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
I have an issue with the use of the past perfect tense with “until” (and sometimes “before”). Can you please tell me which of these sentences is correct and why?
She hadn’t realized that she was addicted to nicotine until she smoked ten cigarettes a day. (i.e.: Before she smoked that many cigarettes, she didn’t have that knowledge about herself - not realizing/knowing was earlier.)
She didn’t realize that she was addicted to nicotine until she had smoked ten cigarettes a day. (i.e.: First she smoked that many cigarettes, and then she realized.)
I was taught that one should never use double negatives. But I was also taught that if you do, it can have the opposite meaning.
Example: The box does not contain nothing.
means: The box contains something.
So I heard the President’s speech. Note that he was not the first person to say it because I have also heard several newsmen use a similar expression. When I heard it, it sounded wrong. But I could NOT put my finger on why it sounded wrong. Then suddenly it occurred to me, a double negative!
So here is what I heard...
“Putin badly miscalculated.” or
“He badly miscalculated.”
Since bad is the negative of good and the prefix “mis” makes calculated negative, isn’t this a double negative? I know what they mean. Shouldn’t this sentence be written like so?
“He severely miscalculated.”
Since severe is neither negative nor positive. It just indicates the degree of something.
I was reading an old novel, British English written around 1850. I came across the phrase “I saw signs of elephant in the forest”. This intrigued me as the word "elephant" implies anything from a single to multiple animals. The word "signs" seems to have taken on the role of plurality for the noun. I was asked a similar question by my partner who is editing a book in which the phrase “I saw fairy dancing in the woods,” not meaning a single fairy but many fairies dancing. Can anyone expand my knowledge on the use of a singular noun being used as a non-collective plural noun?
I am a bit confused about whether or not I should use “the” before “most” in the following sentence. I have searched on the internet but I have before more confused about the issue so please help me in this regard. I will add this sentence to my formal writing.
"What fascinates me the most about the textile industry is that it drives the economy of many third world countries”
"What fascinates me most about the textile industry is that it drives the economy of many third world countries”
Which one is correct and why?
Hi everybody! Few days ago my mate attended to a job competition for a job in the technical office of Rome. Among the many legal questions there were also some English questions. The one I am asking your help for is:
“Let ……. come in.”
the possible answers proposed are:
I am sure that all of you are thinking that the only right option to chose is “him”, that’s it.
Initially it was confirmed “his” with correct answer and after few days was corrected with “him”.
The english questions/phrases put in these competitions are generally extracted form bigger pieces, books.. and my partner didn’t answer because he says that in a certain contests it can be also right “Let his come in”, for example:
Michele is waiting for the vet to visit his cat. When the vet wants to visit Michele’s cat can say to his secretary:
<< Let his come in >> instead of << Let his cat come in>>.
What do you think? Is it possible consider both the options “his” and “him” correct?
Have you read some examples in books or articles in which you have found the phrase “Let his come in” ?
It can help my partner to obtain the job because he got a score of 20.8 and he had to get 21 to obtain the job! So it is very important the help of all of you.
so - Wiktionary gives these quotations:
‘There’re another two.’ ‘So there are.’
Why is the first one inverted and the second one not? I read it somewhere that it is because the answer of the second quotation confirms the first sentence (aforementioned stuff), so it is not allowed to invert. First, I can’t find another source that corraborates this reasoning. Second, why is it not allowed to invert? There must be a specific reason for this subject–auxiliary inversion.
A Facebook reader complained that another commenter was incorrect to use the term “My Walmart” while speaking about the Walmart in closest proximity to her home. I use “my” like this all the time. Are we both incorrect to use the word “my” in this way, because we do not own the walmart as he points out, or is he just being a grammar prude?
I know “I’m having trouble logging in to my account.” is correct. But is “I’m having trouble to log in” correct?
Are there some rules in using "trouble to"? I could not find sentences using “I’m having trouble to...” but I have found “not trouble to do something” like:
Nina need not trouble to come down, everything had been arranged.
Do not trouble to don your hat and gloves, Nina.
My friends never troubled to ask me what I would like.
Nina didn’t trouble to hide his disgust.
Please help me.