Questions tagged [sentence-construction]

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

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50
votes
11answers
16k 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
15k 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
43k 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
2k 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 ...
26
votes
3answers
20k 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 ...
24
votes
15answers
7k 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 ...
21
votes
8answers
15k 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
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 ...
20
votes
7answers
3k views

When should 'a' and 'an' be written in a list containing both?

Which of the following is correct? Want to be a Graphic Designer, Photographer or an Artist? Let's Learn and Grow Together. Want to be Graphic Designer, Photographer or Artist? Let's Learn and Grow ...
20
votes
2answers
5k 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
1answer
17k 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
37k 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
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 ...
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
2answers
3k views

Is the sentence "pay some in cash" understandable?

I was in a store yesterday and I decided to get rid of all my coins, so when I was at the checkout counter, I told the clerk that: Can I pay some in cash and the rest by card? The clerk said that ...
17
votes
12answers
9k views

How do English-speaking kids loudly request something?

Yesterday, I was teaching my daughter English. She didn't want to study. She just spoke loudly, and said, in Chinese: "I strongly demand an ice cream stick!" I told her, if she could say this ...
17
votes
2answers
108k 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
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
3answers
3k views

Does "nor he mine" make sense here?

I have been staring at this sentence for 5 minutes: I looked up, though I could not see his face, nor he mine. "Nor he mine" seems...off to me. Is this grammatically correct?
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
2k views

A sentence with listing items: How to remove the ambiguity?

There is a store which trades oranges and 3 kinds of apples. And there is a person there to whom I'm giving directions. Which sentence will be the best in such a case? Put green apples in the first ...
15
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
48k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between "Wasn't it supposed to have started 30 minutes ago?" and "Wasn't it supposed to start 30 minutes ago?" in this case?

If I want to ask my teacher if the lesson should have started earlier, Could I use the sentences below? 1 Wasn´t it supposed to have started 30 minutes ago? 2 Wasn´t it supposed to start 30 ...
14
votes
4answers
17k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
2k 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 grammatical: "...
13
votes
5answers
5k views

"She need not worry" or "she needs to not worry"?

I just came across this weird use of "need not" on Twitter: Madam/sir, My daughter is stuck in Uk . She has lost her BRP . She is difficult to return back India home [sic]. Please help In ...
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
133k 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 ?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Sentence structure - Then up pops Netflix with

Please have a look at the quote below borrowed from the Guardian: P.A. must have thought the pandemic had pushed his association with the convicted sex offender, the late multimillionaire J.E., out ...
12
votes
7answers
4k 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?
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
3answers
46k 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 '...
11
votes
6answers
59k 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
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
2answers
651 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
17k 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
3answers
293k views

Uses of "have you had" and "did you have" [duplicate]

When to use have you had and did you have in sentence? e.g. 1) To ask some if he had his lunch or not? Have you had your lunch? Or Did you have your lunch? 2) To ask some if he faced this ...
11
votes
1answer
36k 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
3k 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
5answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
10answers
3k views

How to remove ambiguity: "... lives in the city of H, the capital of the province of NS, WHERE the unemployment rate is ..."?

The sentence here is quite confusing. I wrote this. Jessica lives in the city of Halifax, the capital of the province of Nova Scotia, where the unemployment rate is 5 percent. A fellow reader is ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

Word for 'most late'

Latest in English means most recent. Then, how do we say something is 'most late'? For example, all the candidates for a job receive their interview schedules. I don't exactly know the entire ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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
2answers
57k views

Difference between “was seated” and “was sitting”

What is the difference between below sentences. He was seated in front of me. and He was sitting in front of me.
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Use of 'And' as the first word of a sentence

Can I write: We need to have a deep sense of morality. And moral science teaches us morality. But I was told that I should not use that full stop. But I am not clear. I know its a conjunction but ...
9
votes
2answers
7k views

'in the first place' instead of 'firstly'

I wonder that if I start introducing some things at first, Should I start with 'in the first place' rather than 'firstly'? For example: In the first place, I would like to introduce ..... Does ...
8
votes
9answers
2k views

If I say "I have 4 same books each in 4 bags" is it understood as in each bag, there is a same book?

I have 4 bags. In each bag, there is a same book. I tried to rewrite this as one sentence, but I don't know if it is grammatically correct and if it conveys the same meaning. I have 4 same books ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it a complete sentence: "Caution murmured: it could be a trick, a lure, a trap."?

... ... For one trembling second he hesitated. Caution murmured: it could be a trick, a lure, a trap. But instinct, overwhelming instinct, told him that this was not Dark Magic. He set off in pursuit. ...

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