October 21, 2008  •  elainekoh

reported speech

John said, “My birthday fell on last Friday.” If the above is reported, which verb should I use? John said that his birthday fell/had fallen on the previous Friday.

October 19, 2008  •  kangnamgu

Find the error

Working from a textbook, one exercise requires students to find the error in different sentences. Can anybody find the error in the following sentence? *The painting of the Buddha, that has nine figures, made the religion more concrete to believers in 13th-century Tibet.* The sentence refers to a picture in the book of a painting of a Buddha with several other figures (bodhisattvas) around it. Sections of the sentence is underlined. I will use square-brackets to indicate the underlined sections. The error should be with one of these underlined sections. Here is the sentence again: The painting of the Buddha[, that has]{A} nine [figures,]{B} made the religion more [concrete]{C} to believers in [13th-century Tibet.]{D} The Teacher’s Edition of the textbook says that the error is with {A}. If this is correct, what is wrong with it? Thanks!

October 14, 2008  •  magicrin

be of some help / be of any help

1. which one is correct? “i am glad to be of some help or i am glad to be of any help?” 2. what`s different between them?

September 30, 2008  •  sushant


“The liquidity is high, as evident/evidenced from the Reserve Bank of India’s reverse repo auctions.” Which one of these two words would be more appropriate here? How do we decide that ?

September 24, 2008  •  phyllis

“dis” vs “un”

Ok I am always coming up against the following with non-native speakers: disinterest vs uninterested dissatisfied vs unsatisfied disorganised vs unorganised Any simple rule of thumb or guideline?

September 16, 2008  •  chris

Aritcle or no article - that is the question.

“In this letter, we describe a practical method for sense tagging of Korean unit words in nominal compounds.” In the above sentence, I’m curious if “sense tagging of” requires an article, as in “the sense tagging of”. Because of the “of” after “tagging” my instincts say yes, an article is necessary. But am I just adding unnecessary clutter into the sentence? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

September 2, 2008  •  davidh

Meet monday v Meet on Monday

Why do Americans not use a preposition when talking about days of the week? “We’ll meet Monday” has an “on” “before” “after” or “during” missing. You can’t meet Monday unless it is a person or a thing; as it is a unit of time there should be a preposition; One doesn’t “meet 4 o’clock” but one may “meet at 4 o’clock” and so you do “not meet Monday” but “on Monday”.

September 1, 2008  •  jakemontero

con cum with

I’ve seen some writeups around the internet where they use the word “con-cum” or “con cum with”. I know “cum” means with in Latin like “suma cum laude” or transformation like “bus cum green house (bus converted to green house). Can anyone tell me how to use “cum” correctly, or should I avoid it as much as possible?

August 28, 2008  •  michelle

“the below” vs “the following”

When writing, “the below changes will take place tomorrow” followed by a bulleted list of changes, would it be more correct to use the phrase “the following...”? Or, is this a matter of personal style? In the above context, what is the phrase “the below”, an adjective?

August 27, 2008  •  dickrommelmann

You’re not going to the game, are you?

Question; are you going to the game? If I am, I say yes. Sometimes the question is framed “You’re not going to the game, are you?” If I’m not going I maintain the response is YES. as in yes, I’m not going. This has been a source of friction with a friend for some time. Comments please over this picayune dribble.

August 21, 2008  •  nomad

Usage of ‘I have doubt that’

“Some people may have doubt that why invest in these sectors during the economy slump?” Is the above phrase grammatically correct? Is it grammatically correct to use ‘doubt that’ when the ‘doubt’ is a NOUN? For example: 1) VERB: I doubt that Fred has really lost 25 pounds ... 2) NOUN: Some people may have doubts that .....

August 15, 2008  •  josh

beginning a request with “may”

“May you please send me the...” Is this correct? It doesn’t sound right. I believe this person is using the same logic as asking permission to do something. Wouldn’t ” Will you please send me the...” or “Would you please...” be correct?

August 13, 2008  •  debra

Acronym-verb agreement

Does the acronym ITS (Information Technology Services) take a singular verb or plural i.e., ITS is thinking of redoing the website. ITS are thinking of redoing the website. Since the last word is plural, wouldn’t it make sense to make the verb plural, even though it doesn’t sound good?

August 12, 2008  •  parsifal

rogue apostrophe

Would you write ‘four day’s journey’ or ‘four days journey’? I am having a tussle with a sub. I know it’s ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’ but surely the journey doesn’t belong to the four days, so it should be ‘four days journey’ - and presumably ‘a four-day journey’ would be even better? What do you think?

August 10, 2008  •  nikkivinnriquemullencruz

What’s wrong with this?

Is the following phrase using correct grammar, why or why not? And how would you describe this phrase? It’s just weird to me: “Hey, you’re that goofy kid Sandra makes do crazy stuff!!” Basically Sandra makes this kid do goofy stuff and someone has spotted him, did they use correct grammar? It just sounds weird to me, especially the “make do” part. Whether this is grammatically correct, what are the grammatical rules that would apply to a phrase like this? Thanks so much!

August 9, 2008  •  javid

Excess vs. Excessive

When excess is used an as adjective, are these words the same. Is there a case for using one over another?

August 5, 2008  •  jentaylor

He be calling up all the time... and others

When I was in my linguistics class in college, my prof said using the verb be in this context was actually more grammatically correct than when we say “He calls me up all the time,” or “He’s always calling me,” etc. I can’t find my notes or any other info...can someone give an explanation? Thank you!

August 3, 2008  •  frans

Instruction for filling out an answer form

I am designing an answer form for multiple choice and true-false examinations. The form has also an instruction how to fill it out. I would like to know if the English is correct and if it is clear what I mean. The students have to fill in the box of their choice for every question, that is to “blacken” the box as they say. Here is the instruction as I formulated it: INSTRUCTION TO FILL OUT THE FORM 1. Use a blue or black ballpoint for filling out the requested information at the top of the form and for encoding your student number in the designated boxes. 2. Use a pencil (preferably HB) when giving the answers. Use an eraser for corrections. Do not use correction fluid or tape. 3. Answer every question by filling in the box of your choice (fill in one box only!). At first I wrote regarding point 2 “Use a pencil (preferably HB) for filling out the answers.”, but someone told me that “when giving the answers” would be better English. Further I would like to know what the correct place of “only” is. Should one write “fill in one box only!” of “fill in only one box”? I would appreciate your comments. Thanking you in advance.

July 5, 2008  •  karenmetrin

Numbered List of People

I need to list the people in a photo, below the photo. The picture will be framed, not in a magazine, etc. What is the proper punctuation? The way I originally typed the names follows but I am ready to finalize the layout and want to know the proper format. The way I have it now: 1. Catherine, March 11, 1874; 2. Alice Bell, July 8, 1875; 3. Birdie Alberdine, February 14, 1877; 4. Mary Adella, November 15, 1879… and so on for eight people. If I number each person, is additional punctuation required between the names as I have typed it or do the numbers stand alone? Should the individual names even be numbered? I am really not certain what the proper format is. I am on a deadline to complete this restored photo and layout for a client so a prompt reply would be greatly appreciated.

June 24, 2008  •  Dyske


One of our regular contributors, porsche, informed me that submitting a comment redirects you to Microsoft’s website. Sorry about that. I keep track of the IP addresses of Spammers, and I send all the spammers to Microsoft’s website. I recently moved the site to a different server, and the new server was returning the same IP address for everyone, and I ended up listing that IP address as a Spammer’s. And, so the site considered everyone who commented as a Spammer. That’s what happened. But that’s a long, boring, technical story, and what matters is that it’s working fine now. Thank you, porsche, for informing me of this problem. If anyone ever experience any problems like this on this site, please let me know.

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