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31

OP is right to suspect active/passive has a bearing on preferred usage. From Google Books... 1: Active voice favours with... The company replaced workers by machines - 3 results The company replaced workers with machines - 405 results 2: Passive voice favours by... Workers were replaced by machines - 280 results Workers were replaced ...


23

Of is the correct preposition to use in your second example: The body consists of cells. In is the correct preposition to use in your first example: Meditation consists in attentive watchfulness. Consist of means to be composed or made up of, while consist in means: To have the thing mentioned as the only or most important part. Tolerance ...


11

To get all linguisticsy about it, we can talk about the generalization of how verbs work. In traditional grammar, we talk about verbs having subjects and objects and whether they are transitive or intransitive. If we generalize this, we can talk about verbs being a kind of function that takes arguments, where subjects and objects are examples of kinds of ...


11

Is nothing singular or plural? All by itself, nothing is clearer than the fact that nothing is singular. However, the original question did not use nothing “all by itself”, and that is where things get sticky. The question asks which of these two versions should be used: Nothing but birds and a few insects was to be seen. Nothing but birds ...


9

Comma sense—a fun-damental guide to punctuation suggest to use the comma to set off introductory elements, which are reported to be: an adverb: First, I need to call my girlfriend. a prepositional phrase: After dinner, let's go to see a movie. an appositive: A stumbling giggler, Lumpy was hardly prepared for the relay baton suddenly being thrust upon him. ...


8

Larry Trask’s advice in cases like this is to see what happens if you remove from the sentence the words marked off by the comma. If you are left with a meaningful sentence, then the comma is appropriate. If no meaningful sentence remains, you don’t need the comma.


8

A prepositional phrase is a grammatical structure consisting of a preposition followed by a noun phrase. An adverbial complement is a grammatical function. Adverbial complements may be realized through prepositional phrases or other adverbials. Consider: I put the book down. I put the book on the table. I put the book down on the table. There are verbs ...


8

'On asserting ...' here requires a main clause which does not describe a consequence or restatement, but merely an event happening (almost) simultaneously. AHDEL sense 3 for on: b. Used to indicate the particular occasion or circumstance: On entering the room, she saw him. By introduces a consequence, and in an explanation, an apposition. Here, by ...


8

In general prepositional phrases at the beginning of sentences are common and grammatically correct. On the other hand, Bobby likes swimming. After soccer, we go out for dinner. By noon, all the shifts should be finished. Of the two of us, who is going to help mama? As for you sentence, of not knowing is the continuation of a previous sentence with ...


7

“Very out of the way” It is a bit tough to find cases of very modifying individual prepositions, but it is easy to find cases of very modifying entire prepositional phrases as a unit, just as it does other adjectives and adverbs. I think it’s very out of character for him. Things can be very out of place. Or very out of date. And very out of the way. They ...


7

Like a lot of, something like 90% of functions not so much as a preposition as it does a premodifier. And premodifiers work like adjectives. They do not change the head noun, which remains the grammatical subject and still must be agree with the verb in number. People are coming. Trouble is avoided. A lot of people are coming. A lot of trouble is ...


7

The question you ask, “Can the antecedent ever be used in a prepositional phrase?” is of course, certainly it can. Proof: After the meteorite fell on Jack, he was never again the same. Jack likes running with Jill. She is a good person. Jack likes running with Jill. He is a good person. As you see, I have constructed three such examples. ...


7

If we take your specimen text, The thing I'm most afraid of is me. Of not knowing what I'm going to do. Of not knowing what I'm doing right now it is apparent that it is semantically one sentence that has been turned into one sentence plus two sentence fragments for rhetorical effect. (The main verb that makes gives meaning to the two sentence ...


6

Your first two examples are a special use of of that's not readily explained by reference to its other uses. In each of them, the of is optional ("more of a sanity check" = "more a sanity check"; "more of a hack" = "more a hack"), and serves to introduce a singular countable predicate noun that's modified by more. The same happens with much ("it's not much ...


6

There is no problem with this phrase - it is idiomatic English. With is part of the compound adjective over with. To be over with means to be finished. As far as I know, it's only ever used with the verb be. It's fine as it is. You could say "Can we get this finished?".


6

Prepositions are often interchangeable in English, even when they seem to mean exactly the opposite thing in their literal sense. It is possible, for example, to say You'll find a Chevron station down the road about five miles. or You'll find a Chevron station up the road about five miles. or even You'll find a Chevron station along the road ...


6

tl;dr: Certain kinds of words and phrases can in English function equally well as nouns as they can adverbs. Whether you prefer to call them nouns acting like adverbs or adverbs acting like nouns is a matter of religion only, since they are still doing the same job no matter what you call them. The job they are doing is a deictic one, described at the ...


6

I don't like prepositions either. Or pronouns -- especially not mixed up with auxiliary verbs. As @Edwin points out, a fronted on phrase implies a temporal frame for description of events. On/Upon asserting that the red pill would reveal how deep the rabbit hole was, Morpheus was arrested, cautioned, and bound over to the authorities. (Upon makes the ...


6

Both expressions appear to have currency according to a very quick look through the Google periscope. The Ngram chart shows an interesting result, suggesting that scared of emerged in the mid to late 19th C., which is contemporary with examples offered up by couple of online dictionaries: Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It's not quite a "smoking pen"...


5

'The novel, which was about whaling . . .'


5

I think from the beginning puts a little more emphasis and focus on the significance of the beginning. If you were talking about a business, perhaps "he" was there in the planning process and integral to starting the business. Since the beginning places more emphasis on the intervening time period. Again, if a business, perhaps "he" is the most loyal ...


5

I think both the above answers are correct, but missing a key point that 'consist of' is normally used with more tangible objects whereas 'consist in' has an esoteric quality to it. There's a good explanation here about the difference. American writers often ignore this distinction. Consist of is used in reference to materials; it precedes the physical ...


5

Fixed in revision n says that the change occurred in that revision. That bug was fixed in revision 23. Fixed at revision n doesn't say when it was fixed, just that we know that revision n contains the fix. It could have been fixed earlier. Some people would use the two interchangeably.


5

The phrase of none effect is an archaic version of: of no effect Nowadays we see an alternation between the so-called determiner no and the pronoun none, such that when there is a following noun we use no, and when there isn't a following noun we use none. In response to Can I have one of your apples, therefore, we might observe either of the following:...


5

She is tall for her age This means that she is noticeably taller than the average height of girls her age.


5

It formed inside him an ambition to teach his students all the more. It formed an ambition to teach his students all the more inside him. He kept in the book bag an apple. (awkward or marked) He kept an apple in the book bag. The differing acceptability of these examples is due to a phenomenon known as HEAVY NOUN PHRASE SHIFT. It gives us the ...


5

The two NPs after "with" are from the absolute construction "with tiredness and underperformance being the result" reflecting the optional deletion of "being". Similar constructions are "with no one (being) the wiser", "with the election (being) still undecided", and "without time (being) a factor".


5

As you've discovered, the ordinary order of English declarative sentences is subject first, verb following, but there are a number of rhetorical or informatic reasons to invert that order. One is that speakers tend to put old information before new information, and another is that speakers prefer to place weightier (i.e., more grammatically-complicated) ...



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