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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55k views

Base on vs based on

I don't quite understand the use of base on and based on. How do their meanings differ from one another? In the example below, should I use base on or based on? Our lives base on / are based on ...
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395 views

Syntax structure [closed]

I have two sentences which are almost similar: 1) We can say that the annals literally teem with biased descriptions of escaping hostile rulers or entire communities. and 2) We can say that the ...
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2answers
734 views

Are these ungrammatical sentences?

Sentence 1 (a question in fact): Who is the speaker to whom speaking what is situation. This is written my Literature and Composition teacher. The answer is "dramatic situation". But confusingly ...
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2answers
5k views

Is it correct to say that an organization was “formed …” instead of “founded in May 1999”? If so when?

Often we say that an organization was founded a particular year. For example: The supermarket where I work was founded in May 1999. But I've sometimes seen "founded" in the sentence above being ...
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1answer
103 views

“there are tablets for each” or “there is a tablet for each”

Which is correct? I want to say there is ONE tablet for each emperor and avoid any ambiguity whatsoever. Which one is best? Inside the hall there are tablets for each of the former Qing dynasty ...
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5answers
533 views

during, while or whilst (the) rain?

Does the last part of the following sentence sound natural for native speakers? "Alicia was standing under the tree during rain". Some users ...
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1answer
130 views
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1answer
39k views

“I am having…”

People say "I'm having a baby." "I'm having a good time," or "I'm having friends over for dinner." but normally don't say "I'm having a car," "I'm having a cold." or "I'm having a solution." The ...
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2answers
1k views

such + noun phrase + that

Consider these two examples: My secretary is such an honest woman that she never says anything about my business. My secretary is of such honesty that she never says a word about my business. Why is ...
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2answers
76 views

seeking to relate to others [closed]

I am looking to for a word that describes a person who often seeks to relate to others. He looks to include outsiders into groups and is able to adjust speech depending on who he is talking to.
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3answers
342 views

Is it not nice to describe self as “shrewd”?

Here is how I described our firm in brief: is a group of shrewd professionals who went through myriad business situations and are passionate about understanding business objectives and solving ...
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1answer
11k views

What is the grammatically correct way to frame this sentence? [duplicate]

I saw this sentence online and it has been bothering me: "Tomorrow is me and my girlfriend's anniversary." I immediately had an aversion to this sentence after reading it but then I quickly had an ...
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2answers
386 views

In what case should the subject of a gerund phrase be?

When given the following problem: A) Bill took the money. B) That shows his character. Turn clause A into a nominal clause or phrase and make it the subject of b. I came up with three grammatical ...
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2answers
1k views

I need a synonym for “part of”

In the following sentence I need to find a synonym for "part of". Also I don't like how "construe" sounds in the sentence. The sociological perspective of structuralism construes aspects of society ...
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0answers
98 views

Does it make sense for me to say “plentiful body”? [closed]

I want to say "the beast is going to feast on his plentiful body". Does that make sense or what should I say instead?
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1answer
238 views

How are computers affecting spelling and usage? [closed]

Has spell check changed usage? I type the word "theatre" often; even here while I am typing it is underlined in red, yet Americans who direct, produce, or act in theatre prefer the older spelling. ...
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5answers
11k views

“I am finished my sandwich” sounds correct but “I am started my sandwich” does not?

Grammatically these 2 sentences seem to have the same structure I - pronoun am - verb finished/started - verb my - pronoun(dictionary.com -> possessive, used as an "attributive adjective") ...
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2answers
2k views

Changing usage of past-perfect constructions in American and British usage

I notice a great many American speakers using the construction had loved as a preterite, that is, a simple past tense. I also hear the simple past tense used in instances in which I was taught to use ...
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1answer
91 views

What is a word that indicates the layout of video feeds/sources on a video wall/screen - planogram?

Much like a planogram indicates where the placements of retail products should be: plan·o·gram ˈplanəˌɡram/ noun a diagram or model that indicates the placement of retail products on ...
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5answers
830 views

Is there a word that describes the need to form one's own opinion of someone new, rather than blindly accepting the opinion of a third party?

I had a hard time trying to word this and I hope I didn't over-think it and make a total mess of it. I just can't think of a word even close and its driving me crazy. lol I'm interested to hear all ...
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2answers
504 views

About fantasy species/ race names

I'm not a native English speaker, but I like the language and want to learn all about it. I'm also an active world builder and I made a few species/ races, but I'm having trouble to see what is the ...
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3answers
144 views

Dropping of “was” from “A couple of ministers had to resign too, among them [was] Interior Minister Fouchet.”

A couple of ministers had to resign too, among them Interior Minister Fouchet. I don't know what type of rule is used to delete needed "was" in this sentence. My opinion is that "was" should be ...
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11answers
3k views

I am trying to remember a word/phrase that is often used to describe backwards and heavy handed laws

I am having the darndest time trying to remember this word/phrase. I have seen it used many times over the years to describe laws, rules, and policies that are usually very heavy handed and backwards ...
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3answers
399 views

Use of “Would” with “Have” [closed]

Please explain the use of "would" with "have". Can we use them together twice in a sentence. If not then why?
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4answers
1k views

What is a gender neutral word to describe an individual? [duplicate]

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that my primary interests aren't actually in literature/linguistics, but within the domain of music. However, I have come accross a problem I feel is of much ...
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1answer
1k views

A word for someone that loves learning/ curious, has wonder about the world In general [duplicate]

I need a word that describes the love of learning, discovering, or it could even be a word that describes a curious person.
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2answers
1k views

Are both “You can do no worse than” and “You can do worse than” accepted?

I came across "You can do no worse than" in the following article: You can do no worse than follow the regular updates that ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano is posting in his blog as he conducts his ...
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1answer
129 views

What is the best and most concise way to Describe a Town and its Surroundings? [closed]

I am creating a Text Based Game. When a character arrives in a Town, they are supposed to describe the town that they are in based on the buildings that are in the town. At the moment I have a very ...
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2answers
298 views

Feel Good but Meaningless Phrase [duplicate]

I am looking for a word that describes general phrases that makes one feel good but has no real meaning, such as, "I'm for tolerance." Well, maybe in some things you are but in others you aren't (...
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1answer
961 views

A word to describe the act to switch between positive and negative?

I am doing some programming with math. I have written a tidy function which turns any positive number to negative or any negative number to a positive. I would like to name this function in the most ...
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2answers
471 views

Using “of” in describing something

I am trying to help my girlfriend study english. She was wondering why use "of" in the following sentence: The Chinese self-image is still in so many ways, of a weak country. Is it simply a more ...
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2answers
14k views

“One of my most dearest, and closest friends”? [closed]

When wanting to note a very close friendship, is this appropriate? One of my most dearest, and closest friends Or should it be One of my dearest and most closest friends Can 'most' simply not ...
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4answers
5k views

How should I use 'right' and 'left' when describing a person?

Is there a standard convention for using right and left when describing a person? Should it always be from the perspective of the person being described? For example, when describing a flat object: ...
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2answers
472 views

What prefix corresponds to something on the same level?

I am working on modeling a problem for a computer program and am having a tough time coming up with the proper naming convention I would like to use. Specifically I am working with a finite state ...
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2answers
253 views

-gate, and gamergate

I have always understood the phrase ____-gate to refer to a controversy or conflict. For example, deflate-gate was the hubbub around whether the Patriots intentionally deflated balls during the AFC ...
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2answers
259 views

Do usage errors exist?

...for the descriptive linguist? I've noticed that some users on English Stack Exchange, and some reference works, tend to answer questions about word usage by referring to how words are used in ...
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3answers
539 views

ESL text: “I notice similarities between myself and . . . ”: Acceptable use of reflexive pronoun?

In an ESL class, a student asked a difficult question about the use of “myself” in the following sentence: I notice similarities between myself and other people more than differences. (Speak Out,...
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1answer
146 views

Can you end a multi-sentence quotation with a comma?

This is correct: "Rats," he said. But this looks wrong to me: "I left the oven on. Rats," he said. I can't find any rules about whether you can end a quotation with a comma when there are periods ...
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3answers
1k views

reporting past simple tense [closed]

Choose: He said that while he was watching television, the light (went/had gone) out. Some people say that past simple tense doesn't change in indirect speech, but my teacher says that the direct ...
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1answer
315 views

noun adjunct order with proper noun

Given a proper noun, "Widget", should a noun adjunct come before or after the proper noun? Consider: "Windows" operating system and a noun adjunct applying to it: Enterprise Windows This, to me, ...
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1answer
2k views

Words that describes something of high quality?

I have been searching for a business name and happened to come across this site and thought I would see if I could get some help. I run my own High End Auto Detailing company. Where I spend countless ...
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3answers
10k views

“if you have any questions, please call myself” and other bizarre new reflexive pronoun usages

This is not a question about when to use reflexive pronouns. I am perfectly clear on that, and I understand that there are questions on the site already about when and when not to use them. This is ...
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2answers
128 views

Is there a name for words like Terror in “The Tomb of Terror”?

I know that Terror is a noun, but is there a name for a noun that's used to describe another noun like this?
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1answer
91 views

Can a phrase including past participle be put right behind the preposition 'of'?

For all the English grammar my teacher taught me, the element put right behind the preposition 'of' can be: 1. a noun. The leg of the desk 2. gerund leading phrase which acts as a noun: The result ...
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4answers
633 views

“to” + infinitive vs. just infinitive vs. gerund after the phrase “verb for”

The Spanish verb contar translates to "to count". Which of the following would be a better way to express this in formal writing: Contar is the Spanish verb for count. Contar is the Spanish ...
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0answers
13 views

The choice between “A” or “The” [duplicate]

This month is the 50th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's "The Speech". The title of his speech is however "A Time For Choosing". Why is it not "The Time For Choosing"?
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1answer
62 views

Should I use Well? or What? [closed]

When not hearing someone correctly, is it proper to use the word "well" as a question?
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2answers
449 views

Verb choice 'do' in idiomatic expression [closed]

In common vernacular, an electrician or plumber might say something like "I'll do the plumbing for free". I know it's not exactly proper English but what exactly is going on (In a technical sense) ...
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1answer
1k views

use of “has been” vs. “was” for a website [closed]

When writing notifications for a website, for example: "Your password has been reset successfully", when do I use "has been" and when do I use "was" as in "Your password was reset successfully". I ...
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1answer
870 views

What does “writing intentions” mean in the following context? [closed]

In the following line, I'm not sure what "writing intentions" means at the end. "Even if you've written 20 scripts before, perhaps you need help on dialogue, a clearer inciting incident, stronger ...