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17 votes
Accepted

Construction of “woe is me”

It is indeed old, and can be found in Beowulf: Wa bið þæm þe sceal þurh sliðne nið sawle bescufan in fyres fæþm, frofre ne wenan, wihte gewendan; wel bið þæm þe mot æfter deaðdæge drihten secean ond ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 66.7k
10 votes
Accepted

Someday, I _____ give anything... future optative? (asking for my dog)

So the issue may be that you are using the common expression I would give anything in an unusual way to refer to a future wish, rather than a wish right now. (See Cambridge Dictionary for an example ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
8 votes

Plural of 'performance'

MSWord grammar checker is correct as far as it goes. You can either use the plural "performances" with "are", or the singular (or uncountable) "performance" with "is". The real question here is ...
AndyT's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

"Electricity has a velocity (that is) as high as light’s (is)"

This answer ignores the physics implied by the sentences and focuses only on the English content. In linguistics, ellipsis (from the Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission") or elliptical ...
Lawrence's user avatar
  • 38.8k
7 votes

What's quasi-modal be?

The key thing to remember about “modal” constructions is that modality refers to operating in both the epistemic mode of predictions and possibilities as well as the deontic mode of obligations and ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 136k
5 votes
Accepted

Pronunciation of ‘been’

The /bɪn/ pronunciation for "been" is I believe quite old. The Oxford English Dictionary says The standard form been derives from the latter, and, in unstressed position, develops a weak ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 83.5k
5 votes

What is the difference between "to be" and "must/need/should be"?

It is a very General question, but here is a starting point, in very general terms: Use "to be" when that is what the future holds, according to the current situation. For example: OK: &...
Prem's user avatar
  • 4,744
4 votes

What is the difference between "mean" and "be" in regards to mentioning words?

How philosophical do you want to get? The Japanese symbols 便所 form a label that has a meaning to Japanese readers in the same ways that the Roman letter combination stool has a meaning to English ...
deadrat's user avatar
  • 44.8k
4 votes

"Electricity has a velocity (that is) as high as light’s (is)"

I think you would come across much more clearly, if you instead structure this as "Electricity travels at the speed of light". The term velocity gets in the way of clarity in my opinion. This is ...
MikeRoger's user avatar
  • 3,781
4 votes

When to delete Verb to be

This phenomenon is known as zero copula (also null copula). It is a feature of African-American Vernacular English (AAVE), (example: Gwendolyn Brooks's poem "We real cool"), but it also ...
Robusto's user avatar
  • 152k
3 votes

"Electricity has a velocity (that is) as high as light’s (is)"

The standard way of expressing this idea, at least in BrE, would be "Electricity has a velocity as high as that of light".
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 26.2k
3 votes

Be or Is? That is the question

whether it be something, something is a set phrase in English. So, it is always be and can never be is. I know the grammar may seem a little bit strange, but like I said this is a set phrase—it's ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Can passive voice exist without "to be"?

I've actually already written about this on ELL. My conclusion has been that all style guides fail to adequately classify sentences like this in their two category system of active vs. passive voice. ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 66.7k
3 votes

Can passive voice exist without "to be"?

Your third example is an active voice sentence using the intransitive verb "sink" (to move downward due to a lack of buoyancy). This has a different, though related, meaning from the transitive verb "...
eyeballfrog's user avatar
3 votes

Which one is correct to say: "It's me" or "It's I"?

The war and the battles for It is I as opposed to It is me, have been going on for a long time. Old English did not use the object me after the verb to be. We said ic sylf hit eom (I self it am – it ...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 43.4k
3 votes
Accepted

"That is me" vs "that am I"

It was good enough for Shakespeare (Much Ado About Nothing, Act IV, Scene 2) Sexton: Which be the malefactors? Dogberry: Marry, that am I and my partner. But bear in mind that Dogberry is a comic ...
deadrat's user avatar
  • 44.8k
3 votes

"My name is" or "My name's"

According to APA style, contractions are allowed but considered less formal. Your use of contraction is correct but not recommended in, say, an academic paper. An excerpt from the above link: ...
Gracie's user avatar
  • 614
3 votes

Contraction of "I was"?

"I's" as a contraction of 'I was' is nonstandard and dialectal but nevertheless widely spoken and heard in my neck of the woods (West Country, England). For example, "I's living in ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 18.1k
3 votes

"Electricity has a velocity (that is) as high as light’s (is)"

I think Lawrence has already given the correct answer, but let me try to make it simpler by 'breaking down' the meaning of the sentence: (1) you are comparing the velocity of electricity with the ...
English Student's user avatar
3 votes

how to answer would you be able to come in for an interview on {date} at {time}?

It depends on the level of formality you wish to set. I feel that the first option you suggest is too formal, and the second option too informal. In messages about job applications, people ...
FailedTheTuringTest's user avatar
3 votes

Is "I be", grammatically correct?

"I be" works fine in the subjunctive, but no where else: Mary requires that I be on time>
Bob Jones's user avatar
3 votes

Be we all here?

Perhaps, he wanted his readers to see the carrier as a poorly educated man. Does this use of the verb "to be" make you think of the same thing? If not, what impression do you get? Be as a conjugated ...
Gulliver's user avatar
  • 749
3 votes
Accepted

The form of the verb to be in the questions with "and" and "or"

The correct answer is: Who were the bride and the groom? The past form of the verb TO BE is: I was; You were; He/She/It was; We were; They were; You were. So, Was represents a singular form, while ...
MihaelaP's user avatar
  • 151
3 votes
Accepted

Term for the different uses of "are": one which applies an adjective independently, and one which denotes a relationship

[1] Book A and Book B are red. [2] Book A and Book B are similar. Yes, there is a difference. Example [1] is called distributive coordination, while [2] is called joint coordination. In [1] ...
BillJ's user avatar
  • 13.4k
3 votes

How "much" emissions or how "many" emissions?

The trick is with emission. It has pretty much always been both a count and non-count noun (see Lexico for examples), but some jiggery pokery has occurred to make the plural non-count too. When ...
Matt E. Эллен's user avatar
3 votes

Use of is/are in sentences where you talk about two things - one singular and other plural

It does not matter that one is singular and the other is plural; it matters that the whole group of them are more than one person. "How are Nancy and Sakura?"
Mike Graham's user avatar
  • 2,435
3 votes

Writing emails is difficult vs Writing emails are difficult

The subject of the verb is "writing emails". Gerund subjects (or infinitive subjects) are always singular so the verb is also singular. It may also help to consider that the head of the ...
siride's user avatar
  • 1,052
3 votes

What's quasi-modal be?

I What's quasi-modal "be"? It is not a traditional grammar term. "Quasi modal" has to be just another term for what is called "modal idiom" in A Comprehensive Grammar ...
LPH's user avatar
  • 22.7k

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