15 votes

How to concisely say that pairs of items are on par with each other?

The other answer is a good one. Here's another suggestion: A1 and B1 are on par with A2 and B2, respectively. However, this wouldn't work if you were talking about (A1,A2) and (B1,B2,B3). ...
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  • 7,293
12 votes
Accepted

Is "nothing but birds and a few insects" singular or plural?

Is nothing singular or plural? All by itself, nothing is clearer than the fact that nothing is singular. However, the original question did not use nothing “all by itself”, and that is where ...
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  • 127k
8 votes

Comma after introductory words, phrases, clauses: unacceptable, obligatory or optional?

After Understanding English Grammar by Martha Kolln, grammar.ccc.commnet.edu ... advises the following: Commas and Introductory Elements When a sentence begins with an adverbial clause, put a comma ...
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8 votes

If you are talking "on behalf of" you and someone else, what is the correct usage?

I looked at a bunch of style guides to see what they have to say on this subject. The vast majority of them dedicate at least a paragraph to the distinction (or nondistinction) between "in behalf ...
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  • 151k
8 votes

"apply to" vs. "apply for" an opportunity

One applies for a job, not to a job. One applies to a college for admission (to an entity FOR something) One applies to a bank for a job. (to an entity FOR something) One NEVER applies to a job. A ...
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  • 81
8 votes

Can I use "Before Since" in my sentence?

Reverse the order, "since before I started kindergarten" D
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7 votes

Prepositions: "The confusing widgets of language"

'On asserting ...' here requires a main clause which does not describe a consequence or restatement, but merely an event happening (almost) simultaneously. AHDEL sense 3 for on: b. Used to ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Sentences start with Of

If we take your specimen text, The thing I'm most afraid of is me. Of not knowing what I'm going to do. Of not knowing what I'm doing right now it is apparent that it is semantically one sentence ...
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  • 26.5k
7 votes

Difference between 'to the left' and 'on the left'

Let's keep this simple. When looking at a picture, the idiomatic expression is: second from the left. = Starting from the left count to the right. By itself, second to the left does not establish ...
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  • 1,137
7 votes
Accepted

"Seeking for an answer" or "seeking an answer"

'For' is implied by 'seeking' and therefore redundant. In 'searching an answer,' 'for' is not implied and should be added. One of those English mysteries, I guess.
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  • 229
7 votes
Accepted

Why do we say on the team and not in the team?

"on" vs "in" tends to be the result of metaphor - how we understand things in terms of other things. "in" makes sense if you think of a group of people, and the team member is in the middle of that ...
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  • 22.8k
7 votes

As I have want to do

First, as Jim has commented, the word is spelled "wont" (though it's pronounced the same way as want in a typical American accent). Wont can be an adjective, as in I am wont to use antiquated ...
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  • 7,277
6 votes

What does "She is tall for her age" mean?

She is tall for her age This means that she is noticeably taller than the average height of girls her age.
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6 votes
Accepted

Alternative to ending an sentence with "contribute to"

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 ...
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  • 1,100
6 votes
Accepted

"frightened 'by' spiders" vs. "frightened 'of' spiders" in AmEng

Both expressions appear to have currency according to a very quick look through the Google periscope. The Ngram chart shows an interesting result, suggesting that scared of emerged in the mid to late ...
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  • 5,446
6 votes

Grammaticality of "The victim was found by a passer-by with stab wounds"

The context makes it clear who had stab wounds. I don't see anything wrong with the headline, or with your alternative. Both are ok. Alternatively, it could say: Passer-by finds victim with stab ...
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  • 4,036
5 votes
Accepted

Half doesn't or half don't?

You could make a logical case for either variant, but the only one that native speakers of English would say is Half [of] the students don't bother to show up. This is a case in which the outcome ...
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  • 26.5k
5 votes

Is there no subject in a sentence like "Under the tree is a dog"?

Dog, tower, t-shirt, and kingdom are the grammatical subjects of the main verbs of these four sentences—what is, stands, was, and lies—and thus of the sentences themselves.
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5 votes
Accepted

What function does this prepositional phrase have in this biblical sentence?

The phrase of none effect is an archaic version of: of no effect Nowadays we see an alternation between the so-called determiner no and the pronoun none, such that when there is a following noun ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Meaning of "by" when used with dates - inclusive or exclusive

As others have specified, the word by is generally synonymous with no later than when referring to a date or time. However, it is important to note (and this is why I am adding another answer) that ...
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  • 2,806
5 votes
Accepted

"subject to" vs. "subject of" - which expression should be used and when?

"Subject" here means two different things, and comes into English by two different paths. "Subject to" comes from the general sense of subjection, that is to say the overlordship of one over another. ...
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  • 15.9k
5 votes

"identical with" vs. "identical to"

To my (AmE) ear, identical to sounds better. These stones are optically, chemically and physically identical to natural, mined diamonds, but they suffer from a longstanding image problem. The ...
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5 votes

Difference between 'to the left' and 'on the left'

If the people in this photo (source: Usual Suspects film) are numbered 1 to 5 from left to right, I would describe number 2 as second on the left or second from the left. That is, he is second from ...
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  • 7,627
5 votes
Accepted

Usage of "reply": Please reply to me or reply me (used in formal tone)

I don't know where you see "reply my mail". I don't encounter that in America. Some dictionaries show reply as only an intransitive verb (one that does not take a direct object). Some mention a ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Why can I vary the position of the noun phrase only in certain sentences?

It formed inside him an ambition to teach his students all the more. It formed an ambition to teach his students all the more inside him. He kept in the book bag an apple. (awkward or marked) ...
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