Submitted by sigurd  •  September 20, 2011

Specifying time duration without “for”

Can “box turtles can live for 80 years” be written “box turtles can live 80 years”? What about “I ran 13 minutes” instead of “I ran for 13 minutes”? Are the foregoing examples still proper English?

Submitted by Carolyn Lunn  •  August 11, 2011

“My writing books” or “Me writing books”?

Which is correct : 

My writing books proves I am an entrepreneur. 

Me writing books proves I am an entrepreneur. 

ME or MY ? Both sentences are awkward, yes, but which sentence is grammatically correct?

Submitted by Steph  •  March 20, 2011

The taller of her and...

In the sentence “Karen is the taller of her and Lin”, why is the pronoun ‘her’ used (as opposed to ‘she’)? I would have thought that, since Karen is the subject of the sentence, the appropriate pronoun would be ‘she’? This sentence comes out of the Institute of Professional Editors Accreditation Exam, so I can only assume that it is correct. Thanks to anyone who can help!

Submitted by pebbles  •  March 9, 2011

Past Perfect vs. Past Tense

The following sentence is taken from Advanced English CAE: 

Within seconds Barry, who was wearing enormous rubber boots, had tied a rope to the front bumper of the car and was pulling it out with the tractor.

I’d say: 

Within seconds Barry, who was wearing enormous rubber boots, tied a rope to the front bumper of the car and pulled it out with the tractor. 

Any opinions?

Submitted by joham  •  March 9, 2011

“I recommend that you do not” vs. “I recommend you not”

I recommend that you do not take this pill.

I recommend that your wife does not take this pill.

I recommend that you not take this pill.

I recommend that your wife not take this pill.

Are all four sentences correct English? Do many native American/British English speakers use verb forms like in the first two sentences?

Submitted by Hairy Scot  •  January 30, 2011

Correct preposition following different?

I am sure most of us will agree that “from” is the only preposition which should follow the word “different”. However it would be interesting to hear logical argument from those who favour others such as “to” and “than”.

Submitted by sigurd  •  October 14, 2010

Whom are you?

Shouldn’t “who are you?” be “whom are you?” and “who is this?” be “whom is this?”

Submitted by helen  •  September 22, 2010

Usage of past, present, and future tense in ownership

My co workers and I are in disagreement over how a phrase should be worded using proper English in the legal documents we type into our computer system.

If one were to say (using proper English) that John Smith used to own a piece of property would one say:

“The current tenant states that John Smith IS the previous owner of 2400 Green Cir.”

OR would one say:

“The current tenant states that John Smith WAS the previous owner of 2400 Green Cir.”

Which way is correct? And WHY (please explain why the correct way is correct--what rules apply, etc.).

Submitted by fred2  •  August 30, 2010

Comparisons and Superlatives of Colours

In English, there are comparisons and superlatives for some colours. Take for example: black, blacker, blackest; blue, bluer, bluest.

How about other colours like silver and gold/golden?

Submitted by donnahansen  •  July 24, 2010

It is you who are/is ...

I was talking with someone via Facebook. I thought she was wrong, and she wrote back to me: “No, Donna, it is you who are wrong”. Had she left out the word “who” then I believe “are” would be correct, but since she included the word “who” then it changes to singular “you” which would require the word “is”. I believe it shoud read “No, Donna, it is you who is wrong”. Please help me on this grammatical issue.

Submitted by mike3  •  July 20, 2010

Team names — singular or plural

Watching the World Cup recently has prompted me to ask: Why do the announcers refer to teams as if they are plural? For instance, “England are on the attack.” I think it should be “England is on the attack,” as we are referring to the English team which is a single unit and therefore singular?

Submitted by debbied  •  June 23, 2010

The following is... vs. Following is...

In the interest of being concise, is it acceptable to use “Following is a complete list of tags...” instead of “The following is a complete list of tags...”

Submitted by elizabethingram  •  June 19, 2010

“she” vs “her”

I was speaking to my administrator and explaining how I met another person in our company. I said “her and I traveled to Kansas together”. She stopped me and said it should be “she and I traveled to Kansas together”. I feel both were appropriate, but she disagreed. Could we both be correct?

Submitted by penguin  •  June 17, 2010

There was/were a pen and three pencils...

There was a pen and three pencils on the table

or

There were a pen and three pencils on the table.

In this example, the singular noun must precede the plural noun. Which verb is the correct one?

Submitted by kathleen  •  June 11, 2010

“sources of” vs. “the source of”

Consider a scenario where a bloodstain was discovered and analyzed. It was determined the blood came from a single source. Joe is not the source of the blood. Jack is not the source of the blood. Which of the following statements is correct and why? Joe and Jack are excluded as SOURCES of the blood. Joe and Jack are excluded as THE SOURCE of the blood.

Submitted by laichensiang  •  May 30, 2010

“His being chosen” vs. “His having been chosen”

“His being chosen as a headmaster have surprised us.”

Is the sentence above right? Do I have to change the gerund to:

“His having been chosen as a headmaster have surprised us.”

Submitted by suzelp  •  May 24, 2010

spay, not spade

When one has rendered a female animal unable to bear young, one spays the animal. If it happened last week, the animal was spayed. Over and over, including in vets’ offices, I have seen references to “getting an animal spade,” and even worse, “We had our cat spaded.” I don’t know what that would be: Hit over the head with a small shovel-like object?

Submitted by yvonne  •  April 6, 2010

Plural form of sense of humour

I’d love to know your take on the plural form of sense of humour. Is it sense of humour or senses of humour?

Submitted by helenhi  •  December 28, 2009

me vs. myself

In the following sentence, would “me” or “myself” be correct and why?

Serious gardeners like my wife and me/myself always use organic fertilizer.

Since the person talking is also a gardener and has referred to himself once already in the sentence as being in the group serious gardeners (”we gardeners”), it seems as if he should use “myself” in the reflexive. Yet this sounds wrong.

Please help! The horrid trend of using “myself” in place of “me” is starting to wear me down and confuse me.

Submitted by damienveatch  •  December 15, 2009

decapitalize vs. uncapitalize

I’m stuck on the correct use of “un-” (as in “reverse action”) and “de-”. Specifically, I want to write that a student should change an incorrectly capitalized word to the lower case. Should he “uncapitalize” it or “decapitalize” it? It’s true that the word should be uncapitalized, but since he incorrectly capitalized it in the first place, must he now decapitalize it?

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