English grammar and vocabulary: quick questions thread

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Wildebeest
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The English academic help forum naturally attracts a lot of grammar and vocabulary questions, many of which are small enough to be confined to a designated sticky thread. Please post any quick questions in here, and new threads made for minor queries will from now on merged into this one.

This thread is certainly not an attempt to stifle any intellectual pedantry and general pretentiousness that is conducive to a lively English forum! You are most welcome to make individual threads for more extensive or detailed queries, but try to keep the smaller ones in here so that the forum is tidier.
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02mik_e
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Nice Thread
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upturnedpalms
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Good plan
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waiting2smile
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I am extremely embarrassed to ask this but do I need to break these sentences up - either through splitting them or using a comma? :o:


a) New relations between fragments that represent different versions of these expectations suggest new possibilities and perhaps expose things that may have been hidden or suppressed in the tales’ usual surface language.

b) Texts with familiar forms and ideas of language provide fertile sites for procedural experiment because through defamiliarization and the disruption of formula they lend themselves to the possibility of self analysis as well as wider cultural or literary comments.
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upturnedpalms
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(Original post by waiting2smile)
I am extremely embarrassed to ask this but do I need to break these sentences up - either through splitting them or using a comma? :o:


a) New relations between fragments that represent different versions of these expectations suggest new possibilities, and perhaps expose things that may have been hidden or suppressed in the tales’ usual surface language.

b) Texts with familiar forms and ideas of language provide fertile sites for procedural experiment. because Through defamiliarization and the disruption of formula, they lend themselves to the possibility of self analysis as well as wider cultural or literary comments.
Personally, I'd do it like that. But they are fine as they were - I think it's pretty much matter of opinion
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02mik_e
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(Original post by waiting2smile)
I am extremely embarrassed to ask this but do I need to break these sentences up - either through splitting them or using a comma? :o:


a) New relations between fragments that represent different versions of these expectations, suggest new possibilities and perhaps, expose things that may have been hidden or suppressed in the tales’ usual surface language.

b) Texts with familiar forms and ideas of language, provide fertile sites for procedural experiment. Through defamiliarization and the disruption of formula, they lend themselves to the possibility of self analysis as well as wider cultural or literary comments.
Hey, I've made a few corrections. If you want to improve your (SPAG) I would highly advise reading books, they really do help.
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upturnedpalms
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(Original post by waiting2smile)
It is only commas that cause certain stress. I am afraid that every now and then I get flustered about where the comma should rather than could go.

Do you mean to say that one should read books that improve grammar or read books in general? Personally I very much doubt the latter suggestion would be of much help - unless of course you were into pausing and admiring the technicalities of sentence constructions, rather than the riveting words on the page. Anyhow, how very rude of me, I didn’t express my gratitude – thanks! :p:
Oh, I don't know. The only reason I have any sense of grammar at all is because I've somehow gleaned it from endlessly reading anything with words. I think that if you read enough, regardless of the topic, you'll get a sense for how things should be. Or maybe I'm talking out of my arse. :yep: :p:
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waiting2smile
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(Original post by upturnedpalms)
Oh, I don't know. The only reason I have any sense of grammar at all is because I've somehow gleaned it from endlessly reading anything with words. I think that if you read enough, regardless of the topic, you'll get a sense for how things should be. Or maybe I'm talking out of my arse. :yep: :p:
Each to their own I guess. I positively ruined my eyes reading our library at home and do not believe I will ever become an expert. I think I am rather fortunate that even the most pedantic lecturer of mine, has yet to pick up on my grammar woes.
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02mik_e
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(Original post by upturnedpalms)
Oh, I don't know. The only reason I have any sense of grammar at all is because I've somehow gleaned it from endlessly reading anything with words. I think that if you read enough, regardless of the topic, you'll get a sense for how things should be. Or maybe I'm talking out of my arse. :yep: :p:
You're not at all :hugs: it's actually very ture.

I wouldn't say it's the grammar that's your problem, but as you said, it is where the comma should go. I only suggested reading in a kind way, because my punctuation was seriously poor until i cultivated the habit. Try it, I'm sure it will help. Sorry if i offended you in any way :o:
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waiting2smile
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(Original post by 02mik_e)
I wouldn't say it's the grammar that's your problem, but as you said, it is where the comma should go. I only suggested reading in a kind way, because my punctuation was seriously poor until i cultivated the habit. Try it, I'm sure it will help. Sorry if i offended you in any way :o:
You didn’t offend me at all. I think it's interesting that reading has helped you. I am afraid it only increased my peculiar habit of collecting lovely sounding words.

Anyhow I feel awful, because I have truly regressed back to my old TSR habit of digressing from the topic.
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SomeStudent
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Madprof
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Something that's been bugging me lately (not enough actual work to do!) ...

What's the difference between -ed and -t, for example 'learned' and 'learnt'? Which one is correct in which situation?
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spiritofsussex
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(Original post by Madprof)
Something that's been bugging me lately (not enough actual work to do!) ...

What's the difference between -ed and -t, for example 'learned' and 'learnt'? Which one is correct in which situation?
I think (well actually I googled but don't tell anybody!) learned is an adjective which means to be knowledgable in something e.g. the learned man, whereas learnt is the past participle of 'to learn'.

Apparently, it also could be to do with the difference between British English, which uses -t in the past participle of irregular verbs, and American English which simply carries on as normal by adding -ed.
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(Original post by Madprof)
Something that's been bugging me lately (not enough actual work to do!) ...

What's the difference between -ed and -t, for example 'learned' and 'learnt'? Which one is correct in which situation?
Regarding -ed or -t (eg. burned/burnt), they can both be used for the simple past and past participle, however Elements of Style prefers 'burned' as the past tense and 'burnt' as the past participle.

Most English dictionaries will list 'burnt' as British English and 'burned' as American English.

And as for its use as an adjective, I think 'burnt' is more common than 'burned'.
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veggie4life
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Do I put a comma in this sentence "both Amir and Assefs paths cross towards the end of the novel"

I know a comma should be used in the possesive but could I really describe Assef as owning his path ?!
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Lidka
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(Original post by veggie4life)
Do I put a comma in this sentence "both Amir and Assefs paths cross towards the end of the novel"

I know a comma should be used in the possesive but could I really describe Assef as owning his path ?!
You don't mean a comma (,), you mean an apostrophe ('). I know they look similar, but they do completely different things. And yes, there should be a possessive apostrophe in there, because it is the path he is walking; therefore it's his. Possession doesn't have to mean you literally own something.
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tootsies
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What's a good way of saying 'can't help but notice'

here's the sentence:

Despite Mina’s dedication appearing as an idealistic quality for a traditional Victorian woman, 'YOU CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE'

obviously i wouldn't put that in an essay but i've gone blank and can't think of what to put!
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Modestmouse
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I am awful at English language, so can someone make any sense out of this paragraph?

Stanza four is completely dissimilar from the rest of the poem, as it is very secretive. The strophe is protected by 3 stanzas on each side, which are open and tell all to the reader. The pair of woollen socks would not be allowed in the prison camp: they appear to be a comfort that is keeping him in a content mood. The socks also double up as a pillow when inside the satchel, as a result Eich will have a better night’s sleep, and therefore he can be able to dream up ideas for writing in order to complete his psychosomatic escape.
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bon
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(Original post by tootsies)
What's a good way of saying 'can't help but notice'

here's the sentence:

Despite Mina’s dedication appearing as an idealistic quality for a traditional Victorian woman, 'YOU CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE'

obviously i wouldn't put that in an essay but i've gone blank and can't think of what to put!
What about:

"Despite Mina’s dedication appearing as an idealistic quality for a traditional Victorian woman, her striking/conspicuous/patent [whatever you'ved noticed] [the effect of whatever you've noticed]"

Does that work with the point you wish to raise?
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Natasha X
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Hi guys does anyone knows what word/expression is used when the weather matches/reflects your emotions? i really really really need to find out because its bugging me now!
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