Questions tagged [word-order]

This tag is for questions about the correct order of words in a phrase, or a sentence.

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154
votes
12answers
37k 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... ...
290
votes
5answers
126k views

What is the rule for adjective order?

I remember being taught that the correct order of adjectives in English was something along the lines of "Opinion-Size-Age-Color-Material-Purpose." However, it's been a long time and I'm pretty sure ...
64
votes
5answers
800k 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 ...
24
votes
5answers
8k views

Are split infinitives grammatically incorrect, or are they valid constructs?

Mark's generosity in this crisis seems to more than make up for his earlier stinginess. Should those sentences always be avoided, or are there cases where they are valid?
8
votes
3answers
4k views

Are there any rules on the positioning adverbs should take in a sentence?

For example: Ever wish you could share information broadly Could it be rewritten to: Ever wish you could broadly share information Are there any rules for the position of the adverbs.
23
votes
5answers
189k views

Should an adverb go before or after a verb?

For example: The word rarely turns up outside of those contexts. The word turns up rarely outside of those contexts. Which one is correct and why?
8
votes
1answer
10k views

“I'm not sure what the right way is”

I believe the sentence in the title is grammatically correct. Recently I've seen too many people writing it this way: I'm not sure what is the right way. Is it grammatically correct as well? ...
7
votes
3answers
10k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

“A place nearby” but not “A place good”

I can ask any of: Do you know a breakfast place nearby? Do you know a nearby breakfast place? Do you know a good breakfast place? but I really can't ask: Do you know a breakfast place good? ...
14
votes
5answers
13k views

Why do some adjectives follow the nouns they modify?

Right now I can only think of one instance in which this regularly occurs. The adjective proper is sometimes placed after the noun it modifies, e.g: Reptilia: A class of cold-blooded oviparous or ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Is the inversion in “Let’s see ʜᴏᴡ ᴄᴀɴ ᴡᴇ do this” an error for “Let’s see ʜᴏᴡ ᴡᴇ ᴄᴀɴ do this”?

I’m reading about the C++ Boost library, and the following sentence from Boost.ORG drew my attention: Once the two steps have been successfully completed, the process can start writing to and ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

“You're too clever a man”

You're too clever a man to imagine this. The above sentence was said by George Galloway, a man of excellent rhetorical skills. Since he said it, I doubt it's wrong, grammatically. But, I wonder if ...
13
votes
3answers
17k views

“Above”/“below” before/after a noun

I have seen sentences similar to the following: (1) See the reference above. (2) See the reference below. And, (3) See the above reference. But not, (4) See the below reference. Are ...
31
votes
6answers
411k views

Which is correct: “the below information” or “the information below”?

I frequently see statements that refer to something later in the text that use a phrase such as "the below information". Is it more correct instead to say "the information below" (or "the following ...
25
votes
6answers
6k views

19th century English texts occasionally use Germanic-style number words, such as “four-and-twenty”. When did this fall out of use?

19th century English texts occasionally use Germanic-style number words, such as "four-and-twenty", but the same text would also have the modern "twenty-four" in places (see e.g. Conan-Doyle for ...
13
votes
2answers
74k views

“Me and my wife” or “my wife and me”

Which is correct: me and my wife or my wife and me? The sentence in which this is used is Ms. Smith informed me and my wife that she was afraid of being accosted.
11
votes
2answers
2k views

When can an adjective be postposed?

I read this at the economist, and it's the 2nd sentence in the 2nd paragraph. That is small consolation for an Israeli establishment still hankering after the much easier rapport it had with Egypt'...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Conditional sentences not starting with “if”

Were I rich, I would live on Long Island. If I were rich, I would live on Long Island. Is the first sentence still used, or is used in particular contexts (in example, to give emphasis to the ...
13
votes
5answers
19k views

Why is “xxxx doth not a yyyy make” considered valid English?

Reading doth not a writer make. This sounds all wrong so why it is acceptable to use? The word order looks to be all out sequence (Object-Subject-Verb). It should be "reading does not make you a ...
10
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there a name for inverting word order to accomplish a different meaning?

There are many sayings that invert the word order to convey a different meaning. e.g. "Do you live to work or do you work to live?" "He who fails to plan, plans to fail" Is there a name for this ...
10
votes
6answers
27k views

Is it incorrect to say, 'Give me it'?

Is it incorrect to say, 'Give me it' ? I am told that it is and one should always say, 'Give it me'?
2
votes
2answers
28k views

position of “only”

Which sentence is correct? (A) Mosquito larvae can only be seen through a microscope. (B) Mosquito larvae can be only seen through a microscope. (C) Mosquito larvae can be seen only through ...
6
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do some questions not start with an auxiliary verb?

When I learned English, my teachers told me that all questions must have an auxiliary verb at the beginning, just like Are you mad? or Is she playing? do. But when watching some movies or talking ...
10
votes
4answers
23k views

“Mom and Dad” vs “Dad and Mom” [duplicate]

I'm curious if the order implies anything here. I'm pretty sure "Mom and Dad" is standard in English. The issue was hard for me to google, so I'm asking it here: Is using "Dad" before "Mom" incorrect,...
11
votes
4answers
28k views

Why does “Why doesn't it work?” become “Why does it not work?”

When you uncontract doesn't in "Why doesn't it work?" the not moves to "Why does it not work?" This confuses me even more when I use a longer phrase instead of the pronoun it like below: Why doesn'...
10
votes
3answers
10k views

The Royal Order of Adverbs

I know that the pattern manner-place-time shouldn't be taken too seriously if one wants to speak natural English. In real life, people rarely use a string of adverbs. Speakers will easily break the ...
12
votes
3answers
17k views

Prepositions at the end of sentence and whom

I believe it's okay to end a sentence with a preposition. That seems to be the consensus here as well. Now I think that when who is the object of a preposition, it should technically be whom, e.g. "...
5
votes
2answers
16k views

The use of "were- should- had” at the beginning of sentences instead of “if”

Conditionals in English are usually formed by using if with normal word order; but for the three past (subjunctive) forms were, should, and had, it is also possible to express the conditional through ...
3
votes
2answers
629 views

Which are the word orders that can be found in English?

Besides SVO, which are the word orders that can be found in English? Are there any that are peculiar to dialects such as Singlish or Indian English? Please provide an example sentence for each order ...
6
votes
2answers
503 views

Is this correct: “Aloof the hallow things shall always be”?

I'm writing a poem, and I wondered if, to a native speaker, this would sound awkward (or grammatically incorrect): Aloof the hallow things shall always be. As a variant of The hallow things ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

“Even were he not to…”

I am currently reading "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" by P.K. Dick and I have come across a grammatical structure I don't quite understand. The excerpt is the following (no spoilers, don't ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Where does the verb go on this question? Is it even a reported question?

I understand that when I report a question, I put the subject back in front of the verb, as in: "He asked if she was going to be late." But I always get puzzled when it comes to reporting a question ...
14
votes
5answers
6k views

Is “The City Beautiful” (Orlando's motto) grammatically correct?

I have always wondered why the motto of the City of Orlando, FL (USA) is worded as The City Beautiful instead of The Beautiful City: Is The City Beautiful grammatically correct? If so, do you have ...
30
votes
6answers
6k views

Does “I am eating vegan cheese in my underpants” really imply that the vegan cheese is inside my underpants?

I am having a debate with someone about possible interpretations of a sentence and we have come to a stalemate. The sentence is as follows: "I'm at home eating vegan cheese in my underpants and ...
9
votes
8answers
16k views

Can you explain the sentence structure 'In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit'? Why put the verb before the subject?

The opening sentence to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien reads, In a hole in the ground there lived [verb] a hobbit [subject]. I wonder if there are accepted stylistic purposes for such a structure. ...
1
vote
3answers
4k views

Does it matter where you put “only”? [duplicate]

Could you please tell me which one of these sentences is correct, or are they both grammatically correct? This will only happen if you go with me. This will happen only if you go with me.
7
votes
2answers
1k views

“put X down to” vs. “put down X to”: subjects of verbs with two particles

I expect I would have to put down many coats to do the job. (SOURCE) One factor to distinguish phrasal verbs from prepositional verbs is particle movement. Phrasal verbs can place the particle before ...
6
votes
3answers
916 views

Which comes first: cat or dog?

Which comes first in a sentence? I know some word pairs such as bacon and eggs, where bacon always comes first. E.g: Make me bacon and eggs for dinner, honey. Cats and dogs are the two most ...
28
votes
6answers
10k views

How is “Can anyone tell me how can I solve this” wrong?

I posted a question somewhere that said... Can anyone tell me how I can solve this? ...but someone edited it to... Can anyone tell me how can I solve this? ...and it was accepted. That's ...
20
votes
7answers
7k views

When can the -ing form of a verb be placed before a noun?

My native-speaker's grammatical intuition tells me that: There is a sleeping man under the tree. is fine but There is a fishing man by the river bank. is wrong. Why? I've thought about this ...
42
votes
7answers
39k views

Why use “of” in the phrase “delivered of a baby”?

With all the "Royal baby" craze comes something that really confuses me. All the news media used pretty much the same sentence to make the announcement: The Duchess of Cambridge has been delivered ...
2
votes
4answers
28k views

Is “forth and back” more proper than “back and forth”?

I think the term "back and forth" gets thrown around a lot without much thought. From Dictionary.com: forth    [fawrth, fohrth] adverb 1. onward or outward in place or space; forward: to ...
6
votes
2answers
860 views

Why “inspector general”, and not “general inspector”, like German “Generalinspektor”? [duplicate]

I would expect the term "inspector general" to be "general inspector" instead. In part, that may be because I know the German variant as "Generalinspekteur" of "Generalinspektor". But I'm pretty ...
3
votes
3answers
7k views

About using “only” with present perfect

I have seen this sentence in a status from one of my facebook friends. It doesn't sound right to me. We have only left the city for the day. I think that it should be something like: We have ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Does adverb placement affect meaning?

He swam slowly to the island. He slowly swam to the island. Some experts say that there is a “slight difference” in meaning. Would you please tell me that difference?
24
votes
3answers
56k views

“Can easily be” vs. “can be easily” — what's the difference?

I'm wondering what the difference is between: It can easily be obtained. It can be easily obtained. Also, what's the preferred way to write it? If there is any... I googled for both ...
13
votes
5answers
18k views

Can “already” be used after a simple past verb in American English?

A British colleague asked if these two sentences are grammatically acceptable in American English: They found already high recognition in Europe and we wish to carry that further. ...
6
votes
1answer
9k views

Rule about order in modal + adverb + to be

I am currently reading a book, where I found the following sentences: The X can be also applied to Y Later in the book, I find The X may alternatively be spread over two Y My question is relative ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Tag Questions “is he not”

"He is happy, isn't he?" If you did not use the contraction isn't he, in the question above, would the correct sentence be: "He is happy, is he not?" "He is happy, is not he?" Sentence #1 seems to ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

Position of the adverb “of course”

...which is of course zero. ...which of course is zero. Which one is preferred?

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