QUESTION Should I put a comma between "to" and "and" in the following sentence:It is Jane who should be thanked for her steadfast commitment to and hard work on behalf of the fine arts community. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think you can justify setting off "and hard work on behalf of" with a pair of commas (one after "to" and one after "of") in order to avoid a sentence that becomes hard to read. Frankly, it's a much more elegant sentence if you assume that commitment involves hard work (not necessarily true, I have to admit) and just leave the hard work part out -- or put her hard work in another sentence.
QUESTION My boss insists on typing dates like this:We will meet on July 4th.I, in turn, insist that it is proper to leave the "th" off. What is the correct answer?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Boise, Idaho Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE That depends on how secure you are in your job. Most writing manuals nowadays -- in fact, all of them on my shelf -- suggest that the "th" and the "rd," etc. are quite unnecessary and should be left out. In casual writing, I suppose they're acceptable, but in formal writing (which surely includes most business communications), the "th" should be left off.
QUESTION Which is correct: SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Washington, D.C. Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't know if waiting "on line" is a regionalism or just plain wrong. For some reason, "waiting" gets connected with prepositions in odd ways. If you're waiting on someone, that's means you're serving them; if you're waiting for someone that means you're where you ought to be but the other person isn't there yet. But that wasn't your question. "We waited in line" is correct.
QUESTION I've seen these two sentences. I'd like to know which subordinate adjective clause is ok. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Mexico City, Mexico Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Actually, the two sample sentences you wrote were identical, but I'm going to assume you meant to leave the commas out of one example. Usually, the word "which" is going to introduce a restrictive clause (a parenthetical element that can be left out of a sentence without changing its essential meaning) that will be set off with a pair of commas. I don't think that's true of this clause. I would suggest changing "which" to "that" and getting rid of the commas. You might want to check out our information on which and that among the Notorious Confusables.
QUESTION I would like to know the correct name for this symbol @ Could you please tell me?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Thousand Oaks, California Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I have no idea what that thing is called. I'll post this question and less than satisfactory answer and maybe someone who knows will send us a better answer by means of e-mail
Gerald Smyth sends us the following:
I found a list of 21 names for '@' at a website entitled 'pronunciation guide for unix' (http://manuel.brad.ac.uk/help/.faq/.unix/.pronun.html). The names include: at sign, at, each, vortex, whirl, whirlpool, cyclone, snail, cat, rose, cabbage, mercantile symbol, and commercial-at, plus eight others that I couldn't pronounce! I can't vouch for the authenticity of the list, but the suggested standard term, 'at sign', is certainly the one that comes first to my mind.
QUESTION I know this site is primarily for grammar, but i was wondering if anyone can tell me how to wrtie a thesis paper on a novel? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You will surely find some helpful information in the Principles of Composition section, especially in the part on Evaluation Essays, which is primarily about writing essays about literature. There are a couple of fine sample essays there -- none about a novel, but the principles are the same.
QUESTION Which is the correct form and why? The first is used, but I cannot explain why. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Marlboro, New Jersey Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think the participle form, welcomed, is preferred because it conveys the idea that something is done to the questions -- they are welcomed by the speaker. As an adjective meaning "willingly admitted," however, I don't think welcome would be wrong.
QUESTION I'm an English teacher in Japan and I would like to know the easiest way to explain to explain to my students the difference between "something" and "anything". Could you please tell me an easy way to describe the difference between the two and when to use one or the other? Thank you. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Tokyo, Japan Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Good question! You might put your students in a variety of situations in which they have to choose with the question "Would you like anything/something to ____ ?" and the response "I would like anything/something to _______ ?" (and fill in the blank, depending on the situation). There's a big difference between wanting "anything to eat" or "anything to wear" and wanting "something to eat" or "something to wear." We certainly use those words in odd ways: one thinks of the person standing in front of a closet overstuffed with clothes and saying, "I don't have anything to wear!" I guess that's the best way: putting them in situations where they have to choose. You can do anything/something you like. Anything/something is in my soup. Let's watch anything/something on TV.
QUESTION What is exact meaning of "cool" frequently used in internet chats. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Jaipur, Rajasthan, India Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I doubt if there is such a thing as the "exact meaning" of that word -- anywhere. I suppose it comes down to us from the jazz musicians of the early twentieth century, where it mean music that was reserved, under control. And then the beat generation of the 50s and 60s turned it into something else, something a bit wilder and crazier and hipper. And, although it still is widely used in the music world, it's also been appropriated by other cultures -- to the point where it's simply a mark of approval. Although many such adjectives come and go in the language of slang or argot, "cool" seems to have enormous staying power. That's cool.
QUESTION My question relates to the folowing sentence:Assignor hereby assigns, transfers and conveys unto Assignee, its succesors and assigns, all of Assignor's rights, title and interest in that certain Mortgage identified in Schedule A, together with the corresponding Note, without recourse, representation or warranty, except as provided in that certain Assett Tranfer Agreement.Question: "Does "except as provided..." modify/explain the "without recourse, representation ..." part or does it modify/explain the "Assignor hereby assigns ..." part. In other words, does the Assignor assign all of its rights, except those provided in the Asset Transfer Agreement? Or, does the Assignor assign all of its rights, without recourse, representation or warranty, except as (to the recourse representation, or warranty) provided in the Asset Transfer Agreement.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wednesday, July 8, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It seems to me that the "except" clause modifies the "recourse, representation, or warranty" phrase (simply because of the proximity of same), but given what I know and what I don't know about legal language, I wouldn't bet the farm on it -- at least not without due recourse, representation, and warranty. I wish you luck.
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