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

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80
votes
12answers
11k views

When is it appropriate to end a sentence in a preposition?

Like many others, I commonly find myself ending a sentence with a preposition. Yes, it makes me cringe. I usually rewrite the sentence, but sometimes (in emails) I just live with it. To, with... ...
24
votes
5answers
92k views

“My friends and I” vs. “My friends and me” vs. “Me and my friends”

I've always been taught to put myself last when referring to myself in the same sentence as others but the usage of "me and..." seems to be everywhere these days. The misuse of the word "me" instead ...
171
votes
4answers
61k views

What is the rule for adjective order?

I remember being taught that the correct order of adjectives in English was something along the lines of "Opinion-Size-Age-Color-Material-Purpose." However, it's been a long time and I'm pretty sure ...
22
votes
7answers
14k views

Order of “not” with infinitive

This is one thing that keeps bugging me, and maybe there's a direct answer. Grammatically, which one is more correct of these two? Does it make a difference? I tried not to do that. I tried ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Are split infinitives grammatically incorrect, or are they valid constructs?

Mark's generosity in this crisis seems to more than make up for his earlier stinginess. Should those sentences always be avoided, or are there cases where they are valid?
11
votes
2answers
378 views

“A place nearby” but not “A place good”

I can ask any of: Do you know a breakfast place nearby? Do you know a nearby breakfast place? Do you know a good breakfast place? but I really can't ask: Do you know a breakfast place ...
21
votes
4answers
7k views

Correct position of “only”

Which is grammatically correct? I can only do so much in this time. or I can do only so much in this time.
9
votes
5answers
39k views

Should an adverb go before or after a verb?

For example: The word rarely turns up outside of those contexts. The word turns up rarely outside of those contexts. Which one is correct and why?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Changing subject and verb positions in statements and questions

We always change subject and verb positions in whenever we want to ask a question such as "What is your name?". But when it comes to statements like the following, which form is correct? I ...
4
votes
3answers
859 views

Are there any rules on the positioning adverbs should take in a sentence?

For example: Ever wish you could share information broadly Could it be rewritten to: Ever wish you could broadly share information Are there any rules for the position of the adverbs.
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is “xxxx doth not a yyyy make” considered valid English?

Reading doth not a writer make. This sounds all wrong so why it is acceptable to use? The word order looks to be all out sequence (Object-Subject-Verb). It should be "reading does not make you a ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do some adjectives follow the nouns they modify?

Right now I can only think of one instance in which this regularly occurs. The adjective proper is sometimes placed after the noun it modifies, e.g: Reptilia: A class of cold-blooded oviparous or ...
5
votes
1answer
955 views

Conditional sentences not starting with “if”

Were I rich, I would live on Long Island. If I were rich, I would live on Long Island. Is the first sentence still used, or is used in particular contexts (in example, to give emphasis to the ...
8
votes
3answers
883 views

Is there a name for inverting word order to accomplish a different meaning?

There are many sayings that invert the word order to convey a different meaning. e.g. "Do you live to work or do you work to live?" "He who fails to plan, plans to fail" Is there a name for this ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

“Above”/“below” before/after a noun

I have seen sentences similar to the following: (1) See the reference above. (2) See the reference below. And, (3) See the above reference. But not, (4) See the below reference. ...
17
votes
6answers
21k views

Which is correct: “the below information” or “the information below”?

I frequently see statements that refer to something later in the text that use a phrase such as "the below information". Is it more correct instead to say "the information below" (or "the following ...
8
votes
2answers
709 views

When can an adjective be postposed?

I read this at the economist, and it's the 2nd sentence in the 2nd paragraph. That is small consolation for an Israeli establishment still hankering after the much easier rapport it had with ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Is “The City Beautiful” (Orlando's motto) grammatically correct?

I have always wondered why the motto of the City of Orlando, FL (USA) is worded as The City Beautiful instead of The Beautiful City: Is The City Beautiful grammatically correct? If so, do you have ...
17
votes
3answers
772 views

You don't want to answer this word-placement question, now do you?

Prompted by this question I got to thinking about the placement of the word now. If it's placed before the comma, it refers to an immediate condition: You don't want to answer this word-placement ...
12
votes
5answers
5k views

Can “already” be used after a simple past verb in American English?

A British colleague asked if these two sentences are grammatically acceptable in American English: They found already high recognition in Europe and we wish to carry that further. ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Position of the adverb “of course”

...which is of course zero. ...which of course is zero. Which one is preferred?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Tag Questions “is he not”

"He is happy, isn't he?" If you did not use the contraction isn't he, in the question above, would the correct sentence be: "He is happy, is he not?" "He is happy, is not he?" Sentence #1 seems ...
3
votes
2answers
353 views

Which are the word orders that can be found in English?

Besides SVO, which are the word orders that can be found in English? Are there any that are peculiar to dialects such as Singlish or Indian English? Please provide an example sentence for each order ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

The Royal Order of Adverbs

I know that the pattern manner-place-time shouldn't be taken too seriously if one wants to speak natural English. In real life, people rarely use a string of adverbs. Speakers will easily break the ...
7
votes
2answers
395 views

“put X down to” vs. “put down X to”: subjects of verbs with two particles

I expect I would have to put down many coats to do the job. (SOURCE) One factor to distinguish phrasal verbs from prepositional verbs is particle movement. Phrasal verbs can place the particle ...
6
votes
3answers
529 views

Which comes first: cat or dog?

Which comes first in a sentence? I know some word pairs such as bacon and eggs, where bacon always comes first. E.g: Make me bacon and eggs for dinner, honey. Cats and dogs are the two most ...
5
votes
3answers
478 views

“Even were he not to…”

I am currently reading "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" by P.K. Dick and I have come across a grammatical structure I don't quite understand. The excerpt is the following (no spoilers, don't ...
3
votes
2answers
635 views

“Does not make changes” or “makes no changes”

I was thinking of using this sentence on my computer program: This action does not make changes on user's machine. Just to be sure, I checked Google Translate which suggested: This action ...
1
vote
5answers
149 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

19th century English texts occasionally use Germanic-style number words, such as “four-and-twenty”. When did this fall out of use?

19th century English texts occasionally use Germanic-style number words, such as "four-and-twenty", but the same text would also have the modern "twenty-four" in places (see e.g. Conan-Doyle for ...
6
votes
1answer
16k views

What is the correct word order between “have/had”, “been”, and “already” in statements?

What is the correct word order between have/had, been, and already in statements like the following: By the time the product was officially announced, I had already been using it. Or: By the ...
3
votes
2answers
481 views

position of “only”

Which sentence is correct? (A) Mosquito larvae can only be seen through a microscope. (B) Mosquito larvae can be only seen through a microscope. (C) Mosquito larvae can be seen only through ...
8
votes
4answers
634 views

“Back up data” or “back data up”?

Which is correct? To back up data. To back data up. The context is the following: He was careful enough to perform tests and [back up data | back data up] to avoid any problems.
3
votes
3answers
1k views

About using “only” with present perfect

I have seen this sentence in a status from one of my facebook friends. It doesn't sound right to me. We have only left the city for the day. I think that it should be something like: We have ...
3
votes
1answer
461 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?
2
votes
4answers
477 views

Does adverb placement affect meaning?

He swam slowly to the island. He slowly swam to the island. Some experts say that there is a “slight difference” in meaning. Would you please tell me that difference?
1
vote
3answers
822 views

Does it matter where you put “only”? [duplicate]

Could you please tell me which one of these sentences is correct, or are they both grammatically correct? This will only happen if you go with me. This will happen only if you go with me.
0
votes
2answers
2k 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?"
12
votes
5answers
6k 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. ...
18
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
5k 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'?
25
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
161 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 ...
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
311 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
6k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
396 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
4k 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. ...