April 26, 2004  •  alicia

10 Head of Cattle

Why would you say “10 head of cattle” instead of “10 heads of cattle”? Don’t give me: “That’s the way cowboys say it.” I want a real reason. Isn’t it “10 heads of lettuce”, anyway?

April 14, 2004  •  goossun


What do you in grammar terminology call a word that is not compound?

March 16, 2004  •  Dyske


“The essence of this book and that book was identical.” “The essences of this book and that book were identical.” If they were identical, they are one and the same, so I feel that the first is correct.

February 19, 2004  •  prahlad

Thread or threads?

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

February 12, 2004  •  goossun

Gerund and Present Participle

What’s the difference between gerund and present participle?

February 11, 2004  •  sarah2

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.

January 25, 2004  •  jenga

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?

December 9, 2003  •  jakephot

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.

April 4, 2003  •  Dyske

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”?

January 17, 2003  •  Dyske

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?

December 23, 2002  •  Dyske

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?

December 20, 2002  •  Dyske

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”.

November 21, 2002  •  Dyske

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?

November 16, 2002  •  Dyske

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”?

November 14, 2002  •  destabilizer

A Few Too Few

What are the rules for FEW vs. A FEW?

November 11, 2002  •  Dyske

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?

November 10, 2002  •  Dyske


“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.)

November 10, 2002  •  Dyske


“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...”

November 10, 2002  •  Dyske

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”?

November 8, 2002  •  Dyske

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?

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