QUESTION So...commas and periods are always inside quotation marks, right? But question marks are sometimes outside quotation marks? Can you give me an example?
Is this right?
The band played "Dixie."
Did the band play "Dixie"? or Did the band play "Dixie?"
How about this one? I told you "No." Or this one? I told you "No!"
Right for an exclamation mark? or is it I told you "No"!
How about this? Did he just tell you "No?" or is it Did he just tell you "No"?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Lubbock, Texas Saturday, July 4, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Yes, in the United States, periods and commas go inside quotation marks regardless of logic; the other marks -- exclamation marks, question marks, semicolons, colons -- go where logic dictates. And you seem to have the hang of where logic dictates (the second options you give us are correct). Visit the section on Quotation Marks.
QUESTION Which should I use in the following sentence:So many stores are eager to offer attractive prices, but (few) (a few) (only a few) are as committed to service as we are.Or is it possible that all three can be used but with different meanings? Please explain. Thanks in advance. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Taipei, Taiwan Saturday, July 4, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word "few" is fine in that sentence (as a stand-alone, indefinite pronoun), and you can easily modify it in the phrase "only a few." The article doesn't work, along with "few" in this sentence only because of the logic. Incidentally, I would get rid of the word "so" in this sentence.
QUESTION I need an example of when use speak, talk, tell, say. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Poza rica, Ver. Mexico Saturday, July 4, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE First, make sure you look up these words in the dictionary: try the WWWebster's Online Dictionary. Do these examples help?
(The third and fourth examples are virtually interchangeable.)
- I spoke to my neighbor about the noise from last night's party.
- We talked about the distance between our houses.
- I told him I hoped such noisy events wouldn't happen again.
- I said that if it gets that noisy again, I would call the police.
QUESTION Dear Grammar
I would like to know why, mister, is abbreviated by, Mr., and not, Mr, as well as the other abbreviations e.g. Mrs.; Dr.
If I used, Mr, would that be correct? Is there a difference to the way words are abbreviated in English and American English? I remember when I was taught in school that, mister,was abbreviated, Mr, If I remember correctly the rule was, if the abbreviation did not end on the last letter of the abbreviated word then it would require a period; if it did then it would not require a period, e.g. incorporated=inc.; doctor=Dr
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Saturday, July 4, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Such a rule would be interesting, but I'm not aware of its existence. The writing manuals I use all say to put a period after Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc. (but not after Ms, because it's not an abbreviation, we're told). As far as I know, it's the same in England. I don't know the origins of such conventions; sometimes they're neither logical nor consistent -- but they keep English teachers in business.
QUESTION How are you doing?
My question is Transition word" contrastively". How to use it and where is location? Thank for your help. Have a great day!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Saturday, July 4, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Fine, and thank you! I had never heard of the word "contrastively" before. Now that I've heard of it, I don't think I'll ever use it. It means "in contrast," and can probably be used instead of "in contrast," "on the other hand," and other transitional devices used to introduce contradictory elements, but I highly recommend using the more common expressions.
QUESTION Hi!"Mary is a very talented artist whose works are being displayed in an art gallery on First Avenue."Well, the given sentence is supposed to be correct according to Heinemann`s "Preparation Course TOEFL". But as far as I am concerned, there must be a comma, because it is not a defining relative clause. I will write to the editor and we'll see what is going to happen.. .;-) Can you help? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Hamburg, Germany Sunday, July 5, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Sometimes deciding whether a clause is a "defining relative clause" is not easy. Yes, "Mary is a very talented artist" can certainly stand by itself and the rest of the sentence can sound like "added information," but in my judgment (and apparently in the judgment of the writer), it is essential ("defining") information that should not be set off with a comma. Intent plays a role in punctuation. And we are writing this sentence with the intent of saying not just that Mary is a very talented artist but that she is a very talented artist whose work is appearing. . . . I agree that it is appropriate not use a comma in this sentence.
QUESTION How would you write the following:Nat Williams Elementary SchoolShould there be an apostrophe after the s in Williams? (the guy's name was Williams)
Or in this example:The Williams PTA program... or The Williams facultyThanks a bunch!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Lubbock, Texas Sunday, July 5, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You would use an apostrophe after Williams only if Mr. Williams actually owned the elementary school. If it's named after him, his name becomes "attributive" (adjectival), not possessive, and you won't use an apostrophe. As long as you're using the word "the" at the beginning of those other phrases, the word "Williams" is also attributive and won't have an apostrophe. It is possible, though, to talk about Williams's faculty (because the faculty belongs to that school).
QUESTION Hi! I'm a high school student in South Korea. After the boring English class we had a confusing question. Would you please help me and my friends?
The question is:
Suppose I see a stranger looking for a building on a street, and I want to help him or her to find the right building. In this case can I say to him or her, "Where are you looking for?", or "What are you looking for?"?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Taejon, Korea Sunday, July 5, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You would want to ask "What are you looking for?" You were surely mistaken, though, about the English class being boring!
QUESTION I'm having trouble with my plurals and past tense, especially in writing. What can I do to improve this? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE North Adams, Massachusetts Sunday, July 5, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You can review the material on Plurals and Possessives and then go over Verbs and Verbals, but what you probably need is some course work. Isn't there a community college near North Adams where you could pick up a course in Composition or pre-Composition?
QUESTION Although I know country songs are not always, and they don't have to be, gramatically correct, I wonder if in this sentence "of" can be correct or not."I could have missed the pain, but I'd of had to miss the dance." SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Belem, PA, Brazil Sunday, July 5, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, that's the way many people (too many people!) spell the "have" of "I would have had to miss the dance," and in truth, it's not a bad phonetic spelling (of the way that most people say that phrase). But it's wrong. You're right, though, about the spelling and grammar licenses owned by most song writers -- and not just country music writers.
QUESTION The vet refused to be paid considering his good deed. In the sentence above, I can't figure out which word, or part of the sentence is modified by "considering". Please tell me what type of phrase is in use in that sentence. Thank you. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Sunray, Texas Monday, July 6, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Considering his good deed" is a participial phrase trying to modify something, but there's nothing in the sentence that it can appropriately modify. We could write something like "Considering his good deed, we should pay the vet." "In spite of" would make more sense than "considering" in the sentence you give us.
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