36

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, third edition (1979), has a number of instances, as well. Hans Christian Andersen, "The Emperor's New Clothes": 'But the Emperor has nothing on at all!' cried a little child. Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy (1869): But that vast portion, lastly, of the working-class which, raw and half-developed, has long ...


35

The answer to the question “Why is dark an adverb in this sentence?” is that it is not one; that source is wrong. That’s because dark cannot ever be an adverb, let alone here. It’s just that color-words can behave somewhat curiously. We have various related questions about this curiosity, including this one. John Lawler’s suspicion about color words having ...


30

Examples from Tolkien’s Legendarium For my own demonstrative examples, I’ve chosen just one “great writer”, so that some measure of frequency of this phenomenon within a single writer’s works can be taken. Across The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien began sentences with these seven (potential) conjunctions the ...


26

Some people will insist that correct usage insists that neither can only be used with two items. I am not one of those people, and I consider that sentence perfectly good. Kipling wasn't one of those people either: But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the ...


25

Prescriptivist Poppycock You should in this instance trust your own ear, not your friend’s opinion that there is a rule that says you are wrong. There isn’t, and you aren’t. Between has never been restricted to two items alone. In the citations below, this non-rule your friend alludes to is variously called a persistent but unfounded notion, a superstition ...


15

Perhaps he's heard of the King James Bible? It may be hard to read now but it's been called one of the greatest works of the English language. I recommend starting on the first page: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon ...


14

Believing your teacher would be a mistake.  (Did you see what I just did?)


12

The unofficial motto of the US Postal Service (adapted from Herodotus) is Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Yes, it's perfectly fine, and not at all unusual.


10

Starting a sentence with a word ending in -ing is perfectly ordinary, accepted, unremarkable English. Beginning, middle, or end of a paragraph; gerund, participle, or simply a word with that particular spelling— it does not matter. Living in an English-speaking environment, you would quickly realize that there is no proscription against it, as it is natural ...


8

English has no rule against ‘double negatives’ per se. No, that is not a case of the forbidden kind of “double negatives”, since your negatives are in two different clauses. That is not a strange thing at all. Does not mean is in one clause and you cannot be happy is in another. That’s perfectly sensible. But English doesn’t have rules against double ...


7

Enter Nurse [within] and knock FRIAR LAURENCE: Arise; one knocks; good Romeo, hide thyself. ROMEO: Not I; unless the breath of heartsick groans, Mist-like, infold me from the search of eyes. Knock. FRIAR LAURENCE: Hark, how they knock!—Who's there?—Romeo, arise; — William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet", Act 3, Scene 3. You may think it ...


7

Simple Explanation The easy answer is because read is a Germanic verb, whereas all those others come from Latin verbs — and indeed often enough from actual Latin nouns like English conjugation < Latin conjugatio. Latin never had a *readatio noun, and thus neither does English. It did, however, have lectiones that were read by lectors. The word lection ...


6

On a hunch I opened The Sound And The Fury by William Faulkner, once, at a random page and saw: It was a while before the last stroke ceased vibrating. It stayed in the air, more felt than heard, for a long time. Like all the bells that ever rang still ringing in the long dying light-rays and Jesus and Saint Francis talking about his sister. Because if it ...


6

The rule about ending sentences with prepositions is a bit of a dinosaur. It, along with the rule about not splitting infinitives, is an artifact left over from Latin, where such constructions are impossible. Quite often, the reworking you have to do in order to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition makes the sentence even more unreadable. Example: "X ...


6

Myself too, drives I wild. Joking aside, I've only ever come across the misused reflexive pronoun in a formal context. You would never overhear someone saying, at the end of a date, 'Call myself tomorrow, OK?' But I'm sure many of us have received emails containing sentences a little like this: 'In the event of any further questions going forward, please ...


6

It's perfectly grammatical to use two identical prepositions in a row. This will often happen when one of the prepositions has been stranded. This might be because the complement of the first preposition has become the subject of a passive clause: Four people had been booked in in August. Here the notional object of the first in is four people, which has ...


5

As a gross general rule of thumb, word final single 'e' gets deleted before suffixes beginning with vowels, especially grammatical suffixes. So we don't have: liveing liveed giveer blueish trueer trueest sizees Instead we get: living lived giver bluish truest sizes Wherever seems to fit this rule of thumb. Hope this is helpful!


5

Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, p. 11 paragraph 3: But back at the Stardust Band Shell with Marguerite.... Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, last sentence of Chapter VI: And how slow and still the time did drag along. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha, Introduction "And the pleasant watercourses, you ...


5

English has no such rule regarding gerunds. I'd be interested to know what language does.


5

By "correcting" you, your friend was perpetuating a myth that stems from an oversimplification. Here is a usage note from Merriam-Webster: There is a persistent but unfounded notion that ‘between’ can be used only of two items and that ‘among’ must be used for more than two. ‘Between’ has been used of more than two since Old English; it is ...


5

As I parse this, it's option number two. Context dictates the way I fill in the ellipsis. "The more [we are], the merrier [we are]" and "The more [we have], the merrier [we are]" are two obvious possibilities. I perform the same sort of analysis on the ellipsis in your question title: "If [it's] not [that], what [is it]?" The only justification I have ...


5

You start a sentence with a conjunction when you want to call a clause out for special emphasis. Examples: We finally won a game against Notre Dame. And our best player wasn't even in the game! You can come up with $500 to pay the fine. Or you can spend 30 days in jail. We were spent, bruised, broke, and bewildered. But at least we were home. As you ...


4

Most defenses of passive voice focus on (1) thoughtful use of it to emphasize the most important aspect of a particular statement; (2) thoughtful use of it to vary the form of sentences in a piece of writing, to avoid a protracted series of sentences that share the same subject-verb-object order; (3) historical use of passive voice by excellent writers; (4) ...


4

Yes, the general 'rule' is that stative verbs don't have a continuous form; however, some stative verbs can also function as dynamic verbs. Let's take your examples: wish, feel, hope, guess, love and like. This Christmas, thousands of children are wishing for peace. (Here wishing has a dynamic thrust.) He was feeling my face. ([F]eeling here is examining ...


4

Because your theoretical sentence is a dependent (or subordinate) clause, the answer is no. However, as with many grammatical rules, if the context in which you are writing is informal (e.g., fiction), then it is perfectly fine and subject to your discretion; if the context is formal, you should more than likely not use a dependent clause as a standalone ...


4

If you're asking whether every adjective may be converted by inflection into an adverb, the answer is no. We say The program ran long. not * The program ran longly. The left side of a ship is its port side, but there's no adverbial for "in the left side manner". Certainly not portly. The reverse is also true. The adverb swimmingly has no ...


4

According to the article Verbless Sentences by Bill Ball on the website of The Queen's English Society, your example of a verbless sentence is OK. First, what is a verbless sentence, and is your example verbless: Although there have always been verbless sentences in English, many grammarians of old insisted that a sentence had to contain at least one ...


4

Adjectives are used to describe nouns, i.e. the car is red. Adverbs are most commonly used to describe verbs, i.e he fought valiantly But adverbs can also describe adjectives. How is the car red? Is it blazingly red? Is it cheesily red? Cheekily red maybe? That is the case for your sentence. The sky is blue. How is it blue? Darkly. It is not being blue ...


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