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Your English Questions of the Month

Average: 3.3 (15 votes)

Every month we ask our newsletter readers to send their English language questions to EC Brighton's teacher, Tim. Here are the best questions of the month.

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me either vs. me neither

Question: Could you please tell me the difference between the use of "me either" and "me neither" in a sentence?
Sigrun, Iceland

Answer: Very easily, me either simply does not exist as a construction, and is therefore incorrect. If you wish to agree with someone who has expressed a negative comment, you say 'Me neither', 'Nor me', or even 'I don't either'. (or I'm not / I wouldn't etc, depending on the auxiliary)
All the best,

three years old vs. three-year-old

Question: What is the difference between the following:
-The child is three years old
-The three-year-old child...
Thank you
Zaher Turkmeni, Syrian Arab Republic

Answer: Well, the first is a sentence, and the second is just a subject or object depending on which way you look at it.
The point being that adjectives, including numbers and time units when before a noun, are singular. But after a noun, the number/time units are plural after the complement is/are/am/was etc.
So what you have written is correct, though clearly to make any sense, the second one needs more words!
All the best,

so vs. too

Question: I want to know differences between "so" and "too". We say "too much" and "so much" as same way. If there have any generals rules? Please explain. Thanking you.
Fama H

Answer: No we do not say them in the same way.
So much and too much have different meanings.
In this context, too + adjective, or too much/many + noun means excessive, it has a negative connotation. It is the opposite of not enough

  • I have too much work to do
  • It's too hot
  • You are asking too many questions
  • The music in the bar was too loud

The meaning of so much is very different. Sometimes we use so like very.

  • The film was very scary, the film was so scary.

But usually when we use so (+ much), we use a that clause as well.

  • He won so much money that he paid for his new house in cash.
  • She was so beautiful that many men asked to marry her.
  • I enjoyed the book so much that I had to read it again.
  • The lesson was so boring that I fell asleep in the class.

There are other uses of so and too. A good grammar book will help you.
All the best,

as vs. as if

Question: First of all, I like your web site's content. They teach me so many things. I enter everyday and read all the latest contents. I don't have clear grammar usage of 'as' and 'as if'. After these what kinds of structure do I need to use? Please, explain me.
Thank you,

Answer: As has many uses, it is used in comparative structures like, 'He was as tall as a tree, and as strong as a bull.'
As + adjective + as.
We use it to say what job someone does, 'She was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar.'
As + a + job.

In fixed expressions, as soon as = immediately after, as long as = an emphatic if.
EG, 'Call me as soon as you get home'
'You can borrow my car as long as you drive very, very carefully!'

As if has a different use. It is used frequently with the verbs look, sound, taste, feel, and smell + as if + subject/verb etc.
It looks as if it is going to rain.
It sounds as if he is not very happy.
It tastes as if you have added too much salt.

It has the same meaning as 'as though' in this use.

Check in a good grammar book for further uses.
All the best,

a question of context

Question: My question relates to the word "context". According to Oxford dictionary, it means 'the circumstances that form the setting for something, for example for an event or idea. Or the situation, information or events that are related to something and that help you to understand it. but it hasn't made the difference between the words "context", "situation" and "circumstance" absolutely clear, so there is a confusion about what the correct phrase should be:

- political context for an event
- political situation for that event
- political circumstances for that event

Thank you very much,
Alireza M, Iran

Answer: The dictionary has answered your question better than I can. Depending on the context (HA, HA, see what I did there?), context can indeed mean a situation, a manner of expression, a type of circumstance. Language is not a precise science, don’t sweat it too much!
All the best,

Last month's best English questions