QUESTION What's the difference between the simple present perfect and the present perfect continuous? For example:
- I have painted the house.
- I have been painting the house.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Casablanca, Morocco Monday, July 6, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The present perfect indicates that at some point the action was finished. The continuous, on the other hand, could mean that you are still painting the house. You were painting the house all day today (that's why there is paint all over your face) and you might still be painting the house -- now and even tomorrow.
Welcome to Morocco! This is the first time we've heard from your country!
QUESTION I have a question for you.
In describing an apparatus for use in archery, can the following wording be used. (note: this is only a partial description.)"A plurality of bushings aligned and contained within the carriage. The plurality of bushings being separated by slotted openings."The plurality refers to two or more bushings. My question concerns the use of the word "openings." Openings is in a plural form. Yet, if there are two bushings there can only be a single opening. Does the word "openings" imply there has to be more than one opening? Or can a single opening be included in a plural form of the word? At this time I can not reword the description. I just need to know, if there is a limitation of two or more openings using grammer as you understand it.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Jefferson City, Missouri Tuesday, July 7, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In this context, I don't think the plural "bushings" necessarily implies there has to be more than one in each case (such as you describe). Understand that I don't know what you're talking about -- bushings, carriage, plurality, etc. -- but it makes sense to me, somehow. I think it's the word "plurality" that's getting you in trouble here. What does it mean? more than one? What if it read, "Each plurality of bushings aligned and contained within the carriage and separated from others by slotted openings"? (I shouldn't even guess without being able to picture these things!)
QUESTION S-V Problem: Could you please correct the following sentence:The relation between the x's and the y's and the z's has/have been the subject of this paper SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE State College, Pennsylvania Tuesday, July 7, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word "relation" in that sentence is singular, so we want the singular verb, "has." If we changed it to relations or relationships among the x's, y's, and z's . . ., we would want the plural, "have." (Technically, we could still use "between," even with the plural "relations.")
QUESTION Hi, I appreciate this web site and think that you can help me a lot of gammar problems.Please tell me that how to use "as to".Thank you very much. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Vancouver BC, Canada Tuesday, July 7, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think you have in mind the use of this phrase in something like "As to the problem of insufficient rainfall, we have no control." Or "We had no opinion as to his abilities." It's a phrase you'll hear from time to time in informal speech and even read it, but I would avoid it. "We have no control over the problem of insufficient rainfall," "We had no opinion about his abilities." You can always find a better way of saying it.
QUESTION I recently took a test which had the following question.A function argument which is an object can have its members changed by that function if it is declared as a __________.Is there any definitive noun that the word "IT" refers to. If the word "IT" refers to the subject "argument" then the answer is totally different than if the word "IT" refers to the most recent noun "function". SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Glen Burnie, Maryland Tuesday, July 7, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You're right about the change of meaning, but the "it" refers to "a function argument" (whatever that means). This is especially true since "its" even more clearly refers to (is a possessive of) "a function argument." The sentence would be much better, though, with a repetition of the subject:A function argument which is an object can have its members changed by that function if that function argument is declared as a __________.
QUESTION I'm editing a book. I'm using your capitalization stuff, checking things like Post-colonial studies, modernism, postmodernism are these right? Or is it Post-modernism or postmodernism -- is there a rule? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Hartford, Connecticut Tuesday, July 7, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The best resource for such dilemmas is the Chicago Manual of Style, but I don't see Postmodernism in their extensive list. The Chicago style book gives rules for such matters, but they're so complicated and subtle and there are so many exceptions that it's pointless to try to remember them. Only a good dictionary will help. Generally, the trend is to drop the hyphen and not to capitalize. If, however, something like Postmodernism takes on the aura of something like Romanticism and Victorianism, then it gets capitalized. I would capitalize it when I'm referring to it as a school, but use lower case when I'm using it as a modifier. Given that difference, consistency is a virtue. Frankly, your best bet is to find a journal article by someone you trust where such terms are used and copy that person's style. As a general rule, it's always good to have someone else to blame -- other than me.
QUESTION Is entitled used correctly in the following example?She wrote a book entitled "Blah, blah, blah."I see it used that way often, but thought it should be titled instead of entitled. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The dictionary says this use of the word entitled is acceptable, although I have to agree it feels as though we're trying to make the book a knight or something. I hope she comes up with a better title.
QUESTION I can't find anything in the index about grammatical rules covering the incorporation of speech in text. What rules do you have to offer?
Would you start a new paragraph every time speech is started, or would you run it on if the person who starts speaking is the subject of the narrative immediately before?
Mrs Harris put on her coat.
"I'm off now," she said."
Mrs Harris put on her coat. "I'm off now," she said."
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE There are some suggestions about this under Quotation Marks. Yes, you would run that quotation into the same paragraph as the narrative element preceding it. However, you can find so many exceptions to any "rules" about punctuating dialogue that the rules become useless. I recommend that students find an author (preferably someone rather traditional) whom they like who uses a lot of dialogue, photocopy a couple of pages with an abundance of speech exchanges, and keep them on their desktop as a model until they've mastered the intricacies of punctuating speech.
QUESTION Ampersand vs. "and" - should the ampersand sign be avoided? When is it okay to use "&" instead of writing it out to "and"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Calgary, Alberta, Canada Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I can't find any admonitions in my writing manuals about using the ampersand only in certain situations. I would reserve its use for those moments when it's typographically necessary -- writing couple's names in a restricted space, say; recording the name of a company or book title that incorporates the ampersand (especially in the APA format of documentation); with inclusive numbers, etc. In normal text, what you don't want is for the ampersand to become a symbol of the writer's laziness -- and is not so very hard to type, after all.
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