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User Name: emmicue
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Joined: Saturday, January 29, 2011
Last Visit: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 2:55:06 PM
Number of Posts: 17
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: Collective nouns.
Posted: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 2:37:44 PM
"Family" can be replaced with "it" or "they" as well:

The Winterscheidt family is quite large. It has nearly 800 members in the United States.

"They" would be inappropriate here.
Topic: Participle or adjective?
Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 9:03:25 PM
Hi, CuteCute!

There are two forms of verbs that can be used in "non-verb" ways: participles and gerunds. [Let's save gerunds for another day!]
Participles are from the verb's present participle (причастие настоящего времени). In English, these participles always end in -ing.

They can be used as nouns --

Walking is good exercise. // She prefers running. // The screaming was awful.

Or they be used as adjectives --

He carries a walking stick. // Running water helps clean a cut finger. // He became a screaming madman.

How can you tell if a word ending in -ing is a verb or a participle? If it's used as a verb, there will be some form of to be right along with it --
is walking, will be running, had been screaming.

If you can't find some form of "to be" working with it, and if it seems to be working as a noun or modifying a noun, it's a participle.
Topic: Difference between since and because?
Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 8:19:30 PM
EditingShark wrote:
In short:

since = passage of time
because = cause


Not quite so short, Shark --
since = passage of time, or passage of time and cause
because = cause
Topic: using MAY and MIGHT
Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 8:12:44 PM
Blooper wrote:


May and might are used to talk about present or future events. They can normally be used interchangeably, although might may suggest a smaller chance of something happening.


This seems to work for present tenses, and makes some sense in future tenses.
DavidL's explanation is much the same as yours, though he extrapolates this likelihood explanation to cover past tenses as well.
Yet I don't see likelihood as informing my [unvarying] choice of MIGHT for past tenses, particularly in cases like the example I gave.
I've seen MAY used exactly this way only in the last few years, and while it irritates, I can't find justification for criticism except that "it doesn't sound right."
Topic: using MAY and MIGHT
Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 7:40:34 PM
Blooper wrote:
emmicue, are you redgriffin in disguise?


I am not -- although I see that his/her avatar photo is the same as mine.
Indeed, you flatter me.
Topic: Hanging prepositions
Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 4:37:18 PM
Lawrence wrote:
Things are looking up!


... except that, in this case, UP is used as an adverb telling where, not as a preposition!

The big deal about ending with a preposition is separating it from its object, which supposedly
obscures the structure of the sentence. But usually the meaning is well understood --
"Put your jacket on" is quite clear, as is "What will you wrap it in?"
Topic: Are these sentences natural? March 31
Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 4:27:58 PM
Sentence #1 is fine.
Sentence #2 should probably use "look it over" [examine generally] or "check it out" [investigate to find a problem].
Sentence #3 is not correct. You can say "I am just trying to think: what else do I need to change here?"
or you can say "I am just trying to think of what else I need to change here." When you say "do I" you
are signalling a question (reverse word order usually = question) and can't mix it into a simple declarative sentence.
Topic: There are an infinite number
Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 4:01:35 PM
As usual, Lawrence is right on. And so, I think, is asdofindia.

1.TECHNICALLY --
The word NUMBER is the subject of the sentence. It's a singular noun. The prepositional phrase "of worlds" is working as an adjective modifying "number."
"Worlds" can't be the subject of the sentence, because it's already the object of a preposition [can't have two functions in a sentence].
This means that, technically, the singular verb is required, and "There IS" is correct.

The moral of the story is AVOID STARTING A SENTENCE WITH "THERE IS" OR "THERE ARE" -- it's journalistically lax, and grammatically open to confusion.

HOWEVER, predominant usage is what language evolution is all about.
"There is," especially in the form of "There's" [as in "There's a gazillion germs on that toothbrush!"] is coming to replace "There are," even when that's clearly incorrect.
It's headed toward the concept of the Spanish construction "Hay __________" which conveniently means both "There is" AND "There are."

2. HISTORICALLY --
asdofindia has an excellent point -- many differences in grammar evolve out of cultural preferences. Those who speak British English consider
collective nouns like team, company, nation or group to be plural, because they represent groups which have more than one member.
Thus "Pakistan win" or "The team have succeeded" or "The company want to wish you Happy Christmas" would be correct in that group of countries,
but incorrect in the US (and Canada, I think).

If the whole word group "number of worlds" is likewise considered plural because it has more than one member, then "There are" would be appropriate.
Topic: Question about 'Not only ... but' structure
Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 2:42:44 PM
The first sentence should be written:
"Not only has he lined his living room with them, but has filled several trunks as well."
The second sentence is incorrect entirely, because "not only... but" should be followed by something that agrees with it, illustrates it, or amplifies it, NOT something that is opposite, contradicts it or corrects it.
So you could write "She hears chimes day and night, but never knows the correct time." [a contradiction]
You may be getting stuck on the use of the "but" in "not only...but" because it usually indicates a contradiction ["not one, but two;" "He went, but I stayed."
Topic: past perfect
Posted: Thursday, March 31, 2011 2:27:51 PM
A perfectly reasonable version is
"I had parked my car before going to class."
It shows one happening before the other, and both happening in the past.