This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books. You can browse through the latest questions and comments below. If you have a question of your own, please submit it here.
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Why does it sound correct to say or hear “the only one I ever wanted”, but sound incorrect when saying “the one I ever wanted”? What is the secret of this little four letter word, “only”? There was a pop song out a few years back that used the latter phrase, and although it sounded so awful to my ears, I couldn’t really think of any reason that it was technically incorrect.
I am university student, and take a seminar in a third grade. In the class, we were given assignments, which is we check on how native speakers feel or think about the following questions. So I would like to ask your opinions. Could you answer the following questions?
1. “The plane must land in a few minute.” When you read this sentence, what kind of situation do you imagine? I’d like to know the meaning of “must” in this sentence. So what kind of meaning does the “must” include?
2. In the same way, how about “He can seem so sane.”?
3. What is the difference among Look, See and Watch?
4. “He could hear the phone ringing on the other end but no one answered.” In this sentence, do you think the phone rang straight? Does “can/could + feeling verb” mean an instant or a moment situation.
Thank you very much for your time, and I’m looking forward to your opinions.
There’s a slang expression in English which I don’t know how to spell correctly. The phrase would be used (phoentically) like this:
“I’m gonna sic the cops on you for doing that!”
meaning “I am going to report to the police what you did, and you will presumably be punished for doing it.”
Now I’ve seen internet kids using this phrase left and right, and I have seen it consistently spelled
“SICK” --> “I’m gonna sick the cops on you!”
It’s slang, so I’ve looked, but I can’t find the answer in a dictionary anywhere. But it’s driving me nutty, because I always thought it was spelled “sic” and not “sick.”
Is there a proper answer to this question, and if so, does anyone have it?
I have never understood why people say stuff like “Can my car be repossessed _without my being warned_?”. In my ears it should be “without me being warned”. Heck I would even prefer “without I being warned”. The only explanation I can come up, given that “my” is possessive, is that “being” is a noun which refers to you as a mortal being. But that doesn’t make much sense in the sentence since “being” is used as the verb. For it to work it would have to be “without my being getting warned”, or “without my being being warned”.
Am I right that this is just badly evolved english (although seemingly legitimate today) or am I missing something here ?