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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Is the phrase "in despite of" instead of "in spite of" incorrect? [duplicate]

Is the usage of the phrase "in despite of" instead of "in spite of" in the following passage from Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, chapter 15 incorrect or is it a Dickensian ...
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As if as though

I am having a problem identifing which gramatical function as if (as though, like) has As far as I know After linking verbs, we have noun/ noun phrase/ noun clause and adjective/ adjective phrase ...
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What is the grammar of "I'm home"? [duplicate]

Why do we often say "I'm home" rather than "I'm at home"? How is the former even grammatically correct? Should this be thought of as a use of a "phrasal verb", "to ...
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1 answer
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How/what others think of you

In this sentence Don't worry about ( what / how ) others may think of you. I think "what" is the answer, but I do not know why I cannot use "how" in this sentence.
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Should we put apostrophe after John to make it a Possesive Gerund? [duplicate]

1)John trying to tell everybody what he thought annoyed me. 2)George ringing me up at three o'clock in the morning to tell me he was in love again didn't please me. I have read the above two sentences ...
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2 answers
61 views

How do we ask about two couples?

Let's assume we have two men and two women. They seem like couples. Can I ask this question? Are you guys couples? (Are you four couples?) Or is it grammatically incorrect? And I can only say: Are you ...
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32 views

Can we use "just like the old times" with present tense?

Can we use "just like the old times" with present tense? For example: She robs trains, just like the old times. Is this correct and natural?
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Leave X out OR leave out X? [duplicate]

What is the difference between "leave X out" and "leave out X?" Assuming both are grammatically correct, is there any difference in the message conveyed between using one over the ...
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"Would you prefer to walk rather than run?" vs "Would you prefer to walk or run"

I am a native speaker and I feel that I use both of these constructs. Have I been mistaken all these years? If not, what's the subtle difference between the 2. Looking for other opinions. My ...
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1 answer
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Until it stops or stopped? Reported speech question

"I told him to wait until the rain stops" or "i told him to wait until the rain stopped"
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2 votes
1 answer
385 views

Confused in the usage of "where" in a non-interrogative sentence

I was writing an essay, but I came across a weird sentence: Where peace prevails, justice prevails. In the above sentence, I am confused if the usage of "where" at the beginning of the ...
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3 answers
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Should "each" always be paired with a singular verb, even when a 'singular noun' and [each + partitive] are paired?

I know that normally singular verbs are to be used with "each", but what if an individual and 'each' + a partitive involving a collective noun, such as "family", is spoken of, and &...
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1 answer
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Does William Shakespeare use the double negative in the speech below to yield a different meaning, or is it just for emphasis? (Merchant of Venice) [closed]

....So can I give no reason, nor I will not, More than a lodged hate and a certain loathing... ~ Shylock answering to the Duke in the court In the above extract from Merchant of Venice - Act IV, ...
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Should it be "we animals" or "us animals"? [duplicate]

In the serialization of my book, I have this passage: Brief introductions were made, although when Albert tried to tell them the names of we animals, they waved him off. But now I'm wondering ...
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Is the word "lured" an adjective or verb in the sentence "I feel lured by the chance to start over again." [closed]

While I understand the verb "feel" is often followed by -ed adjectives when talking about emotional states, "lured" itself is not an adjective. So I am not sure what to make of the ...
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What option is correct or better?

Which structure is better: Example 1: Two algorithms to solve the X problem are used. or Two algorithms are used to solve the X problem. I am struggling with the position of are used. Is there any ...
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Is it grammatically correct [nowadays] not to invert the NP and copula in an indirect question? [duplicate]

I don't know if this is a recent phenomenon, but for the last decade, I've noticed when English speakers make statements denoting there are/were unknowns, they usually phrase them with a question ...
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Can "to be" be ommitted if it's implied? e.g. "These items need completed by Friday" [duplicate]

Can "to be" be ommitted if it's implied? i.e. Are the following sentences acceptable grammar? "These items need done by Friday" "These items need completed by Friday" ...
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1 answer
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Identified by or Identified as

I wish to write that some variables in a scientific document can be respectively identified (as/by) some values... For instance, ...where a,b and c correspond to the energies the spinor and the ...
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2 answers
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Is this structure being used in English: "Can you be free not to do something"? [closed]

On an Instagram page, I heard of a structure being used when you actually ask someone not to do something. The structure was: "Can you be free not to Infinitive...?" For example: Can you be ...
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1 answer
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What do these two "which"s refer to in this sentence?

Superstition, Flusfeder argues, isn’t some primitive hangover from our distant past. It is the inevitable result of our capacity for taking mental shortcuts, which makes us capable of thinking on our ...
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2 votes
2 answers
188 views

Why not “Send her victory, happiness and glory”? [closed]

I was wondering why the expression in UK’s national anthem God Save the Queen is “Send her victorious happy and glorious” and not “Send her victory Happiness and glory”. I am not a native English ...
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2 votes
1 answer
135 views

"By pencil" vs "in pencil"

Is there any difference between "The letter was written by pencil" and "The letter was written in pencil" ?
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1 vote
1 answer
52 views

What does the term "pondering his way" mean in this passage?

He turned slowly down Aldersgate Street, and was pondering his way along towards Saint Paul’s, purposing to come into one of the great thoroughfares, [...] (From Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, ...
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Why is notification list correct and notifications list not? [duplicate]

Are they both correct? I was thinking that the notifications list is correct because it's a "list of notifications". However, someone mentioned that the correct usage is notification list ...
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"Is" followed by a plural noun [duplicate]

I just heard someone say "The noisiest thing outside is the birds". I understand the use of "is" being preceded by the singular "thing". But, the plural "birds" ...
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1 answer
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Is this list syntax correct?

I saw the following sentence earlier: We’ll help you win across every channel, every format and on your terms. I interpret that as one of the following: We’ll help you win; [across every channel], [...
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1 answer
55 views

Why does one use infinitive in "He be saying nonsense."? [duplicate]

I hear some people using infinitive form especially with the verb "to be" in songs or regular conversations. I don't know exactly it mean means grammatically. Can anyone help? For example: ...
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Commas with possessive nouns?

I'm not quite sure how to phrase this question but I'm wondering which is correct, or if someone can suggest an alternative to me, that would be great too. The difficult nature of client Anna's case ...
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0 answers
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"What I hate most is to be laughed at" or "What I hate most is being laughed at", which is better? [duplicate]

"What I hate most is to be laughed at" or "What I hate most is being laughed at", which is better? I think both are correct and cannot spot the difference... but one of my friend ...
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1 answer
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The principal and accountant ……… on leave. (is/are) [closed]

Its is on my book and I can’t figure it how. Is it misprint?
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1 answer
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"A lesser amount of x and y" or "lesser amounts of x and y"?

A lesser amount of x and y is needed to satisfy his wants. vs. Lesser amounts of x and y are needed to satisfy his wants. Which one is grammatical? They both sound right to me.
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The meaning of “but” in “never a woman but...”? [duplicate]

What’s the meaning of the second “but” in the following quote? Grammar! — what was that but the art of arranging words? — and he never knew a woman but could do that fast enough. From My French ...
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Studies into OSV in English

There is a somewhat uncommon type of OSV form in spoken and literary English that I've noticed. This is also famously how Yoda talks, and there have been a few question here asking about it in other ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How do I use "would" when talking about the past in the context of storytelling?

I'm currently translating a book from my mother tongue, Portuguese, to English. When translating certain sentences about the past, which describe recurrence, I repeatedly resort to would in situations ...
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1 answer
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Is "yet again" negative in the sentence?

Usually from what I learned, "yet" is used as a negation in the sentence, like "...have not...yet". However, if the sentence is "He failed the test yet again". Here, is ...
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1 vote
0 answers
27 views

Adjective-Verb-Subject sentence structure [duplicate]

I'm wondering about the sentence "Privy is he to the knowledge of the conspiracy." I recall similar usages of this sentence structure, but I can't seem to find examples or what this ...
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3 answers
53 views

Why does the verb "was" indicate the fact that no longer exists?

I often see on the Internet one sentence, He was rich. (He is not rich at present) Why does the sentence have such an implication? Is it customary only for this sentence to express that meaning? ...
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Asking what the subject complement refers to

I encountered something similar to the following in a reading comprehension exam (not one that I did myself). Pepsi is a good example of a soft drink that has a lot of sugar and is therefore ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why is “It isn’t her” incorrect?

Reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, this happens (p 115 of my edition): “It’s all right,” he was shouting. “Come out, Sons and Daughters of Adam. It’s all right! It isn’t ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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What's the structure of this Hemingway sentence?

I'm reading The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway, and I'm confused by this sentence: Then, while the old man was clearing the lines and preparing the harpoon, the male fish jumped high into ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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In "play badminton," what is the logic that makes "badminton" the object of "play"? It almost seems like an adverbial relationship

Let's take the sentence "I play badminton every day." Lexico.com has "play" here as taking an object in "badminton", with play signifying "take part in". For ...
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1 answer
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Is it necessary to write "by" before a percent increase? [duplicate]

In the sentence, "Immigration increased by 28%", would the "by" be correct or could the sentence read, "Immigration increased 28%"?
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Definite article for general use of "curriculum" required?

We do not use articles before uncountable and abstract nouns used in a general sense. (https://www.englishgrammar.org/omission-articles/) In the following sentence, our copy editor added the the, but ...
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28 views

If+subject+would

Last night as I watched a video on Youtube I heard a sentence which has gotten me into confusion. The person on that video said: If we would put the new tax bill aside, we would be able to solve the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Natural Sentence and Unnatural Sentence [closed]

I think that since Tom is a student, he cannot buy expensive meat. I don't think that Tom can buy expensive meat since he is a student. Since Tom is a student, I don't think that he can buy ...
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What do you mean by, "Please schedule a meeting by [date]"? [duplicate]

Should I schedule a meeting ON or WITHIN the specified date?
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1 vote
2 answers
54 views

"Many+a+adjective+plural noun" structure [closed]

Does the structure "I have had many a worse days/years/meals" have a specific name?
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-1 votes
1 answer
62 views

A question about outdated English grammar [closed]

So, basically I've been having this argument with my English teacher about this one grammar question. She wrote "I haven't any money" on the board and I told her that "I haven't any ...
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3 votes
3 answers
260 views

How is the singular noun "vote" used compared to the plural "votes"?

Being a big fan of fivethirtyeight.com, and political nerdishness in general, I have repeatedly run into a plural use of the singular nominal 'vote,' most often in the phrase 'percentage of vote.' ...
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