Questions tagged [is-it-a-rule]

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Do we use the subjunctive with verbs of sense?

An ESL student told me she was taught never to use the subjunctive with verbs of sense (touch, taste, feel, etc.). So, compare the following sentences: She behaves as though she were the boss. I ...
Leanne Bellamy's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
58 views

Ellipsis in complex lists

How is this construction correct? The drawing-room began to look empty: the baccarat was discontinued for lack of a banker; more than one person said goodnight of his own accord, and was suffered to ...
Esteban Soto Montijo's user avatar
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1 answer
114 views

Using the word "he" twice in the same sentence - is this grammatically correct? If not, why are there published books that break this rule? [closed]

So, I was reading some books by Stephen King, S.D. Perry, and a couple authors I really love. I notice they'll use pronouns or certains words twice in the same sentence. When I read it, it's pleasant ...
M. Knepper's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
102 views

current usage of "insightful"?

I frequently see "insightful" used to mean "provides insight", whereas I would agree with the answers to this question that "revealing", "illuminating", etc. ...
Ben Bolker's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
101 views

"Take the initiative to INFINITIVE" vs "Take the initiative of GERUND"

Should I say Happy I finally took the initiative to bring two bottles. or Happy I finally took the initiative of bringing two bottles. Is there a "universal" rule with the phrase "...
FluidMechanics Potential Flows's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is the phrase "very delighted" ever "wrong"?

I was just browsing the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English and stumbled on this peculiar note under the entry for delighted: Delighted is not used with ‘very’. You say: I’m absolutely ...
Vun-Hugh Vaw's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
582 views

What is the ‘‑ht vs ‑th’ grammar or spelling rule? [duplicate]

Some words end with ‑th while others end with ‑ht. For example: Height, weight, thought, drought, sleight, sight all end with ‑ht. Length, width, breadth, depth, wealth, girth, dearth all end with ‑...
Jeremaih Celestin's user avatar
16 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is it correct to write "this book discusses"?

I often see people write the following: this book will discuss... or this paper has discussed... I once wrote in a paper in English class that had the sentence: "this article discusses...&...
Pame's user avatar
  • 287
2 votes
4 answers
286 views

Preferred conjunction for integrated clause (e.g. "and one that" versus "and one which")

Consider the following two sentences: Today I ate a very tasty lunch, and one that was also quite healthy. Today I ate a very tasty lunch, and one which was also quite healthy. The subordinate ...
brainchild's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
51 views

Possessive 'it' : Pronoun vs Adjective [duplicate]

I was working on some grammar schoolwork, some pronoun revisions and it states that the pronoun 'it' has no possessive, it has an adjective possessive, but not as a possessive pronoun. I'm confused. ...
user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
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What are "double negatives" in English, and are they ever correct?

This is a followup to a comment exchange and particularly this comment over on ELL. One user contends that a double negative is always wrong in standard English. This user also maintains that: First, ...
David Siegel's user avatar
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1 answer
69 views

Could you please help and explain to me how to correct the seemingly incorrect passive voice sentence pattern?

Could you please help and explain to me how to correct the seemingly incorrect passive voice sentence pattern? I would prefer it if we could be sat next to a window.
elmer's user avatar
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1 answer
56 views

Use of "put something in" vs "in which to put something" [duplicate]

What is the rule or the error involving, for example; I need a box to put my groceries in. vs I need a box in which to put my groceries.
FriPilot's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
146 views

What or who is the source of the proscription on contractions in formal writing?

I couldn't find this exact question, though obviously there are many related questions around using contractions. I write academic work in a field where contractions are accepted but rare, and no ...
Gregor's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
76 views

Mixing noun and verb in conjunction

Having a watch is essential for looking good and timeliness. Disregarding the content of the above sentence, is it grammatically correct? To me it feels improper that "looking good" uses a ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 111
1 vote
2 answers
305 views

How is this comma usage explained with Thomas Pynchon?

I read Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon last year, and there was some comma usage I’ve been curious about ever since. For instance, I’ve just opened up a couple pages of it and saw that he has this ...
Jerald Jeraldson's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
131 views

Verb tense consistency in a sentence [closed]

I learned that we do not shift tenses between sentences unless there is a time change that must be shown. I have two examples below that I'm not sure whether they're grammatically correct or not. I ...
blackmask's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
67 views

When is it acceptable to combine expressions of probability with expressions of expectation/planning?

While working on expressions of probability with some ESL students, the question came up of whether it'd be ok to say something such as: Hopefully, they will probably help us out in the future. My ...
Lucas Arraes's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
95 views

Why can’t we use the present continuous for the future with “be” itself by saying “I’m being there tomorrow”’?

The rule we were taught says that present continuous can be used for the future when the action implies “planning and arrangement”. And yet if I planned to be somewhere tomorrow, I still couldn’t say: ...
Pete Hollow's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
366 views

First Conditional sentence with would

Grammatically, when we construct a first conditional sentence, the if-clause is followed by a result clause with a "will" in it. However, in many formal texts written by native English ...
C.B's user avatar
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1 answer
118 views

Why doesn’t the verb “read” have a corresponding noun form suffixed with “‑tion/‑ion/‑sion”?

Why there isn’t a ‑tion/‑ion/‑sion derived form for the verb read verb, such as for example the non-existent ✼readation or ✼readition? Example with an ‑tion form: exsanguination disobstruction ...
Kaspars Siricenko's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can you ask questions ending with "are you/do you/did you etc."?

Tired, are you? Cold outside, is it? Seen him around, have you? See her, did you? These sentences might not be grammatical, but I'd like to know if they would be frowned upon.
noudi alp's user avatar
  • 361
2 votes
4 answers
1k views

Can there be a single word clause?

It's said that a sentence must always contain a subject and a verb but I have read somewhere that the word "No" itself is a complete sentence. How? Also a sentence always has at least one clause and ...
Barney's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
3 answers
218 views

Usage of comma and parallel verbs in this sentence

Interestingly enough, a large number of the Facebook-based business ventures [have been formed][,] and [are run] and [managed] by women, which directly and indirectly contributes to women's ...
Xenon Kfr's user avatar
  • 161
1 vote
1 answer
264 views

Can possessives in the middle of a word exist?

According to one online dictionary, the apostrophe-s combination is an ending used in writing to represent the possessive morpheme after most singular nouns, some plural nouns, especially those not ...
rosends's user avatar
  • 2,465
18 votes
7 answers
8k views

Why is "dark" an adverb in "dark blue"?

The sky is dark blue. Source: BBC English Catherine: The sky is dark blue. The sky is dark blue. Finn: So, is blue an adjective or adverb? Catherine: It’s an adjective. Blue is describing the noun ...
Organic Heart's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
342 views

In what cases can we begin noun clauses with a preposition?

In what cases can we begin noun clauses with a preposition? Is there any rule? My examples (sorry if they are bad): 1. You need to choose with what you agree and with what not. 2. Don’t tell him ...
Loviii's user avatar
  • 527
1 vote
1 answer
215 views

When to use "And" at the start of sentence? [duplicate]

I know that and is used to join two sentences or phrases. There are some places I've read that have And is used at the beginning of a sentence. What are the occasions when this is done?
The White Cloud's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
80 views

What adjectives can be used as adverbs? [duplicate]

Are the following sentences acceptable to native speakers? I want it so bad. The children grew up happy and healthy. Jimmy works hard. He followed her quick. What adjectives can be used as adverbs? ...
wada's user avatar
  • 101
3 votes
2 answers
259 views

What are the real rules for choosing between the simple past and past perfect when both actions are in the past? [duplicate]

What are the real rules for choosing past perfect versus choosing past simple when you have two different past actions? I ask because the English sequence of tenses rules I was taught would have ...
Oliaoliaoliaolia's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
306 views

What type of if-conditional is: “A shop offered us a reduction if we paid in cash.”?

What type of if-conditional is this sentence? A shop offered us a reduction if we paid in cash. As far as I know, the only right conditional sentences are these four: Zero Conditional: A shop offer ...
Sagid's user avatar
  • 149
1 vote
2 answers
5k views

Use of two tenses in one sentence ("That's when I heard his voice...")

In the book " Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" the author writes the following sentence. "That's when I heard his voice, kind of squeaky(...)" Is it correct to say "that is" ...
Calazans's user avatar
  • 201
2 votes
1 answer
118 views

Is 'Robin Hood, reversed' a sentence?

In an extremely well written and justifiably incisive article on British austerity measures since the credit crunch of 2008, Peter Goodman of The New York Times writes the following : In these ...
Nigel J's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
4k views

Which one is grammatically correct, with "have" or without "have"?

I have been admitted to the upcoming class and been planning to live in the dormitory. I have been admitted to the upcoming class and have been planning to live in the dormitory.
way tang's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
406 views

When and by whom was the rule for using 'compare to' versus 'compare with' first recorded?

A longstanding question on English Language & Usage asks "Compared with" vs "Compared to"—which is used when? and has drawn several useful answers. But the question doesn’t ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 162k
3 votes
2 answers
25k views

Past tense: "happen to have" or "happened to have"?

Which is the proper (i.e. grammatically correct) response?   Alice: "The earth is flat, and the sky is green."     Bob: "The earth is round, and the sky is blue." Alice: "...
voices's user avatar
  • 480
1 vote
2 answers
126 views

Is "myself" okay in this sentence (grammar, style, etc.)?

I read some other questions about "me" vs. "myself". If I understood the answers right, "me" is correct or preferable in most cases. So my question is, is it okay to use "myself" in the following? ...
aparente001's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
678 views

Making adverbs from adjectives

Is it possible to make an adverb out of any adjective? I am aware that not all word forms appear in all dictionaries and while I can find all word forms in some dictionaries, as a non-native speaker ...
Igor Ševo's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

All Both of Them?

Recently, I was in a conversation with my friend about pool balls while playing a game. In the conversation he referred to knocking in his last two balls as, "I just hit all both of them in." When I ...
Titus's user avatar
  • 21
0 votes
2 answers
4k views

Can I use the same preposition twice after the verb?

Can I use the same preposition twice after the verb? For instance: the expectations provided for for the grade
Ed Crown's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
9k views

Can I begin a sentence with, "Unless, that is ...."?

Given a rather long sentence that finishes with something like: ... and therefore, you need not submit that form. Is it allowable to start the next sentence with, "Unless, that is, you .....", or ...
Pyderman's user avatar
  • 101
-2 votes
1 answer
585 views

Is it Correct To Start A Sentence With a Coordinate Conjunction [duplicate]

This seems to be argued back and forth by my Writing and Reading teachers. Here is the problem. For example I write this sentence: And I went to bed to get some sleep. Just a simple sentence with ...
Anthony Pham's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
994 views

Isn’t this sentence a case of double negative?

Isn’t this sentence a case of double negative? No, failing at something doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. What are some other cases where double negatives may work or where they may not actually be ...
Lerner's user avatar
  • 35
0 votes
5 answers
5k views

Can "most of which" be used in the beginning of a sentence? [duplicate]

Just out of curiosity I would like to ask. By searching through the web I could not find an answer yet. Can "most of which" be used in the beginning of a sentence? Here is an example of a sentence ...
Crystal Lettuce's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
432 views

(allegedly) ungrammatical preposition stranding [duplicate]

Certain types of preposition-stranding are considered by some linguists to be "ungrammatical" in English, even though they do not seem remotely strange to me (an English speaker). I'm not talking ...
user8017's user avatar
  • 101
1 vote
3 answers
844 views

Why should a copula link two noun phrases of the same case?

https://english.stackexchange.com/a/30392/50720 motivated this question: To quote from the clear explanation: The rule for what [Fowler] and others consider technically right is ... that "...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
2k views

What comes first—verb or adverb? [duplicate]

Do you say, to effectively communicate or would you say to communicate effectively. As ENL learner I get this confused quite often. Thanks.
user107303's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
6k views

Using adjectives after verbs?

In a lot of sentences when speaking people use adjectives after verbs. In some examples it sounds right, however, and I was wondering if such uses were valid in formal writing. The only example I ...
Henry's user avatar
  • 35
5 votes
3 answers
14k views

"if you have any questions, please call myself" and other bizarre new reflexive pronoun usages

This is not a question about when to use reflexive pronouns. I am perfectly clear on that, and I understand that there are questions on the site already about when and when not to use them. This is a ...
Rusty Tuba's user avatar
  • 5,945
-1 votes
2 answers
102 views

Word usage of "not to fly" vs "to not fly " [duplicate]

I often read the phrase "not to" preceding an action, as in "not to run" or "not to swim". It seems awkward. Please explain explain the usage.
safetypat's user avatar