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Thread: grammar

  1. #1
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default grammar

    I posted two questions a few days ago but it seems they didn't reach you. Now I am going to post them again.

    I came across two multiple choice sentences. Two of the choices are confusing and the other two are totally wrong. I'd like to discuss the two confusing ones.

    1. They will have it finished in__________.
    a. three quarters of an hour. b. three quarters of an hour's time
    The key is 'b' but I think 'a' sounds more comfortable while 'b' sounds weird. But since English is my foreign language I'd like to know what you native speakers think of it.

    2. _______ of the two books holds the opinion that the danger of nuclear war is increasing.
    a. Either b. Neither
    The correct anwser is b while I think a is also correct . Am I right?
    Last edited by jiang; 22-Dec-2006 at 12:34.

  2. #2
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    (bumping topic to let our teachers see it)
    Red5
    Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com

  3. #3
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    I posted two questions a few days ago but it seems they didn't reach you. Now I am going to post them again.
    Oddly, I remember answering the first question. (It may have been by somebody else. I'm not sure.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    1. They will have it finished in__________.
    a. three quarters of an hour. b. three quarters of an hour's time
    The key is 'b' but I think 'a' sounds more comfortable while 'b' sounds weird. But since English is my foreign language I'd like to know what you native speakers think of it.
    Either is fine, but the first one (three quarters of an hour) is more likely to be used.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    2. _______ of the two books holds the opinion that the danger of nuclear war is increasing.
    a. Either b. Neither
    The correct anwser is b while I think a is also correct . Am I right?
    While the two answers mean two opposite things, they are equally valid. They are both correct.

    :)

  4. #4
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: grammar

    I was wrong! I have changed my mind on one of the questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang

    2. _______ of the two books holds the opinion that the danger of nuclear war is increasing.
    a. Either b. Neither
    The correct anwser is b while I think a is also correct . Am I right?
    While both books might advance a particular opinion it does not, in my opinion, make sense to say that either of them does. Thus, only b is correct.

    :)

    [Edited for clarity.]

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    Default Re: grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    I posted two questions a few days ago but it seems they didn't reach you. Now I am going to post them again.

    I came across two multiple choice sentences. Two of the choices are confusing and the other two are totally wrong. I'd like to discuss the two confusing ones.

    1. They will have it finished in__________.
    a. three quarters of an hour. b. three quarters of an hour's time
    The key is 'b' but I think 'a' sounds more comfortable while 'b' sounds weird. But since English is my foreign language I'd like to know what you native speakers think of it.

    2. _______ of the two books holds the opinion that the danger of nuclear war is increasing.
    a. Either b. Neither
    The correct anwser is b while I think a is also correct . Am I right?

    I, too, had answered the questions some time ago; but, for the sake of learning, I'll post answers once again. :D

    1a. is incorrect. Although, three quarters of an hour is spoken and written in English, its true form is 1b. Speakers omit the -'s time part, so 1b. is the better choice.

    2a. is incorrect. Either refers to one or the other, not both. The statment calls for the meaning both, so Neither is the better choice.

    Sometimes, there isn't a wrong answer, per se, just a better answer.

    :D

  6. #6
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: grammar

    RonBee,
    I got confused. Am I wrong in thingking that 'either' means 'one of the two'? The dictionary says so. So if I understand it as 'one of the two books holds the opinion....' then can I choose 'a'
    Jiang

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee
    I was wrong! I have changed my mind on one of the questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang

    2. _______ of the two books holds the opinion that the danger of nuclear war is increasing.
    a. Either b. Neither
    The correct anwser is b while I think a is also correct . Am I right?
    Normally, either and neither are grammatically interchangeable. However, while both books might advance a particular opinion it does not, in my opinion, make sense to say that either of them does. Thus, only b is correct.

    :)

  7. #7
    jiang is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: grammar

    Dear Casiopea ,
    I got different answers. According to you in No.2 both are correct but neither is better. Is it?
    Jiang


    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    I posted two questions a few days ago but it seems they didn't reach you. Now I am going to post them again.

    I came across two multiple choice sentences. Two of the choices are confusing and the other two are totally wrong. I'd like to discuss the two confusing ones.

    1. They will have it finished in__________.
    a. three quarters of an hour. b. three quarters of an hour's time
    The key is 'b' but I think 'a' sounds more comfortable while 'b' sounds weird. But since English is my foreign language I'd like to know what you native speakers think of it.

    2. _______ of the two books holds the opinion that the danger of nuclear war is increasing.
    a. Either b. Neither
    The correct anwser is b while I think a is also correct . Am I right?

    I, too, had answered the questions some time ago; but, for the sake of learning, I'll post answers once again. :D

    1a. is incorrect. Although, three quarters of an hour is spoken and written in English, its true form is 1b. Speakers omit the -'s time part, so 1b. is the better choice.

    2a. is incorrect. Either refers to one or the other, not both. The statment calls for the meaning both, so Neither is the better choice.

    Sometimes, there isn't a wrong answer, per se, just a better answer.

    :D

  8. #8
    RonBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang
    Dear Casiopea ,
    I got different answers. According to you in No.2 both are correct but neither is better. Is it?
    Jiang
    No, I am afraid you are mistaken. She clearly says that 2a is incorrect.

    :)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea

    2. _______ of the two books holds the opinion that the danger of nuclear war is increasing.
    a. Either b. Neither


    2a. is incorrect. Either refers to one or the other, not both. The statement calls for the meaning both, so Neither is the better choice.

    Sometimes, there isn't a wrong answer, per se, just a better answer.
    Please re-read my response. It clearly states 2a is incorrect, which means, it's incorrect for that particular set of test questions. Given native speaker speech, "Either of the two" is OK, but given that the test you're taking gives you one choice only, 2b. is the better choice. The reason being, Neither of the two books holds the opinionmeans, This book nor that book, both, do not hold the opinion...

    Hope that helps.

    :D

  10. #10
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    Default Re: grammar

    I should clarify something.

    "Either of the two" is OK as it stands,

    Pat: Which do you prefer, apples or bananas?
    Sam: Either of the two. One or the other. (or = singular)

    Pat: Which do you prefer, apples or bananas?
    Sam: Neither of the two. Not apples and not oranges (and = plural)

    "Either of the two books hold", however, is not OK. The reason being, The verb is plural in number, whereas "Either" is singular in number. The test question is testing you on subject verb agreement.

    Neither is here. (OK) *edit are -> is
    Either are here (Not OK)

    Neither holds (OK) *edit hold -> holds
    Either hold (Not OK)

    :D

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