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I did research and I'm pretty advanced in grammar and online marketing. I wasn't asking for proofreading and my question was regarding proper grammar usage. I went to read the help section as suggested and it still didn't make sense to me. I have even read through the similar questions for both this question and the referenced question: Would the phrase "Would you have interest?" be grammatically correct?

Please tell me. If this is not a community for helping with questions like this, what is a good example of a question that should be asked about grammar?

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Welcome to English Language and Usage or English.StackExchange.com, also called English.SE, EL&U or ELU. As a new member you cannot be expected by anybody to be an expert at knowing how to ask a question here, but please be informed that questions of the type "is this sentence all right" or "is this phrase all right in this sentence" are considered 'proofreading' here, which is a reason to close a question as off-topic.

As the close notice explains, "requests for proofreading are off-topic unless you have raised some specific concern with the text" (paraphrase). Since it would be interpreted as 'proofreading', a member cannot simply suggest a phrase and ask whether it is grammatically correct.

So what does the community expect?

Taking your own question as a specific example, the first thing expected is that you must explain why you have the idea that 'would you have interest' might possibly be grammatically incorrect. Also, what alternative phrase have you considered?

[It's probably not enough to say, "my friend says it is incorrect." Why does your friend say so? We expect you to find that out and specify it in your question, which you can edit and improve before submitting for reopening, right here on meta.]

Secondly, and whatever be the nature of any member's question, they need to show what research they have done by themself on this question before asking it here at ELU. Not showing research is itself a reason to close a question. It is also very useful to provide an example sentence to show us how you plan to use the phrase in question. All of that demonstrates that you have a genuine and specific problem with syntax, grammar or usage that persists even after you did your basic research, and also tells us what sort of solution you are looking for here.

To conclude, this is my suggested outline (not for copying but just to give you an illustration to work on) how the same question might be written in a way that is not a request for proofreading:

I need to write a recruitment notice and am having some difficulty with the expression 'would you have interest.' My friend says it sounds grammatically incorrect.

She is no expert and couldn't explain why, but I looked up the usage of the word "interest" online and found the following explanations of how it is usually used:

[please give extracts of definitions, usage notes and examples, with links to the websites that gave the information.]

I now have a specific concern whether 'have interest' is the right expression in this situation, as in

"would you have interest in taking up this project that pays three thousand dollars for three months' work and guarantees plenty of quality experience?"

My friend thinks that is not how native speakers of English would naturally use 'interest' here. I have considered alternative formulations such as "would you express interest", "will you be interested" and "would you show interest" but do not understand which is the best choice for this case.

So is 'would you have interest' the most natural expression in this context? If not, please explain why and also tell me which way 'interest' could be best used here.

Update: Nice to see your question reopened @Amber & I am quite sure (as also confirmed by the senior member Sven Yargs in the earlier comment here) that using "would you have interest in this job" is grammatically correct, although "would you be interested in" might be the more natural expression for native speakers of English, as noted in the simple yet excellent answer to your question, written by Jack Woods.

I am not a native speaker of English myself and we routinely use "would you have interest" in Indian English. Nobody will misunderstand your phrase and it is absolutely fine to use either variant.

I also particularly appreciate your willingness and effort to improve your question substantially based on community expectations, which convinced the members very much and succeeded in getting it reopened.

  • Thank you for your answer. I'm sufficiently terrified of asking questions on this site. The answer you give does make it clear that my question was not clear. – Amber Nov 22 '17 at 3:35
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    You are most welcome and we are glad to help you @Amber N. I would simply say your question was too short and lacked full details. I joined this site as my first site on the Stack Exchange network only in April 2017. We all learn by asking more questions, studying the help topics and reading the other good questions here. English.SE sets high standards for quality and expects us to do our basic research before asking about anything, but this is also the biggest library of well-answered questions and the most helpful community for anyone who needs clarification about English language and usage! – English Student Nov 22 '17 at 3:44
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    @AmberN.Shinault: Few English speakers use the words grammatical and ungrammatical in a strict, consistent, formal way. Instead, more often than not, ungrammatical means something rather indefinite and protean such as "sounds weird to me or breaks a rule of usage that I was taught in school or in some other setting" and grammatical means "does not so offend." If someone in your office told you that "Would you have interest?" is ungrammatical, that person is using ungrammatical in a highly subjective, technically incorrect way. The issue you raise is one of usage, not grammaticality. – Sven Yargs Nov 22 '17 at 3:54
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    Very true @Sven Yargs. When I asked my first questions here 7 months sgo, a kind member who holds a pedantic idea of what can be correctly called a question of 'grammatical/ ungrammatical' was good enough to enlighten me that the way I used the expression "grammatically correct" was meaningless in the context of my question. Thus I learnt the useful lesson that 'grammar' and 'grammatical' have specific meanings and (are often used but) ought not to be employed as catch-all descriptions for every question about English. – English Student Nov 22 '17 at 4:10
  • My manager (that's who it was) meant "not grammatically correct." She was referring to "breaking the rules" of grammar, but likely it just sounded weird to her. My concern was to find out if I was breaking the rules of grammar. I still don't know if I was breaking a "grammar rule." I also would love to know where I can find the reference to the answer. I edited my question so that hopefully it gets someone to answer the grammar rule as if someone misunderstood the phrase then it obviously isn't a good phrase to use. – Amber Nov 22 '17 at 4:45
  • Nice to see your question reopened @Amber & I am quite sure (as also confirmed by the senior member Sven Yargs in the earlier comment) that using "would you have interest in this job" is grammatically correct, although "would you be interested in" might be the more natural expression for native speakers of English, as noted in the simple yet excellent answer to your question, written by Jack Woods. I am not a native speaker of English myself and we routinely use "would you have interest" in Indian English. Nobody will misunderstand your phrase and it is absolutely fine to use either variant. – English Student Nov 22 '17 at 9:44
  • Thank you all. I am glad it got reopened. It sounds like there is not an agreement around whether it is grammatically correct or not. It's easy to brush it aside and say it is not and provide people saying it's not correct. I wish someone could find the rule around why it wouldn't be correct other than "it doesn't sound right." – Amber Nov 22 '17 at 13:35
  • @Amber There is a difference between 'correct' (following explicit rules) and 'style choice' (opinionated likes and dislikes), but there is a lot of overlap, and a lot of things that we are taught in school sound like rules but are really style choices (e.g. no split infinitives, no prepositions at end). Finding an explicit resource to justify any of these things can be hard. Some people don't like making a verb out of a noun calling it an error/mistake/incorrect (otherwise called verbing a noun), but it's common enough. – Mitch Nov 22 '17 at 16:37
  • @Amber But is there an easy way to look up the rules or the style choices? Not really, it's not like an on-line dictionary. But CGEL (Huddleston and Pullum) is supposed to be the best currently. – Mitch Nov 22 '17 at 16:40
  • Agreed, Mitch. That was going to be my next question. Is there a good desktop or online reference.Thank you for your answer. – Amber Nov 23 '17 at 3:39

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