A grammar question...

Status
Not open for further replies.

shane

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Member Type
Student or Learner
Okay, I'm the first to admit that my grammar is a bit dodgy! :shock:

In the school book today, there was the following sentence:

"How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?"

I swear that we usually ask "How much does a hamburger and a hot dog cost" - am I right or wrong?
We could also ask:

"How much is a hamburger and a hot dog?"
"How much would a hamburger and a hot dog cost?"

Am I right? I'm right, aren't I? Please tell me I'm right! :wink:

Shane
 
L

lucyarliwu

Guest
shane said:
In the school book today, there was the following sentence:

"How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?"

I swear that we usually ask "How much does a hamburger and a hot dog cost" - am I right or wrong?
We could also ask:

"How much is a hamburger and a hot dog?"
"How much would a hamburger and a hot dog cost?"

Am I right? I'm right, aren't I? Please tell me I'm right! :wink:

Shane

I get confused too, maybe you are right by using"does" or "would",Shane!
 

shane

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Member Type
Student or Learner
lucyarliwu said:
I get confused too, maybe you are right by using"does" or "would",Shane!

Thanks Lucy! I'm convinced I'm right :D
However, I'm waiting for one of the experts to come along IYKWIM (If You Know What I Mean) :wink:

P.S. NOT that I am calling you a 'non expert'!!!
 
L

lucyarliwu

Guest
Donot worry, Shane!

It doesn't matter to be regarded as a layman for me, because I 'll be bold to participate any discussion or topics and raising questions without any pressure freely. :)

Lucy--a proud English layman ;)
 

Red5

Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
British English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
Hi Shane,

I'm definitely on your side with this one, but I'll let the real teachers come in and have their say for a definitive answer. ;-)
 

shane

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Member Type
Student or Learner
lucyarliwu said:
Donot worry, Shane!

It doesn't matter to be regarded as a layman for me, because I 'll be bold to participate any discussion or topics and raising questions without any pressure freely. :)

Lucy--a proud English layman ;)

Way to go Lucy; confidence is the key to success :D
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
You often find a singular verb in sentences like yours, because it sounds better next to a singualr noun, even though there are two. It's especially common with 'there is a hot dog and a hamburger'. However, 'do' sounds better to me in this case. In BE, we are relaxed about this issue, but Americans tend to be a bit more picky. ;-)
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
You're welcome. ;-)
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
shane said:
Okay, I'm the first to admit that my grammar is a bit dodgy! :shock:

In the school book today, there was the following sentence:

"How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?"

I swear that we usually ask "How much does a hamburger and a hot dog cost" - am I right or wrong?
We could also ask:

"How much is a hamburger and a hot dog?"
"How much would a hamburger and a hot dog cost?"

Am I right? I'm right, aren't I? Please tell me I'm right! :wink:

Shane

I would say "How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?" just the same as I would say "How much do they cost?" Sorry to be disagreeable. :wink:

The other sentences are, IMO, perfectly fine. I judge them as being equivalent to "What is the cost of a hamburger and a hot dog?" with "cost" being the object of "is".

8)
 
L

lucyarliwu

Guest
RonBee said:
I would say "How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?" just the same as I would say "How much do they cost?" Sorry to be disagreeable. :wink:

The other sentences are, IMO, perfectly fine. I judge them as being equivalent to "What is the cost of a hamburger and a hot dog?" with "cost" being the object of "is".

8)

So may I make it into two alternatives?

#1 "How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?"
Here I might just want to know the sumup of two things together,
without caring about the price for each item;

#2" What's the cost of a hamburger and a hot dog?"
In this case, I want to know each price for each item individually,
for I can caculate the sumup myself.
 
L

lucyarliwu

Guest
RonBee said:
I would say "How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?" just the same as I would say "How much do they cost?" Sorry to be disagreeable. :wink:

The other sentences are, IMO, perfectly fine. I judge themn as being equivalent to "What is the cost of a hamburger and a hot dog?" with "cost" being the object of "is".

8)

So may I make it into two alternatives?

#1 "How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?"
Here I might just want to know the sumup of two things together,
without caring about the price for each item;

#2" What's the cost of a hamburber and a hot dog?"
In this case, I want to know each price for each item individually,
for I can caculate the sumup myself.
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
RonBee said:
I would say "How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?" just the same as I would say "How much do they cost?" Sorry to be disagreeable. :wink:

The other sentences are, IMO, perfectly fine. I judge them as being equivalent to "What is the cost of a hamburger and a hot dog?" with "cost" being the object of "is".

8)

lucyarliwu said:
So may I make it into two alternatives?

#1 "How much do a hamburger and a hot dog cost?"
Here I might just want to know the sumup of two things together,
without caring about the price for each item;

Exactly!

lucyarliwu said:
#2" What's the cost of a hamburger and a hot dog?"
In this case, I want to know each price for each item individually,
for I can caculate the sumup myself.

Actually, I see that one as being the same as the first one. The person is asking for the combined price of the two items. If she were asking the price of a hamburger she would simply say, "How much for a hamburger?"

8)
 
L

lucyarliwu

Guest
RonBee said:
lucyarliwu said:
#2" What's the cost of a hamburger and a hot dog?"
In this case, I want to know each price for each item individually,
for I can caculate the sumup myself.

Actually, I see that one as being the same as the first one. The person is asking for the combined price of the two items. If she were asking the price of a hamburger she would simply say, "How much for a hamburger?"

8)

What about " What's the cost of a hamburger and of a hot dog?"
And the same to 'how much' in " how much for a hamburger and for a hot dog?"
Maybe we just need to add some preposition in the vague sentence?
 

RonBee

Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Member Type
Other
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
lucyarliwu said:
What about " What's the cost of a hamburger and of a hot dog?"
And the same to 'how much' in " how much for a hamburger and for a hot dog?"
Maybe we just need to add some preposition in the vague sentence?

In both of your sample sentences the person is asking for the price of the two items combined. If you want to know the price of just one of them, you should ask for that separately. Otherwise, it might not be clear that that is what you want.

8)
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
What's the cost of a hamburger and that of a hot dog?

That would make it clear that you wanted them separately. ;-)
 
L

lucyarliwu

Guest
tdol said:
What's the cost of a hamburger and that of a hot dog?

That would make it clear that you wanted them separately. ;-)

OK, good idea!
:)
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
Although, I wouldn't want either of them ;)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top