Questions tagged [usage]

For questions about how certain words, phrases or grammatical aspects are typically used.

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12
votes
2answers
1k views

Stative verbs in the progressive

I posted a question today about "Have to / having to?"and I used the verb "find" in the progressive.: I'm finding more and more that "having to" is also used instead of "have to". Someone comments ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Usage of: 'since', 'for' and 'in'

Which of these is grammatically correct? 1. a) He has been working under my direct supervision since the last two years 1. b) He has been working under my direct supervision for the ...
8
votes
3answers
32k views

“Would have + past participle” construction can be used to express speculation about the past?

The following example is taken from source A:We saw a police helicopter overhead yesterday morning. B:Really? They would have been looking for those bank robbers. The website says that it ...
4
votes
2answers
331 views

Can the verb “wrap” describe the current condition of something?

Suppose there are two situations: A line of people waiting outside some store is getting very long and the line goes around a street corner. A ribbon is glued around a water pipe. Suppose the ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

“We have a game today” vs. “We have the game today”

When I tell people about the football/baseball/soccer/basketball game they are supposed to have today, I say We have a game today. which I think is strange. It is strange that it sounds idiomatic ...
3
votes
4answers
9k views

“learn to” vs “learn how to” and “teach to” or “teach how to”

Which sounds better: learn to or learn how to? teach to or teach how to? I'll make the question clearer with examples. a. He taught me to solve sums. b. He taught me how to solve sums. c. I ...
12
votes
4answers
111k views

Should I always use a comma before a quote?

When quoting something said by someone else, should I use a comma before the quote? Suppose I quote the definition given in a dictionary. Am I correctly using the the punctuation marks in the ...
9
votes
5answers
122k views

Difference between “much, many, a lot of and lots of”

Difference between "much, many, a lot of and lots of" What is the difference between them? Are they synonyms or not?
17
votes
3answers
69k views

“I am hurting” in the meaning of “I am hurt”? Why?

Once in a while I hear someone use the phrase I am hurting. It appears to mean I am hurt, not I am hurting you. For example, consider the text on this drawing: When and why is it correct to say I'm ...
2
votes
1answer
485 views

When to use gerund or infinitive?

Is there a rule for using gerunds and infinitives instead of memorizing the verbs? I mean when to use gerund or infinitive just by looking at the sentence.
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Using the future tense in a sentence containing a dependent clause starting with “when”

Which of the following sentences is correct? When we know what she decides, we will see what to do. When we will know what she decides, we see what to do. When we will know what she decides, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

More than 9 hundred as hundreds?

In German, we often use "Elfhundert" (literally, "eleven hundred") for 1100 or "neunzehnhundert" ("nineteen hundred") for 1900; but is this correct in English?
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Book Is/Was Divided Into Sections

Suppose a book consists of three sections: The book is/was divided into three sections. I am thinking the past tense option "was" should be used, because the act of dividing the book into three ...
1
vote
1answer
133 views

Correct use of Word Phrase

It was like using a watch that runs slow. (It=Egyptian calendar) What was the Egyptian calendar similar to? using a watch that runs slow a watch that runs slow Which one is correct?
8
votes
2answers
36k views

Difference between “if only” and “only if”

What is the differences between "if only" and "only if" ? What is the use of each in the sentences? Are there any specific rules for their uses? "I could get more work done if only there weren't ...
17
votes
6answers
4k views

difference between “came along” and “along came”

What is the difference between the two? For example John came along. Along came John. I don't understand the difference in usage and yet I come across too many sentences starting with '...
5
votes
1answer
15k views

Why do we use “was” for the pronoun “I” in some cases?

Why do we use was for the pronoun I? Can we use were or not? What is the difference between I was and I were??
5
votes
1answer
2k views

To + verb + '-ing' usage question

How do I know when to you "to + V-ing" in English? The following sentences are completely correct, could someone explain how grammatically correct? Or there are exceptions? For example, why not use "...
3
votes
2answers
849 views

Using perfect constructions after “since”

From OneRepublic's song "Feel again": It's been a long time coming since I've seen your face From Kelly Clarkson's song "Since U Been Gone": Here's the thing we started out friends It was ...
2
votes
2answers
291 views

“Was in labour for 3 hours” versus “had been in labour for 3 hours”

As a continuation to this question and AlicjaZ's beautifully explained answer, I would like to ask whether there is any difference in meaning between the following sentences? She was in labour for ...
6
votes
2answers
525 views

Comma before “because”

Looking for One should keep his words both soft and tender on Google, I noticed that in some cases because is preceded from a comma. Can the comma always be added before because, or can it be added ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

“Optimiser” vs “optimizer”?

I have seen words which are spelled either with a "z" or with a "s" like "optimizer" and " optimiser". I thought that the ones with "z" are wrong but on searching the web I found that both are ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why can't we use “to” after tell?

I said to him. I told him. Why can't we use to after tell, when we are using to after say?
5
votes
5answers
9k views

Difference between “all” and “any”

I started to learn English recently and I have one misunderstanding about the usage of "all" and "any". In what cases should we use "all" and in what "any"? Why does the following example: There ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Do we use 'work in' or 'at' a gas station?

Which one is correct? Wind up working in a gas station (song name by Frank Zappa) or He knew that Old Joe didn’t work at the gas station anymore (an example from Grammar textbook.) Or may ...
2
votes
1answer
768 views

“Watched any” vs “saw any” in a sentence

Have you watched any new movies? Is this the correct way to ask? Or is it better to ask Saw any new movies?
1
vote
2answers
1k views

'Pick up' vs 'Picking up'

I was reading a story "The piece of string" by Guy de Maupassant, when I read this line: "Mr. Manana, the harness man saw you pick up the pocketbook." I read it several times and it didn't seemed ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Difference between “turns out that” and “turns out to be”

E.g: Turns out that it was a conspiracy against him. It turned out to be a conspiracy against him. I'm confused here in the usage of these phrasal verbs.
0
votes
0answers
13k views

Use of “If there is/are”

I've heard that the phrase "If there is/are" can be used in the sentences. But I don't know exactly how to use in sentences. Although I don't know its exact usage, I've tried to use it in the ...
33
votes
4answers
52k views

What is the difference between “do you like” and “would you like”?

Do you like candy? Would you like some candy? Do you like walking? Would you like to go for a walk? What is the difference? And are they the same or not? Do they any use in different situations?
15
votes
3answers
124k views

Difference between “two years old and two-year-old”

What is the difference between 'two years old' and 'two-year-old'? Are they the same or not? What is the function of using dash in this phrase: 'two-year-old'? When we use dash we cannot say 'years'...
13
votes
5answers
15k views

Difference between “I'm in the school” and “I'm in school”

What is the difference between these two sentences?? I'm in the school. I'm in school. Do they have the same meaning or not?
10
votes
5answers
28k views

What are the differences between response and answer?

I have to mail-back someone and I wonder if I should rather say "Thanks for your quick answer" or "Thanks for your quick response". Can you tell me what are the differences between answer and ...
9
votes
4answers
47k views

What is difference between “accomplishment” and “achievement”

It seems that in my native language is used only one word for translating both words "accomplishment" and "achievement". Are they synonyms? Are there some difference in usage of these words?
6
votes
1answer
1k views

what is the difference between “like” and “as”? [closed]

what is the difference between "like" and "as"? Do people use these in similar situations? Thanks!
1
vote
2answers
19k views

What vs. Which - correct usage in questions

Today I found myself in a situation that I asked "Which class" to a friend who said that "we are going to the class". Then one of my friends said that I should ask "what class" and another one said ...
6
votes
1answer
9k views

'verb-ing' or 'to verb' after the verb 'continue'?

Which form of the verb is correct after the verb "continue"? If police didn't arrest him, he would continue robbing. If police didn't arrest him, he would continue to rob. (These sentences are ...
5
votes
6answers
30k views

Is the word “uncle-in-law” used?

Is the word "uncle-in-law" commonly used when talking about the husband married to your mother's sister? Or is this person typically still called your "uncle", even though the person is not a blood ...
5
votes
1answer
214 views

Usage of “See” Phrases

Does "see" have these usage forms? see [noun] [noun denoting action] --"the plan will see facility renovations" see [noun] [verb in participle form] --"the plan will see facilities upgraded" ...
4
votes
2answers
75k views

Usage of “If any”

I have seen this pair of words several times and could roughly catch the meanings in the contexts encountered. However, I do not understand properly and hence can't use it. What does 'if any' really ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Are they interchangeable: “I'm sorry that..” “It is too bad that…” and “It's a pity / shame that..”?

There is a sentence in a textbook. I'm sorry that the trip was cancelled. I can think of several sentences similar to this, meaning-wise, but I'm not sure. 1) It's too bad that the trip ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

It has more to do with that I am lazy than that I am tired

Are all these sentences below correct and interchangeable? 1) It has more to do with that I am lazy than that I am tired. 2) It has more to do with the fact that I am lazy than that I am tired....
5
votes
3answers
364 views

At the time of speaking, no relation to present

My friend asked me, "Have you ever paid the money as a penalty?" I paid some money as a penalty, but that was long ago; it won't effect the present. What should I say? I have paid. I had paid. ...
5
votes
4answers
11k views

How is the expression “very much” used and is “I like very much to play volleyball on weekends” correct?

I know in general terms how to use "very much" but since my students started making specific questions and writing sentences like the one above I got very confused (I'm brazilian, and I just started ...
4
votes
3answers
19k views

Usage of “on” versus “in”

Thinking about how on and in are used: we go on vacation but don't go in vacation speak on a topic but don't speak in a topic think on it, but don't think in it and we fall in love, but ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Use of indefinite article with relative clause

I posted a question quite long time ago asking whether "that was a day that my dog died" is valid. The answers said "no!", telling that a dog cannot die twice. I thought it was possible, for I ...
2
votes
2answers
251 views

Why adding the article “the” when it is not needed?

There are many sentences, most are titles, that have the before nouns when they seem okay without it. I assume it is added to over-define them but not very sure. Here is a title that uses "the" ...
2
votes
1answer
856 views

past tense or present perfect at the time of speaking

My friend asked me about a person I never met in my life. Should I say "I have never met him in my life." or "I never met him in my life."?
2
votes
2answers
5k views

“last week” versus “over last week”

A number of reactivations were performed over last week. A number of reactivations were performed last week. What is the difference when putting "over" before "last week"?
2
votes
1answer
228 views

two consecutive adverbs ending in -ly

Please consider the following sentence: "He walked home seriously angrily." This sentence sounds a bit funny to my ears, even as a non-native speaker of English, an impression that is shared by ...