Monthly Archives: April 2008

Different to

Georg Muntingh, winner of the first syntax contest on this blog, alerted me that British English allows the following construction for comparisons: There are many British words which are different to American words. Different to looks odd to me! Georg … Continue reading

Posted in organization, usage | 2 Comments


The other evening, I read this sentence in a novel: Beyond the window was the river, the trees, the sky. A basic rule of grammar is that a singular subject takes a singular verb, and a plural subject takes a … Continue reading

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Adverb within verb phrase

Notice the awkwardness of the sentence below: She was taken suddenly aback. The problem is that this sentence violates the following rule: When an adverb qualifies [modifies] a verb phrase, the natural place for the adverb is between the auxiliary … Continue reading

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What’s Missing Contest: Answer

Last week’s contest was to correct the sentence below: I hung my coat on the pegs that line one wall. When I first read this sentence, the image of a coat draped across a line of pegs on a wall … Continue reading

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Different From…Or is it Different Than?

According to the Chicago Manual Style, the preferred form is different from. Not: She will find the city a very different place than the village. But: She will find that the city is very different from the village. Cheers, Tara … Continue reading

Posted in usage | 2 Comments

Possessive Pronoun with Gerund

The other day, I came across the sentence below: I can understand you not telling him. This is not correct. The sentence should read: I can understand your not telling him. Why? Because telling is a gerund, and when a … Continue reading

Posted in gerund, parts of speech, possessive pronoun, present participle, word usage | 7 Comments

Simplify–and also Clarify

Here is a sentence that would benefit from both weeding and clarifying: Oil profits are being used for the purpose of buying back stocks in the oil companies, instead of developing alternatives. To simplify this sentence, replace “for the purpose … Continue reading

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