QUESTION Can you give me an example of a sentence using the word sic?
I think it means thus, but I can't find it anywhere.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Poteau, Oklahoma Mon, Nov 8, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In a Latin phrase, it would mean "thus," as in the phrase that Booth shouted right after he shot LIncoln: "Sic semper tyrannis" (Thus ever to tyrants!). (It's also the motto of Virginia.)
Its more widespread use today, however, is to indicate that that a word or phrase has been reproduced exactly as the original speaker or writer would have it misspellings and all. It is often written in parentheses immediately after a misspelling or grammatical impropriety to indicate that that is how it appeared in the original.
QUESTION How would you analyze the following sentence: "He should be able to speak to her before she left the room."? I'm having some problems deciding where to break up the string of verbs. Where is the direct object? And is "to her" an adverbial here?
Thanks for your help...
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Groningen, Netherlands Mon, Nov 8, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think you've got the verb string just right, myself, although I believe we need "before she leaves" (not "left"). (Or else you can change "He should be able to" to "he should have been able to.")
There is no direct object in the independent clause here. Yes, I would think that "to her" is adverbial in that it modifies the nature of the infinitive "to speak."
QUESTION In the sentence, "That man with the glasses is Andrew Cheng, isn't it?", why can't the ending be "isn't he" instead of "isn't it"?
Thank you for your clarification of this.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Sommerhausen, Germany Mon, Nov 8, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If the tag question refers to "that" more clearly as in "That is Mohammamed Ali, isn't IT?" the "it" would be appropriate. If it refers to a person as it does in the sentence you give us then we would use "he" or "she."
QUESTION Is it correct to say consensus of opinion? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Troy, Michigan Mon, Nov 8, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE That phrase is kind of a black sheep, although I don't know where it got its bad reputation. I don't think it's any more redundant than "unanimity of belief," say. But it's been so often declared to be redundant that if you can use "consensus" instead of "consensus of opinion," it's undoubtedly a good idea to do so.
QUESTION Our last name is Roberts- When one would say, "We are eating dinner at The Roberts"- Would that be correct? Or would one say " We are eating dinner at the Robertses?" How about if our last name were Farkas?-' We are eating dinner at the Farkases" Or we are eating dinner at the Farkas house?" or whatever? Do you understand my question? We seem to have this question asked often! Just had the Farkas family HERE for dinner! So the question came up again :-) Let me know what is grammatically correct. Thank you. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania Mon, Nov 8, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If girls were taught at an early age not to marry someone whose last name ends in an "s," this problem would eventually die out. For the time being, though, you and the Farkases will have to part company. Your plural doesn't work very well with an added "-es," but theirs does. So the Farkases ate at the Roberts' or with the Roberts. If you ever go over there, you'll eat with the Farkases (again) or at the Farkases'. (Eating at the "Farkas house" would not be wrong, however, since their last name can take on attributive qualities, just as yours can: "the Roberts house.") I hope this clears up everything, but if it doesn't, just stay away from them.
QUESTION When a prepositional phrase modifies a verbal that functions as a noun (gerund, infinitive), does that mean it always functions as an adjective? These examples are cases in point:
- Dropping the ball on the ground is his most consistent play. (Is "on the ground" adjectival because "dropping" is a gerund?)
- We will want to elect him before November. (Is "before November" adjectival because the infinitive phrase functions as noun, direct object?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Washington, D.C. Mon, Nov 8, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, it's behaving adverbially. Although the gerund phrase "dropping the ball" and infinitive phrase "to elect him" are, indeed, acting as nouns, they maintain enough of their verbal status to be modified adverbially. We can easily substitute single-word adverbs in the place of the prepositional phrases to indicate this function more clearly: "Dropping the ball clumsily is his most consistent play." and "We will want to elect him unanimously." Thus, although the constructions you point us toward are, indeed, behaving like nouns, they are still "verbish" enough to be modified by adverbs. (Although the word "verbish" is, to the best of my knowledge, brand new, it sounds like something invented by Lewis Carroll, so I will probably use it again.)
QUESTION I have always used the word "lit" when talking and writing in the past tense about the verb " to light". But lately, on at least three different occasions, I have seen and heard people use the word lighted. Just today it was written in a chapter book for fifth graders in a sentence that went something like this: ... and I lighted the match ....
Can you please explain to me which tense is (more) correct? Do they have different meanings?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Fresno, California Tue, Nov 9, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE There is no difference in meaning. The past participle is always "lit" in Britain, according to Burchfield; in the U.S., you're much more apt to find "lighted." So in England, he lit a lamp, but in the U.S. he lighted it. However, even in England, you'll find "lighted" as a pre-noun modifier a lighted cigarette unless the word itself is modified, and then it's "lit" a well lit hallway.
Authority: The New Fowler's Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996. Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.
QUESTION We have an organization within our company made up of trained volunteers who make speeches about the company to outside organizations requesting such programs. Is this group properly called a "speakers bureau" or a "Speaker's bureau?" SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Houston, Texas Tue, Nov 9, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE A "speaker's bureau" would be a bureau that belongs to a single speaker one pictures sock drawers, and a place for sweaters. I think we're using the plural word "speakers" in an attributive manner here, to modify "bureau." Leave it without the apostrophe.
QUESTION Should the sentence read:
- Find gifts for everyone on your list who enjoys sports.
- Find gifts for everyone on your list that enjoys sports.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Francisco, California Wed, Nov 10, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I'd go with "who." For one thing, you're referring to people; for another, we don't want the reader to thing that it's the "list" that enjoys sports.
QUESTION Which of the following is correct:
- "The Board of Supervisors votes unanimously to endorse"
- "The Board of Supervisors vote unanimously to endorse"
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Francisco, California Thu, Nov 11, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The board is clearly acting as a singular entity here, especially since the are acting unanimously. Go with the singular verb "votes."
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