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

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2
votes
1answer
3k 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 mid-...
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 ...
2
votes
3answers
132 views

Placing the object of an infinitive before it instead of after it

At the beginning of 1807, based on information gathered from Burr’s correspondence allegedly showing that he had begun preparations for a large-scale military expedition, the former vice president ...
1
vote
2answers
10k views

“Where am I?” vs. “Where I am?” [closed]

Which is more correct to say in a question? (For example a guy that wakes up in a train) "Where am I?" or "Where I am?"
25
votes
7answers
6k views

Is it possible to start a grammatically-correct English sentence with the word “Than”?

Question: Is it possible to start a grammatically-correct English sentence with the word "Than"? If no, what other English words share this property? Background: Trevor claimed that it is ...
14
votes
9answers
12k views

“All is not lost” vs “Not all is lost”

I guess I've been in mathematics for far too long, and I tend to use the phrase "Not all is lost" as the negative of "All is lost". To me the phrase "All is not lost" suggests that nothing is lost. ...
19
votes
6answers
5k views

When can the -ing form of a verb be placed before a noun?

My native-speaker's grammatical intuition tells me that: There is a sleeping man under the tree. is fine but There is a fishing man by the river bank. is wrong. Why? I've thought about ...
39
votes
7answers
12k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
228 views

“I do not know where … is” vs. “I do not know where is …”

Which of the following sentences is correct in the formal context? Both? If possible, please also explain why each of these sentences is correct/incorrect. I do not know where the best place to ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
508 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
6k views

Position of prepositions in questions and clauses

I would like to know if there is any rule to know where prepositions should be placed in questions or clauses. For example, I have heard many sentences and some of them put the preposition in the ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

“You just can't” vs. “you can't just ”

I'm a bit confused about this. Which expression is correct? You can't just do that. or You just can't do that. I'm trying to say: You can't just bash an ideology because of what ...
11
votes
3answers
10k 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. "...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Words order when asking a question in a complex sentence

I'm having trouble to decide which word order to use in this sentence: So the question is if I am to modify the programme in what environment I should do it. Is it correct or do I need to change ...
5
votes
2answers
356 views

In which case are items written in a different order than they are read aloud?

When talking about money, people often write "$1", but read this as "one dollar", rather than "dollar one". (Same with "£1" and "one pound"). Are there any other situations, besides currency, in which ...
5
votes
3answers
13k views

Place of “often” in the sentence

My question is simple. Is the following sentence correct? They don't watch TV often. My English teacher has told me that the only correct option is: They don't often watch TV. Is she ...
3
votes
1answer
1k 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
429 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
113 views

Can a present participle follow a subject?

Which is correct, and why? some days we went on adventures — him maneuvering our scooter, me resting my chin … or some days we went on adventures — he maneuvering our scooter, I resting my ...
1
vote
1answer
7k views

“You should have also named” vs. “you should also have named”

Out of the two sentences, which one is correct? You should have also named it the Daily prophet. You should also have named it the Daily prophet. My guess is it's the first one.
19
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
6k 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 with ...
5
votes
2answers
3k 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
4answers
986 views

Adjective order: Why is “big” before “beautiful”?

I was reading an English children story to my niece the other day when I came across these phrases said by three different characters: I want a big, beautiful hat! I want a big, ...
4
votes
3answers
380 views

Which is correct: “first ever loss” or “first loss ever”

Consider the following two phrases Microsoft reports first quarterly loss ever Microsoft reports first ever quarterly loss Which of the them is correct?
3
votes
2answers
2k 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
4k 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: Reading ...
3
votes
1answer
733 views

Adverb placement in “Let's simply share”

To me the expression Let's simply share seems wrong. I've always thought the adverb should come after the verb. Is that correct?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Inversion with “many times” at the beginning of a sentence

I am having a discussion with my friend. I said, "Many times I have seen him washing his car." He says it should be, "Many times have I seen him washing his car. Much like "Often do I see him", and ...
2
votes
3answers
680 views

Noun-adjective reversal - was it ever in use in plain speech?

In some more or less archaic texts I found the order of noun and its adjective reversed at times, like: I traveled through nights starless, and roads unmapped. I wonder, is it a stylistic tool ...
1
vote
3answers
14k views

Put your shoes on and Take your coat off [closed]

I have often heard the following statements when someone talks about shoes, cloths, etc. I don't know which one is more appropriate or grammatically correct. Hey, put your shoes on. Hey, put ...
1
vote
5answers
252 views

I want to refer to Bill Gates on his blog with respect in the comments section

One way to address Bill Gates with respect would be to simply write Sir, but I don't want other readers to get confused about who I'm referring to. How do I refer to him with respect without creating ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

My and Linda's or Mine and Linda's? [duplicate]

How do you use possessive pronouns in cases where there are multiple "owners" and "objects" in question? For example would it be: "I've included my and Linda's suggestions in the file" or "I've ...
1
vote
1answer
555 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
2k views

“I never was” vs. “I was never”

What is the difference between "I never was" and "I was never"? It seems that there is a subtle difference, but I can't quite grasp it. Is one of them informal? For example: I never was a good ...
1
vote
2answers
4k 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 last,...
0
votes
2answers
573 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
1answer
1k 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".
0
votes
4answers
3k views

Position of “yet” in a causative sentence

If I have to write a causative sentence in Present Perfect, where should I put yet, at the end of the question or right after the negation? She hasn't had her doors mended by the carpenter yet. ...
0
votes
1answer
901 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 auxiliary ...
0
votes
2answers
2k 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
82 views

How to “hyphenate” the word “standardize”?

I don't really know if the term "hyphenate" is the correct here, I use it because of my LaTeX usage. What I mean (and if there is a word for this, please let me know) is: how to break "standardize" ...
27
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
32
votes
7answers
25k views

Is it acceptable to start a sentence with “however”?

I have heard that starting a sentence with however is wrong. What are the grounds for this view and is it still held by a majority of pedants? They would suggest changing However, some people are ...
10
votes
2answers
13k 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. ...
34
votes
8answers
80k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
41k 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?
10
votes
4answers
2k 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?
14
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...