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The Best of the Blog

Novembre 2014
The Speak Up blog answers any questions you may have either about the English language or our articles. Write to us (preferably in English) at: http://blog.speakuponline.it. The most interesting questions will be published on this page. A word of warning, though: our blog is not a translation or homework service!

Grammar part 1
I read (with great interest) the article ‘The Sex and the City tour’ (June 2014) and found the construction  subject + have + somebody + infinitive without to (“we’ve all had somebody disappoint us”).
Could you explain its exact meaning and use? Armando

The easiest way to explain this is to say that “We’ve all had somebody disappoint us” is an informal way of saying “We’ve all had the experience of somebody disappointing us” (siamo stati tutti delusi da qualcuno).  It is not a very sophisticated construction, but it’s fine in conversation. Other examples could include “We’ve all had someone lie to us” (In other words “We’ve all had the experience of someone lying to us”; “È capitato a tutti che qualcuno ci dicesse delle bugie”).

Grammar part 2
In “The magnificent Mini” (August 2014) there is the sentence “I haven’t seen one in years.” Isn’t it better to say “I haven’t seen one for years?”  What is the difference between “in” and “for” in this context? Thank you.

The expression “I haven’t seen one in years” is correct. It’s another way of saying “I haven’t seen one for years” and in this context (we’re talking about a long period of time) it is actually better. It describes a negative (“I haven’t seen”). In the case of a positive (“We have been going to Spain for our holidays for years”) “for” is better.

Out of the office...
Could you please explain the difference between To Answer, To Reply and To Respond? In the “Out of Office Messages” (talking about emails) I found all the three forms but I would like to know which is the right one, or if there is any difference... Many thanks. Mag

There’s no need to worry: all are perfectly OK. Most people would use “automatic reply” as the title.

How many kids?

Is it correct to say, “I’ve got two kids,” or is better not to use “got” for children?

The construction “I’ve got” doesn’t depend on the subject matter, therefore you can definitely say “I’ve got two kids.”

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