All Questions

136
votes
6answers
15k views

Canonical Post #2: What is the perfect, and how should I use it?

This is a Canonical Post, intended as a reference and resource for both Questioners and Answerers. The English “perfect” is deeply puzzling for learners. Nearly one Question in every twenty here asks ...
37
votes
2answers
9k views

When is the past perfect exactly needed?

I have never had this problem before. But after seeing some questions posted on ELU, I started to doubt. I have been through links1, pages of grammar books2, a lot of questions3 posted here and ELU. I ...
27
votes
3answers
4k views

Verb tenses when asking a question

How can I establish time period when trying to ask someone about a question that was asked some time ago? I asked you a question in my last email, but I wasn't sure (this is happening now) if it ...
69
votes
11answers
132k views

Should I say “She is in the park” or “She is at the park”?

I am really confused. Which preposition is correct? She is in/at the park. They are in/at the park. I am in/at the park. Should I use in or at in these sentences?
25
votes
1answer
2k views

Uses of the definite article (the) in generic noun phrases

I was reading a paragraph about lions and I came up with a question about the definite article (the). Let me tell you first what I know about it. 1->We use the before a singular noun (when we are ...
33
votes
5answers
3k views

How can one differentiate between “who” and “whom”?

Many times, I've been asked the difference between "who" and "whom". I myself know the difference, but it is hard to explain to others. What is the easiest way to explain it to those with a basic ...
111
votes
12answers
72k views

Is there any difference between “which” and “that”?

What is the difference between the words which and that? For example I have the following sentences: “I have a car which is blue.” “I have a car that is blue.” Are there any rules specifying usage ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Differences in meaning when the verb tense changes (headlines)

What is the difference between the examples below? Generally, in a newspaper, news is based on past tense (things which have already happened). Then why are headlines written in ways that says: He ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

When to use an object pronoun or a possessive adjective before a gerund

The rule says that we can use a possessive adjective or an object pronoun before a gerund. Is there a rule that says when to use each or are they interchangeable? Some say that it's wrong to use an ...
26
votes
3answers
131k views

“An hour” or “a hour”

Which indefinite article should precede hour — a or an? an hour a hour Does the usage of an vs a depend on the pronunciation — a history, a hobby, but an hour, an honor?
28
votes
7answers
2k views

How is double negation interpreted in English?

In my native language, double negations "cancel out". I have been trying to learn English using movies and such things, but double negation confuses me. I see instances when double negation cancels ...
26
votes
3answers
4k views

Usage of “they” / “them” / “their” in place of “he” / “him” / “his” or “she” / “her” / “hers” when the subject's / direct object's gender is not known

I know that one can use "they" / "them" / "their" in place of "he" / "him" / "his" or "she" / "her" / "hers" when the subject's / direct object's gender is not known; for instance, just looking at the ...
22
votes
2answers
1k views

Articles: When do I use “a”, “the”, or “__”?

How do I know whether to use the definite (the) or indefinite (a, an) article, and when to omit it altogether?
47
votes
6answers
7k views

“In” and “on”: How can I decide which one to use for vehicles?

Examples: In a car, van, etc. On a bus, boat, motorcycle, etc. How can one decide which preposition to use? Is memorization the only way or is there a better way? Note: People generally explain ...
34
votes
4answers
87k views

“How it works?” vs. “How does it work?”

What is the difference between: "How it works?" and "How does it work?"
26
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
17k views

There's vs There are

For example: There's two options here or There are two options here I hear a lot of people say the first line (or something similar), but isn't that incorrect? Isn't it plural and therefore ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

“Do you know where's Linda?” vs “Do you know where Linda is?”

Which of the following is a correct sentence: Does anyone know where's Linda? Does anyone know where Linda is? Does anyone know why and how to use above usage if #2 is correct. Also please ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Should I use the past tense with did?

For example I was to say: The important question here is: Did they knew what SOMENAME means or not ? Or The important question here is: Did they know what SOMENAME means or not ? Should I ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Should individual letters be preceded with “an”?

I was reading a comic book and I noticed that the author used "an A" and "an N" in a particular phrase (screenshot below). While I understand the usage of "An A" here (A being a vowel and what not) ...
25
votes
7answers
4k views

Asking the position of a person in a sequence

How to ask the position(?) of a president (like 10th) of a country, correctly?
26
votes
7answers
68k views

Why is it “If I were you” and not “If I was you”?

From my research online the correct way is to say "If I were you" and not "If I was you" because this is the "subjunctive mood". However they don't say the underlying reason for it. They just say use ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a simple and clear way to explain the difference between past simple and present perfect?

I read (or do I say "have read"?) many rules for when to use the present perfect. I found them complex and hard to understand (or do I say "have found"?). I am finding it hard to apply these rules in ...
9
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
23k views

How do you use plural or singular form of an adjective?

So I was taught that you should almost always use singular form of an adjective instead of plural form. But recently, I've seen people using plural form and it sounds quite weird and I don't know if ...
14
votes
4answers
6k views

Using THE before some countries

I have been taught that it's grammatically proper to use the before countries like "Sudan and Yemen" but I was never given a reason (if there exists any, of course) when I asked why, except for "it is ...
7
votes
4answers
923 views

Dilemma: Present Perfect Or Perfect Continuous?

I am very much confused with two aspects which are perfect aspect and present perfect continuous. From the sentences below I am not sure what to use.. Perfect aspect: I've lived here for ten ...
35
votes
4answers
3k views

Why is wine made 'from' grapes, but tables are made 'of' wood?

(1) Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes or other fruits. (Wikipedia) (2) Tables were made of marble or wood and metal (typically bronze or silver alloys), sometimes with ...
7
votes
1answer
69k views

When to use 'which' or 'in which' or 'that' (as relative pronouns)?

I am confused about when to use: 'which' vs 'in which' vs or 'that'? Would you please explain it as a writing rule? Here I have an example: Authors reported shortened growth period and slower ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

In depth explanation of the difference between “will” and “going to”?

Background My wife and I take English classes provided by our companies, so we have different teachers. So now it happened that we had the same topic: future. Both teachers are native English ...
28
votes
2answers
131k views

“a ten years old boy” or “a ten year old boy”

1) a ten years old boy is sitting on the couch. 2) a ten year old boy is sitting on the couch. 3) a ten-years old boy is sitting on the couch. 4) a ten-year old boy is sitting on the ...
20
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 ...
27
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the difference between can and could in 'Can/could you please explain this to me?'

Can you please explain this to me? Could you please explain this to me? I am unable to figure out which to use which situation. I did google, and some posts say they are both the same, even if ...
23
votes
1answer
2k views

Canonical Post #1: When to Trust Your Grammar Checker

Canonical Post #1: When to Trust Your Grammar Checker This sentence looks right to me, but my grammar checker says it's wrong. I don't see any problem with it, so I'm not sure how to fix it. How ...
17
votes
3answers
6k views

When is using the past perfect tense not necessary?

Is it more natural to speak in simple past or past perfect when explaining past events to a friend? It seems like Americans use more simple past in everyday life than past perfect. I found this ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

“the police conspiracy” vs. “the police's conspiracy”

I am firmly convinced he is innocent and his accusation is the result of the police conspiracy. I am firmly convinced he is innocent and his accusation is the result of the police's conspiracy. ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there a missing definite article before caliph in 'the group's leader, XYZ, as (the) caliph'?

I read news on the BBC (on its website) this morning. When I was reading the news I noticed the definite article the was missing in a sentence. As per my opinion, the reporter missed the article the. ...
33
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do we not use the definite article in “Where can I find the room 401?”

Last week in college, a student [with a thick South Asian accent] asked me: "Excuse me, where can I find the room 401?". I realized that to my native English ears, the word "the" sounded non-...
10
votes
7answers
46k views

Shouldn't “five minute walk” be “five minutes walk” in this sentence?

Recently, while skimming through an article I came across a sentence which is as follows. The five minute walk will connect you with life. My rationale says it should have been "five minutes" &...
12
votes
3answers
716 views

Grammatical number agreement in a complex phrase using singular “they”

Answering another question, I used the following phrase: Your reader is [...], but they are a busy person. I have two difficulties here: In the first phrase, a reader, being singular noun, ...
8
votes
3answers
18k 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".
19
votes
5answers
83k views

Difference between “in time” and “on time”

I have an appointment at 8 and I arrive there at 7:55, is it "on time" or "in time"? What about "the nick of time"?
12
votes
5answers
11k views

Analysing the “kind(s) of problem(s) are [ones]/[to be]” construction

A. These kinds of problem are to be avoided. B. These kind of problems are to be avoided. Are both A and B grammatical? If not, why not? If so, after having noticed the parallelism between A and ...
15
votes
3answers
14k views

Do I have to use “do” in any “wh-” question?

What did you say? What you said? What did you wear? What you wore? Where did you go? Where you go? I know that sometimes in English, people do not use “do” in “wh-” questions. I have heard ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

“waterway … flowed sombre” - Should Joseph Conrad have used an adverb, not an adjective?

SPOILER ALERT: This question asks about the last line of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. If you are reading the novel, you may want to skip this question. Should an adverb (i.e. sombrely) have ...
6
votes
1answer
18k views

“It was me” or “It was I”

It was ... salted the earth around your flower deck. I wrote the second form "It was me". I have chosen the most "appropriate" answer to this question as somebody who is learning English. This ...
14
votes
1answer
5k views

“…than I am” vs. “…than me”

I read an English grammar article—for English mother tongue—in which the author talked about the correct use of pronouns. He writes: If the extended sentence is “She’s more likely to ask him than ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

“I have sent it to X too” vs. “I have sent it to X also”

I have sent this e-mail to Aman also. I have sent this e-mail to Aman too. Which one is correct? What is the exact difference between the two? Please explain.
13
votes
2answers
4k views

“It's time … 'verb'/'verb-ed' …”

It's time colleges helped you compare apples to apples. (The Boston Globe) If the time is a present moment, why does the journalist use "help" in the past tense? Or is "helped" subjunctive?
34
votes
6answers
12k views

Is “she don't” sometimes considered correct form?

Recently I was exposed to a lot of uses of "She don't + infinitive" (3rd person singular + don't), instead of "she doesn't + infinitive" (3rd person singular + doesn't). I'm not sure if it is a ...

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