QUESTION What is the technical term for the type of quotation (or quotation mark) which malaprops the enquoted word, usually for ironic effect? ex: this was the "salvation" I had been looking for. An English professor of mine called it by its technical name, and I have forgotten.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Phoenix, Arizona Thu, Dec 23, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I know what you're talking about, but I don't think I've ever seen a word for it. Sorry I can't help you. I'll put your question in the grammar logs and maybe somebody else will know.
Toni Clark sends in this advice:
The American Medical Association Manual of Style (9th ed, 1998) calls these Apologetic Quotation Marks and says:"Quotation marks used around words to give special effect or to indicate irony are usually unnecessary. When irony or special effect is intended, skillful preparation can take the place of using these quotes. Resort to apologetic quotation marks or quotation marks used to express irony only after such attempts have failed, keeping in mind that the best writing does not rely on apologetic quotation marks." (p 220)
QUESTION I am under the self-imposed impression that the phrase "You better watch out" is incorrect in favor of "You'd better watch out." Although the former usage has proliferated out of control, I have not seen it in anybody's list of pet peeves or confusing usage. Am I wrong, or are the hundreds or thousands or millions of people, including professional writers, who use "better" without the "had"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Falls Church, Virginia Sat, Jan 1, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to Burchfield, it is quite common to leave out the "had," but this should never be done in formal writing.
Authority: The New Fowler's Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996. (cf. "better") Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.
QUESTION When is it correct to use:Web site or web site or website?as in "Go to the previous website"?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Washington, D.C. Sat, Jan 1, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The Yale Web Style Guide consistently capitalizes "Web" (which most dictionaries do when referring to this aspect of the Internet [which they also capitalize, for some reason]), and uses separate words for Web page, Web site, etc. You might notice that within these pages I have been blithely inconsistent in this usage. I've been told that in Microsoft's publications, the word "web" is not capitalized, but I can't attest to that myself.
QUESTION Is this punctuated right? Or should it be a semicolon in place of the comma following "seasoned"? Or a dash? Thank you very much.Bill's pitching arm, according to his coach, is strong, well-toned, and seasoned, hardly a part of the team's problem. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE St. Charles, Missouri Sat, Jan 1, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The comma would suffice, actually, but I think I would use a dash there to set off the final phrase as more of an afterthought. A semicolon would definitely be inappropriate.
QUESTION YOUR QUESTION WAS: There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going.In the two sentences above, which is accurate, specifically in reference to the use of "any place" or "anyplace"? Thanks for your help! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Nashville, Tennessee Mon, Jan 3, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In the examples you give, you don't really have the adverb anyplace, you've got a prepositional phrase, which ought to consist of the preposition "to," the word "place," and the adjective "any," all separate words. The American invention of the adverb "anyplace" (in England, one would hear "anywhere," instead) is used in a construction such as "Let's go anyplace, but let's go now."
QUESTION Which of the following sentences is correct?
- There is a lot of private pilots.
- There are a lot of private pilots.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Boulder, Colorado Mon, Jan 3, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Try turning the sentence around and you'll see why you need the plural verb here: "A lot of private pilots are. . . ." With expletive constructions (like "there are," "there is"), the subject that determines the verb comes after the verb. Since your "lot of" is countable, you need a plural verb. You might consider eliminating the expletive construction, beginning the sentence with "many(?) private pilots . . . " and going on from there.
QUESTION Is a comma necessary for compound questions? Example:
Which question is correct? Thanks for your help.
- What is the AFL-CIO and why are we required to join?
- What is the AFL-CIO, and why are we required to join?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE New York, New York Mon, Jan 3, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The same rule applies to compounded questions as applies to compounded declarative clauses. The comma is correct, certainly, but because the clauses are nicely balanced and not very complex, you can get along without it. In this case, you can probably depend on how the sentence sounds to you when you say it out loud (which is not advice I normally suggest).
QUESTION When dates are possessives, is it ever acceptable to use just an "s" instead of 's? For example, 1999s results were excellent vs. 1999's results were excellent. Can you use either one?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Los Angeles, California Fri, Jan 7, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "1999's results" would certainly mean the results that belong to 1999. However, I would avoid writing it that way. People will be confused, thinking it's some kind of plural (which it isn't, of course, but people might be confused nonetheless). I would try to use an "of phrase" here, something like "the results for/of 1999." In no case should you write "1999s results."
QUESTION Since when does the word "so" act as a coordinate conjuntion? Isn't it a subordinate conjunction which connects the subordinate clause to the independent clause?Example: So we can make our scheduled flight, we have to leave immediate ly. OR We have to leave immediately so we can make our scheduled flight.Both are correctly punctuated, yet you cite an example in the Run On Sentence section which is incorrect. Need a Proofreader? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Doyleston, Pennsylvania Fri, Jan 7, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I have no doubt that I could use the talents of a good proofreader. I assume you're referring to the following sentence in the section on Run-on Sentences: "The sun is high, so put on some sunblock."
The word "so" is, indeed, often used as a coordinating conjunction in sentences such as the above (and has been since medieval times, according to Burchfield). The use of "so" to mean "therefore" in such sentences is standard: "Charlie hates funerals, so he won't go." In your second sentence, about making the scheduled flight, "so" is a subordinating conjunction, as you point out. Burchfield notes that the use of "so" as a coordinating conjunction is "unobjectionable" and that "thus used, so normally follows a comma."
But perhaps I'm missing your point.
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.
Authority: WWWebster Dictionary, the World Wide Web edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Tenth Edition. Used with permission.
QUESTION Is the word "majority" singular or plural or both? Which is correct:
- A majority of expenses has been deducted.
- A majority of expenses have been deducted.?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Washington, D.C. Fri, Jan 7, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word majority can, indeed, be used as a singular entity: "The majority seems to have shifted." However, when majority is followed by a plural (as in "majority of expenses"), it is invariably plural ("have been deducted"). You might consider using "Most of the expenses. . . ."
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