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
Is it possible to say “by the time we arrived at the cinema, the film was starting”? Or do I have to say “the film had started”?
Both structures sound ok to me if I use another verb (sleep) instead of “start” (“by the time I got there, he was already sleeping”) so I do not know if I am using the structure right (perhaps I should use “when” and not “by the time”) or if it is the verb “start” (due to its meaning) what makes “by the time we arrived, the film was starting” sound strange.
I’ve read a sentence like this:
Not only did George buy the house, but he also remodeled it.
I think this counts as a complex sentence, but I want to get some extra opinions. Doesn’t “Not only did George buy the house” modify “remodeled,” thus making the first clause dependent? In common English usage, the position of the subject “George” after “did” is fine in an interrogative sentence, but it’s not in a declarative sentence. Does the departure from standard declarative syntax suggest that the first clause is not independent (and therefore dependent)?
I have recently been seeing rejections of many phrases with ‘of’ in them because they are “less concise.” An example of this would be changing “All six of the men were considered dangerous” to “All six men were considered dangerous.” Recently, someone corrected a sentence I wrote and it just doesn’t sound right even though it may be concise. They changed “There are six species of snakes and four species of butterfly on the list” to “There are six snake species and four lizard species on the list.”
Bonus question: Is it “species of butterfly” or “species of butterflies”?
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.