Questions tagged [grammar]

This tag is for questions about morphology and syntax, the two elements of grammar. DO NOT USE THIS TAG IF YOUR QUESTION IS ABOUT WHETHER SOMETHING SPECIFIC IS GRAMMATICAL. For such cases use the 'grammaticality' tag. Also do not use this for punctuation or spelling (orthography); those are not about grammar, and they have their own tags.

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Using ‘first’ pre-verbally: ‘When I first wake up, I...’, ‘When we first saw them, we...’

Sorry, I don't have a clear question so much as I'm just looking for info on the use of first pre-verbally in examples like these: When I first wake up, I […] When we first saw them, we […] I just ...
idshanks's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
190 views

Non-standard grammar feature in British dialect?

I moved from Worcestershire in the UK to a non-native English speaking country when I was a child, which has made me very aware of my accent. Unlike my parents, I used to have a regional accent. I ...
Daniel's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
246 views

'To lie' and 'to lay' / 'to rise' and 'to raise' / 'to fall' and 'to fell' <-- Did English used to have more pairs like this?

My understanding is that there aren't many pairs of intransitive and transitive verbs in modern English. Off-hand, I know of three (though I think there are more): lie vs lay rise vs raise fall vs ...
Sweet Sheep's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
191 views

How can I distinguish between supplements and modifiers as proposed in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL)?

In CGEL, the authors use the term 'adjunct' as an umbrella term to cover an element that is either modifier or supplement. On page 1350, the authors explain the properties of supplements to ...
SalmonallDay's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
243 views

What does one call the noun a preposition relates to its object?

With minimal research online one can easily find that a prepositional phrase consists of a preposition and an object. Most online and paper resources will describe a preposition as a word that ...
Charlie Mcvicker's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
2k views

"She talked about how..." Grammar Rule

I'm trying to find the grammar rule or name that explains these types of sentences: The movie was about how we all need to love each other. She talked about how there is a great fear of technology. ...
Acornrevolution's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
1k views

"With probability", "with a probability", "with the probability"?

As a mathematician, I often write and read about probabilities. In the literature, I've seen versions of all the sentences below. Which one is correct? This happens with probability (of) 30%. This ...
Paula's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
42 views

Commas in an introductory phrase for both a time shift and a new setting

So let’s say I’ve got an introductory phrase that introduces both a new setting and a new shift in time, sort of like a “scene change” phrase. For example, let’s say those two elements are “later” for ...
inkwell87's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes
3 answers
177 views

The verb "mark" with events in time

The 19th century was marked by the abolition of slavery. The 19th century marked the abolition of slavery. Which is correct? The meaning is that the abolition of slavery was an important event in the ...
zaliko1963's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
81 views

if only usage: leave out the 'was'

When 'it' refers to a letter or a complex situation projected to be caused by a letter, is it okay to use 'if only' in the following way? Why or why not? "It'd all be appropriate if only written ...
grouch doug's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
155 views

Structure and usage of the construction - BE of

I have seen various sentences like this: The availability of two reasonably complete mammalian genomes is of great help to gene finders. - The New York Times I do my utmost to dress the actors very ...
Man_From_India's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
100 views

when can i omit the subject in comparative sentences

I recently encountered two sentences - Cars made in Japan are better than those made in Korea. here, "those" cannot be omitted Prices of mangos in Thailand are much lower than (those) in England. ...
VCN's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
518 views

Usage and origin of the expression “nice and”

According to the following dictionaries the expression nice and is an adverbial locution which is used to give more emphasis to the adjective that follows: According to M-W nice and is synonym of very ...
user 66974's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
317 views

How to determine ergative verbs

As a non-English speaker, it's sometimes hard to determine what style of a verb is meant in sentences written/said by native speakers of English. For example, there are ergative verbs in English. ...
Franky's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
74 views

Comma before a moved verb

I can't seem to find a definitive answer for this, and my colleague and I are disagreeing on it: Your next obsession, found. Your next obsession found. It was an advertisement, as in something like ...
humble.rebel's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
67 views

Function of Else

In the sentence, "Do you study anything else besides English?", what is the function of else? Is it an adjective? An adverb? And if it is an adverb, what does it modify? Thank you!
CuriousHobi's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
536 views

Words/phrases like "kindred spirit" that refer to both the speaker and the subject of the sentence

The google definition of kindred spirit is "a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one's own." That means that if I were to say to someone "You are a kindred spirit", I am describing ...
Max Mucha's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
829 views

In which context should I use reduced relative clauses?

As I should write essays and other kinds of writings in an academic style, I was wondering whether reduced relative clauses are formal or I had better opt for a non-reduced relative clause so that I ...
Francis Rick Onorato's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are “Get” or “Grasp” stative or dynamic verbs?

In Merriam–Webster, the definition of understand is as follows: to get the meaning of something / to grasp the meaning of something. Now my questions are regarding a sentence like: I don’t ...
Indranil Bar's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
543 views

When do present participles shift from being "gerunds" or "verbal nouns" to become non-finite clauses?

Note: This is not a question about what is the difference between a gerund, verb and participle, interesting as that polemic may be. It is about non-finite clauses, which does bear upon these ...
Ubu English's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
184 views

Does “The father regretted to tell his children something embarrassing” make sense?

I came across this question in a test: The father regretted _____ his children how he regretted _____ hard when he was young. A. to tell; not to study B. telling; not studying C. to tell; not ...
Kevin Liu's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
193 views

Grammatical form of "except in"

The sentence is this, "English is not spoken anywhere except in the highest echelons of local government." Does "except" function as the preposition and head of the prepositional phrase, with "in ...
codeMonkey17's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
79 views

use of the conjunction "nor"

"She didn't get married nor had children". Is the use of "nor" correct? I know we can use "nor" without "neither" but I'm doubting in this case.
Emma Fairy 's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
296 views

Past Perfect Tense Used Instead of Past Simple in 'The Kite Runner'

I'm currently reading 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini, and notice that in some place in the book, i can't really comprehend the use of past perfect tense instead of simple past tense. Consider ...
Yohanes Theda's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
595 views

Proper ellipsis [linguistic] for "Yes/No" questions/answers containing "do + like"

Is it grammatically correct to say/write the following Q: Do you like to eat ice cream/apples...? A: No, I don't like [to eat apples]./ Yes, I like [to eat apples]. Is it necessary to include the ...
GabeM013's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
89 views

"to" + infinitive vs. "for" + gerund after noun

In technical writing, we often need to describe things that have a certain purpose: the menu item whose purpose it is to save a file, the code whose purpose it is to send a message, and so on. A ...
Daniel Wolf's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
109 views

Grammar of “In Meditations, Aurelius wrote about ways to live a Stoic life, asserting that humans should aim to live a virtuous life to be happy”

Below: a photo of a learner's textbook exercise page with a reading passage about a Stoic Roman emperor, with punctuation issues – and a question about punctuation, with rejoinders. "A" (the ...
Mr.Brian's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
107 views

"Greenland may not be as "green" as the name suggests". Is the second "as" a comparative conjunction although there is no object after "suggest"?

In the sentence below, Greenland may not be as "green" as the name suggests. The verb "suggest" should preceed an object as it is a transitive verb, but in the sentence, there is ...
HanJe Bae's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
94 views

Are "the roof of the building" and "a house of stone" grammatically the same constructions?

Are "the roof of the building" and "a house of stone" grammatically different prepositional phrase constructions? Or are they both understood to be possessives with the latter not ...
TimR's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
127 views

What is this way of speaking called?

I was having a conversation with my friend the other day. At one point, we were talking about a very wealthy individual that has amassed a significant amount of wealth. I told my friend that this ...
Konrad's user avatar
  • 27
2 votes
0 answers
54 views

Why should the past simple tense be used in this case?

In the following sentences, the past simple tense is used after the present perfect tense. Both sentences are connected with each other: I have been hit by a baseball bat in the past. It felt awful! ...
He Kuu's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
0 answers
556 views

Collective term for uncountable nouns for places, like "hospital", "school", "prison", "court", "church"?

Certain nouns for places, locations or buildings seem to have idiomatic uncountability. This blog lists a couple of those. Idiomatic uses: Home / town: No article precedes ‘home’ unless you add ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
67 views

Is "vary" a stative verb? Can it be used in Continuous?

Is "vary" a stative verb? According to Merriam-Webster it has both intransitive vary [intransitive] 1: to exhibit or undergo change the sky was constantly varying and transitive usages ...
Maria 's user avatar
  • 71
2 votes
1 answer
247 views

How can you 'test' for grammatical properties in A Student's Introduction to English Grammar?

According to the book, grammatical terms, e.g., subject, object, noun, verb, adjective, etc. should not be defined by meaning, but by grammatical properties. For example, an adjective has combinations ...
Guest1023854's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
44 views

What is the difference between these constructions?

I just came across these four sentences on a worksheet my son is doing. We are in Japan - so this is from English class at his Japanese school. It’s surprising that he should be an actor. It’s ...
David LaSpina's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
66 views

What is the term for repeating non-restrictive clauses?

I came across the following quote: Scientists would soon find themselves adrift in a bewildering realm of particles and antiparticles, where things pop in and out of existence in spans of time that ...
QuestioningAll's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
207 views

Can I really follow the theoretical framework proposed in the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language?

In the book 'the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL)', the authors propose the theoretical framework used to describe the English sentences as shown below: Text version: Clause: ...
Mz2501's user avatar
  • 29
2 votes
0 answers
49 views

Is a report used to report, or does a report report? Active vs passive

PASSIVE VOICE - The Random Name Report (RANAR) is used to report the randomness and effectiveness of names. vs. ACTIVE VOICE - The Random Name Report (RANAR) reports the randomness and effectiveness ...
Sumner18's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes
0 answers
46 views

Regard somebody as (being) as holy as a saint

Regard someone as (being) as holy as a saint Is being here optional, and why is it so in syntactic terms? Secondly, is it similar to the following? It is promoted as a leisure activity, as well as as ...
GJC's user avatar
  • 2,491
2 votes
0 answers
42 views

Why use "Team" while voting?

While I'm surfing the online forum and social media about Godzilla VS Kong movie, I found lots of people said Team Godzilla & Team Kong to mean Support Godzilla & Support Kong. I want to know ...
Unknown's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
0 answers
73 views

What does "one more step from the future" mean?

I'm not sure it's a correct English sentence. Can it be interpreted as "bringing something back from the future and advancing the present"? Maybe it would be better to use "one more ...
raxaghi's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
0 answers
68 views

Prepositional verb and non-prepositional one of a same object

If a prepositional verb and a non-prepositional one have the same object, should I put first the non-prepositional one, or it's not necessary ? The sentence is "You should reflect on and examine ...
user401406's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
951 views

Difference between "prior to" and "before"

I have read on the internet that prior to is a formal term for before and "prior to" is used when a past moment is relevant to the present one. However, I didn't understand the meaning of ...
Akshit Raj's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
102 views

“Fools that they are”

I have a question about the interposition “fools that they are” in the following: “Fools that they are, they never knew thy guiltless pride, thy true spirit.” Using Google’s Ngram Viewer, I found ...
David Marlowe's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
73 views

Why do I have to use "what" in this sentence? What role does "what" play here?

I know this sentence is correct: In the 1980's the rate of increase of the minority population of the United States was nearly twice what it was in the 1970's. So the part of the sentence I'm ...
Sam's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
0 answers
130 views

Lists. To colon or not to colon?

As a Spanish translator, I struggle with MANY Spanish sentences that include a preposition followed by a list of numbered (e.g.) activities. The lists can be long or short. An example would be: The ...
Dri's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
0 answers
336 views

When is it not possible to reduce relative clauses to participle phrases?

While "The woman who lived next door was a doctor" can be reduced to "The woman living next door was a doctor", the sentence "The woman who called me was a doctor" cannot be reduced to "The ...
user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
108 views

Why is this a complete sentence?

"Another organization, the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, offers writers from around the world a three-month residency in which to share not only stories and poems but also ...
minori minus's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
45 views

Rock and roll past

According to Wikipedia, Jerry Lee Lewis's successes continued throughout the decade and he embraced his rock and roll past with songs such as a cover of the Big Bopper's "Chantilly Lace" and Mack ...
Maurice's user avatar
  • 479
2 votes
1 answer
67 views

Hear it used this way? - Complement or Modifier

While writing the following sentence I was curious whether the sentence was correct. But after checking COCA, I came to now that similar expressions are in use. The sentence I wrote is: Have you ...
Man_From_India's user avatar

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