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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55
votes
1answer
335k views

Is there an apostrophe in a master's degree?

The question asks it all really. When referring to a master's degree, do you use an apostrophe or not? That is, is it "a master's" or "a masters"?
4
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5answers
3k views

'Am I interpreting' vs 'Do I interpret'?

Am I interpreting the results correctly? Do I interpret the results correctly? Do they have the same meaning? Are both or just one correct?
2
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6answers
3k views

Does the following sentence make any sense? [closed]

Is the following sentence grammatically correct and does it make any sense? "Humans made god to live in pieces and not peace." It was posted by some atheist in response to this quote: "God made ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

How are embedded quotations used?

How would embedded quotations be used when quoting from passages/sources within an essay? What would be the difference between normal quotations and embedded quotations?
6
votes
0answers
272 views

Should “none” as a pronoun be used as singular or plural? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: None as plural indefinite pronoun I was programming when it suddenly struck me that I did not know if "none" should be singular or plural. Fore instance, should I write "none ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I take a partial quotation that ends with a question mark (but not within my quote)?

I am in the process of writing a paper on Shakespeare's Macbeth, and I want to take a quotation from the following passage: Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life And live a coward in thine on ...
7
votes
8answers
536 views

Rewrite this grammatically troubling movie poster

On a Wiki-walk the other day, I stumbled across the movie poster for Devil. The tagline on the poster is: Five strangers trapped. One of them is not what they seem. The writer was obviously using ...
8
votes
1answer
17k views

Is “pain” a noun or a verb?

For example, which of the following sentences is correct: My eyes are paining. There is a pain in my eyes.
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How to compare quantities and values?

Which is the correct way to compare two values or quantities? Apart from 'greater than', or 'lower than', could you say something like '1 is close to 2, but far from 9'?
8
votes
2answers
429 views

The all-powerful “to have”

"To have" seems to fill a lot of different needs in the English language, apart from its literal meaning of possessing something. It's an integral part of perfect and perfect progressive verb tenses: ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Why “present simple” and not “simple present”?

When reading grammar, I find the names of the tenses kind of weird to me; Present simple and not simple present past simple and not simple past present continuous and not continuous present etc Does ...
16
votes
2answers
101k views

Which is correct: “is it worth it?” or “does it worth it?” [closed]

Which one should I prefer? Is it worth it? or Does it worth it? Additionally, is the following form (without it) correct? Is it worth?
0
votes
0answers
621 views

“I have” = “I've”. Is that always correct? [duplicate]

Duplicate: Is it appropriate to use short form of “have” ('ve) when it means possession? I feel uncomfortable saying sentences like the following: "I've a car" instead of "I ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Tending to misuse comma

I tend to misuse commas in large way. Whenever I draft a professional mail, I get engrossed in the points, and somewhere along the way I get the feeling that this sentence is too long. I then ...
5
votes
1answer
506 views

Can we say “Had Einstein used his spare time on something more useful for the society, …”

The complete sentence is : Had Einstein used his spare time on something more useful for the society, the improvement of our knowledge of the nature of the universe would have been greatly delayed. ...
33
votes
5answers
68k views

Should I use “ related” or “-related”

What is the correct use of the term "related?" For example, should I use it like computer related, or is it more proper to use computer-related (where the word "computer" is just part of my example?)...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What are the uses of ellipses in essays? [closed]

I’m wondering about how ellipses are used in essays. Are there any examples that I could see?
5
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the name of this system of proof correction marks?

I remember in English classes when my teacher had used this sort of system when correcting essays in the class. I never asked her about what it was and just complied and made the revisions to my ...
4
votes
6answers
17k views

How can I structure this sentence correctly?

A friend of mine announced her pregnancy via email. I wanted to tell her how pleased I was to hear she was going to have a baby, as this was something she'd wanted for a long time. I was about to say ...
6
votes
1answer
8k views

Is this correct : “the bigger a dream is, the harder is to achieve.”

I believe it's correct from a view of grammar, but is it clear?
2
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5answers
14k views

Isn't “behind your back” in front of you?

We've all heard the phrase that usually goes along the lines of "blah blah did something behind my back". I've always thought that from your back's point of view, anything behind you is in front of it ...
4
votes
1answer
202 views

What are the specifics of King's quote?

Stephen King (author of "The Shining") in his book "On Writing", writes: American grammar doesn`t have the sturdiness of British grammar (a British advertising man with a proper education can ...
2
votes
0answers
2k views

What to use - 'I' or 'Me'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Which is correct, “you and I” or “you and me”? When do I use “I” instead of “me?” Which one of the following sentences is ...
7
votes
5answers
54k views

Which preposition should be used after the verb “request”? [duplicate]

Which is correct? I would like to request you to refrain from shouting. I would like to request of you to refrain from shouting. I would like to request from you to refrain from shouting. Something ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

What are rules to reverse the position of subject and predicative when the former is too long

For example, in this sentence where the subject is qualified by a clause: The assumption that a new airport will for sure make Tudor a flight hub is highly dubious. I thought we could move highly ...
26
votes
5answers
9k views

Why do we use the object instead of the subject pronoun in constructions like “stupid me”?

I'm trying to find out how come we say lucky me and stupid us rather than lucky I and stupid we. My understanding is that this is not a recent invention, but a relic from the distant past where it was ...
60
votes
7answers
31k views

Are there any simple rules for choosing the definite vs. indefinite (vs. none) article?

I can’t for the life of me figure out where to use a and where to use the — and where there is no article at all. Is there a simple rule of thumb to memorize? The standard rule you always hear: “...
15
votes
5answers
6k views

Please explain “I Am America (And So Can You!)”

As a non-native speaker, I found Stephen Colbert’s book title I Am America (And So Can You!) a little hard to dissect. Why so can you? Why isn’t it So Are You? What’s the full phrase that And So Can ...
5
votes
2answers
9k views

“Subject, verb, direct object, object complement” versus “subject, verb, indirect object, direct object”

Reading English Grammar (HarperCollins College Outline, published by HarperResource, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers) I found a chapter (Sentence Basics) that explains that in English there are ...
6
votes
3answers
9k views

Changing subject and verb positions in statements and questions

We always change subject and verb positions in whenever we want to ask a question such as "What is your name?". But when it comes to statements like the following, which form is correct? I don't ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

What mnemonics help solve common linguistic issues?

Example: i before e, except after c. Are there mnemonic devices to help remember other spelling and grammar issues? Bonus points for pointing out exceptions to the rule.
27
votes
8answers
124k views

Why do you say “friend of mine” instead of “friend of me”?

I think friend of mine can be translated to my friend. In that case, doesn't friend of me make more sense? If we translate friend of mine to one of my friends then I guess friend of mine makes sense ...
5
votes
1answer
502 views

Grammatically speaking what role does 'him' play in this sentence?

I like him working out.
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Is correct to use an adjective as appositive?

We youngsters admired our grandmother very much. You ignorant don't understand what I am talking about. Can I use an adjective as appositive, as in the second sentence?
15
votes
4answers
12k views

When should I use the subjunctive mood?

In which cases should I use the subjunctive mood? I suggest that every applicant fill out the form carefully. If she were rich, she would live on Long Island.
29
votes
7answers
73k views

Where should the comma be placed in the salutation of a letter?

Sometimes I see a comma after the proper name: Hello Mr. Black, In order to give you.... But my native language is not English and I think that the comma in this phrase should be placed ...
17
votes
4answers
14k views

What part of speech is “on” in “on fire”?

A while ago, there was an answer on Jeopardy! along the following lines: In the sentence he was on fire, the word on is this part of speech. The judges ruled that it was a preposition. But I ...
6
votes
2answers
12k views

Definite article with plural nouns

Are there cases where the definite article is used with a plural noun, or is it a rule that the definite article is never used with the plural of a word?
11
votes
3answers
24k views

When to use 'an' and when to use 'a' with words begining with 'h'?

Some h-words need 'an' for the indefinite article (I will be there in an hour). Other h-words need 'a' for the indefinite article (It is a history of sadness). Is there a general rule?
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Are there cases where a possessive pronoun is omitted?

Are there cases where the possessive adjective is omitted in a sentence, or is it always used? For example, in a sentence like "Susan was walking with her hands in her pockets", is it necessary to ...
7
votes
3answers
24k views

Correct usage of ‘on’, ‘at’ and ‘in’

As a foreign English speaker who never really studied too much English grammar other than the basics at high school, I often struggle to decide what is the correct preposition to use in certain ...
5
votes
1answer
5k views

What can I use to remember the difference between “well” and “good”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between “good” and “well” Okay, I actually have no idea when it's okay to say well or good but once again I vaguely remember a ...
29
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the best way to explain how to choose between “its” and “it's”?

Probably one of the most frequent grammar mistakes in the English language is: The dog sat on it's mat. Since spelling checkers don't catch it, and it is even logical, since you would correctly ...
18
votes
7answers
375k views

“I'm well” vs. “I'm good” vs. “I'm doing well”, etc

The greeting How are you? is asking How are you doing in general? — How are you? I'm well. [Misunderstood the question.] because well as an adjective which means: in good health especially ...
16
votes
4answers
12k views

Answering “Have you got” questions with “I do”

For the question "Have you got any ice cream?" which is correct: Yes I do Yes I have or inversely No I don't No I haven't got any
30
votes
13answers
7k views

How can I reliably and accurately identify the passive voice in writing or speech?

How can I reliably and accurately identify the passive voice in writing or speech? I'm not interested in advice about whether or not to use it yet... I just want to know for sure what it is, so that I ...
20
votes
6answers
9k views

How does one know when to use a gerund or an infinitive?

As a native speaker of English, the gerund version of this sentence sounds better: infinitive: When used together in chains, extension methods are an unprecedented tool to produce extremely ...
49
votes
4answers
46k views

When should a verb be followed by a gerund instead of an infinitive?

Some verbs are followed by ing, e.g. I enjoy swimming. We can't say I enjoy to swim. Likewise, some verbs are followed by to, e.g. I decided to make a plan. Which particular verbs are followed by ...
62
votes
9answers
235k views

When do I use “I” instead of “me?”

From some comments in the answers for common English usage mistakes (now deleted, 10k only), there's confusion around the usage of I vs. me: While the sentence, "the other attendees are myself and ...
7
votes
7answers
4k views

Why do some people pedantically cling to dying word forms (e.g. die, oxen)?

The only times I have ever heard the word "die" to refer to one dice are from my mother, and from my primary school English teacher. Every person I ever hear always says, "give me a dice" if they want ...