Questions tagged [syntax]

This tag is for questions regarding the rules for the formation of sentences.

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8
votes
2answers
28k views

“if you want to” vs “if you want” - in the end of a sentence

I saw this sentence: But you can use this also, if you want to! I'm just wondering, what is the difference from this: But you can use this also, if you want! When and why should I attach to?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Passive voice with must or have to

I have the sentence. Criteria are initialized a default value I would like to improve the sentence. Criteria must are initialized a default value Can I write this?
3
votes
2answers
266 views

Can I omit the second “is” in “is… and is…”?

What is the correct syntax: This column is a primary key and null. or This column is a primary key and is null. Should I write is again?
0
votes
3answers
2k views

When should I use the word 'that' between parts of sentences?

What is the correct syntax: I'm quite sure that your record was successfully created Or I'm quite sure your record was successfully created
1
vote
1answer
72 views

Is “this way” the subject?

The pain in Harry's head was so bad he fell to his knees. It took a minute or two to pass. When he looked up, the figure had gone. A centaur was standing over him, not Ronan or Bane; this one looked ...
3
votes
2answers
9k views

Different syntax, different meaning: “application field” & “field application”?

I was wondering about the difference between these two expressions is. application field (generic) field application (I think this is specialist jargon in engineering). Apparently they indicate the ...
1
vote
1answer
98 views

'is lying' vs 'lying"

I'm trying to figure how to reduce my use of words like 'is', 'are' and 'being'. A dog is lying on the floor. A dog lying on the floor. Why should I always write "A dog is lying"? I ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

why does 'VERB+ing' come after 'to' in this context?

I am studying for the TOEFL iBT and I have this sample introduction to an independent writing section: Although some people prefer to work alone, I believe it is much better to work in teams. The ...
0
votes
1answer
613 views

It's a duty + infinitive Vs. It's a duty + gerund

In the sentence: It's a duty to take the bus to Barcelona, the most beautiful city in Spain. Shall I use the infinitive or the gerund after "duty"?
2
votes
3answers
1k views

On the Wednesdays of September Vs. On September Wednedays

Which is the correct one: On the Wednesdays of September, I used to go to the cinema with my dad. On September Wednesdays, I used to go to the cinema with my dad.
0
votes
1answer
89 views

“God is us” versus “God is we”

Which one is syntactically correct and why? God is us. God is we.
0
votes
2answers
469 views

reported speech--three different tenses?

I have a question regarding reported speech. I've seen three different tenses being used when in comes to reported speech and was wondering if any or all of these were grammatically correct. "He ...
1
vote
2answers
285 views

What does this noun phrase plus a clause mean?

My studies were meticulous and intense, although not particularly fruitful. At first, I planned to take a degree in psychiatry as many manqué talents do; but I was even more manqué than that; a ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

Does “respectively” come before or after what it describes?

I have the following construction: If union and intersection of A and B sets are defined respectively as A U B :=(Va U Vb), A ^ B :=(Va ^ Vb), . Where Va and Vb are points within the each entity. ...
4
votes
1answer
688 views

Infinitive form Vs. -ing form after a value judgement

Which one of the following is correct and why? It'll be wonderful to see you again. It'll be wonderful seeing you again.
5
votes
3answers
947 views

“Whether or not” followed by two alternative words

But more than any specific piece, I love the feeling Gaultier collections (both RTW and HC) convey. They’re always lighthearted, upbeat and joyous. Whether or not one actually likes or dislikes the ...
5
votes
3answers
190 views

A question on a which-question

While asking a previous question I was not sure whether to conclude by asking "A" or "B": A. Which of the above definitions is the most accurate in describing ... B. Which of the ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

“What it does is {VERB / to VERB / VERBing} …”?

For these expressions What a paper shredder does is tearing the paper/tear the paper in small pieces which can be easily disposed. What he wants to do is to become/become a ballplayer. Which of ...
4
votes
2answers
133 views

what's the structure of the following sentence?

Hair production is the result of the cells of the hair follicle depositing layer after layer of protein into this tubular space. Can anyone help me parse the above sentence? Is "depositing layer ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it uncommon to end a sentence with a contraction?

I tried to persuade X to go, but I couldn't. I came across someone writing a sentence ending in a contraction, similar to the one above, and someone else saying that it's uncommon, and that "but I ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Starting a sentence with a preposition

Recently I've heard someone say "Off I go." At first it sounded a bit strange, then I've realized maybe it could be a saying. Or maybe not. So here it is my question: Are there any other sentences, or ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Hoping something for the future

When you want to say that you hope or expect that something happens to someone, but in some moment in the future, what sentence is the right one: I hope your holidays will be great. I hope that ...
25
votes
2answers
990 views

Does “It snowed hard Monday” require an “on”?

I came across an English learner writing It snowed hard Monday. After saying that it didn't snow on Friday and Saturday. It didn't quite feel right to me. I'd be okay with It snowed hard. or ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

Is ending a sentence with a preposition acceptable?

When I learned English at school, I was taught that I should not end a sentence with a preposition. Is it correct to end a sentence with a preposition? To avoid starting a sentence with a ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

“Make” meaning “force to do something”

As it is well known, among other meanings "make" means force someone to do something and searching on Google shows that the sentence "The boss made me work an extra day" is grammatical (68,500 hits). ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

Should we not start sentences with “And” , “But” ,“So” and “Because”?

Personally, I use “but” and “so” to start sentences, but not “and” and “because”. Today I was talking to a friend of my brother on this matter, who is in 6th Grade. He takes tuition from a private ...
10
votes
2answers
273 views

Is this rule “If” specific?

When I was in High School, I read a rule, that was tricky, and I still remember. The rule is: If something has happened but we wish it happened the other way by using "if", we should change the was/...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Tense used when describing the object of a past tense action

I want to join the following two sentences into one sentence, and I'm not sure what tense to use. I joined a site. The site is focused on learning English. Should I use present tense for ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

“Despicable Me”: can “me” be used in such a way?

We know a movie named Despicable Me. I guess it means "I am despicable". But can me be used in such a way? For example, can I further say unavoidable me to mean "I am unavoidable"? Are there other ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

How should I construct a question from a sentence containing “used to”?

What is the question form of "She used to come here."? Is "Did she use to come here?" or "Used she to come here?" From my high school English classes, I remember I was taught it is "Used she to come ...
8
votes
2answers
167 views

Would a native speaker append “no” to a statement to turn it into a question?

Does appending no to a statement make it a question? E.g., "You decided to wait for me elsewhere than we had agreed, no?" Note: The title and part of the body, as well as the idea, are taken ...
6
votes
3answers
544 views

English questions with what/where/why <verb> <object> instead of what/where/why does <object> <infinitive>

I've learned that to phrase a question in English, one should use do + infinitive. However, I've also seen constructions like what brings the future? or what says the constitution?. Are such ...
12
votes
6answers
251 views

Would a native speaker append “or” to a statement to turn it into a question?

I hear it all the time from my colleagues: But that's correct, or? However, my colleagues are all German, and in German, one can turn a statement into a question by adding oder (which means or). Does ...
15
votes
3answers
634 views

Is there a general rule for Verb + Preposition/Particle idioms, such as “come across”?

Composite verbs are giving me a lot of trouble. In German the syntax is simple; if the composite verb has the moving part, it goes to the end. But in English I've found many forms and I'm not sure ...
25
votes
5answers
15k views

How would a native speaker understand “Time flies like an arrow”?

“Time flies like an arrow” is often cited to illustrate problems with computer aided language processing. It is also an example of how ambiguous English can be. But is it really so ambiguous? How ...

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