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89 votes

Can I use "You can" rather than "Could you" in restaurants?

You can is giving permission. If that is the context - they have asked permission for something - it is fine (though you may is regarded as more polite). But when you are requesting something, you ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 75.9k
43 votes

Can I use "You can" rather than "Could you" in restaurants?

Server: Are you ready to order? a. Client: Yes. Can you give me hamburger and chips, please? b. Client: Yes. You can give me hamburger and chips (NO) 1 b. To tell someone to give you something,...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 27.7k
34 votes

"How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?"

Both of these are perfectly correct. You could also say "How many psychologists are necessary to change a light bulb?" or "How many psychologists are required to change a light bulb?" However, as ...
Phillip Longman's user avatar
30 votes

Can I use "You can" rather than "Could you" in restaurants?

This answer is written from my perspective as an American. I think that usually, saying "you can" is likely to sound rude. If you say "You can get me the check," it may sound like you're ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 5,950
20 votes

What's the difference between "Was this supposed to be...” and “Wasn't this supposed to be…"?

Let's look at a simpler example. Someone you haven't spoken to for a while phones you up, and you say "Great to hear from you!"... 1: ..."Was it a month ago when we last spoke?" 2:...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

Which is your favourite X or what is your favourite X?

Yes the rule you have learnt is essentially true, and "Which is your favourite actor" is odd and unnatural, unless the context gives a restricted choice of actors (Which is your favourite ...
James K's user avatar
  • 225k
18 votes

Which is your favourite X or what is your favourite X?

I agree with James K but I'll note that in this particular example of choosing between people the most natural phrasing is "Who is your favourite actor?", regardless of whether there is a ...
Tim Booth's user avatar
  • 181
17 votes
Accepted

Who's that book by? vs. Whom's that book by?

Who's that book by? is 100% natural and common. Whom's that book by? I've never heard it, and it sounds terrible to me, though I suppose technically the grammar is good. Whom is that book by? ...
gotube's user avatar
  • 50.9k
16 votes

Who's that book by? vs. Whom's that book by?

The simplest way to ask that question is: Who wrote that book? The original "Who's that book by?" is a clunky, unnatural construction. You've got the who/whom thing going on as well as ...
JRE's user avatar
  • 680
16 votes
Accepted

Is it correct to say "What, my family and friends would say, is ...?" instead of "What would my family and friends say is ...?"?

(1) and (2) are both correct, but do not have the same meaning. (This may already be obvious, but for the sake of completeness or for future readers). Consider: (1) "What would Socrates say is a ...
Kaia's user avatar
  • 992
13 votes

"How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?"

"It takes x to y" is extremely common, and I'm surprised that you haven't met it before. It is certainly not confined to light-bulb jokes! It means "x is necessary in order to y." Here are some ...
TonyK's user avatar
  • 1,399
11 votes
Accepted

Is using "ed" (2nd form of verb) with "did" correct in "Did she have us figured out all along?"

The base form of 'have' is correct after 'did'. To 'have something or someone figured out' is a complete verb phrase, and you don't alter 'figured'.
Michael Harvey's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between "How about" vs "What about"?

There is some difference in usage between how about and what about. If you are planning something with a friend and you want to raise some potential problem, you would only use what about- ...
JavaLatte's user avatar
  • 60k
10 votes

Do I use 'was' or 'did' as an auxiliary in an interrogative clause?

Because you're using "taste", you need to use "did". Did the cheese taste delicious? However, if you omit "taste", you would use "was". I would argue that this form is much more common because, in ...
Catija's user avatar
  • 25.4k
10 votes
Accepted

Is "how you do you" grammatical?

Yes and no: it is meaningful, but you have to interpret it in a very specific way. The context is about the difference between -something you know (for example, a password) -something you have (for ...
stangdon's user avatar
  • 40.9k
10 votes

Who's that book by? vs. Whom's that book by?

My school (in rural Australia) never once even mentioned that there were times that "whom" would be a better choice of words, but as I started to encounter the word in the wild I figured out ...
Teaspoon's user avatar
  • 101
9 votes

"How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?"

Yes, because "take" can mean "require." If three psychologists are standing in line, it's like taking one out of the line to change the light bulb. "It" standing for the task. It's informal, but it ...
Unawarewolf's user avatar
9 votes

Is using "ed" (2nd form of verb) with "did" correct in "Did she have us figured out all along?"

Usable grammar: Causative have or get have + object + past participle Using have or get this way is called causative: I had my hair cut. She got the work done. We have our house cleaned every week. ...
Lambie's user avatar
  • 46.2k
9 votes

Can a question begin with 'but'?

The answer is a bit more complex than it may seem at first. The question that is being asked is hidden in the context of the conversation. To end the sentence with a period, would indicate that Ivan ...
EllieK's user avatar
  • 9,329
8 votes

"How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?"

You appear to have misidentified the subject of the sentence. In questions, word order is often inverted. The subject of the sentence is the word "it," not "many" or "psychologists." The verb must ...
trlkly's user avatar
  • 464
8 votes

Is "how you do you" grammatical?

I agree with the first part of stangdon's answer: The context is about the difference between something you know (for example, a password) something you have (for example, a key) ...
J.R.'s user avatar
  • 110k
8 votes
Accepted

"Why do you not give" Vs "Why do not you give"

This is a very simple example of subject–auxiliary inversion, and it is required in most interrogative sentences in English. The subject and the auxiliary verb appear in the reverse of the order in ...
P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

"Do you have planned" vs "Have you planned"

Both sentences are correct, but the function of the word "have" is very different. In the second sentence "have" is an auxiliary verb and it forms the present perfect with the ...
James K's user avatar
  • 225k
7 votes

Does "How much time" mean the same as "How long time"?

Your lecturer is better than you think: How much time do we need for such an experiment? How long will it take to complete such an experiment?
Mick's user avatar
  • 6,526
7 votes
Accepted

Do I use 'was' or 'did' as an auxiliary in an interrogative clause?

TL;DR; You should use "did", because your main verb is preceded by no auxiliaries. There's a phenomenon in questions called 'subject–auxiliary inversion'. You already probably know what a ...
M.A.R.'s user avatar
  • 7,351
6 votes

Can I use "You can" rather than "Could you" in restaurants?

As others have pointed out, the phrasing absolutely will come across as extremely rude and a bit non sequitur. More importantly, you should never deduct from a server's tip for bad service in the ...
Charles Hudgins's user avatar
6 votes

Can I use "You can" rather than "Could you" in restaurants?

All the answers here are excellent. By now, you should have figured out that "you can" is a direct order, which is considered rude, and requests are polite (as they are in many other countries). So ...
Kes Sparhawk's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Questioning in this way: interrogative clause + "or" + affirmative clause + "?"

In English the second clause should also be interrogative: Did she come late again or was she on time? Is it because of the amount of time you spent on doing your hair or does your hair have nothing ...
James K's user avatar
  • 225k
6 votes

"Do you have planned" vs "Have you planned"

"I have a trip planned" is the same sentence structure as "I have dinner ready". Whereas "I have planned a trip" is a construction alike to "I have made dinner"....
Divizna's user avatar
  • 790

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