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Questions tagged [descriptive-grammar]

Descriptive grammar is a set of rules about language based on how it is actually used. In descriptive grammar there is no right or wrong language. It can be contrasted with prescriptive grammar, which is a set of rules based on how people, mostly writers of style books and grammar text books, think language should be used. See https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/descriptive-grammar .

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Past Perfect or Simple Past When Using Since in Reported Speech? [duplicate]

While reading The Beautiful and Damned, I stumbled upon a passage that caught my attention. It stated, Only with the flow through the transmitter of his own familiar but faintly impersonal tone did ...
JY WS's user avatar
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1 vote
4 answers
71 views

In need of the word or phrase describing studying or educating in a non-formal way or as a hobby

So when I was 14 years old I started an interest in psychology. I've been studying it (legitimate medical research articles, textbooks, clinical guides, etc vs googling) for almost 13 years at this ...
Maddie Kiley's user avatar
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1 answer
54 views

Stacked adjectives? [duplicate]

If I say adjectives in a row, where the first could apply to the second, such as "cute blonde girl" - does it imply that I think blonde is cute? If it doesn't, why not and how would this be ...
G_A_R_T's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
85 views

People now say "back in 1985" or "way back in 1965" instead of just saying "in 1985" or "in 1965". Why this change?

Most native English speakers used to refer to a past time or date by saying something like "in 1936 this or that happened". Now people seem unable to refer to the past - however recent or ...
bradleyjohn's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
27 views

Square Feet versus Square Foot [duplicate]

The sentence is The project would construct a 2000 square (foot/feet) kitchen.' I put 'The project would construct a 2000 square feet kitchen.' My senior reviewer changed feet to foot. Why? If I ...
Barnaby Briggs's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
827 views

Is "don't" a particle of its own?

I noticed an oddity in the sentence Why don't you just do it?: Although I always thought of don't simply as of a short form of do not it seems to me as if this is not the case in this sentence. ...
Jonathan Herrera's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
80 views

What is the grammatical structure of {the + superlative substantive}?

Example 1: This was the deepest a submarine had ever dived. Example 2: The longest a person can hold their breath for is... I've looked at a couple grammar resources including "the Cambridge ...
John's user avatar
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0 answers
150 views

Are they both correct? “He’s the tallest of the three” and “He’s the tallest among the three”

Are both of these correct? He’s the tallest of the three. He’s the tallest among the three. My teacher said that I shouldn’t use “among” here. Is that related to the number of items in the ...
Robin's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
175 views

What part of speech is 'many' in "as many A's as B's"?

At first glance, it seems like the "many" in "There are as many A's as B's" is an adjective. However, we can't substitute an arbitrary adjective in this sentence. Compare: "...
N. Virgo's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
885 views

Grammatical class of 'we' when referring to a collective group vs each individual of a group

What's the grammatical class of "we" when referring to a group in its entirety versus when referring to each individual member of the group. For example, if I said to my girlfriend: We will ...
Geordan Nicholson's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
3k views

Is "The heart wants what the heart wants" grammatical? If so, why?

Normally one would say (as Emily Dickinson did) "The heart wants what it wants." But consider these few examples from professional writers (screenwriters in this case). "The heart ...
K Adams's user avatar
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1 answer
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There's a double negative in this sentence? [duplicate]

sentence: I'm living in los angeles now. I'm clean. legit No you ain't never been clean. dude is this part → "ain't never" is this a case of double negative? i was in doubt because i see ...
gamer123's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
236 views

Draw a painting or paint a drawing? [closed]

'Paint a painting' or 'draw a drawing' sounds repetitive but 'paint a drawing' or 'draw a painting' sounds kinda weird, you don't actually use paint to draw, right? And if I'm applying paint over ...
Amomum's user avatar
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0 answers
433 views

It's About Time you Knew or It's about time you know [duplicate]

Would like to know which version is proper: It's about time you know It's about time you knew Some examples: It's about time you know about a cancer diagnosis It's about time you knew about a ...
Joe V's user avatar
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1 answer
42 views

Multiple adjectives but following reference is singular

Everyone was mostly Muslim or atheist, like my family. What is the rule here, is the family Muslim or atheist? I know it's poorly written, I didn't write it and I can't ask the author. My gut ...
Lisa Goersch's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
40 views

Is this sentence grammatically correct? Is there any way to condense the list (only use the preposition once)?

I am interested in knowing if this sentence is grammatically correct and if there is a way of preventing the repetition of “through” in the list. Throughout the play, numerous characters evoke this ...
g-k's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
162 views

What is it called when indefinite pronouns are used as determiner?

AFAIK it is correct English grammar to say something along the lines of Familiarize yourself with everything Apple. What is this use of "everything" called? Is it just a short colloquial ...
leonheess's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
91 views

More words to describe the action of thinking

My character is in the beginning stages of a life-or-death situation and he knows it. "Racking his brain for possible solutions" feels played out. But words like ruminating, fretting, musing,...
The Queries of Boethius's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
30 views

there are many perks "to doing" readings

The sentence that confuses me from the reading is "...there are many perks to doing readings on a television show." As an English learner, I was taught that "to + do" is the ...
learningc's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
156 views

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe a realization that a long held belief is wrong [closed]

I'm looking for a word or phrase to describe the realization that what you've always believed is not real. As an example: Let's say you grew up in a country that you where led to believe was far more ...
Tamie Olmsted's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
781 views

A great use of the f-word

Can someone analyse this sentence for me please? I heard a trucker say this, in the workshop, when we told him the starter motor on his truck was knackered. To our amusement he said: "Fuck, the ...
Graham Barton's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
3k views

Can I say "the US people"?

Is it fine to describe people of the USA as "US people"? For instance: "the US people display different cultures and traditions." What I want to ask is that can I use the word &...
Mohammed Kamal's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
88 views

Capitalisation for emphasis?

Let's say we have a time card software system. In the help FAQ, is the second version grammatically correct, or preferable? How can we locate time cards that had errors? How can we locate Time Cards ...
user1946932's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
566 views

In what regions is "Do you work tonight?" clear and acceptable usage?

In my answer at ELL regarding a question of whether someone is working that evening, I suggested the alternative: Do you work tonight? There was a comment about this being incorrect usage, because &...
randomhead's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
102 views

Someone who denies talking about something but then indirectly drops hints

For example, someone had said something to me, obviously meaning something but then right after said that they weren't talking about that but then preceded to indirectly reference it, hint at it or ...
Kristina Balija's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
31 views

Indefinite article + noun + that + be + adj [closed]

" On top of their fees, the famous have the potential to earn huge amounts of money from promoting luxury brands. A type of wealth that is possible because celebrities are often seen as role ...
olivia's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
73 views

Usage of we instead of us [duplicate]

Lest they do anything before we. Lest they do anything before us. One of my students, for their creative writing coursework, phrased his sentence as shown in quote 1, but I have a confusion as to ...
Robinson's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
314 views

Is this grammatically correct? I am not sure of the sentence structure. "She saw two boys in white dresses standing by the road?"

I am kinda confused of the participial phrase in that sentence. Is that grammatically correct? Do I need to put a comma? Does the sentence make sense?
Edward's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
118 views

Complex transitive complementation

Would it sound appropriately if to relay a sentence: "We expected him to make a good job of that" in the following ways: We expected for him to make a good job of that. We expected it for ...
Eugene's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
281 views

What is “what” in “what has been called“?

Climate change is thus a prime example of what people have called a "social ecological system" with factors from different domains interacting on different spatial and temporal scales. The ...
Loukpad Chan's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
185 views

Is "persuasive techniques" or "persuasion techniques" more grammatically correct?

I've tried looking this up on various sources. Wikipedia has a category called Persuasion Techniques. However a couple of different Google searches for "persuasive techniques" and "...
captainminecart's user avatar
-2 votes
2 answers
196 views

Verbs "COME" and "GO" followed by the gerund

Good evening everyone, I was listening to Tears for Fears' song Everybody wants to rule the world, and I came across the line "when the walls come tumbling down". I looked the expression up ...
Learnerò's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
89 views

Single word equivalent for short, natural length grass?

I am trying to describe the length of grass in an area without dwelling on it too much with multiple adjectives or a more in depth explanation. The main point I am trying to get across is that the ...
FrontEnd's user avatar
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17 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why can’t I turn “fast-paced” into a quality noun by adding the “‑ness” suffix?

I needed to write a word that expressed the quality of being fast-paced. "Fast-pacedness" sounded off and I looked the dictionaries up. Collins is my favourite one. Webster I use when I need ...
Otter's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
325 views

What should be the correct form of 'be' verb in the following sentence? [duplicate]

So I was asked to rewrite the following sentence with the correct tense of the verb given in bracket: It is I who (be) to do it. Initially I believed, the following would be correct: It is I who has ...
Jonak's user avatar
  • 9
1 vote
3 answers
178 views

Is "considering stealing" grammatically correct? [duplicate]

I am working with a student who sends me essays and I help edit them. In one of his paragraphs, he wrote "The lecturer indicates this is illegal since it is considering stealing." In my head,...
Emily's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
21 views

is there an expression to describe “something/someone that is more real than the original item/thing”

I’m looking for a word or a phrase that describes the following: “something/someone that is more real than the original item/thing” I am looking for something specific, if possible! Thank you!
jijinjin's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
399 views

"I found that, on average, there are...." or "I found, on average, that there are..."? [duplicate]

So if you couldn't figure out the question from the title, does the subordinating conjunction (the word "that") precede or succeed the extra information between the commas?
Oom_Ben's user avatar
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0 votes
4 answers
968 views

Does saying "I was stolen by my sleep" make sense in English?

In my native language, we say "my sleep stole me" when we unintentionally fall asleep. I'm guessing it's more of an idiomatic expression. My question is, can it work in English?
E.Groeg's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
47 views

Sentence structure and form

Is this sentence grammatically correct? "The great sea creature came alongside Lotty and nudged him, so he climbed on board its strong back. I don't get what sentence structure the second part ...
Aidi's user avatar
  • 21
0 votes
1 answer
57 views

How to describe the use of 'them' with nouns? [duplicate]

I'm looking for a short and precise word to describe the use of the pronoun them with plurals, i.e. Let's kill them zombies! Them townsfolk sure are full of baloney. I hate them bees. It appears to be ...
toniedzwiedz's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
48 views

Can I use where instead of from which? I want to migrate this question to English Learner Site [closed]

Imagine something secretly entering your body and controlling your behavior, turning you into one of those zombies from science fiction movies. Does that sound creepy? That's exactly how a parasitic ...
dongyoungkim's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
71 views

Word choice - Grammar! [closed]

I came across these questions in an old English Language book from the 70s and was wondering if one form of the following sentences is more correct than the other. Only the team with the lowest ...
Vincent P's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
25 views

adjectival/adverbial grammar issue relating to "undisturbed"

In the sentence "The blackbird was singing undisturbed on the outskirts of the wood" Could the word "undisturbed" be seen as both adjectival (qualifying "blackbird") as ...
Chris Smith's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
207 views

Agree with/on/about/to the book - In what scenarios are these correct?

Is my current use of these correct: We agreed on that book. - Eg.: When in a book club you are choosing the book for the next session. We agreed about that book. -Eg.: When two friends discussed a ...
Reka's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
62 views

Can 'where' introduce a specific manner without an antecedent?

I came across this sentence when reading Eclipse, where Sam (werewolf) was the leader of the pack: “ Sam approached Carlisle where he stood in the front, the huge pack right on his tail.” I've known ...
Jenny's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why is the article "the" used with "population?" [closed]

Why do we need an article before "population?" Why is "the" the correct article to use in the following sentence? The population is suffering.
Jaya Hegde's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
198 views

What is right? (English question)

I am a high school student studying English in Korea. I am asking this question because school changed the original text on the English test. So, I have some question and want to get your explanations....
dongyoungkim's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
161 views

The doctor prescribed that the child must take/should take/take the medicine every 8 hours

Non-native here. The reason why this question confuses me is that this should be "took" based on what I have learnt in grammar classes. But that doesn't sound right. I am confused between ...
QuackQuack's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
282 views

Passive and active verbal adjective

guys. Hope you are all in greatest condition. I do know that a verb can serve as an adjective when it is placed before a noun and this verb is either a past participle or a present participle in this ...
Fadli Sheikh's user avatar

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