All votes were correct – so my students weren’t voting ;). Adverb placement is one of the trickiest issues in English grammar. As a rule of thumb, place them before the verb, but after an auxiliary verb (be, have):
Indian summer is especially nice when it lasts into November.
Unfortunately, I have never experienced it in New England.
Last week the Grammar Guru question was: Which two are correct?
Many emails are written needlessly. (100%, 9 Votes) = correct
Many emails are needless. (67%, 6 Votes) = correct
Many emails are written needless. (0%, 0 Votes) = incorrect
Many emails are needlessly. (0%, 0 Votes) = incorrect
Why didn’t everybody choose “Many emails are needless,” the shorter version? I think it’s because the verb “to be” takes adjectives, not adverbs, which is tricky! Other verbs take adverbs, even when they are in the passive, like here.
A classic drill: Take a list of verbs and adverbs that go together: “compete successfully; laugh loudly; sleep soundly” and make a sentence related to them. Then turn the verb into a noun, and the adverb into an adjective, so: “successful competition/competitors; a loud laugh; sound sleep”, and rephrase the sentence.
This week’s question again invites discussion. It’s about word order.Which one sounds better?
Last week, 9 out of 11 chose “take a break” over “make a break”. In German “Let’s take a break” is “Machen wir doch mal eine Pause.” When pairs of words in different languages are very similar but have different meanings, they are called “false friends”. Similar collocations (or word partnerships) don’t always mean the same thing, either: We can “make a clean break“, e.g. at the end of a relationship, to keep things from getting messy when the love is gone (wörtl.: einen glatten Bruch machen, eindeutig Schluß machen). “Make” changes the meaning of the phrase completely.
This week, decide which two sentences are correct:
Every single visitor who did the “used to” poll last week got it right – congratulations! “I’m used to getting up at 6. And you?” (talking about my habits) is sometimes confused with: “I used to get up at 5, but now I sleep until 6″. So I used to do something that I don’t do anymore.
This week’s grammar guru poll invites discussion. What would you say here: “We’ve done enough for the time being (=for now). Why don’t we make/take a break?”