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

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37
votes
7answers
9k 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 ...
28
votes
7answers
12k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
19k views

“Can easily be” vs. “can be easily” — what's the difference?

I'm wondering what the difference is between: It can easily be obtained. It can be easily obtained. Also, what's the preferred way to write it? If there is any... I googled for both ...
8
votes
1answer
190 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
8k views

Is it incorrect to say, 'Give me it'?

Is it incorrect to say, 'Give me it' ? I am told that it is and one should always say, 'Give it me'?
33
votes
9answers
6k views

“A cup of hot coffee” or “A hot cup of coffee”

I once had an argument with someone about this. Is the meaning of "A cup of hot coffee" the same as "A hot cup of coffee"? Surprisingly I've often heard people utter either of the two, but not ...
7
votes
3answers
454 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
2answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
8k 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. ...
11
votes
3answers
7k 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
2k 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
336 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
9k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
5k 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
1answer
666 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
310 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
90 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
5k 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.
1
vote
2answers
5k 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
5k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
5k 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
3answers
4k 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
4answers
578 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
1answer
3k 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.
3
votes
2answers
1k 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
3k 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
5answers
1k 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
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 ...
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
321 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
3k 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
3k 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
372 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
964 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
752 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
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".
27
votes
6answers
4k 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
10k 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. ...
20
votes
6answers
33k 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
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?
14
votes
3answers
934 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
714 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 ...
28
votes
8answers
60k 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
1answer
759 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
748 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
4
votes
1answer
35k 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
1answer
636 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
461 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
442 views

Why is the Dostoyevsky novel “The Brothers Karamazov” not translated “The Karamazov Brothers”?

In most cases I would say that the family name should come first, as in "the Ringling Brothers circus" or "the Bronte sisters", but then there is the Dostoyevsky novel "The Brothers Karamazov". Why ...