Does one ‘have’ an academic degree, or is one ‘in’ an academic degree?

I have always referred to an academic degree as something I possess—e.g. ‘I have a degree in $subject’. However, I recently had to get my degree certificate out for a job interview and noticed that it says the following: ‘It is hereby certified that $name has been duly admitted to the degree of Master of … Read more

Can a plural subject be followed by a complement beginning “a…”?

Can anyone kindly explain why this sentence is correct? Complex musical numbers are a defining characteristic of most Italian films. Answer In a comment, John Lawler wrote: A defining characteristic of Italian films is not a subject; it is a noun phrase that is the predicate of the sentence, following the be form that is … Read more

CPE exam: The children agreed to take it in turns to tidy the playroom

While preparing for the CPE exam I came across the following sentence transformation task: The children agreed they would each tidy the playroom on alternate days. turns The children ________________________ the playroom. My answer was: The children agreed to take turns tidying the playroom. The key states: The children agreed to take it in turns … Read more

What is the difference between these two sentences? “If A is true, then B is true” and “Since A is true, B is true”

Consider the following two sentences: If A is true, then we can conclude that B is true. Since A is true, we can conclude that B is true. I have two questions: What is the difference between two sentences above? “Since A is true, then we can conclude that B is true.” Is this sentence … Read more

“seek” without preposition sounds weird

I am writing the following sentence (I made it shorter for this question): To achieve a better bound, we seek graphs with the following property. I read that using the phrase “seek for” is not recommended or even incorrect. Is my sentence OK? Thank you Answer Your sentence is OK. Seek takes a direct object. … Read more

Is it wrong to use “last” instead of “latter” to address the second element in a list of two?

I am reviewing an academic paper written by somebody else. At some point in this work the second element in a list of two elements is addressed as “the last”. I immediately reached for the red pen to change it into “the latter”, but then the doubt came: is there any rule prohibiting the use … Read more

How did “to wish that” come to hate the present tense in the subordinate clauses it governs, and why is it alone in this?

Inspired by this earlier question, I’ve realized that we have no canonical question addressing the stranglely one-of-a-kind special grammatical rules demanded by the verb wish of its subordinate clauses. This question seeks to remedy that situation. How did the verb to wish that come to require unique grammatical rules unlike any other? The verb wish … Read more