Not my cup of tea

Heard an English teacher claim that: “Dogs is not my cup of tea” is correct; whereas “Dogs are not my cup of tea” is incorrect. The explanation was that the verb form of ‘to be’ must agree with the singular noun ‘cup’ and not the plural noun ‘dogs’. Checked Google on this and it appears … Read more

The function of “young”in these sentence

He left home young He died young Does the word "young" act as either a predicative complement or a incidental adverbial in those sentences?And how to distinguish them? Answer It is not always simple to distinguish adverbial from adjectival usage in this sort of construction. Is the word in question saying something more about the … Read more

“Often” as complement of BE

Often is an adverb according to Oxford Dictionaries Online. ADVERB 1 Frequently; many times. ‘he often goes for long walks by himself’ ‘how often do you have your hair cut?’ 1.1 In many instances. ‘vocabulary often reflects social standing’ As an adverb, it should not be a complement of BE as this answer explains and … Read more

“I am X” vs. “X is me”

Is there a difference in grammaticality, meaning, or usage between the following two ways of phrasing the same statement? I am sure that I am the appropriate candidate for this position. – versus I am sure that the appropriate candidate for this position is me. Answer The two statements are both grammatically correct, and the … Read more

“was” or “were” when there is number mismatch between subject and predicative complement

I have a question about this sentence: The only thing he feared more than the wolves were the swirling buzzards. I believe it to be correct, but someone suggested that the “were” should be changed to “was”. Which one is correct? Answer The only thing he feared more than the wolves were the swirling buzzards. … Read more

verb or adjective in “The blue page is *stapled* to the red page”?

Consider the following sentence. The blue page is stapled to the red page. Although “stapled” is (apparently) past-tense, nonetheless the above sentence is clearly expressing something about the present. What gives? In particular, would it be wrong to label “stapled” as past-tense in that sentence? (note: Er, actually the OP’s question involves the difference between … Read more

He died [as?] a broken man

He died a broken man. One of my students came across this sentence in an article, and a quick search for "he died a * man" yields a plethora of similar ones. I’m fairly certain this sentence is grammatically correct, and indeed it sounds perfectly correct to my ears. What’s irking me is that I … Read more

“That was me” vs. “That was I”

When telling a story about myself from the past, I have found myself in an internal debate over whether the correct way to segue into the present is: That was me twelve years ago. Or: That was I twelve years ago. My instincts tell me the first is correct (object pronoun after a verb and … Read more

What part of speech is “fun” in “Hiking is fun”?

Please consisder the sentence Hiking is fun. What is each word’s part of speech? Hiking = gerund is = verb fun = _____? I don’t know what fun is here. Is it an adverb that modifies the copular verb is? a predicate adjective modifying hiking? a noun as a predicate complement in the copula? Answer … Read more