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Your English: Word grammar: wonder

Type: Article

A little dose of word grammar from Tim Bowen works wonders, you know!

Wonder normally functions as a verb and can be followed by about, as in ‘I wonder about him, I really do’, if or whether, as in ‘I wonder if they’ll get married’, and by words such as how, what and when, as in ‘I wonder why she didn’t phone’.

As a noun, wonder is used in both the singular and plural forms. In the singular, it is normally found in expressions such as It’s a wonder, as in ‘Your writing is so small, it’s a wonder anyone can read it’ and It’s no wonder, as in ‘It’s no wonder they won the league after all the money they’ve spent on players’. No wonder can also be used as a response to mean ‘I’m not surprised’ (by what you’ve just told me).

If something works wonders it has a very good effect on someone or something, as in ‘I usually find that a bit of fresh air works wonders for me’ or ‘They have worked wonders with kids that other schools had rejected’.

The expression wonders will never cease is used as a response to indicate that you are very surprised or happy about something, as in ‘Jason has finally found a job.’ ’Has he? Wonders will never cease!’ This expression can also be used ironically if you feel distinctly underwhelmed by something someone has just told you, as in ‘The Joneses have just bought a brand new Mercedes.’ ’Really? Wonders will never cease.’

Wonder can also function as an adjective in pre-nominal position to mean ‘extremely good or effective’, as in ‘Aspirin is widely regarded as the first wonder drug’.

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