English as a Second Language/word choice

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Question
1. The company said its factory would be closed down soon.

In the sentence, “its” is used as a possessive adjective to modify the noun “factory.” I wonder if “its” can also be used as a “possessive pronoun.”  Can you give me some examples?

2. I suspect that the new rescue plan will work.
I doubt that the new rescue plan will work.

(1.)   What is the difference between the two?

We usually do our tax return ourselves.
We usually file our tax return on our own.

(2.)   What is the difference between the two?

3. The mayor has just resigned.

(1.)    Is it possible to use the past tense? “The mayor just resigned” What is the difference?

W:Let's go out and get something to eat.
M:I have already eaten dinner. I already ate dinner.

(2.) Are both responses are correct? What's the difference?


4.I was looking for my key all night and haven’t found it yet.

(1.) In the sentence, may I say, “…and didn’t find it yet”? What is the difference?

Although I had not given a presentation before, I did not feel nervous.

(2.) Does it mean the same if I say “Although I had never given a presentation before..” or “Although I had no experience giving presentations…”?

5. The streets are all dry; it can't have rained last night.


(1.)    What does “can’t  have” indicate in the sentence?  “Impossibility” , “certainty” or both ?

(2.)    What does it indicate if I replace “can’t have” with “couldn’t have” or “must not have” ?

“Impossibility”, “certainty” or “deduction”?

Answer
1. The company said its factory would be closed down soon.

In the sentence, “its” is used as a possessive adjective to modify the noun “factory.” I wonder if “its” can also be used as a “possessive pronoun.”  Can you give me some examples?

The house looked as if it had a life of its own. (its is a possessive pronoun here)


2. I suspect that the new rescue plan will work.
I doubt that the new rescue plan will work.

(1.)   What is the difference between the two?

I suspect... implies the person trusts that the plan would work even though is not sure,
I doubt... implies the person doesn't think the plan will work.

The sentences above have almost opposite meanings.

We usually do our tax return ourselves.
We usually file our tax return on our own.

(2.)   What is the difference between the two? none really

3. The mayor has just resigned.

(1.)   Is it possible to use the past tense? “The mayor just resigned” Yes
What is the difference? None, even though if you want to use proper grammar you should use the Present Perfect

W:Let's go out and get something to eat.
M:I have already eaten dinner. I already ate dinner.

(2.) Are both responses are correct? yes
What's the difference? see above (we sometimes use the Past Tense instead of the Present Perfect mostly in informal contexts, and mostly when speaking, sometimes even in writing)


4.I was looking for my key all night and haven’t found it yet.

(1.) In the sentence, may I say, “…and didn’t find it yet”? What is the difference? Here you have to use the Present Perfect (haven't found) as you are talking about an event or an action that happened at an unspecified time before now. You can't use the Past Tense as that would only be appropriate for an action that started and finished at a specific time in the past.

Although I had not given a presentation before, I did not feel nervous.

(2.) Does it mean the same if I say “Although I had never given a presentation before..” or “Although I had no experience giving presentations…”? yes

5. The streets are all dry; it can't have rained last night.


(1.)    What does “can’t  have” indicate in the sentence?  “Impossibility” , “certainty” or both ?
it indicates impossibility, not certainty... the street may as well have dried from the rain last night.

(2.)    What does it indicate if I replace “can’t have” with “couldn’t have” or “must not have” ? Can't have and couldn't have are almost synonyms, but very few people ... if any use "can't have" in such a context... or at all.
"It mustn't have rained" ... doesn't make sense to me in this context  

English as a Second Language

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Amy Baker

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I can answer question about grammar, spelling, syntax, idioms, reading and/or writing that pertain to English as a Second Language. I am knowledgeable about both TOEFL and IELTS.

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