QUESTION Does "allow" have to take a direct object? Is it acceptable to say e.g.: "This technology allows to avoid excessive power use etc."? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Cracow, Poland Thu, Nov 11, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, the verb "allow" does not always require an object; it can act as an intransitive verb but not exactly the way you've used it in your example. We could say something like "This technology allows for the avoidance of excessive power." OR "This technology does not allow for the use of excessive power." And another combination is allow of: "Her attitude toward others does not allow of much interaction." (which is not a very good example). I don't think we can use it in combination with an infinitive the way you have it.
QUESTION What is the correct way of writing Veterans Day--Veterans'Day, Veteran's Day, or Veterans Day? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Norwood, Massachusetts Thu, Nov 11, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The dictionary lists it as Veterans Day, so the plural "veterans" is acting as an attributive noun there. On the other hand, the same dictionary lists Patriots' Day, so go figure!
QUESTION What is the rule for showing possession in words ending in "x"? You mention the silent "x" (i.e. Bordeaux would be Bourdeaux'). But, what about words like Xerox, FedEx, Kleenex, or Medex (my company's name)? Should it be Medex' or Medex's? Or, is either OK?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Baltimore, Maryland Thu, Nov 11, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE When the "x" is silent, you don't add an "s" after the apostrophe. When you do hear the "x," however, you add an apostrophe + "s" to form the possessive: Medex's policies. . . .
QUESTION Recently I had been asked a question about interrobangs. As I have never heard of them before, I was nonplussed and unable to reply. What are they? When were they used? How are they used? And, why are they used?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Culver City, California Fri, Nov 12, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I have no idea what an interrobang is supposed to look like (never having seen one myself), but an interrobang is a punctuation device designed to end an exclamatory rhetorical question a question that deserves, also, an exclamation mark. So, in the middle of an argument, you might ask, "What, are you nuts?!" And the interrobang would take the place of that "?!" (In typesetting, the exclamation mark is called a "bang.") Interrobangs have no role in academic text.
QUESTION Would the following sentence be written as:
- The firm will sponsor the men and women's basketball tournament.
- The firm will sponsor the mens and women's basketball tournament.
- The firm will sponsor the men's and women's basketball tournament.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Dimondale, Michigan Fri, Nov 12, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I assume you meant "tournamentS," as separate events. If so, the answer would be "men's and women's basketball tournaments" because they are "owned" separately by men and women.
QUESTION In a formal essay is it okay to use the words you or your? For example:
- The effects of drugs in sports has a terrible effect on your organs.
- By being a top athlete the community has respect for you and young children idealize your talents.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE London, Ontario,Canada Sun, Nov 14, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The problem with using the second person pronouns is that you get trapped into using them all the time, and it's not appropriate (because it's confusing) to shift from the more formal and objective third-person to the less formal "you." In a note (like this one, for example), the "you" works fine, but in an extended formal essay, you probably ought to avoid it. Although you didn't ask me, your second sentence also has a problem with a dangling modifier: "the community" is not "being a top athlete.' You might have written, "Being a top athlete, you must realize that. . . ."
QUESTION My boss has dictated a sentence that includes this statement: "...may be discussed as long as these bounds are not exceeded."
I believe "as long as" should be replaced with "so long as," but I can't find any authority in the Gregg reference manual or on your site to substantiate my belief. I believe "as long as" implies a measurement, while "so long as" indicates a condition being attached to something.
Your assistance would be appreciated.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Minneapolis, Minnesota Sun, Nov 14, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You're right. "As long as" means "during the whole time that" and "so long as" means "provided that" or "only if," which is clearly what your boss wants to say. So as long as she or he is your boss, I don't know if it's wise to say anything, but "so long as" would be correct.
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 In what instance should one use OF instead of FROM when refering to causes of death? Though it might sound morbid, I help write obituaries for our local paper and often come across this question. An example of my question would be: "She died OF/FROM complications suffered in XXXX." My co-worker and I really appreciate your help! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Orlando, Florida Sun, Nov 14, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to Burchfield, the Oxford English Dictionary abounds with examples using both prepositions, "of" and "from" (along with "with," oddly enough). I guess that means it's up to you to decide what sounds better in each case.
Authority: The New Fowler's Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996. (looking up "die") Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.
QUESTION My question stems from months of listening to traffic reports on the radio every monring. The broadcasters consistently refer to traffic problems in the possessive (i.e. your, yours) rather than using an article (i.e. a, an, or the). Some examples:
Each time I hear these reports, I believe that they are not using correct grammar. I also realize that grammar rules change over time often to the detriment of the English language, in my opinion.
- "Your southbound ramp is congested."
- "Your intersection at Maple and Grove has an accident"
Thank you for your response
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Auburn Hill, Michigan Mon, Nov 15, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I suppose this construction is an earnest effort to personalize the report, but it doesn't make a lot of sense and it certainly doesn't have anything to do with a change in grammar rules. It's not exactly bad grammar for that matter, but we are left wondering what "you" they have in mind. My impression is that these folks who fly over cities at rush hour are hired for their ability to fly and talk fast at the same time rather than for their ability to speak with clarity or precision.
QUESTION I am contstantly baffled by the way certain holidays are spelled. For example, Mother's Day seems like it should be Mothers' Day, since it is the day to celebrate ALL mothers! The same for Father's Day, Veteran's Day, etc. I feel that all of the advertisements, greeting cards, and commercials are incorrectly writing the names of these holidays. I have asked many grammar teachers, but still get no satisfying answer. I would greatly appreciate an answer to my question. Thanks so much! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Ferdinand, Indiana Tue, Nov 16, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The reason you haven't gotten a satisfying answer is that there isn't one. Convention, usage, custom, greeting card companies whatever establishes such spelling, and that's that. To make matters worse for you, I have to point out that the correct spelling of "Veterans Day" is without an apostrophe at all and that "Patriots' Day" (in Massachusetts, at least, where it's celebrated with a day off) puts the apostrophe after a plural form, which would make sense to you. There used to be a day called "Children's Day" (a possessive plural), but it never made the big time, I guess, because parents couldn't be talked into buying greeting cards for their kids. Maybe we can say that "Mother's Day" concentrates the energies and attention of that day on a single mom yours.
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