In Ben Yagoda's The Sound On the Page, p.62, the following is written: "A nonstandard gerund at the end of sentences is an Elmore Leonard trademark. ('Today he watched from the wicker chair, the green shirt on the stick figure walking toward the road in the rain, still in the yard when Terry called to him.') So, what is he referring to as a "nonstandard gerund"? I don't see anything working gerundively.
I’ve been a lifelong reader and writer. I’m realizing while doing more writing (and in particular editing my own writing) that I need better resources and suggestions for learning English grammar. I've been told by some editors that I make mistakes and I’d love to have a better sense of how to polish what I write and deal with the little bits of grammatical inaccuracies that sprout up in finished pieces. [more inside]
Hi, I am working on a story and I have a sentence that says, "Please give them the food packets." Can anyone tell me if that is second person point of view or if it's third person point of view. Thanks in advance.
My friends are are debating the appropriate use of an apostrophe in light of nouns ending in "s". I am many years away from my grammar classes and a bit unsure. Test sentence inside the fold. [more inside]
Lately I've started noticing the construction "or no" in places where I would have expected "or not". [more inside]
Is the term "help seeking" one word or two? If it is two words, should it be hyphenated when it's not serving as a compound adjective? [more inside]
So, I was designing rules with some EFL students in class the other day about how to differentiate between countable and uncountable nouns. We agreed that things which are too small to reasonably count are uncountable based on sand and the idea that liquids are uncountable (under the assumption that an individual 'piece' of a liquid would be a molecule and as such very, very small). Then one of the students broke the rule by asking why individual circuits are countable even though they are extremely small. So, is there an explanation for this? Does my rule just suck? [more inside]
I am looking for three things here: 1) Some kind of drill, preferably in game format but anything good will do 2) tools to run my writing through to catch my errors and 3) generic reference materials. Online resources are strongly preferred, in part because I get sick when I handle books and papers too much. [more inside]
I'm interested in learning about the details of English grammar and usage, and also maybe in picking up some prescriptions or guidelines for writing well-styled/balanced prose (a la Strunk & White, though my understanding is that there's potentially a great many schools of thought to look at here). The kicker: my academic background is in math and computer science, including the very formal reaches of things like logic, formal languages, etc. Is there any way that this stuff can help me learn that stuff? [more inside]
Is there a concise term that signifies the difference between phrases such as "not all dogs are brown" and "all dogs are not brown"? [more inside]
I'm looking for related resources (online & offline) for improving my writing skills for everyday work. [more inside]
I'm teaching high school-level English next year for students who need a high level of academic support and I want the class to be both highly engaging and content-rich. If you were a kid who LOATHED writing for school, struggled with boring English classes, or can remember what elements you truly enjoyed in your high school English class, what advice would you pass my way? [more inside]
"Can you use the Flesch Reading Ease Formula with a one-word sentence or a phrase that isnt a complete sentence? Such as a multiple choice answer on a test.
Tryin' to track down a portfolio of English reading/writing laminated bifold four page workbooks. [more inside]
I've recently noticed an irritating trend in English-language writing: sections that really should be written in the past perfect tense are instead in the simple past tense. I've seen this more in American English than in British English, but that might just be confirmation bias. Is there a reason for this, for example a new style of teaching in schools or universities? And is it really new, or am I just looking for things to get annoyed about? [more inside]
I just had someone tell me that it is correct to close a letter with “Signed, [Mr. Letter Writer].” It’s the use of the word “Signed” that I find strange and just wrong. I have never in my life seen this and am having a hard time believing it is acceptable. Can anyone enlighten me?
1)I should be going. 2) I shoud get going. 3)I should go. Please tell me the difference of the nuance between the three. Thank you.
I couldn't answer this when my Polish friend asked me why the letter changed sound, does anyone else know?
In athletics, do events named "boys 100m" or "girls javelin" have an apostrophe? That is, should they rightly be "boys' 100m" and "girls' javelin"? It seems that the standard usage for grownup events is "men's" and "women's", but I'm unsure. Opinions?
I learned English as a second language (native is Finnish). The emphasis in school was on vocabulary and very basic grammar; we did not to my recollection deal with stuff like passive voice etc. So in terms of writing in English, much of my "voice" has developed simply from what sounds right inside my head. However, I've been told that the way I write is overly complicated. Is this so? [more inside]
Alright all your grammar masters. My wife is foreign and she announced "It work." when I rubbed her shoulder and fixed her pain. I corrected her by saying "It works." to teach her well. She then proceeded to explain to me the English of "plural" with adding an "s" to the verb. Is this correct?
Which is correct? a) "Led Zeppelin is a band" b) "Led Zeppelin are a band" [more inside]
I need to address a formal letter to five recipients of different rank and gender at once. How? [more inside]
Poor understanding of grammar might cost me my job. Can anyone help an audio-typist fight back? [more inside]
Sources explaining why you shouldn't put a comma after the year when a date is used as an adjective?
Sources explaining why you shouldn't put a comma after the year when a date is used as an adjective? [more inside]
Do you know any English grammar checker? [more inside]
Tenses without English equivalents? [more inside]
Can you help me explain how and when to use articles (a/an/the) to a non-native English speaker? [more inside]
So, this is a a little embarrassing. Apparently, I know nothing about the rules of grammar and English composition. Obviously, I have some of the basics of writing down (you can read this right?), but I don't know any of the terminology and nitty-gritty details about how sentences are constructed in English. I need help with resources to quickly catch me up to all the other kids in my Advanced Composition class. [more inside]
Looking for a good book on English grammar. [more inside]
Which aspect of English do you find it difficult? [more inside]
Taxonomy (or just a list) of English grammatical constructs suitable for use as a checklist for a second language learner? [more inside]
I'm a native speaker of English and I feel like my poor English grammar is degrading me. [more inside]
In Comp I we read an essay about the use of overly formal language... [more inside]
Why is the sentence "Let's read, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen." incorrectly punctuated? [more inside]
In need of help with grammar, again. [more inside]
I'm teaching a humanities course at an open-admission college. The students are extremely poor writers, and have almost zero knowledge of English grammar. This semester, I want to help them avoid comma splices, since that's one of the top three issues I see in their papers (spelling errors and sentence fragments being the other two). Can you help me design a lesson/activity to help them? [more inside]
When a sentence uses more than one object, how are objective pronouns used with them? Common sense would say that they are only relevant to the direct object, but what if I want to refer to the indirect object? Hardcore grammar-mining ahead! [more inside]
Is there any graduate program that emphasizes writing skills (in English) while providing a rigorous education in grammar, literature, and related languages (i.e. Latin), without focusing on literary criticism, but rather on writing itself? More after the jump. [more inside]
English language filter: Do all nouns have a plural form? If not what is an example of a noun with no plural form?
What is the plural of "Batman"? [more inside]
Is there a word for "Debbie Downer", "Nervous Nelson", and similar labels? [more inside]
"Best" and "worst" experiences involving grammar and learning grammar? I think we were asked to write this to increase empathy, but I can't think of anything with any emotional weight, so I thought I'd ask for your experiences. Please answer especially if you had a difficult time with grammar. [more inside]
Grammar filter: Is it wrong to use "myself" when "me" seems to sound better? [more inside]
What's the term for the use of a product name as a singular noun (like iPod), and why do companies do this? [more inside]
GrammarFilter: Present Perfect Passive Progressive. Real or a myth? [more inside]
What's the proper use of the phrase "what would seem to be"? [more inside]
Why do we precede acronyms starting with the letter U with 'a' instead of 'an', e.g. "a USB key" or "a UFO"? Acronyms starting with a consonant are frequently preceded by "an" because consonants' names have a different spelling than the letters themselves, e.g. M as em and H as aitch, therefore "an HIV outbreak" or "an MRI". However, U's name is spelled u, and acronyms that start with other vowels are preceded by 'an', e.g. "an ABC license". What's the deal?
GrammarFilter: Is the phrase "I will trade you.." often misused, or is it a perfectly valid usage that drives me crazy? [more inside]
Can I use "Me either" in place of "Me too" in response to this statement..."I can't wait to see you!"? Please explain.
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