Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

Questions tagged [grammaticality]

This tag is for questions about whether something obeys the rules of grammar in English. The question must INCLUDE THE SPECIFIC GRAMMATICAL CONCERN. If your question is about grammar itself, please use the "grammar" tag.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
161
votes
11answers
936k views

When to use “If I was” vs. “If I were”?

If I was... If I were... When is it correct to use "If I was" vs. "If I were" in standard English?
152
votes
12answers
35k views

When is it appropriate to end a sentence in a preposition?

Like many others, I commonly find myself ending a sentence with a preposition. Yes, it makes me cringe. I usually rewrite the sentence, but sometimes (in emails) I just live with it. To, with... ...
118
votes
2answers
200k views

Is it “a user” or “an user” [duplicate]

Since user starts with a vowel shouldn't we use "an" ? I've seen many cases of using "a" .
111
votes
5answers
150k views

Can “whose” refer to an inanimate object?

We lit a fire whose fuel was old timber wood. Is the word whose referring to fire, an inanimate object, correct in this sentence? Or is there a more appropriate word?
105
votes
12answers
225k views

When should I use “a” versus “an” in front of a word beginning with the letter h?

A basic grammar rule is to use an instead of a before a vowel sound. Given that historic is not pronounced with a silent h, I use “a historic”. Is this correct? What about heroic? Should be “It was a ...
98
votes
8answers
19k views

Which is correct: “__ is different from __” or “__ is different than __”?

As someone who learned English later on in life, I was taught that different from is the correct grammar to use: this is different from that. However, it seems these days everyone uses different than ...
91
votes
3answers
69k views

Is “believe you me” proper English?

I understand the phrase "believe you me" to be an emphatic version of "believe me" but how did it come to be? Is it a poor translation into English?
90
votes
8answers
570k views

“Whether or not” vs. “whether”

This will depend on whether he's suitable for the job. This will depend on whether he's suitable for the job or not. This will depend on whether or not he's suitable for the job. It is ...
86
votes
15answers
891k views

Which is correct, “you and I” or “you and me”?

When the phrase is used as an object, why so many native speakers are saying "you and I" instead of "you and me"? I'm not a native speaker but I thought "you and me" is correct. Not sure if this falls ...
85
votes
7answers
26k views

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses?

Is it acceptable to nest parentheses (for example, if I (meaning myself) write like this)?
84
votes
12answers
141k views

Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular?

I'd say Microsoft have a way of bending the rules and I know that McLaren have won the championship. While this sounds strange, I believe it is correct English (sorry, I'm not native). But when it's ...
81
votes
4answers
17k views

What's wrong with “I'll open you the door”?

When I call the buzzer outside my girlfriend's flat, she sometimes says *"I'll open you the door". I correct this to "I'll open the door for you". I've never heard a native speaker say it the first ...
69
votes
7answers
205k views

Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”?

Is this sentence grammatically correct? Anyone who loves the English language should have a copy of this book in their bookcase. or should it be: Anyone who loves the English language should ...
64
votes
3answers
357k views

“Any” followed by singular or plural countable nouns?

This question has troubled me for ages despite my several attempts of looking it up in dictionaries or usage books. Do we say, "Do you have any ideas" or "Do you have any idea"? I do see an example ...
62
votes
9answers
237k 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 ...
61
votes
5answers
761k views

Should I put myself last? “me and my friends” vs. “my friends and me” or “my friends and I”

I've always been taught to put myself last when referring to myself in the same sentence as others but the usage of "me and..." seems to be everywhere these days. The misuse of the word "me" instead ...
60
votes
4answers
140k views

Which is correct: “one or more is” or “one or more are”?

Should the phrase be "one or more is...", or "one or more are..."?
57
votes
5answers
257k views

Is 'Updation' a correct word?

I was wondering whether 'updation' is correct English or not. Sample sentence: I was involved in the updation of the website.
56
votes
6answers
16k views

Is “Just a friendly advice” grammatical?

I know that "advice" is uncountable and thus is incompatible with the article "a". However, the phrase "Just a friendly advice" seems to be rather widespread. Is it idiomatic, or incorrect? What is ...
55
votes
4answers
27k views

When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive adjective/determiner?

I assume that the following sentences are grammatically correct: He resents your being more popular than he is. Most of the members paid their dues without my asking them. They objected to ...
55
votes
9answers
138k views

Is “errored” correct usage?

If "errored" is not a valid word, then how should I say: The program errored at line 44 I guess I could say: The program threw an error at line 44 But why is "errored" wrong? Is there a better ...
54
votes
12answers
37k views

I can run faster than _____. (1) him (2) he?

Consider the sentence "I can run faster than 15 miles per hour." Its meaning is clear and to my eyes obviously grammatically correct. Now let me present some variations that have given me trouble for ...
52
votes
10answers
9k views

Is “rather” shifting to become a verb?

In colloquial English, I constantly run across sentences of the form: I rather my [noun] [verb] A quick Google search returns tons of examples: I rather my opponents don't find out. I ...
50
votes
3answers
308k views

“Inputted” or “input”

I have used the word inputted in an assignment and am being forced to change it to input. However, both the Oxford English Dictionary (I am in New Zealand so this is most relevant) and MS Word list ...
48
votes
1answer
135k views

Independent/independently of/from

Which of these are correct, and why? Suggestions for rephrasing it are also welcome. [noun] was developed independently of [noun] [noun] was developed independently from [noun] [noun] was ...
45
votes
6answers
30k views

Is there some rule against ending a sentence with the contraction “it's”?

I heard this lyric in a song the other day and it just sounded so wrong that I assumed it must be incorrect grammar, but I can't find any specific prohibition that applies. That's what it's. That ...
44
votes
7answers
262k views

What is the correct way to use “neither” and “nor” in a sentence together?

Given these facts: The tool cannot be found in the kitchen. The tool cannot be found in the bathroom. Which is the correct sentence to represent the situation above? I can find the tool ...
44
votes
7answers
391k views

“In time” versus “on time”

Which one is correct: Submit your work in time. Submit your work on time.
44
votes
6answers
137k views

Is “a whole nother” grammatical?

Often one will hear the phrase that's a whole nother kettle of fish, but is "nother" actually grammatical? If not, what would the correct way of saying it be?
44
votes
3answers
278k views

“Solution for” or “solution to” a problem?

I need to find a solution to/for this problem. Can to and for be used interchangeably here? Is one of them just plain wrong?
43
votes
2answers
95k views

A number of questions “has been” or “have been” asked?

Formally, is it correct to write: A number of questions has been asked here. or: A number of questions have been asked here. As a non-native speaker of English, I would prefer the former: the ...
43
votes
5answers
209k views

Is “there're” (similar to “there's”) a correct contraction?

Q: "Do you have any juice?" A: "Yes, there's some in the fridge." Sounds perfectly fine to me, but: Q: "Do you have any towels?" A: "Yes, there's some in the closet." Does not. I asked for ...
40
votes
8answers
82k views

Is it acceptable to start a sentence with “however”?

I have heard that starting a sentence with however is wrong. What are the grounds for this view and is it still held by a majority of pedants? They would suggest changing However, some people are ...
39
votes
2answers
4k views

Is this sentence from Orwell's Animal Farm grammatically sound?

Should been really have been included in the following passage from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, or was this somehow an erroneous insertion of a spurious word? Illustration from p. 17 of the 1990 ...
39
votes
5answers
40k views

Correct position of “only”

Which is grammatically correct? I can only do so much in this time. or I can do only so much in this time.
39
votes
6answers
74k views

Why is it “on *the* one hand”?

According to all dictionaries I can see and everyday use by native speakers, this is the correct way: On the one hand, it's larger; on the other hand, it's more expensive. What makes no sense to ...
39
votes
2answers
196k views

“In detail” vs. “in details”

Which form is correct: "in detail" or "in details"? I want to use it while describing an algorithm. First I give a general description of an algorithm and then more detailed description.
38
votes
6answers
61k views

I <verb> and am <rest of sentence>

I sometimes find myself writing something like this: XXX is a project I admire and am very interested in. The "I <verb> and am <something>" feels strange here. It somehow sounds more ...
38
votes
3answers
30k views

Can I use an “if” clause without “then”?

I have the following sentence: If T had still been alive, there is the great possibility that either T or C ... My teacher says that the word "then" must appear after the comma, but I think that ...
38
votes
4answers
11k views

“This question has been asked at Stack Overflow” vs. “on Stack Overflow”

How should I phrase it: This question has been asked at Stack Overflow. Or, This question has been asked on Stack Overflow.
37
votes
4answers
208k views

Is it “a uniform” or “an uniform”? [duplicate]

On a Physics specification, it says: 6.7 Know how to use two permanent magnets to produce a uniform magnetic field pattern. Isn't it "produce an uniform magnetic field", or is the existing "...
37
votes
3answers
155k views

“Invite” vs. “invitation”

I hear a lot of people saying "Send me an invite". I always thought that it was an 'invitation'. Is "sending one an invite" accepted usage? Or is it incorrect? If I need to get my wedding invitation ...
37
votes
6answers
102k views

Is “of ” necessary in “all of ”? [duplicate]

Listen to all your fans Name all the states vs Listen to all of  your fans Name all of  the states What part of language is of  in these examples? Is it necessary or optional, correct or ...
36
votes
6answers
48k views

“Who wants ice-cream?” — Should I say “(not) I” or “(not) me”?

With the enthusiastic question of "Who wants ice-cream?", what is the more correct response? (Not) I. (Not) me. Neither response is a sentence. The first response of "(not) I" sounds ...
35
votes
7answers
65k views

Using “And” at the beginning of a sentence

Since I first learned English, I have been holding this understanding that "and", as a conj. but unlike "but", can only connect two clauses, not two sentences ended with periods. But recently, I ...
35
votes
6answers
214k views

What is the difference between “nothing but”, “anything but”, and “everything but”?

What is the difference between these phrases? When is it valid to use which? Should they be avoided as being ambiguous?
35
votes
3answers
53k views

Is “misconfigured” a word?

I use the word "misconfigured" all the time, but MS Word, Chrome, and the two dictionaries I checked don't list it as a word. I'm going to keep using it instead of "configured incorrectly" because I ...
34
votes
5answers
24k views

Is “But” allowed at the beginning of a sentence as a synonym to “Though” or “However”?

Is it correct to use "But" at the start of a sentence like this? You can afford it. But think twice before buying it. Won't using "But" instead of "However" mark me as a non-native speaker?
34
votes
5answers
576k views

Is “Many thanks” a proper usage?

I saw emails from English people with Many Thanks as a signing off phrase. Is that proper usage? Or is it a phrase created by continental English speakers due to the influence of their native language?...
33
votes
13answers
3k views

Why do I instinctively want to use the present tense with a conditional?

My boss is not a native speaker of English, so he often asks me to correct his writing. The problem is, he wants me to explain why I make changes, and doesn't accept "it just sounds better that way" ...