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.
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Latest Posts : Grammar
In the following sentence, are both parts of the clause correct for a present unreal sentence?
“She would have wanted you to become a doctor if she were alive today”
In this sentence, shouldn’t it be this?
“She would want you to become a doctor if she...”
What does “that” mean in the following sentences? Are there any rules which apply to the exact phrases which “that” refers to?
1. The graphs above show the rates of electricity generation of Kansas and “that” of the U.S. total in 2010.
Q. Doesn’t “that” refer to “electricity generation”? If yes, isn’t “of” needed before “that”?
2. The rate of electricity generation by nuclear power plants in Kansas was about the same as that of the U.S. total.
Q. Doesn’t “that” refer to “the rate of electricity generation by nuclear power plants”? If yes, why is it “that in the U.S. total”, instead of “that of the U.S. total” to be parallel with in Kansas?
There is a structure used by native speakers that I often read on social media, referring to people who have passed away, on the day of their anniversary. e.g. “He would have been 60 today.” Shouldn’t it be “He would be 60 today”? Meaning, if he were alive, he would be 60 today.
“I had a talk with so and so,” is a common phrase, so I would imagine that “I had a small talk with so and so,” is equally correct. But “small talk” appears to be treated as an uncountable noun most of the time. Is it countable or uncountable? If both, in what contexts does it become one or the other?
“We have to go to the store yet.”
I would just remove the “yet” all together; however, I keep hearing someone use the word yet in this fashion and I am wondering if they are grammatically correct.
Problem with capitalizing and pluralizing official titles. For example:
He is a State Governor (or a state governor; a State governor; a state Governor: a governor of a state; Governor of a State?) in Nigeria.
She is a deputy registrar (or is it a Deputy Registrar?) in my university. Many Deputy Registrars (or is it deputy registrars?) attended the conference.
Some university Registrars (or is it university registrars) have criticized the policy.
Many Presidents (or is it presidents) came in person. Others were represented by their Vice Presidents (vice presidents?)
Dear Sirs, I read your post on “I was/ I were”. I found it very helpful, resuscitating memories of English classes. I’m still not sure if I should use “was” or “were” in this sentence, below.
“And if anyone else were to peek, they would see the bear cubs looking fast asleep, dreaming of all the things they loved.”
The “anyone else” might be peeking and might not be peeking. We don’t know. “were” sounds better to my ear, but my MS Word has it underlined in green. Who is correct? Me or the machine?