3answers
391 views

Word order, e.g. in “Hotel California”, “Brothers Quay”

This is a question about the order of words when a common name is associated to a proper name. Does it matter to say "California Hotel" rather than "Hotel California"? Similarly, there are two ...
6
votes
1answer
600 views

Word order for “What is… that … called?”

I am having difficulty with finding the natural word order in the following passive construction: What are people called who do a lot of unnecessary work? What are called people who do a lot ...
5
votes
2answers
668 views

“Can't it also be” or “Can't it be also” in a question?

They both have plenty examples available, but which one is preferable? "Can't it also be" — 1,310,000 Google results "Can't it be also" — 1,430,000 Google results
27
votes
8answers
43k views

Distinction: “What can I do you for?” vs. “What can I do for you?”

Usually, when being served the phrase "What can I do for you?" is used but sometimes I also hear "What can I do you for?" in quite the same context. So is there a difference or is it just a slip of ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

“Now I am” vs. “I am now”

Which is more correct? Now I am the main stakeholder... or I am now the main stakeholder... Do the intonations imply different meanings?
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Word order in imperative sentence

What are the correct possibilities for word order in the following sentence? Is there any general rule for imperative sentences? (Like SVOMPT?) Please, check regularly the updated information about ...
3
votes
1answer
482 views

The position of “strong enough” in “there is no headache strong enough” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: There is no headache strong enough, that a good coffee won't relieve There is no headache strong enough, that a good coffee won't relieve. I know that this ...
3
votes
1answer
24k views

Should I say “I’ve been also” or “I've also been”?

Where should the word "also" appear in the sentence: I've been in Paris. Google result count: "i've been also" 2,090,000 "i've also been" 76,000,000 It seems like the second is more common, ...
3
votes
2answers
457 views

“Julio and I” vs “I and Julio” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends” Is naming the first person last proper grammar or just proper manners? "Julio and I went to the ...
2
votes
2answers
373 views

Order of participial adjective

I'm proof-reading a thesis by one of my friends and there's some recurring construct which I always mark as false but I'd like to check with you. In the comments I was told that the example I ...
1
vote
2answers
347 views

Using 'for' as a coordinating conjunction at sentence beginning

As I understand it, 'for' is a coordinating conjunction. Learning German as a second language has taught me specifics about reforming sentences, but it is an awful lot less common in English. If I ...
1
vote
1answer
651 views

If you place an ly adverb after the verb is the meaning different than if it were infront of the verb? [duplicate]

For example: I did not respond physically I did not physically respond I can't escape the sense that #2 'strongly' leaves open the possibility (or implies) that the writer responded some way ...
1
vote
1answer
22k views

Is it correct to start a sentence with “with” in English?

Is it correct to use with at the beginning of a sentence? Here's an example sentence: With the development of the economy, living standards improved. To my eyes this looks unnatural; I would ...
1
vote
3answers
453 views

Do these adjectives refer to ice?

In this sentence from Wuthering Heights I declined joining their breakfast, and, at the first gleam of dawn, took an opportunity of escaping into the free air, now clear, and still, and cold ...
1
vote
2answers
354 views

“Time elapsed” or “elapsed time” [closed]

In a document I have a plot where one of the labels represents the total time taken for the process to complete. Should I label it as "Elapsed Time" or "Time Elapsed"? Which one is correct?
1
vote
2answers
656 views

“Plugging in X” vs. “plugging X in”

Does one say Plugging in that value into the previous equation... or Plugging that value in the previous equation... or something else?
13
votes
2answers
414 views

What is the name for the inverse of an aphorism

For example, given a common saying or sequence of words, like A picture is worth a thousand words One reverses the order and obtains A word is worth a thousand pictures Is there a name for ...
12
votes
6answers
801 views

What number bus is that? or What bus number is that?

Imagine you are at the bus stop. You see a bus coming, but you can't read the number, so you ask: "What number bus is that?" However, usually the noun used as a determiner precedes the main noun, for ...