Questions tagged [sentence-construction]

This tag is used for questions about the proper construction of sentences.

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49
votes
11answers
14k views

Explain why “Who is she playing the piano?” is incorrect

A teacher asked me this question and I am having a hard time finding a simple way to explain it for her to share with her students. I`m looking for the easiest way to explain it to her because she ...
30
votes
6answers
14k views

“I often buy fruits when I go to the supermarket” – illogical?

I am an English assistant and I often hear my non-native students say: I often buy fruits when I go to the supermarket. I think it is wrong logically because "go" means "to move or travel from ...
29
votes
4answers
31k views

Is “rain is falling” entirely wrong?

I thought it was a custom in English to write "it is raining" instead of "rain is falling". Still I don't know why the second construction is wrong. Yet I found a song called Rain is Falling, so I'm ...
27
votes
3answers
1k views

The summer training or (just) summer training

Should we use the summer training or just summer training in the paragraph. As per me training is a noun and before singular noun we have to use an article and I am using the because I am talking ...
24
votes
15answers
6k views

Why is “a road” incorrect in this test?

I apparently made a mistake in this text: http://www.learnenglish.de/games/articles/articles.html, where you have to fill in "a", "an" or "the" in the blanks. The relevant parts are: Looking out ...
24
votes
3answers
18k views

Is the SVOMPT word order necessary in creating a sentence?

I learned the English word order SVOMPT (Subject, Verb, Objects, Manner, Place, Time) rule at school. Although it was a quite straightforward rule when I was studying, now (under more influence from ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

Just because people don't talk doesn't mean they don't think

Just because people don't talk doesn't mean they don't think. Some people(non-native speakers) say this is grammatically incorrect. It is acceptable in casual conversation, but it should not be used ...
22
votes
6answers
6k views

One of my friend's OR friends' wife? (My friend has only one wife)

Anita is Neil's wife. Neil is one of my friends. Now, how do I refer to Anita? Think that I'm telling someone who does not know the couple. One of my friend's wife OR One of my friends' wife ...
21
votes
8answers
10k views

How do I invite a friend “on my expense”?

I ask my friend to come over to my place and I want him to eat pizza on my expense. Is it correct to say like this: Come over to my place bro! I will eat you a pizza. or Come over to my home ...
21
votes
2answers
4k views

“It's them as should be sorry!” grammar

The sentence is from the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I can probably get the meaning of the sentence, but the grammar really confuses me, especially the usage of the word as. I could ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

These look like fragments. Help me to understand why they are okay to use

“How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure. ” ― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo I recently found out that when writing lists, items in a list don't ...
19
votes
1answer
15k views

The meaning of baggage vs luggage

What is the difference? Which one is better to use for defining some baggage (not hand one). Thank you in advance
18
votes
5answers
24k views

“Who is you” – not “are”

Why do we say "who are you" when talking to a single person? Related question: "Who is speaking with each other?" Is this correct?
18
votes
4answers
4k views

Why does the spellchecker think this sentence is wrong?

Microsoft Word's spell (and grammar) checker makes the italic part of the following sentence sentence light up in green: Considering how both of the rotation vector sensors seem to have trouble ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

Grammar behind “Whatever what is is is what I want.”

Here is the poem: Prayer, by Galway Kinnell Whatever happens. Whatever what is is is what I want. Only that. But that. I came across this poem as an interesting example of English grammar ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

“When this battle will be finally over” - shouldn't it be “When this battle is finally over”?

I read something in the manga: When this battle will finally be over... take me out to eat some tasty yakiniku. "when...will be" seems strange to me, isn't it better saying "When this battle is ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

“A * doesn't a good * make”

I'm curious about a certain sentence construct that I've seen in different contexts. I'm talking about sentences in the following style: A * doesn't a * make. (* being a wildcard). For example: A ...
15
votes
5answers
31k views

“How is this called” vs “What is this called”?

Which of the following is more suitable as a title for a picture with an arrow toward a part of the body's anatomy? How is this called? What is this called? I need this for a picture of a ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

We are aware of that we are short on time

I'm a S. Korean so eager to learn English. My friends and I keep practicing English, and we often run into sentences native speakers might find awkward. Please take a look at this. This is what my ...
14
votes
4answers
10k views

Why can't we say “**What job** are you?” instead of “What is your job?” to ask one's job?

We can add something to "what" to specify what we are asking, for example "What color is the flower?". But I am wondering why we can't say "What job are you?" instead of "What is your job?" to ask one'...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

“me [gerund]” or “my [gerund]” at the beginning of sentences?

A.1 The lions reacted to my singing. A.2 The lions reacted to me singing. B.1 My singing alarmed the lions. B.2 Me singing alarmed the lions. As far as I know, both A.1 and A.2 are ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Is “My neighbor Mr. Lee is 70 years old who plays basketball every day.” grammatical?

My neighbor Mr. Lee is 70 years old who plays basketball every day. My teacher said that pronoun "who" is too far from the subject, so this is a grammatical error. But Grammarly told me that this ...
13
votes
3answers
12k views

Which is the correct English out of the following sentences. I gave her your number. or I gave your number to her

Which is the correct English out of the following sentences? I gave her your number. I gave your number to her. Please explain me the better ways to form the above sentence.
12
votes
7answers
20k views

English native speaker vs. Native English speaker

Which of the following options is the correct or the acceptable? "He is an English native speaker" or "He is a native English speaker".
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How to reinterpret this complex sentence that starts with “A person who agrees to serve as a mediator…”?

A person who agrees to serve as a mediator between two warring factions at the request of both abandons by so agreeing the right to take sides later. Does this sentence mean: A person who ...
12
votes
6answers
20k views

How to properly ask for store hours on phone?

I call a restaurant today and ask them for "Are you open till what time today?" as today is Christmas Eve and the person on phone asked me twice what? What? So how do I ask for a store/restaurant ...
12
votes
2answers
64k views

This is a good news. This is good news

This is a good news. This is good news. Which one is correct? Clarify the difference
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “…was a saint, upon which declaration…” mean in this Wikipedia article?

Source Canonization is the act by which the Orthodox, Oriental Orthodoxy, Roman Catholic, or Anglican Church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is ...
12
votes
4answers
10k views

What's the difference between “used to like” and 'liked'?

What is the difference between used to like and liked? What is the difference if I say... When I was 4 years old, I had one pink dress. My cousins used to like it (my dress) very much. Or When ...
11
votes
7answers
3k views

Am I overusing “the” in this sentence?

For some reason I feel its overkilling on the use of article(the) here, To refine the results, please use the categories on the left Can someone help?
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Will people get confused when they see 'Some of our customers speak Spanish, English, and German'?

Our cakes are very popular for foreign visitors. Some of them speak Spanish, Some speak English, and some speak German. Now, I want to make the second sentence neat and more easy to read, so I am ...
11
votes
6answers
43k views

Is “… to bring to your attention …” a typo?

I'm writing to bring to your attention the unprofessional attitude of one of your staff member. (From a book and some online resources) I feel like it should be: I'm writing to bring your ...
11
votes
3answers
89k views

“a comparison between A and B” or “a comparison of A and B”?

When I have to compare two things A and B, can I say "a comparison between A and B" or "a comparison of A and B". Which is best ?
11
votes
2answers
504 views

He got a vote 80% that of Emmanuel Macron’s

I was reading The Economist and found this sentence whose grammar I'm not familiar with. Indeed, in the first round he got a vote 80% that of Emmanuel Macron’s. I was wondering how that of works ...
11
votes
2answers
559 views

Success is a number/numbers game

Success is a number/numbers game. I was going through a novel where I found this sentence using numbers but success is a single entity that is singular. How can we use plural (numbers) here?
11
votes
5answers
4k views

'At the battle' or 'in the battle'? Why? [duplicate]

Here is a source in which I read the following para: That made her the 40th monarch in a royal line that traces its origin back to Norman King William the Conqueror who claimed the throne in 1066 ...
11
votes
5answers
9k views

What's the full answer to “shall I”?

The form Shall I is used to make offers, in general. For example Shall I help you? and one would answer Yeah, help me but what's the full answer? I mean, with a question like You will go ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

Should I use 'nor' or 'neither' in this sentence?

Please see these two sentences: I am not your slave, nor do I have to follow your advice. I am not your slave, neither do I have to follow your advice. Which one is correct? If neither ...
11
votes
1answer
32k views

“as such” or “therefore”

Additional calculations suggest that teacher effects on college going and wages may be as much as three times larger than that predicted based on test scores alone. As such, more than half of teachers ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

When you're having a cat nap and a bad car accident happens

Imagine yourself in a road where the driver is your friend and your are sitting in assistant seat. You feel a bit tired and are catching some Z's. Suddenly a car accident happens and you notice it, ...
10
votes
7answers
2k views

When you want to ask someone to maintain their class

Please imagine that you take a friend (a guy) to meet a group of your friends at a party. The group and the guy are have never met one another and know nothing about one another. The guy starts ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

Can “Wow!” be a sentence?

The question is clear. Can "Wow!" be a sentence? Imagine a hypothetical context where I'd utter something like this: Wow! What an amazing idea! I should think about a way to push this fix. We see ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

Which word does the adverb 'usually' modify in 'In stories the witch is usually a homely woman'?

In the sentence In stories the witch is usually a homely woman which word does the adverb usually modify?
10
votes
3answers
36k views

When can I remove the word “that” in a sentence?

I have this bad writing habit, I use the word 'that' so many times. I know it is grammatically valid, but using 'that' too often is not good. But I don't know in which sentences I can remove the word '...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning: “Angular is what HTML **would have been had it been** designed for applications”

I was reading the Angular.js documentation when I saw this: Angular is what HTML would have been had it been designed for applications. I've never seen a construction like this and I can't get ...
9
votes
2answers
936 views

What does “and she them” mean?

Moaning Myrtle was crying noisily in her cubicle, but they were ignoring her, and she them. I guess it just means she was ignoring them too. But I have never seen this kind of structure before. Is ...
9
votes
5answers
569 views

Is 'after 20 years sober' correct in 'In 2006, after 20 years sober, he checked himself into rehab for alcoholism'?

The piece of news from the Huffington Post reads... In 2006, after 20 years sober, he checked himself into rehab for alcoholism. He opened up about his struggles with addiction to alcohol and ...