Questions tagged [sentence-construction]

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

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51 votes
11 answers
17k 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 ...
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  • 621
30 votes
6 answers
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 ...
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  • 14.8k
28 votes
4 answers
45k 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 ...
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  • 6,229
27 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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  • 3,887
26 votes
3 answers
21k 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 ...
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  • 1,433
24 votes
15 answers
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 ...
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  • 449
21 votes
8 answers
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 ...
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  • 834
21 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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  • 609
20 votes
8 answers
5k views

Is it OK to say "a cat is on the table"?

I've been confused with the "there is/are" expression. I learnt at school that "A cat is on the table" is an awkward sentence and you should say "There is a cat on the table&...
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  • 520
20 votes
7 answers
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 ...
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20 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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  • 12.5k
19 votes
1 answer
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
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  • 345
18 votes
5 answers
39k 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?
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18 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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  • 1,566
18 votes
4 answers
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 ...
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  • 285
18 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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  • 185
17 votes
12 answers
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 ...
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  • 3,383
17 votes
2 answers
133k 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
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17 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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  • 2,967
16 votes
3 answers
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?
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  • 161
16 votes
5 answers
56k 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 ...
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  • 263
16 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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15 votes
5 answers
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 ...
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  • 643
15 votes
5 answers
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 ...
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14 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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  • 917
14 votes
4 answers
19k 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 ...
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  • 2,169
14 votes
2 answers
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: "...
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13 votes
5 answers
6k 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 ...
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13 votes
5 answers
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 ...
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  • 184
13 votes
3 answers
142k 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 ?
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  • 609
13 votes
3 answers
48k 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 '...
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  • 3,682
12 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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12 votes
7 answers
5k 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?
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  • 223
12 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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12 votes
3 answers
309k 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 ...
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  • 2,169
11 votes
6 answers
61k 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 ...
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  • 805
11 votes
2 answers
666 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?
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  • 1,545
11 votes
5 answers
19k 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 ...
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  • 225
11 votes
1 answer
37k 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 ...
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10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is it acceptable to omit "about" in this sentence? "I love everything (about) math."

I have two sentences: I love everything about math. I love everything math. I am pretty confident based on the phrase's usage that the first sentence is grammatically correct. Is it acceptable to ...
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10 votes
4 answers
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, ...
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  • 13.6k
10 votes
7 answers
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 ...
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  • 13.6k
10 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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  • 5,435
10 votes
5 answers
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 ...
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  • 327
9 votes
10 answers
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 ...
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  • 9,896
9 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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  • 337
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

"of integer type" vs "of type integer"

It seems to me that it is grammatical to write The variable x is an integer. or The variable x is of integer type. But what about The variable x is of type integer. ? It ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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  • 12.5k
9 votes
2 answers
60k 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.
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  • 91
9 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
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