Submitted by prahlad  •  February 19, 2004

Thread or threads?

Do you say “Seventeen kinds of thread?” or “Seventeen kinds of threads?”

Submitted by goossun  •  February 12, 2004

Gerund and Present Participle

What’s the difference between gerund and present participle?

Submitted by sarah2  •  February 11, 2004

Plural usage

When referring to a group of people, as being released in a contract, should it read “Releases” or “Releasees”? My dictionary lists releasee as singular but gives no plural spelling. Having looked under “Releases,” in the dictionary, it does not list it as a plural of “Releasee.” Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Submitted by jenga  •  January 25, 2004

Was it like that or Were you just joking?

Whilst happily typing away my math report, I came upon this slight roadblock...

“We observed a triangle created by the basketball pole and replicated a smaller triangle that was much more scaled down in size, but each of its sides WERE still in proportion to the larger triangle’s. ”

Please take note of the entirely capitalized “were” that *was* the reason I capitalized it in the first place:’) My absolutely horrible computer supported by its “state-of-the-art” spelling program argue that my “were” should be “was.” Of course, I personally don’t *trust* my computer as it takes some perverse pleasure in pointing out that i spelt “colour” wrong. So can i get backed by a professional opinion, please?

Submitted by jakephot  •  December 9, 2003

The Old IS or ARE

I went to English exam today. One of the problem was very difficult for me. The problem is

Which is correct? 1) The old IS respected in our society. 2) The old ARE respected in our society.

I wrote #1 is correct . I wonder if I was right.

Submitted by Dyske  •  April 4, 2003

There were/was an apple and an orange.

In New Yorker, I read:

“There was a cold wind and an intermittent drizzle.”

A cold wind and a drizzle together would make two things. Shouldn’t it be “There were”?

Submitted by Dyske  •  January 17, 2003

Sheep, Fish, and Cattle

Why do you think that these nouns resisted the temptation of adding an “s” to pluralize? Like Sheeps, Fishes, or Cattles. How was it decided that they do not have plural forms? And for what reason? And ultimately, if these nouns function fine without the plural forms, then why do we even need plural forms for any other nouns?

Submitted by Dyske  •  December 23, 2002

Fried Chicken

You can count chickens. 1 chicken, 2 chickens. But Once you fry them, you can’t count them. Why not? What’s wrong with 2 fried chickens?

Submitted by Dyske  •  December 20, 2002

Neither is or neither are

“For this recepie, vodka or rum can be used, though neither is ideal.”

Should it be “neither are”?

If I were to cast it, “both are not ideal”, it is “are”. So, it seems that “neither” should also get “are”.

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 21, 2002

a shit

“That’s such bull-shit.” Here you have no article; not “a bull-shit”.

“He gave me shit.” Here, too, you have no article.

“I don’t give a shit.” Now, why do you have an article here?

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 16, 2002

Letter A

When you refer to something that is labeled with letters, like letter A, button B, formula C, or exhibit D, you don’t put articles, but that seems odd. Why wouldn’t you say “a button B” or “a formula C”?

Submitted by destabilizer  •  November 14, 2002

A Few Too Few

What are the rules for FEW vs. A FEW?

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 11, 2002

Matching Numbers

“These computers come with a 40GB hard drive” Or “These computers come with 40GB hard drives.” Which is correct? If both, which is preferred? Or what are the different implications?

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 10, 2002


“Mercedes SL500. Acura NSX. BMW Z4. These types of cars are ...” Or “This type of cars” Or “This type of car” Or “These types of car” Or “These types of a car” In a situation where, by the word “type”, I mean to say “expensive sports car”, which is correct? It is one specific type of automobile that I’m trying to refer to, so “types” seems wrong, but to follow a list of cars with “This type of” seems wrong too. (What would “this” be referring to? It would not be the cars that I listed.)

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 10, 2002


“In a future, we’ll have...” Why is “future” a countable noun? In what situations do you use “futures”? Do you ever say, “In futures, we’ll have...”

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 10, 2002

A lot of water

Can I say “a lot of water”? Could “a lot of” be used for uncountable nouns? In other words, could “a lot of” be used to substitute both “many” and “much”?

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 8, 2002

What is / What are

“These are not what is going to bring us happiness.” Or “These are not what are going to bring us happiness.” Which is correct?

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 7, 2002

A Part of ...

“I am a part of the team” or “I am part of the team” Which is correct? If both, then what’s the difference in implication?

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 6, 2002

Past / Present

“At the lecture yesterday, only a few of them knew who I am.” Is this correct or should it be “who I was”? “Who I was” sounds like they knew who I was 10 years ago.

Submitted by Dyske  •  November 5, 2002

Text, A Text, Texts

I wrote “Multiple pages of recipes from the book, each page consisting of a photo and a text.” And, Manny pointed out to me that “a text” is wrong, that it should simply be “text”. But the plural form of the word “text” actually exists. If “texts” is legal, then “a text” must also exist. In what situation would one use “a text”?

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