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Unread Jul 2nd, 2010, 04:05 am
susan53 susan53 is offline
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
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Default Re: all vs everything

I think what you mean is I heard a phone ringing - ie I heard a phone which was ringing.

Placing "ringing" in front of the noun like that turns it into an adjective - ie it's describing a quality of the phone so means I heard a phone which rings - which would be very weird as all phones do.
Compare eg : I have a new phone / I have a ringing phone. You might well say the first, but I can't imagine any context where you would say the second.

Notice here though that it's not a matter of grammar. Grammatically it's correct. Compare eg She has three screaming kids. ie She has three kids who scream. Same grammatical structure and perfectly OK.

But as I've said before, grammar is only a vehicle for meaning, and in this case the meaning which is expressed when ringing is placed in front of the noun is actually meaningless, whereas place screaming in front of kids and it does mean something.

Re the grammar book - depends what type you want. As a teacher, my own personal favourites are the Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, Svartvik series. (Several titles but I usually recommend A Communicative Grammar of English which is not the most complete adequate for most purposes. Used to be published by Longman, now I think it's become Pearson). It's rare that I can't find what I need there. Some of my trainee teachers find it difficult though, and one fell in love with the new Cambridge Grammar of English (Carter and McCarthy, CUP).

You might also like : The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course, Second Edition by Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman, heinle ELT

Or, at try the Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English, Biber et al

The one you choose needs to be "right" for you in the sense of starting from your current level of understanding of grammar and answering the type of questions you want to ask. The best way to choose is to go to a good ELT bookshop and have a look at them. Look up something which puzzles you, like the question you asked here, and see which one gives you the answer you find easiest to understand.
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