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Shameful English Grammar Questions!

  Tags: Grammar | English
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19 messages over 3 pages: 13  Next >>
Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
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Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 9 of 19
12 January 2009 at 12:50pm | IP Logged 
Does/do ties into a difference of the treatment of plural nouns between North America (and, judging by this thread, Australia - I wouldn't know) and the UK; it's a regional difference.

I'm not touching effect/affect, but it's been discussed to death in a lot of places, including this forum.

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Britomartis
Groupie
United States
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Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Mandarin

 
 Message 10 of 19
12 January 2009 at 1:24pm | IP Logged 
About "effect" and "affect," I found this:
Quote:
1. If you are talking about a result, then use the word "effect."

    * Example: What effect did the loss have on the team?

2. It is appropriate to use the word "effect" if one of these words is used immediately before the word: into, no, take, the, any, an, or and.

    * Example: The prescribed medication had no effect on the patient's symptoms.
    * Example: In analyzing a situation, it is important to take the concepts of cause and effect into consideration.

3. If you want to describe something that was caused or brought about, the right word to use is effect.

    * Example: The new manager effected some positive changes in the office. (This means that the new manager caused some positive changes to take place in the office.)

4. Affect can be used as a noun to describe facial expression.

    * Example: The young man with schizophrenia had a flat affect.
    * Example: The woman took the news of her husband's sudden death with little affect.

5. Affect can also be used as a verb. Use it when trying to describe influencing someone or something rather than causing it.

    * Example: How does the crime rate affect hiring levels by local police forces?
    * Example: The weather conditions will affect the number of people who come to the county fair this year.

Source: http://www.yourdictionary.com/grammar-rules/affect-effect-gr ammar.html
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Hencke
Tetraglot
Moderator
Spain
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 Message 11 of 19
12 January 2009 at 2:07pm | IP Logged 
The verb "affect" also has a number of other meanings, besides "influence", which is the meaning that tends to get mixed up with the verb "effect".

according to wwwebster:
transitive verb
1 archaic : to aim at
2 a archaic : to have affection for
_ b: to be given to : fancy <affect flashy clothes>
3: to make a display of liking or using : cultivate <affect a worldly manner>
4: to put on a pretense of : feign <affect indifference, though deeply hurt>
5: to tend toward <drops of water affect roundness>
6: frequent
intransitive verb
obsolete : incline
synonyms see assume

Edited by Hencke on 12 January 2009 at 2:09pm

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LittleKey
Diglot
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United States
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 Message 12 of 19
12 January 2009 at 9:25pm | IP Logged 
   
Cainntear wrote:
[QUOTE=delectric]
No need to be ashamed. The reason that you can't work out which one is correct is that... (drum roll please)... neither one of them if real English.

It would be the first, becaues "the man and the boy" = "they".

But no English speaker would say this, so there's no pattern in your head that feels natural.


why is this not real English? i'm a native English speaker, and you would use "do". "does" just doesn't sound right.
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Cainntear
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Senior Member
Scotland
linguafrankly.blogsp
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 Message 13 of 19
13 January 2009 at 4:45am | IP Logged 
LittleKey wrote:
why is this not real English? i'm a native English speaker, and you would use "do". "does" just doesn't sound right.

It's not about whether you would use "do" or "does", it's about whether you would say the sentence at all. Given the choice between the two, I would chose "do" -- it is grammatically correct as it follows rules and conventions. However, I'd never say a sentence like this -- we just don't tend to make up compound subjects like this. "John and Sally", yes; "the man and the boy", no.

And we don't need to:
by the time the question is asked, we know who the man and the boy are (if we're using the definite article then we are already assuming we know who they are) -- and if we know who we're talking about, we call them "they".

So again, as I said, this sentence is so unlikely to be said that it isn't really English.

This isn't just a problem with this particular example -- books for learners of any language contain sentences just as unlikely. I remember having to get my class to say things like "a nurse is standing by the bed". Now this appears grammatically correct, considering all the rules, but the real English is "there's a nurse standing by the bed".

Real English is what people say, not anything that can be generated using an (incomplete) grammar book and dictionary.

(EDIT: I wish there was more consistency over the use of BBCode and HTML on webforums. I'm forever using the wrong one....)

Edited by Cainntear on 13 January 2009 at 7:59am

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ofdw
Diglot
Newbie
United Kingdom
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39 posts - 47 votes
Speaks: English*, Italian

 
 Message 14 of 19
13 January 2009 at 5:00am | IP Logged 
Cainntear wrote:
LittleKey wrote:
why is this not real English? i'm a native English speaker, and you would use "do". "does" just doesn't sound right.

It's not about whether you would use "do" or "does", it's about whether you would say the sentence at all. Given the choice between the two, I would chose "do" -- it is grammatically correct as it follows rules and conventions. However, I'd never say a sentence like this -- we just don't tend to make up compound subjects like this. "John and Sally", yes; "the man and the boy", no.

And we don't need to:
by the time the question is asked, we know who the man and the boy are (if we're using the definite article then we are already assuming we know who they are) -- and if we know who we're talking about, we call them "they".

So again, as I said, this sentence is so unlikely to be said that it isn't really English.

This isn't just a problem with this particular example -- books for learners of <i>any</i> language contain sentences just as unlikely. I remember having to get my class to say things like "a nurse is standing by the bed". Now this appears grammatically correct, considering all the rules, the <i>real</i> English is "there's a nurse standing by the bed".

Real English is what people say, not anything that can be generated using an (incomplete) grammar book and dictionary.


This is actually a really interesting point! I completely agree with the previous poster that "do" sounds much more natural, as well as being grammatically correct, and was about to reply to that effect, but I see you are making a different point. It is indeed a pretty contrived question - and I wish language teaching methods would take this into account.
The nurse example is good too - food for thought!

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cordelia0507
Senior Member
United Kingdom
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 Message 15 of 19
14 January 2009 at 3:21pm | IP Logged 
The beauty of having learnt English as a foreign language is that you've done hundreds of exercises exactly like this one.

To me (non-native) this was a no-brainer. :-)

****************************************************
Please insert "do" or "does" as appropriate:

_____the man and the boy have apples?

****************************************************



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Monox D. I-Fly
Senior Member
Indonesia
monoxdifly.iopc.us
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Speaks: Indonesian*

 
 Message 16 of 19
17 September 2017 at 4:36pm | IP Logged 
cordelia0507 wrote:
The beauty of having learnt English as a foreign language is that you've done hundreds of exercises exactly like this one.

To me (non-native) this was a no-brainer. :-)

****************************************************
Please insert "do" or "does" as appropriate:

_____the man and the boy have apples?

****************************************************




Do


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