QUESTION My students and I often get confused about capitalization when writing the name of a business establishment. For example, which of these are correct?
In these examples, the words "cafe," "hotel," and "restaurant" might be construed to be part of the proper noun by some educated people but not by others. Just what is the rule on this? Does it ultimately depend upon whether the sign in front of the establishment officially contains the word "cafe," "hotel," or "restaurant" in its name? I cannot find a definitive answer. Thanks!
- "We ate at the Heart Healthy Cafe" or "We ate at the Heart Healthy cafe"?
- "I stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel" or "I stayed at the Four Seasons hotel"?
- We prefer the Silver Spoon Restaurant" or "We prefer the Silver Spoon restaurant"?
- My parents celebrated at Johnny Cace's Restaurant" or "My parents celebrated at John Cace's restaurant"?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Kilgore, Texas Mon, Mar 5, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The parts of the name in question cafe, hotel, restaurant would not be capitalized only in a sentence where the word is being used generically. For instance, let's say that we know there are several restaurants that go by the name of the Silver Spoon. We could say that we ate Friday night at a Silver Spoon restaurant. But as long as you're referring the Silver Spoon Restaurant on Forbes Street, yes, you would capitalize the word "Restaurant." Since all of your sentences are referring to specific places, the entire name will be capitalized. I hope this helps. Even if only the words "Silver Spoon" appear on the sign or letterhead, you'd want to capitalize the word "Restaurant."
This, anyway, is my interpretation of what I find in The Chicago Manual of Style (Chapter 7).
QUESTION Should it be "There was or there were no separate list of eligible/ineligible respondents to the job posting and a reason for ineligiblity of determinations"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Mt. Laurel, New Jersey Tue, Mar 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You're not giving me much to choose between! What about using "neither-nor" for this? "There was neither a separate list of eligble/ineligible respondents to the job posting nor a reason for. . . . " But the sentence is still a mess, and I would recommend turning it into two sentences or two separate independent clauses.
QUESTION A friend of mine objects to my use of "Thank you in advance for this consideration," but can never tell me why. What's wrong with it? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Erie, Pennsylvania Tue, Mar 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Why bother thanking someone for something that hasn't happened yet? Just get rid of the "in advance" and thank someone for the anticipated response: "Thank you for _____ (whatever)."
QUESTION The verb for the collective noun "number" takes the plural when the indefinite article is used and the singular when the definite article is used. Is this always the case or can context determine the number of the verb in other ways?eg. If not more than the required number of candidates is nominated...This should be correct if the general rule is followed. I'm not certain why, but this hits my ear wrong. I can't help thinking that "more than" influences this feeling, though the phrase must modify "number".
Thanks for your time.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada Tue, Mar 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The phrase "more than" wouldn't influence the singularity of "a number" anyway, as in "More than one student has failed this course." Since "more than" is modifying a singular thing, "the required number," you'll stick with a singular verb. It might sound a bit odd because it certainly sounds as though you're talking about more than one thing (but you're not).
QUESTION I always thought that "half seven" would mean "06:30" (according to my ex-husband & family who are Londoners from Eltham). However my colleague's cousin (from just outside Manchester) says that "half seven" means "07:30".
Who is right? Is this a question of regional dialects? Thanks!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Tue, Mar 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to Burchfield, "Many young people in England and Wales are now freely using the type half seven to mean 7:30 in imitation of Scottish and Irish usage. The use of half seven to mean 6:30 is now almost obsolete, according to the latest Scottish dictionaries."
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. (under "half")
QUESTION Sentence in question:"Even as they never forgave the Crusaders who overran their homeland, the Syrians have never absolved the French for taking territory from them".This is not my sentence, I am proofreading. I have never come a cross "absolved... for", only "absolved of" or even "absolved from". I can't change it to "forgave the French" because the Syrians have already "not forgiven" the Crusaders. Any help you can give would be very much appreciated. Thank you. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bangkok, Thailand Wed, Mar 7, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to Burchfield, "absolved for" is an acceptable usage, but "not common," and the example he gives is "We may perhaps absolve Ford for the language of the article." A good Thesaurus might give you some synonyms, but I don't see anything that would clearly improve upon this language.
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 the following example, which is correct?
I say the first is correct, because the "hang" verb accompanies the prepositional phrase (?) "of teenagers who..." or possibly "one of a handful [of teenagers] who..."
- "John, one of a handful of teenagers who hang out at the mall, arrived there first."
- Or, "John, one of a handful of teenagers who hangs out at the mall, got there first."
In a newspaper column I write, a sentence like this came up, and the AP book didn't address this.
The last question is, when referring to a couple, would I say "The Smith's efforts were valuable," or "The Smiths' efforts were valuable?" This also came up, and there was no consensus!
Thanks for addressing these questions. It may seem nit-picky, but I want to be as accurate as possible.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Lombard, Illinois Wed, Mar 7, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The "who" of "who hang out at the mall" clearly refers to the "teenagers" so you want the plural "hang." Even if one argues that "who" refers to "handful," one would want a plural verb because "handful," in this case, is a plural construction (because it's a handful of something countable). The idea of a "handful of teenagers" seems incongruous to me. Isn't there a better word, like "small crowd" or "herd" or something?
You want to pluralize the Smiths first and then make the word possessive, so you want "the Smiths' efforts."
QUESTION When using the word singles (as in a group of unmarried people), if it is associated with say the word center or bar, do you use an apostrophe after singles? Everything I have found has told me no, but I just wanted to make sure. Thanks.
- A new singles center opened in Atlanta.
- Last year, I organized a trip for the singles group.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Jonesboro, Georgia Wed, Mar 7, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The plural singles will suffice as an "attributive noun" there. You don't need to make it possessive.
QUESTION I have consulted many, many online sites, dictionaries and grammar books before sending my question. I could not find an example of the beginning of the sentence starting with 'was' or 'were.' What is the correct format of the question below (the question is already on a form and I am verifiying the grammar) and how can tell which format is correct (rules) ? Thank you very much. Your site is very helpful and I consult it often.
- Was policyholder's vehicle lights on?
- Were policyholder's vehicle lights on?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE South Windsor, Connecticut Wed, Mar 7, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Isn't that a bit unusual? Don't we usually refer to the "vehicle's lights" (as opposed to "vehicle lights")? I would have written this "Were policyholder's vehicle's light on?" Or, to avoid the double possessive, I would write "Were the lights of the policyholder's vehicle on?" But to answer your question, you want the plural "were" because the subject of the sentence is the plural "lights" (or "vehicle lights," if you insist).
QUESTION I'd be very grateful if you could explain this to me: If these sentences are both correct,
why does the inversion take place in the second sentence just after the adverbial and not in the first one?
- "Only when your identity has been checked, will you be allowed in"
- "Hardly had the play started when there was a power failure"
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Oviedo, Spain Wed, Mar 7, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Words like "seldom, rarely, hardly, scarcely" are negative in meaning but not in appearance but are treated as negative forms. In pre-subject position, then, they cause subject-operator inversion, as in "Rarely does a team rise to meet such expectations." The effect is a bit literary. The difference between your two sentences, above, is that "Hardly" does appear in a pre-subject position, but the "Only" of your first sentence is serving to introduce a dependent clause, and the subject of that clause is governed by the "when," not the "only." I'm trying to think of a sentence in which "Only" would introduce a main clause (in the same manner that "Hardly" does in your second sentence, but I can't.) I hope this helps.
Authority: A Grammar of Contemporary English by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. Longman Group: London. 1978. p. 380.
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