QUESTION Dear Grammar,
My boyfriend insists that there is a huge difference between the adverbs "purposely" and "purposefully". He thinks the following is incorrect: "I purposely left the door open" He would say: "I purposefully left the door open". Is he right?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE New York, New York Friday, July 10, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Not necessarily. There's certainly nothing wrong with saying that you "purposely left the door open," meaning, simply, that you did it intentionally. If you wish to convey the idea of really determined, willful purpose, however, you would want to use the word "purposefully." There is a Notorious Confusable article on these words.
QUESTION Which title is correct? mentoring youth who are at-risk NOT TO succeed . . .or, mentoring youth who are at-risk TO NOT succeed. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Ketchikan, Alaska Friday, July 10, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Some writers would object to the split infinitive in "to not succeed," but others would say that's a bunch of nonsense -- use whatever sounds best to you. In this case, since it's a title, I'd go with "not to succeed."
QUESTION What is correct indefinite article before "historical"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Colorado Springs, Colorado Friday, July 10, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE This question has achieved the status of Frequently Asked Question. The dictionary says you can say "an" historical; it's really up to you.
QUESTION What case should I use for the abbrevation of the phrase "care of " (C/O, C/o, c/o)when using it in an address? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Los Angeles, California Friday, July 10, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Sorry, but I can't find any authoritative reference to solve your dilemma. Personally, I'd go with the lower case c/o. 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
QUESTION Is the carbon copy or blind copy upper or lower case when placed at the end of a correspondence. (CC: or cc:) SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Kansas City, Kansas Friday, July 10, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE This is getting weird -- see the question before this. This time, though, I have an answer: it's cc:
Authority: The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers by Maxine Hairston and John J. Ruszkiewicz. 4th ed. HarperCollins: New York. 1996.
QUESTION Re: Phrasal verbs such as pick up, put down -- I'm trying to find the easiest way of presenting these to beginning ESL students. Since the particle moves about quite often, depending on what form of verb, what emphasis you wish and whether or not you use a noun or a pronoun, I'd like to start with a consistent syntax, and allow students to discover variations later.
Pick it up. Pick the book UP (i.e. emphasis on the UP), rather than Pick up the book.
With compound verbs, we might say, Mary is putting the book down, rather than Mary is putting down the book.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Friday, July 10, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The Guide has a section on Phrasal verbs with hyperlinks to a list of verbs broken down into separable and inseparable phrasal verbs and hyperlinks to two quizzes on phrasal verbs. There is surely a better way of teaching these things. Perhaps you should ask the same question at Dave's ESL Cafe.
QUESTION Would you use singular or plural is this sentence? I realize this sentence needs work.The class I am presently enrolled in teaches each student to distinguish what kind of learner each of us(is or are) and what each of our study habits (is or are) as well.I recently had this sentence on a paper and I was not dogged on the length or anything except grammatically.
Thanks for your help.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Tampa, Florida Saturday, July 11, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Each" is the subject of the verbs in question and "each" is always singular: use "is" in each case. There may be no hope for that sentence. Blow it up and start over.
QUESTION I read the other day " Your answers were alright." clearly means something different from "Your answers were all right.". To me, they're all the same. What's the difference between alright and all right? Thank you SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Gold Coast, QLD, Australia Saturday, July 11, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE My Oxford American says that "alright" is an incorrect spelling of "all right." The online Merriam-Webster's, however, has this to say about it:The one-word spelling alright appeared some 75 years after all right itself had reappeared from a 400-year-long absence. Since the early 20th century some critics have insisted alright is wrong, but it has its defenders and its users. It is less frequent than all right but remains in common use especially in journalistic and business publications. It is quite common in fictional dialogue, and is used occasionally in other writing: "the first two years of medical school were alright" -- Gertrude SteinI would certainly recommend against using alright in formal or academic prose, but resistance to its use seems to be weakening.
Authority for this note: WWWebster Dictionary, the World Wide Web edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Tenth Edition. Used with permission.
QUESTION I am working with structures and have come across some terms that I have never heard of before. What are conditionals? They apparently come in the zero, first, and second varieties. I'm at a loss! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Calgary, Alberta, Canada Sunday, July 12, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I'm sorry, but I have no idea. I know what Conditional Verbs are, but I've never heard them called "conditionals." And I don't know what "varieties" are, either. Are you sure you haven't picked up a botany handbook by mistake? 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
QUESTION While I know that the rule is to hyphenate something like "a native-born New Zealander", sometimes the hyphen just looks funny. In the phrase "real-estate venture", does real estate really need to be hyphenated?
What about combinations with the words "specific" or "oriented" (system-specific demands; object-oriented technologies). What if a term such as "object oriented" is abbreviated (OO design)? What do I do then? Thank you.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Tel Aviv, Israel Sunday, July 12, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Although the Chicago Manual of Style doesn't include real estate development (at least I can't find it), it does list phrases like it, and it says that "adjectival compounds comprising an adjective followed by a noun are always hyphenated and precede the noun they modify." Our friend David Eason points out, however, that compounds made up of inseparable words -- such as high school, fourth grade, and real estate -- are exceptions and should not be hyphenated (high school teacher, fourth grade pupil, real estate broker). This is a different category from system-specific and object-oriented, however -- compounds made up of noun and adjective (participle) which ought to be hyphenated.
I can't find any resources for your question about the hyphen in an abbreviation. It is a question we have at Capital Community College, also. Some people abbreviate it CC-TC and some just drop the hyphen (which is what I do). The only hyphenated abbreviation I see in the reference books is AFL-CIO, but that doesn't count, probably, because there's an "and" in there.
Authority: Chicago Manual of Style 14th ed. U of Chicago P: Chicago. 1993. 221.
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