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43

It acts only like plural because, unlike each1 and none2, "both" refers to all of the elements and not to one of them. Read these examples from the OALD: Both of us were tired. - and not - **Both of us was tired.* Both of them were French - and not - **Both of them was French*. (1) - Each is usually singular: "each of us knows about you". (2) - None can ...


42

Questions of attribute which and what: We usually use which when we are asking about a fixed or limited number of things or people, and what when we are not. Often, however, we can use either which or what with little difference in meaning. Compare: What towns do we go through on the way? The speaker doesn't know the area. Which towns do we go through ...


40

Both are fine. However, the first response is the most common way to answer. Very empathetic people might say my mum. Turn the sentence around; would you say "I'd apologize to your mum if I were you" or "I'd apologize to my mum if I were you"? Probably the former. If I were you, I'd... is a common way to give someone advice; it is not meant to be ...


31

The string an other is vanishingly rare in English. In contrast another is positively pervasive. I think it would be fair to say that the second has eclipsed the first to the point of making the first unacceptable, even though it is a grammatical string. Both an and another are members of the category of determiners, while other, on the other hand, is an ...


27

Since "a king" uses an indefinite article, it suggests that he may become any one of a number of kings. In most cases where a person may become king, there is only one king in the political structure he inhabits. For instance, if he is in the line of succession for the English throne, he probably cannot become king of France or Denmark without marrying into ...


26

You offended your mom. So if I were you, I would apologize to your mom when she gets home. But: You offended my mom. So if I were you, I would apologize to my mom when she gets home.


25

At that point I'd probably pick out one of the list for special attention using "not only ... but": There are several recommendations I have to further improve the sites, not only to improve their profit, but to decrease their cost and improve their usability. I'd cut that down further, though: I have several recommendations to improve the sites — not ...


25

Both is the suppletive variant of *all two, which is not grammatical English. Suppletion is the irregular grammatical phenomenon of substituting a different word or root. Like using went instead of *goed, or ever instead of *anywhen. It's not too common in English, but it occurs. So the equivalent of both, for N> 2, is All N: all three, all four, ...


25

That shell is not mine. Nor is it yours. It belongs to that snail over there. That shell is its, not mine or yours. As you can see, this construction doesn't occur often, because possession is not often attributed to neuter nouns, let alone pronouns.


24

"The both users" is incorrect. The determiner both has already qualified users, so you know who is being referred to. (Refer also to this excellent answer on ELL.) Adding the onto that is similar to saying "the the users". People sometimes do this anyway, such as in the phrase "the both of them", but it's informal. On the other hand, "both the users" is ...


20

It's not ungrammatical. I would say though that "give me some drink" sounds either the request of a man in dire thirst, or who has a plan to be very drunk in short order, (or as an old-fashioned or regional usage) while "give me a drink" a less coloured request for a single beverage. We do generally refer to individual beverages as drinks as a countable ...


18

Few is what Huddleston & Pullum call an approximate negator, a negative which puts the quantity near zero rather than at zero. Because it's negative, it licenses negative polarity items (NPIs): Few people ever ran for office.   (= "Not very many people ever ran for office.") *Many people ever ran for office. (ungrammatical, NPI in a positive clause)...


18

Over the years I've converted to the belief that what is important in language and grammar is that the communication is not unintentionally ambiguous, not that it satisfies any formal criterion. Whether you say your mum or my mum, no one is going to be confused by what you mean. So use whichever feels right to you. Compare to A: I just spent $5 on the ...


17

Mostest is not an accepted word, though it is in some dictionaries listed as slang. Most is already in superlative form, so adding -est is redundant and ungrammatical. It was popularized, however, in the saying (intentionally ungrammatical, to convey a sense of crude common sense): "getting thar fustest with the mostest". However, unless you want to ...


17

It’s much more common to use its as a possessive determiner like my, her, or their, than it is to use it as a possessive pronoun like mine, hers, or theirs. A possessive determiner goes in the determiner slot of a larger noun phrase; there still has to be a noun later on in that noun phrase. In contrast, a possessive pronoun is an actual substantive ...


16

You can use "half of" with plural nouns most effectively when you add the definite article: Half of the users were women. Half of the men were Canadian. The reason for this is because you need to specify the group you are talking about. The definite article serves to limit the scope of the plural noun. It may require further limiting ("Half of the ...


16

The difference is that drinks are things people consume in discrete units, unlike "food", "ice", and "sauce". You wouldn't say "can I have some ice cube". Look at "sauce". This is both a countable noun and a mass noun in English. You can have two sauces but also some sauce. But if you wanted a sauce (a specific unit of sauce) or several sauces, you wouldn't ...


14

You could go with any of the following: All 3 of my pens are green, All (of) my 3 pens are green, My 3 pens are all green, The word triple as an adjective means: Three times bigger in size or amount Having three parts or including three people or things, for example: a triple murder a triple heart bypass When used as a verb, it means: To cause (...


14

Fear not. It was good enough for John Fletcher: Give me some drink, this fire's a plaguy fretter Walter Scott: ‘You shall have it’, answered . . . Waverley . . . giving him some drink from his flask. and Charles Dickens: The subject of their speculations had done due honour to the house by calling for some drink. The Corpus of Contemporary ...


14

TL;DR: Both were and was are used when battery of tests is their subject, including in scholarly publications as shown below. Sometimes the choice of number depends on the intended meaning. There may be a relatively recent trend of were becoming a more common choice, but both are frequent. Your intuition is correct — or at least, it accords with how I would ...


13

Yes, more than one determiner can precede a noun, but they do so in a particular order. All, both and half come before articles, so your example would have to read I saw two cats this morning. Both the cats were very young (but in this case the can be omitted).


12

"This" and "that", much like their counterparts in most other European languages, indicate relative proximity. "This" refers to a thing that is literally or figuratively "here", as in "within reach" of the person. "That" refers to a thing that is literally or figuratively further away, but "within view". "At this time" is thus normally used when referring to ...


12

For a Linguistics class, start by reading Fillmore's Deixis Lectures. Demonstratives like this and that are deictic, contrasting distal that with proximal this. And they're not nearly as complex as they used to be in English, as this puzzle demonstrates. Since "distal" and "proximal" are formed from the Latin words meaning far and near, I'd say you and ...


12

Formal correctness is the wrong test in this case. The problem is that the referent is ambiguous -- are we speaking from within the conditional, or from outside it? "My mum" is interpreted differently in the two cases, since the meaning of "my" changes. "Your mum" is clear no matter which case one chooses. Whether I am you or not, your mum remains your mum....


12

It may not sound as "natural" but indeed the correct* version is: the moon is as beautiful as she. She is a predicate nominative which is indeed in the subjective case. If you expand the sentence, it becomes clear: the moon is as beautiful as she [is]. Alternately if you said she is as beautiful as the moon. It is clear. Note that "than" ...


11

It has to do with the order of the adjectives. For example, consider this sentence: Happy nine men walk into a bar. Both nine and happy are adjectives, but we are really intending nine to describe the happy men, not happy describing the nine men. I don't know if there's a specific term for this, but certain adjectives, like numbers, get special ...


11

Context is the key. An heir apparent, next in line, may say: "I can't wait to be king". A candidate running for President can say: "Wait till I become President!" Anybody wishing he were a king, would say: "I'd like to be a king". Same goes for other contexts, such as in this one: "Think like a king!"


11

The question seems to be, how does a non-native speaker determine whether a given noun is a "role" or if it has some titular sense (so that it can be used "bare")? She became treasurer. [OK] She became student. [not OK] She became student of the month. [OK] She became doctor. [not OK] She became doctor to the king. [OK] It was gateway to the rose ...


10

I would leave out the word altogether, the second example you give makes perfect sense as it stands: There are several recommendations I have to further improve the sites; to improve their profit, decrease their cost and improve their usability. Or, if I'm going to be really picky, and remove the doubling up of the phrase "improve": There are several ...


10

I think that the article the is extraneous. It can be seen that both users are able to... is just fine.


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