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Profile: RuthP
User Name: RuthP
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Joined: Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Last Visit: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 4:44:05 PM
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: omniscient- PRONUNCIATION
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 4:22:06 PM
It's an American thing. Because we are terribly lazy speakers, we drop syllables all over the place.

I calls `em as I sees `em (or, in this case, as I hear `em).
Topic: Underpants
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 4:16:44 PM
Joe Kim wrote:
Underpants are also called underwear which is singluar. Then do you use the singluar pronoun to refer them or it too?

1. Put the underwear(it) on.
2. Put the underpants (them) on.

Yes, in American English, at least, "underwear" is a singular noun.

"Underpants" is derived from "pants," coming in turn from "pantaloons" which meant the same as "trousers". All of these are plural, because each leg is clothed, so to speak, separately. This is different from a skirt, kilt, tunic, etc. Originally, these lower limb wrappings were just that: wrappings. Each leg was wrapped separately, and there was a diaper-like part that folded around what is variously called the "nether parts" or "the privates". (Go euphemisms.) We kept the two-separate-leg plural even as we made the articles of clothing all one piece.
Topic: Shell
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 4:04:48 PM
Joe Kim wrote:
Here is a boiled egg. You peel the shell and now broken shell(S) are on the table.
Are these called shell or shells?

1.There is the shell on the table.
2. There are shells on the table.

Wilmar (USA) is correct. You have more than one piece, so you must make it plural somehow. Your problem is you had only one shell to begin with. Speaking (or writing) of "shells" implies you started with more than one egg.

What you have now that you have peeled the egg is a different situation. You have multiple pieces, or fragments, of the one eggshell. (It's all one word in English.) Now, you are talking about pieces or fragments (plural) of the eggshell (singular).

He boiled eggs, giving one to three year old Sophie, for her lunch. With much concentration and struggle, Sophie managed to peel and eat the egg, leaving fragments of the shell scattered from one end of the table to the other.

How's that? Note the plural "fragments" and the still singular "shell".
Topic: Remembering the information that Chad gave to him long time ago
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 3:53:51 PM
NKM wrote:
Besides all of that, it should be "… the information that Chad had given him …".

Either one is correct. It is information given in the past. One may use "had given", as one assumes the giving was completed in the past, or even get quite complex with ". . . the information that had been given him by Chad . . ." There is, however, nothing wrong with using simple past.

The choice often depends on which is more important: is it the fact that the information was given in the past, or is it the fact that the giving is completed? If the latter, then definitely one would use past perfect. If the former, it really doesn't matter, except that it is usually easier to keep tenses in harmony if one sticks with simple past. (See Drag0n's note.)
Topic: Which word order is correct?
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 3:38:59 PM
robjen wrote:
I am going to make up two similar examples below.

(1) Do you know which student is a new volunteer?

(2) Do you know which student a new volunteer is?

Most of my non-native English speaking friends think (1) sounds awkward and (2) is good. However, I think (1) sounds better than (2).

What is your opinion? Thanks a lot.

Neither sentence is particularly good.

Sentence (1) could be heard in casual conversation, assuming you and the other person had been talking about (a few, several, more than one) new volunteers with some organization and there is some group of students, perhaps in the lunchroom, where you are eating lunch, and one of those students is one of the new volunteers. Under those circumstances, (1) becomes a shortened version of "Do you know which of those students is a new volunteer (for our organization)."

It would be far more common to use the definite article, i.e., "Do you know which student is the new volunteer?".

Sentence (2) simply would not be said by a native English speaker. You might hear it with the definite article: "Do you know which student the new volunteer is?" Far more common would be the sentence in bold, above.

The word "is" commonly creates an equivalence between the things on either side of it. In English, "is" is far more commonly used in the middle of the sentence than at the end.
She is tall.
He is old.
The government building is in the middle of construction.
Which student is the new volunteer?
The student in the red hat is the new volunteer.
Topic: Shouldn't it be "in" instead of "at"?
Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2017 3:28:06 PM
Koh Elaine wrote:
On the evening of Feb 24, the victim was collecting mail at a void deck at McNair Road when Verma emerged from behind her and said "hello", Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Zhi Xiang told the court.

Shouldn't it be "in" instead of "at"?


Like Romany, I don't know what a "void deck" is, and so cannot tell you for sure. Assuming it is a structure like a building, and that it is located somewhere along McNair Road, then American English would use "on" to designate the location. I believe British English may use "in" for this. This specifies which void deck it is: the one on(in) McNair Road, rather than the one on(in) Trafalgar Square.

On the other hand, if I assume the void deck is a very long structure (or location) and it is intersected by several roads, then it would be "the void deck, at McNair Road". This would specify where along the long void deck she was: at McNair Road, after Brown Road, but before Smith Road.
Topic: brandy-and-water
Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2017 3:14:29 PM
vkhu wrote:
I got Montgomery some brandy-and-water. He sat staring in front of him at nothing, recovering his breath.

-The Island of Doctor Moreau

I'm not sure what to make of the hyphening here. I'm reading it as the narrator gave Montgomery a diluted glass of brandy, but why would he give someone in dire need of some strong stuff a diluted drink? If I interpret this as Montgomery was given both a glass of brandy and a glass of water, then I don't get what the hyphens are for.

The hyphens are, as palapaquy said, a way of creating a compound noun. This is not as commonly used today as it was in the early twentieth century and before. In fact, today it is relatively uncommon, though still correct.

H.G. Wells was writing at the end of the 19th century. It would also be very common to water, or dilute spirits. After all, you wish to calm, or perhaps brace, the person who is in shock, not knock them out. Whistle
Topic: Is the question appropriate and idiomatic?
Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2017 2:34:55 PM
DavidLearn wrote:
Hi teachers,
If I want to ask orally about a picture, lets say about a table, to the students; Is the question appropriate and idiomatic?
Ask and answer to identify what you see in the picture.

They are beginners, adults, and have already learnt some vocabulary. My idea is with pictures that I've taken from the net, ask them about those pictures, just to identify the objects.

The questions and answer is:
What's this? It's a table.


That is a correct question and a correct answer. This is the way an English speaker would ask, and probably answer, the question. The other common answer would be the sentence fragment "A table". Consider whether you wish to teach these common short answers now, or whether you wish to have the students practice longer, more complete sentences.

These seem to be very basic questions and answers, and vocabulary. Unless your students are already familiar with contractions like 'it's' and 'what's', I would not use them. Stick with the full words (what is; it is) until the students have a good vocabulary and a fair degree of comfort with grammar and sentence structure.
Topic: I don't like mangoes either/too.
Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2017 1:59:08 PM
Neither one is wrong. It is much more common to use "either" when speaking of dislikes. The use of "too" would sound odd, though it would not be grammatically wrong.

If you were saying you like durians and mangos, then "too" would definitely be used.
Topic: shortcoming or drawback?
Posted: Thursday, June 09, 2016 3:10:14 PM
Shortcoming and drawback are often used as synonyms and are very close in meaning.

A shortcoming denotes something which is lacking or not as good as one might wish it to be. It comes up short (a colloquial phrase meaning to stop short of something/some point/some end or stop before something/some point/some end). It does not reach the desired end, hence it is a shortcoming. Shortcoming(s) can also be applied to traits of a given person: Her many virtues make up for her few shortcomings.

A drawback is something actively negative, which pulls you back (direct meaning) from the end result. It may imply a greater difficulty in dealing with a situation than that implied by shortcoming, but I would not want to bet that everyone would interpret it that way. The term drawback is applied to things or situations, not people.

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