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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37 views

'…have been on vacation…' and '…was on vacation…'

What does 'I've been on vacation for two days' mean? I mean, it means that the action happened in the past and ended in the past but has no specific date. But it also means that I'm still on vacation. ...
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1answer
21 views

Does “Verb to be” imply something?

This is.... blah blah. They shocked and angered, when the people sought to deprive them. compare to this This is.... blah blah. They are shocked and angered, when the people sought to deprive them....
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43 views

Using the plural form of proprietary for software

I came across this sentence in an article. There is a balance of proprietary and open sources in the market. Should it be either of the following instead? There is a balance of ...
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1answer
34 views

Meaning of sentence in Frankenstein

In Frankenstein, Chapter 15 I cherished hope, it is true, but it vanished when I beheld my person reflected in water or my shadow in the moonshine, even as that frail image and that inconstant ...
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21 views

Use of “audience” [on hold]

How would you punctuate this sentence? Who are your primary, secondary, watchdog, and gatekeeper audiences? OR Who is your primary, secondary, watchdog, and gatekeeper audiences?
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1answer
68 views

In spoken language, if a name is used to substitute the pronoun I, which is the correct verb to use as the first person?

For example I am Aunt Jalene talking to a kid. Instead of saying I try to cook I said Aunt Jalene (I as the first person) tries/try to cook. Should it be try or tries?
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2answers
52 views

Transform or Transforms?

Is this sentence grammatically correct? "It can melt away anger and transforms your bad mood into a good mood." I am confused between transform and transforms.
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43 views

Which preposition is correct with “settling”? The complete sentence is given below

This is the complete question which I came across during a competitive exam. Eager to control the South Atlantic, the British Navy had tasked Admiral Byron ________ (with/for) settling an island off ...
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27 views

What is the theme in this sentence?

I study descriptive grammar of English and don't quite get the theme and rheme part. Could someone tell me what is theme in this sentence: "Where the first men originated we do not know." ?
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85 views

Right a wrong & wrong a right [closed]

You can say "right a wrong" & "righting wrongs" But can you say "wrong a right or "wronging rights"
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1answer
57 views

Might be OR Might have been [closed]

The sentence: Had the doctor been more careful, my cousin might still have been alive. In this construction, the two fragments of the sentence are more parallel with their use of been. Had he ...
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4answers
679 views

what does a native speaker say when he wanted to leave his work? [closed]

If someone, who is a medical doctor says that he's leaving his current company, I mean the hospital that he works for, is that something that a native speaker would say? I'm leaving my hospital? What ...
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23 views

Addressing two cities in the same country

Should I use "In 1347, the port cities of Messina and Genoa, Italy..." or "In 1347, the port cities of Messina, Italy and Genoa, Italy..."? just want to know if one is grammatically incorrect.
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45 views

Grammar of past events

How is it grammatically correct to say "Did you hear what I just said?"?. Is it also possible to say something as "Did you hear what i say?"?. I mean, that direct following the past simple grammar ...
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9 views

Now surround or Now Surrounded? [closed]

"I then walk to a mirror to observe my dark brown eyes that have grown brighter with age and the fine lines that now surrounded my smile." Should it be "now surrounded" or "now surround"?
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1answer
28 views

Conjunctions, coordinators

I really know that for the levels of studying English language, we had always said that "for" is a coordinator. However, I would like to know what for serves in this sentence For God so loved the ...
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2answers
62 views

Explain the difference between the following 2 sentences [closed]

They always eat in front of the TV in the living room. They're always eating in front of the TV in the living room.
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4answers
50 views

Earliest I've been to work

I am supposed to clock in at 8 am every day to work. I was late today, just like every day, but today I was only late by 5 minutes, less than every other time. Is saying "earliest I've been to work" ...
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29 views

Which is correct work or worked?

Which sentence is correct: It would be a good idea if you work hard. It would be a good idea if you worked hard. Thanks in advance for help
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33 views

Gendered nouns without real gender - examples and origins? [duplicate]

Why is it Mother Earth and not Father Earth? Why is a ship a she and not a he? Can you give more examples of similar phenomena?
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1answer
28 views

Finites in a conditional sentence

In the sentence below. How many finites are there? 'Interviewers ask respondents if they have been the victim of a crime in the past 12 months; if they have, respondents provide information about ...
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1answer
24 views

I named my company Higher Standard Service, is this proper english? [closed]

So i named my company Higher Standard Service because our company motto is to provide a higher standard "of" service. I want to be sure that by leaving out the "of" in the company name i don not sound ...
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2answers
45 views

Since 'few' is used for countable nouns and 'less' is for uncountable nouns

Since 'few' is used for countable things and 'Less' is for uncountable things then why do we say; I have less than 2 days/months/years. ? Yes, time is an uncountable concept but we sure can count ...
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3answers
163 views

Learning to end sentences with “hence”. Examples?

I dabble in creative writing here and there. Wordsmiths like Tolkien and Lovecraft are a pleasure to read for their sheer skill in sentence structure and plethora of words. I'm now attempting to ...
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1answer
62 views

Avoiding use of double negatives

I teach an ESL Class for Spanish speakers. I've taught them the rules regarding "double negatives". Today, I had them translate the Spanish equivalent of "It isn't that he doesn't understand me." ...
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1answer
59 views

how to attribute a singular property to a plural noun?

Please consider the following examples: The size/sizes of the planets is/are written here. The door/doors of a 100 houses is/are 100Kg. Men's nose/noses is/are bigger than that/those of women. Which ...
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2answers
93 views

Is “The cat paws in the water to get the fish” a grammatically correct sentence? [closed]

Is this sentence, "The cat paws in the water to get the fish" grammatically correct?
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42 views

How can I describe a conjunction that ends a sentence (so, and, or, but …)?

Recently I (American English speaker / academic / raised in Appalachian and Southern dialect household) noticed myself falling into a conversational pattern with coworkers where I would end a spoken ...
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1answer
28 views

Clarity on the definition of the word “predict” [closed]

When someone says "I look forward to your predictable path" and "please continue down your very tired and predictable path" and "your arguments are right out of a playbook", what's the meaning of '...
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1answer
26 views

Type of usage in these examples? Clauses/fragments

Peter senses his father's danger and tries to reach him, but is forced to watch helplessley as his father is driven away. Her father struggles with complex emotions about the child he raised as his ...
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100 views

“fresh and relaxed”

I have to identify the syntax used in these two sentences and explain. A. After a short vacation in Japan, Mr Chang appeared in my office, fresh and relaxed. B. After a short vacation in Japan, Mr ...
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2answers
43 views

Degrees of comparison - “is the” vs. “is more”

Can we say "John is the stiffest of Rachel and Mark.", OR "John is more stiffer than Rachel and Mark."? Which one is better?
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2answers
62 views

How do we grammatically describe 'thing'

There's a thing I'd like to ask, it's something you might know. When we say "bring me that thing over there" or "it's with my things", how do we grammatically classify this use of thing in English? ...
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2answers
1k views

Take an umbrella in case it may rain?

Take an umbrella in case it may rain. can anybody tell me why this statement was wrong? and the right one is Take an umbrella in case it rains.
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1answer
65 views

What do you call someone who is ungrateful, only sees things negatively and never acknowledges you

I am a team player and like to contribute. When asked to take on a task. I always say yes and I never get a thank you. He never provides all the details to what he wants and then asks why I didn’t ...
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3answers
53 views

“Some of the [superlative adjective] I've ever been” — another way to phrase this?

I can't seem to find a non-awkward way of expressing this sort of sentiment: suppose you want to tell a friend about some time you were really, really cold, but it wasn't the coldest you've ever been. ...
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1answer
41 views

Is there a term for using “or” to introduce something like an appositive?

Recently someone was trying to explain to me that "or" can have a non-disjunctive function, and this came to mind as a possible example but I can't figure out the terminology to describe it. I know ...
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1answer
79 views

In a world of descriptivist dictionaries, how is linguistic relativism avoided in discussions?

“If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.” —Voltaire During discussions and debates, especially those of a more academic or technical nature, it is important to establish agreed upon ...
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1k views

We are a group of people who/which/that..?

Which of these three is correct? We are a group of people who meet.. We are a group of people which meets.. We are a group of people that meets.. This is different from the case when "People" is the ...
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1answer
29 views

Defining and Non defining Relative clauses

Is the following sentence a define or not defining relative clause. Since, when we remove the part enclosed in commas, the remaining part doesn't make sense, I think it is a defining relative clause ...
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2answers
73 views

Alternative to “less good at” [closed]

Is there an alternative, yet polite way of saying: "For those less good at English" I know it's technically correct but it doesn't sound right to me. The context is that we are offering a service ...
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3answers
124 views

Pronoun: what does it refer to here?

In the following sentence, what does the pronoun it refer to? A differs from B in that it is.... I read before that a pronoun refers to the closest name (B in that sentence); however, here it ...
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1answer
2k views

He discovered that his father had a special box in the basement

He discovered that his father had a special box in the basement I was told that I should not use "that" in the above sentence although it is grammatically correct to use it. Why I shouldn't use "that"...
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29 views

parts of speech of a word in a sentence

What is the part of speech of before in the following: Long before anyone coined the term sci-fi? I am wondering whether it is an adjective, an adverb, or a preposition?
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183 views

Using 'by + -ing' form in a sentence and it's difference without 'by'

I've come across several (scientific mostly) literature where the use of by+-ing was present. However, every time I do, I just get the feeling that is redundant. (I actually once thought that it was ...
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2answers
58 views

Is “Provincial Centre for Public Administration Services” correct phrase?

My little province in Vietnam has just established a center, which is meant to be a central place for all services provided by the local government that the provincial citizens can come and deal with ...
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2answers
2k views

of the highest quality vs high quality

Which sentence makes the most sense: ...produce the most sophisticated tool and of the highest quality to perform the job or ...produce the most sophisticated and high quality tool to perform ...
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49 views

What is the phrase called when a noun is either given an article or doesn't need one? [closed]

As I understand it, there are singular nouns such as cat and spaceship that need to be preceded with some kind of specifier like an article (a, an, the) or a possessive word (my, Jane's, etc.) or the ...
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1answer
62 views

is “all” implied in a list?

If I have a list that begins with: "Cars He Wants to Buy" Is it implied that that list contains ALL the cars he wants to buy? Or is it implied that it is just some? My thought was that an "all" is ...
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2answers
509 views

Why do we say “eat healthy” instead of “eat healthily”? [duplicate]

Why do we say "eat healthy" instead of "eat healthily", even though the latter is the only "correct" one, according to the comments in "eat healthy" or "eat healthily" What ...