The basic unit of English grammar is the clause:

[An unlucky student almost lost a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000]

[when he left it in the waiting room of a London station.]

[William Brown inherited the 1698 Stradivarius violin from his mother]

[and had just had it valued by a London dealer at £180,000.]

Clauses are made up of phrases:

[An unlucky student] + [almost lost] + [a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000]

[when] + [he] + [left] + [it] + [in the waiting room of a London station.]

[William Brown] + [inherited] + [the 1698 Stradivarius violin] + [from his mother]

[and] [had just had it valued] + [by a London dealer] + [at £180,000.]

We can join two or more clauses together to make sentences.

An unlucky student almost lost a 17th century violin worth almost £200,000 when he left it in the waiting room of a London station.

William Brown inherited the 1698 Stradivarius violin from his mother and had just had it valued by a London dealer at £180,000.


 

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Comments

Joe sends messages to his friends on his phone.

If this sentence is correct, please explain why 'on' is used here instead of 'from'

If it is wrong, then please clarify the correct sentence.

Thank you.

Hello Sad,

Prepositional use can vary quite widely with modern technology. For example, you can hear people use various prepositions when describing being online: on the Internet, in the Internet, from the Internet etc.

As far as your example goes, I think that from his phone is the most likely option. You can do something  on your phone or send something from your phone, I would say. However, as I said, preposition use may vary across dialects and social groups.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Speaking of prepositions;
Which of the following sentences are the correct ones?

'What are you laughing at or about?'

'It arrives at London or in London?'

'What are you thinking of or about?'

Thanks

Hello Sad,

You can say laugh about or laugh at when you find a topic or situation funny:

I told him what I did and we both laughed about it.

I told him what I did and we both laughed at the situation.

 

However, when you laugh at someone you find them ridiculous or stupid in some way:

Hey! It's not nice to laught at her like that. She made a mistake, that's all.

 

For cities we use arrive in. You can say arrive at when you are talking about a building or similar location.

 

We say think about to describe the topic of our thoughts or to mean consider a decision:

I'm thinking about what you say earlier.

We need to think about when to arrange our next meeting.

 

We say think of when we mean imagine or invent something:

I need to think of something to say before she arrives.

 

You can find examples of the prepositions which are used with verbs by looking up those verbs in a good dictionary.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for replying.

I understood what you said, but away from modern use of prepositions, is it a correct grammar sentence when I say ' Joe sends messages to his friends on his phone?'

Or the correct one must be 'from' instead of 'on'. That is what confuseses me. Because I feel it is impossible to use 'on' here, it does not make sense.

Regards

Hi Sad,

'on' is correct here. As Peter, says, 'from' might be more common and other prepositions are possible (e.g. 'with'). Personally, I would probably say 'on' in this case.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi.
But has it anything to do with formal and informal language?
I mean 'on' sounds a bit strange to me.
In this case, anyone can choose any preposition which sounds suitable, but aren't we following the language rules?

Hello again Sad,

It has nothing to do with style and formality.

Language rules are not fixed from above but rather are descriptive, showing us what the language community considers to be standard at a given point in time. The fact that more than one preposition is commonly used by a given language community does not mean that anyone can use any preposition.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
Which one of the following is correct. When it is too hot, we use the adjecive the sun is too hot or the sun is too strong?
Thank you in advanced

Hi angie,

I'm afraid I can't give you a very good answer without knowing the context and the meaning that you want to communicate. In general, though, I think either 'strong' or 'hot' are fine.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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