176 votes

"It really doesn't matter" v "It doesn't really matter"

When the adverb really comes before a negated auxiliary, the effect is of emphasising the truth of the sentence: I really cannot tell the difference. Here the speaker is emphasising that they ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
71 votes

Why is it that in English we put the colour before the object but in many other European languages they put the colour after the object?

This isn't specific to colour. In English the vast majority of attributive adjectives precede the nouns they modify. In French the great majority come after the nouns, although there are quite a few ...
rjpond's user avatar
  • 3,351
66 votes

Why is it "ladies and gentlemen" instead of "gentlemen and ladies"?

It probably has to do with the phonetic and metrical properties of "ladies and gentlemen" versus "gentlemen and ladies." Say them both out loud and see which one sounds better to you, intuitively. ...
DyingIsFun's user avatar
  • 17.9k
61 votes

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

Your friend is wrong: the sentence is grammatically completely correct with the meaning you intended. There is no rule that requires the prepositional phrase "in my underpants" to modify the ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 81.6k
42 votes

Why is "A Nation Divided" in this headline instead of "A Divided Nation"?

It's an allusion to a very famous speech by Abraham Lincoln, which included the line: A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
40 votes

"I you already know": is this proper English?

It's not correct according to traditional grammar It might depend on what you mean by "proper English". Based on the context, I'm assuming the clause is meant to express the same idea as &...
herisson's user avatar
  • 81.6k
33 votes

"I you already know": is this proper English?

It strikes me that this is an attempt by butterfly to sound more formal, in deference to the great wizard. Just like people often confuse "I" with "me" when attempting to sound better educated, and ...
Stuart Steedman's user avatar
32 votes

Why do we order our adjectives in certain ways: "big, blue house" rather than "blue, big house"?

Melissa Mohr, at C S Monitor, writes: Explaining the ‘royal order’ of adjective placement I just finished reading a detective enjoyable little novel. Or was it a little detective enjoyable novel? No, ...
Edwin Ashworth's user avatar
30 votes

Is a person connected to a life support machine, or is the life support machine connected to them?

The common usage is that the person is connected to the life support. This is because usually the person is what's being discussed. John is connected to life support. The person, when it's what is ...
Chemus's user avatar
  • 614
28 votes

"It really doesn't matter" v "It doesn't really matter"

Ultimately the word "really" means the same in both cases, of adding strength or emphasis. If we swap "really" for "definitely" this becomes more clear: The first one is like "It definitely ...
Max Williams's user avatar
  • 23.1k
26 votes

Why is "A Nation Divided" in this headline instead of "A Divided Nation"?

The adjective preceding the noun is a general rule of English; however, it is not the only location. It is possible to emphasize (some) adjectives by placing the after the noun. Example: "A tiger, ...
ttw's user avatar
  • 545
23 votes

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

I was gonna just make this a comment but I had too much to say, because this less pedantry and more "being obnoxious". "I technically said that the vegan cheese was in my underpants..." Have him ...
user3810626's user avatar
18 votes

How does the "reverse syntax" in Middle English work?

First, a point of clarification. The "Therefore did Tristan claim justice..." passage that you quote seems to be from a translation made sometime around 1900 by Hilaire Belloc of an ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 81.6k
17 votes

"It really doesn't matter" v "It doesn't really matter"

I think it helps a lot to break these two sentences down: It really doesn't matter: The base sentence here is It doesn't matter. Really is an adverb which modifies doesn't. In this case, it puts ...
nmg49's user avatar
  • 687
16 votes

Is it "Don't let's" or "Let's don't"?

According to the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (Huddleston & Pullum 2002), there are two dialect usages within Standard English with regard to let's. One of these has let as a verb ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
16 votes

Help Fixing Yoda-like Sentence Structure?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with either sentence for each number, honestly. Both pairs are grammatical, although for the second pair the meaning is slightly different because in the first ...
meepyer's user avatar
  • 688
14 votes

Why is it "ladies and gentlemen" instead of "gentlemen and ladies"?

It comes from "My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen". Titled men come first (My Lords); then their spouses [My] Ladies; Ladies also include non-titled ladies; and finally, untitled men (Gentlemen). ...
ab2's user avatar
  • 26.2k
14 votes

Difference between 'eat soup hot' and 'eat hot soup'

I'm not a grammar expert, but here are my thoughts on this: In the first sentence, "most kinds of soup" is the direct object, and "hot" is a phrase of manner depicting the way you eat the direct ...
RichouHunter's user avatar
  • 1,384
12 votes

What does "notwithstanding" mean in this sentence?

I'm not sure why you understand the google example but not your own quoted one. Is it the word order which is causing the confusion? 'Notwithstanding' can be used after the thing it refers to as well ...
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 11.7k
11 votes

"You're too clever a man"

This is an example of a Big Mess Construction: This is too big a mess (for anyone to clear up). You'll find the same format in a number of other cases: a. She made too rude a remark (for me to ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 66.1k
11 votes

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

This is classic - I shot an elephant in my pajamas, how he got into my pajamas, I'll never know. It's a joke, from 1930's Groucho Marx' film Animal Crackers. "I shot an elephant in my pajamas" ...
JTP - Apologise to Monica's user avatar
11 votes

theorem Isosceles Triangle

I am not aware of a theorem called "Isosceles Triangle", but Wikipedia tells me that "Pons Asinorum" is also called "the isosceles triangle theorem". This indicates that ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 77.1k
10 votes

Is “On Sundays, my sister and I never play hockey” correct?

There are no rules in English, there is only guidance. “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.” Adverbs, adverbial phrases and adverbial clauses have a default order in ...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 41.4k
9 votes

Capitalising names of geographical/tourist terms

First, this is a matter of style, rather than a grammatical matter. Therefore, there will be differing opinions. Does the publishing firm you are working with on the translations have a house style ...
JLG's user avatar
  • 23.2k
9 votes

"like a German engine" vs. "German engine like": which sounds better at the end of a sentence?

The correct response would be Response A. In Response B, you may hyphenate engine and like. The sentence would be like this: It is German engine-like. However, this makes engine into an adjective; ...
Dieter Johann's user avatar
9 votes

"It really doesn't matter" v "It doesn't really matter"

When dealing with modifiers, it is crucial to understand what is being modified, and in English, this is typically determined positionally: modifiers tend to come directly before the thing being ...
Kyle Strand's user avatar
9 votes

is "weren't you..." considered grammatically correct? Because expanded, it would translate to "were not you..."

It's absolutely considered grammatically correct. Remember, languages change over time, and abbreviations being added to languages is normal, sometimes leaving the abbreviation in common usage but the ...
Gabriel Staples's user avatar
9 votes

Is there an order to prepositional phrases?

First: some commenters got confused by the technical language in this sentence. Commit here is a noun, referring to a record of a batch of changes to a codebase; the sentence is talking about the ...
alphabet's user avatar
  • 17.5k
8 votes

'has not been yet extensively studied' vs 'has not been extensively studied yet'

The first sentence is incorrect, because "yet" cannot stand between "been" and the past participle of the verb (in this case, "studied"). The second sentence is not wrong, since "yet" can go last, ...
John's user avatar
  • 106

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