LIST of GRAMMAR questions!

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: April 2004 Archive: LIST of GRAMMAR questions!
By Shaka (Shaka) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 09:38 pm: Edit

1. When should i use "would"/"will"?
2. What is the deal with "should"? When do i use it?
3. "Might" or "may"?

Please post your own SAT2 writing grammar questions if you got some!

By Shaka (Shaka) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit


By Volley17 (Volley17) on Sunday, April 25, 2004 - 11:58 pm: Edit

I'd suggest posting some examples with your questions. From the way they are now, and the examples that I've come up with off the top of my head, I'd say that all of the above are interchangeable.

By Shaka (Shaka) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 04:47 pm: Edit


"the biology book that the teachers initally gave us was replaced recently BY one with illustrations...."

shouldn't it be "recently WITH"?

By Apg (Apg) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 05:24 pm: Edit

No, I like "by." It allows you to aviod using with twice within three words. However, "with" seems to work as well (even if it makes the sentence a bit awkward).

By Drusba (Drusba) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 07:23 pm: Edit

"1. When should i use "would"/"will"?"

The distinction has become blurred over time but you can still find one. Will usually means that something definitely will happen in the future either without condition or if a condition is met; e.g., "I will go to college if I am accepted." Would often implies indefiniteness because of a condition that is unlikely to be met, cannot be met, is controlled by another, or may or may not ever occur, e.g., (a) "I would go to college if I could afford it but I probably can't." (Condition unlikely to be met) (b) "If I were you, I would go to college" (Condition cannot be met -- you are now and never will be that other person). (c) "Would you go to college if I were to pay for it?" (Condition is something that may or may not ever happen because it is controlled by the choice of another)

"2. What is the deal with "should"? When do i use it?"

This is more vague than your first question and thus unanswerable but if you are asking the distinction between should and shall, it is somewhat similar to above although in usage it has almost completely blurred.

"3. "Might" or "may"?"

The distinction is essentially non-existent today. Proper English in the long ago past limited "may" to permission and you were supposed to use might to indicate the possibility of something happening. For example, "I may go to college" was considered inproper unless the sense you were trying to create is that you were seeking permission to do so. Thus, "I might go to college" was proper if you were referring to the possibility of going. Today, that distinction is gone except in the minds of ancient purists as "may" is commonly used to refer to the possibility of something happening.

Not sure whether SAT would follow the old purist rule and I would hope that SAT would avoid asking questions for a distinction between words where grammatical experts might disagree as to what is proper today. What is considered proper English changes over time from usage despite what purists may try to claim. It just changes very slowly. Example: fifty years ago grammatical purists all cringed at putting a preposition at the end of a sentence; now it is accepted, grudgingly by some, as proper in a number of situations, e.g., "What is this for?"

By Shaka (Shaka) on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 07:49 pm: Edit

so such distinctions between "may" and "might" are too controversial for the SAT2 to test us on, right?

By Shaka (Shaka) on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - 01:12 am: Edit


to/toward? when to use which one? ex. "changing the direction to/toward"?

at/in?? When to use which?? at the park? or in the park

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - 12:12 pm: Edit

I agree that the distinction has become blurred because of the growing acceptance of improper use the language. It is a shame that the "purists" end up on the short end of the dialogue. Oh well, some call that progress! The reality is that using may as opposed to might would not raise anyeyebrows. Compared to expressions such as "comprised of" the mistake is quite insignificant. Even the incorrect and totally illogical and moronic use of "comprised of" has become acceptable -and used in many elite colleges publications. We are definitely on a slippery slope where morons are leading America towards a slow erosion of correct language. Such a shame!

Here's a tidbit about might/may:


Most of the time “might” and “may” are almost interchangeable, with “might” suggesting a somewhat lower probability. You’re more likely to get wet if the forecaster says it may rain than if she says it might rain; but substituting one for the other is unlikely to get you into trouble—so long as you stay in the present tense.

But “might” is also the past tense of the auxiliary verb “may,” and is required in sentences like “Chuck might have avoided arrest for the robbery if he hadn’t given the teller his business card before asking for the money.” When speculating that events might have been other than they were, don’t substitute “may” for “might."

As an aside: if you are an old-fashioned child, you will ask, “May I go out to play?” rather than “Can I go out to play?” Despite the prevalence of the latter pattern, some adults still feel strongly that “may” has to do with permission whereas “can” implies only physical ability. But then if you have a parent like this you’ve had this pattern drilled into your head long before you encountered this page.

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