Questions tagged [word-order]

This tag is for questions about the correct order of words in a phrase or a sentence, or how changing the order affects the meaning.

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31
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is "for a tortuous three days" singular even though days is plural?

I was surprised to find out that you should write: I waited for a torturous three days. Instead of: I waited for torturous three days. Why is this? "Days" is plural ...
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 ...
25
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10answers
5k views

Why do you say "air conditioned" and not "conditioned air"?

For a non-native English speaker, it seems that "air" is a noun and "conditioned" is an adjective. Following the correct word order, the adjective should precede the noun, so it ...
23
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5answers
9k views

I do not really understand the proposal: "Don't hate Monday. Make Monday hate you"

Please explain. I like to learn English. I do not really understand the proposal: "Don't hate Monday. Make Monday hate you". Help me to understand this sentence. I am very interested in this phrase. ...
20
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6answers
5k 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 '...
19
votes
4answers
206k views

How do I use "also" in a sentence?

Which of the following sentences are grammatically correct in written text? You also are allowed to see your son. You are also allowed to see your son. Also, you are allowed to see your son. ...
16
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3answers
7k views

What's a lot of money {out of curiosity}?

I have come across the following: Person A: We made A LOT of money. Person B: What's a lot of money out of curiosity? I am wondering, does ending a question with "out of curiosity" sound ...
15
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5answers
8k views

Is it correct English to write "John he is my husband," or, "Mary she went to the store?"

Is it correct English to write “John he is my husband,” or, “Mary she went to the store?” I hear this construction frequently from TV and Radio Journalists. Is there a name for this construction?
15
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7answers
38k 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".
14
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7answers
5k views

Is it correct to say "My teacher yesterday was in Beijing."?

In my opinion, it is incorrect. I think that only one of the following two ways is grammatically correct: My teacher was in Beijing yesterday. Yesterday my teacher was in Beijing. However, my son ...
13
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5answers
6k views

"Tea drinking" vs. "tea drunk" in this context

Which of these two is preferred? A: Tea drinking is a British custom B: Tea drunk is a British custom P.S. What is it called when we say tea drinking instead of drinking tea? Also, can we ...
13
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4answers
4k views

Why {are you / you are} making noise?

I always get confused between these two sentences: Why are you making noise? Why you are making noise? Could anyone put light in the differences between the two?
13
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3answers
43k views

Where should the word “probably” be placed

Consider the following sentences: I'll move to the south by then probably. I'll probably move to the south by then. I'll move to the south probably by then. Which of the three is correct....
13
votes
3answers
7k views

"I only teach you" vs. "I teach only you" vs. "I teach you only"

I only teach you. I teach only you. I teach you only. I think that all the sentences have same meaning, but my teacher says that they are different from each other. I think that the ...
12
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2answers
2k views

can we say "hour 11'' instead of ''11-hour''?

It's a paragraph in an article about psychology that was published in NYT: So does the moment really deserve its many accolades? It is a philosophy likely to be more rewarding for those whose lives ...
12
votes
2answers
489 views

Use of the definite article in "America the Beautiful"

How do we explain using the definite article for adjectives in "the beautiful"? Is it possible in Poetry? or is it possible in titling as in newspapers if I am not mistaken? I think it is equivalent ...
12
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3answers
4k views

Usage of indefinite article and too

Is there any alternative to this construction? It was too stupid a question. I mean, can we somehow put the 'a' in a different position and is it used in English (maybe informal) or the version ...
11
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3answers
3k views

What is the order of events? "I had milk and played computer games."

I saw the sentence on the internet like "I had milk and played computer games." There are two events occurring in the sentence. I had milk I played computer games. I would love to know what is the ...
11
votes
4answers
29k views

Is there always a "the" before a superlative adjective?

For example: I could not face being alone again and losing the person dearest to me. I wonder why there is no "the" in front of "dearest".
11
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3answers
55k views

Should I write "X and I", "X and me", "I and X", or "me and X" in a conjoined object?

A question was asked in one of my friend's interview. The question was to determine the right form from the below sentences. Q. Correct form of English: Samuel was with Susan and I ...
10
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6answers
7k views

Put the phone down / Put down the phone

what's the difference between "Put the phone down" and "Put down the phone"? Is it the same? As for me the first one means literally to put the phone (the thing) down and the last one is to end the ...
10
votes
3answers
20k views

"start from the beginning" vs "begin from the starting"

What is the difference between the following two sentences? Do they both mean the same? Why don't you start from the beginning? Why don't you begin from the starting?
10
votes
1answer
9k views

It's ok to say "the above image" but not "the below image"

Frequently, when editing/reviewing SE posts, I see the following: as you can see in the below image. Now, to me, below image, just sounds wrong and I reverse the order, changing it to: as you ...
9
votes
3answers
29k views

Is it grammatically correct to say 'I have ONLY a few friends'?

My question is the following: Is it grammatically accurate to say I have only a few friends If I were asked I would say that I only have a few friends is just perfect according to the rule ...
8
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6answers
1k views

"Less you feel uneasy" vs. "Less uneasy you feel"

When I wrote: "The more information you have, the less you feel uneasy." I was advised to use: "The more information you have, the less uneasy you feel." I would like to know which is the ...
8
votes
4answers
31k views

"My sister and I" versus "I and my sister"

I've been told to put "I" at the last part of the subject, as in "My sister and I walk to school." Is saying "I and my sister walk to school." wrong?
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Hungary 1956 or Czechoslovakia 1968 this is not

Source: Is Putin Winning? Example: A Russia that can’t control what happens in Kiev is not exactly poised to dominate Eastern Europe; Hungary 1956 or Czechoslovakia 1968 this is not. The grammar ...
8
votes
2answers
613 views

in his ears hammered still the harsh notes – how can ears hammer harsh notes?

While I read the novel 'Rain', one sentence looks awkward to me. the sentence is below in his ears hammered still the harsh notes of the mechanical piano I think it means that he heard the harsh ...
8
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3answers
3k views

A parallelism between "Here come they ..." and "Here comes the bus ..."

A1. Hardly had they arrived ... A2. Hardly had the bus arrived ... B1. Here come they ... B2. Here comes the bus ... One can notice a parallelism between A1 and A2, and these sentences are both ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Is it correct to use honorifics or titles after someone's name rather than before?

In India, it is common to place the honorific sir after a person's name. The same is true of the words uncle and aunt. However, when I asked a native English speaker about it, she said that it is ...
8
votes
2answers
481 views

The syntax of metaphors in English

I tried to translate a line of a Persian poem into English, it is almost like: If you come to visit me, come slowly and softly Lest the delicate porcelain of my loneliness cracks Here, the ...
8
votes
3answers
657 views

Can I put the question word “where” at the end of a question?

I got this sentence from a Primary 5 student's worksheet. According to this passage, this creature can be found where? Some of the parents think that the sentence should be "..., where can this ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

"to not" vs "not to"

Which is more appropriate in the following sentence? "I asked him to not judge her according to (or: based on) her beauty" vs "I asked him not to judge her according to (or:based on) her beauty"...
7
votes
1answer
190k views

What is the difference between "girl, lady, and woman?" [closed]

When can we use them? Are they the same or different? Are they used in different situations?
7
votes
2answers
719 views

How to properly position adjectives

Sometimes I find myself in the position to describe something and of course making massive use of adjectives. Check out the following sentences, I would say, for example: three large red apples; ...
7
votes
2answers
14k views

Difference between "such things as" and "things such as"?

I read a lot of English books, and I have noticed that when authors need to list examples of something, they tend to use "such things as" rather than "things such as", although they both sound correct....
7
votes
1answer
66k views

Which is correct? - "Guess, what it is?" or "Guess, what is it?"

I want to know which sentence is correct. If i say Guess, what it is? or Guess, what is it? which one is correct?
6
votes
4answers
2k views

“as would a calm dog whose yard…”

I'm reading the novel "The Circle" these days. However, there is a sentence making me curious. "When she opened her eyes she saw a harbor seal, twenty feet in front of her, staring at ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

The order of words in a clause: "tell me who is the real man" vs. "tell me who the real man is" [duplicate]

"Tell me who she is." "Tell me who your boyfriend is." We usually reverse the order, so it becomes like that. But I wonder whether "tell me who is the real man" also works because "tell me who ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

Adjectives order: opinion or size?

Grammatically speaking, opinion goes before size, i.e. opinion, size, age, shape, color, origin, material, purpose. However, I saw this example in Practical English Usage, third edition, page 12: ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

The order of adjectives: Is it exactly the same in GB, the USA, and elsewhere in the English-speaking world?

When learning the order of adjectives in a sentence, I thought up a word "saSHcomp" standing for the "Size-Age-Shape-Color-Origin-Material-Purpose" order. Later, I found out that there's a slightly ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

"Bring up the subject" vs "bring the subject up"

Example: I stared at my brown sneakers, deciding whether to bring up the subject. I stared at my brown sneakers, deciding whether to bring the subject up. What's the different between ...
6
votes
1answer
14k views

"I don't always" vs. "I always don't"

Is there any difference between these two sentences? I don't always get up early. I always don't get up early. I know it's one of the silliest questions ever, but, to my shame, I wasn't able to ...
6
votes
3answers
12k views

"God only knows" vs. "Only God knows"

One can say only God knows in reference to some mystery only an omniscient being would know, or for those who prefer their oaths minced, heaven knows or goodness knows or lord knows. The inverted ...
6
votes
1answer
614 views

How is "a solid 8 hours every night" correct?

I'm watching Gilmore Girls. In the show, a guy says A: Here where they sleep, "a solid 8 hours every night." But 8 hours is a plural. How can an a comes before a plural? As far as I know, you can ...
6
votes
1answer
381 views

Why are lakes called "Lake Soandso" but seas are called "Soandso Sea"?

I am an English teacher for Brazilians. I was explaining the Great Lakes, and after that I mentioned the sea in Europe and noticed that the names were in a reversed order: Which of the great lakes ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Which of these is incorrect and why?

It is cheap to replace these chairs. These chairs are cheap to be replaced. These chairs are cheap to replace. These chairs are cheap to replace them. To me, 1-2-3 seem to be correct. If not, what is ...
5
votes
3answers
28k views

"How long have you been working?" vs. "How long you have been working?"

I think "How long have you been working?" and "How long you have been working?" are both questions, so, could you tell me what is the difference between them?
5
votes
3answers
6k views

Changing the word order changes the meaning?

I read these sentences recently in a book. What is the difference between these two sentences? I had my car cleaned. and I had cleaned my car. The book gave two different meanings. How would ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Definite article and "only"

I wrote: Here one may use the average value of the first and second squares instead of only the second square. I doubt if I must write Here one may use the average value of the first and second ...

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