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.

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179 votes
12 answers
1.0m 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?
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  • 2,021
160 votes
12 answers
42k 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... ...
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  • 1,735
160 votes
2 answers
286k 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" .
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125 votes
5 answers
184k 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?
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120 votes
14 answers
274k 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 ...
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110 votes
8 answers
638k 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 ...
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  • 21.2k
107 votes
15 answers
1.1m 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 ...
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  • 3,554
103 votes
8 answers
23k 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 ...
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  • 1,243
94 votes
13 answers
179k views

Are collective nouns (and in particular companies) always given a plural verb form, or are certain ones treated as 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 ...
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  • 1,764
94 votes
3 answers
77k 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?
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  • 1,494
84 votes
4 answers
22k 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 ...
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82 votes
3 answers
473k 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 ...
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  • 1,241
75 votes
8 answers
230k 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 have a ...
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73 votes
4 answers
177k 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..."?
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  • 979
71 votes
5 answers
906k 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 ...
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  • 1,433
68 votes
5 answers
299k 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.
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67 votes
9 answers
267k 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 ...
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  • 1,824
67 votes
10 answers
160k 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 ...
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  • 1,525
65 votes
3 answers
419k 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?
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  • 1,473
64 votes
5 answers
31k 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 the ...
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  • 21.2k
63 votes
1 answer
201k 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 developed, ...
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  • 733
60 votes
14 answers
57k 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 ...
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  • 4,245
56 votes
6 answers
21k 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 ...
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54 votes
7 answers
538k views

"In time" versus "on time"

Which one is correct: Submit your work in time. Submit your work on time.
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  • 1,521
54 votes
5 answers
253k 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 ...
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52 votes
3 answers
331k 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 ...
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  • 535
51 votes
6 answers
39k 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 ...
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  • 7,274
51 votes
10 answers
11k 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 ...
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  • 95.4k
47 votes
6 answers
162k 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?
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  • 6,297
46 votes
6 answers
82k 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 ...
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46 votes
5 answers
719k 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?...
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  • 1,333
46 votes
2 answers
114k 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 ...
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  • 699
45 votes
7 answers
288k 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 ...
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  • 1,728
45 votes
3 answers
77k views

Where does "emphasis mine" go in a quotation?

I have often seen the term emphasis mine used whenever an author wishes to denote that emphasis in a given quotation originates from said author rather than from the original source. What is the ...
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44 votes
3 answers
59k 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 ...
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  • 12.2k
44 votes
2 answers
253k 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.
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  • 641
43 votes
6 answers
63k 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 ...
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  • 570
43 votes
3 answers
34k 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 ...
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  • 14.1k
43 votes
3 answers
198k 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 ...
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  • 1,041
43 votes
6 answers
129k 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 ...
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  • 626
42 votes
4 answers
307k 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 "...
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  • 4,737
42 votes
6 answers
55k 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.
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42 votes
3 answers
308k views

"More so" or moreso?

I often find myself using the two words joined together, moreso. I'm not sure where I picked up this usage. I'm also not sure that it's necessarily the correct one, as some proofreading tools will ...
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40 votes
8 answers
112k 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 ...
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  • 548
40 votes
4 answers
14k 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.
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  • 1,011
39 votes
5 answers
257k 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?
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39 votes
3 answers
336k views

"Need of" vs. "need for"

Is "need of religion" grammatically incorrect as opposed to "need for religion"? Or "need of salt" vs. "need for salt"?
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  • 649
39 votes
6 answers
75k 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 ...
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  • 1,926
39 votes
3 answers
424k views

"Congratulate for" vs. "congratulate on"

Which is correct? I congratulated him for coming first in the race. I congratulated him on coming first in the race.
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38 votes
7 answers
82k 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 ...
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  • 10.1k

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