In the bolded sentence, it looks that something is wrong:

Though the purpose of this book as a whole is to look at what could be considered appropriate activity in regard to a cultural site, it is necessary here to look at what might or might not be appropriate commercial activity for the site in question. The particular concerns of religious sites have been referred to already. In general, the ideal is that any commercial activity should be that which is most suitable simultaneously to meet the needs of a site, its presenter and its audience. Mismatches, where activity is inappropriate, spoiling the atmosphere of a place, simply ‘grate’. (Boniface, 1995, p. 100)

Is it grammatical? What does this sentence mean? would you paraphrase it? Shouldn't there be an is before simply?


Boniface, P. (1995). Managing quality cultural tourism: Routledge.

  • 1
    simply grating. An activity grates on one's nerves. It is, therefore, a grating activity. That book could be a translation. You need the gerund there: grating.
    – Lambie
    May 29, 2018 at 13:14
  • The sentence actually works. However, it, and the entire paragraph, is very awkward. May 29, 2018 at 22:27
  • @JasonBassford In what respect are they awkward?
    – Juya
    May 30, 2018 at 11:49
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    There is an excessive use of verbiage, as well as some repetition. By the time you've finished the first sentence (for instance) you've kind of forgotten what the point of it is. The whole paragraph could be expressed as something short and simple: "This book has discussed some appropriate activity on cultural sites. Here, it focuses on commercial activity. As with religious sites, commercial activity should meet the needs of all site users. When it doesn't, it can seem out of place." May 30, 2018 at 15:54
  • @JasonBassford Great edition! I just think this is more accurate: "... commercial activity should meet the needs of the site itself and all its users."
    – Juya
    May 31, 2018 at 11:53

2 Answers 2


The verb here is (probably) 'grate'. See the first definition at dictionary.com:

'to have an irritating or unpleasant effect'.

  • Yes, it could be. Cambridge Dictionary: grate verb (ANNOY) ​ [ I ] When a noise or behaviour grates, it annoys you: After a while her voice really started to grate on me. It's the way she's always talking about herself - it just grates on me.
    – Juya
    May 29, 2018 at 11:36
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    @Juya I was just slightly unsure about the inverted commas. I'm not sure I can agree with Learnerer below. It seems more likely to me either that the word 'grate' has been used before by someone else (probably mentioned above), and the quotation marks remind you of this, or that the writer considers 'grate' to be a non-standard or slightly inappropriate word in the context (i.e. for the register), and thus wishes to excuse its use. May 29, 2018 at 19:20
  • Good point! It would be fruitful that you comment under his answer so that he has the opportunity to reflect on it and probably reply.
    – Juya
    May 29, 2018 at 21:57
  • Hi. Sorry, I just noticed the comment. I'm not really one for grammar, nor am I a language pro, but I do know that direct-reporting of others is surrounded with double quotes, not single. What I tried to say in my answer below is that the speaker/writer conveyed the meaning of the word by actually performing/doing it; a case unique in that the verb word itself is actually a realization of its meaning.. .
    – Learnerer
    Jul 7, 2019 at 11:55

The verb here is grate. The use of single quotations is to signify the utterance of the word rather than use the word for what it means, which in this case then happens to manifest its intended meaning:

grate: make an unpleasant rasping sound

  • See my comment on my answer for alternative reasons for the inverted commas. May 30, 2018 at 7:53

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