QUESTION Question #1: When the word "too" is used in a sentence and is defined as meaning "also," is it always set off by commas?
Question #2: In the sentence "In the 1700's, bicycles were very crude and slow," is the phrase "In the 1700's" an adverbial phrase or a prepositional phrase with adverbial function?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Cedarburg, Wisconsin Wed, Mar 7, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The simple answer to your first question is no, it isn't always set off by a comma. I do wish I had a simple rule for this, but I'm afraid using a comma to set off "too" is going to depend on your ear and the rhythms of the sentence. (Over and over, I warn my students not to depend on their ears for comma usage!) An additive adjunct such as too, as well, similarly, also, again can appear almost anywhere in the sentence and will sometimes be set off by a comma, sometimes not."They brought the chickens into the house. They brought the sheep in too/as well."In that example, you can either use the comma before the adjuncts or not. It's up to you. It might depend on how much focus you want your reader to put on the additive.
"In the 1700s" is a prepositional phrase functioning adverbially, telling you when bicycles were crude and slow. (Actually, I remember having a "crude and slow" bicycle in the 1960s compared to my friends' bikes, with their three-gear Schwinns.)
QUESTION Which capitalization is correct:
- The Planning and Engineering Departments will provide....
- The Planning and Engineering departments will provide
I usually use the Gregg Reference Manual, but cannot find an answer to this question.
- The store is located at the intersection of Main and Fourth streets.
- The store is located at the intersection of Main and Fourth Streets.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Fullerton, California Wed, Mar 7, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Generally, when the generic term (departments and streets, in this case) follows the proper nouns (as they do in your examples), they won't be capitalized. However, when the generic term precedes the proper nouns, you do capitalize the word. For instance, you would write "the Departments of Planning and Engineering." Although I can't imagine a similar construction with "Streets," you might see something like "I have enjoyed boating in Lakes Michigan and Superior."
Authority: New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage HarperCollins: New York. 1994. Cited with permission. p. 214.
QUESTION FIRST QUESTION:
- Your courtesy and cooperation is appreciated. OR
- Your courtesy and cooperation are appreciated.
- This interrogatory is overbroad. OR
- This interrogatory is overly broad.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Fresno, California Sun, Mar 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Courtesy" and "cooperation" feel like two separate things to me in that sentence. I'd go with the plural verb, "are appreciated." You might consider going with a more active verb form: "We appreciate your courtesy and cooperation."
My dictionary does list "overbroad" as a real word, but I still don't like the sound or look of it. Nor do I particularly like "overly" in this sentence (or maybe it's the combination of "overly" with "broad" that I don't like). You really can't use "too," instead, in this sentence? If you must choose between "overbroad" and "overly broad," you're on your own.
QUESTION Please tell me if the following punctuation is correct (between equipment and including) in this sentence.The products are mainly sold into battery powered portable products that have a need to interface to peripheral equipment: including laptop computers, PDAs, cell phones and handheld data terminals.Thank you for your help. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Billerica, Massachusetts Sun, Mar 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I would use a comma there instead of a colon. The sentence does not really come to a full pause there, where the punctuation is called for. I would also suggest adding a serial comma after "cell phone" and changing "have a need to" to "must."
QUESTION I am having trouble finding the answer to the question of whether the capitalization of a preposition in a title depends on the length of the preposition. Someone with whom I work says there is a rule that if the preposition is more than four letters, it is capitalized. For example, a Table has a Title:
- Treatments During Hospitalization, vs.
- Treatments during Hospitalization
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Madison, Wisconsin Sun, Mar 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The Chicago Manual of Style says not to capitalize a preposition, regardless of its length. The New York Public Library's Writer's Guide to Style and Usage says to capitalize a preposition longer than four letters. I guess that leaves you pretty much on your own. I'd capitalize the "During" in your title because it's a relatively brief title; if the title were longer, especially if other, shorter, lower-cased prepositions became involved, I might not capitalize the word.
QUESTION Which of these sentences is correct?
- He was the key member in creating this product?
- He was the key member to create this product?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bannockburn, Illinois Sun, Mar 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The first version suggests that he was one member of a team of creators; the second version suggests that he did it pretty much on his own (and we're sort of left wondering how he was a member of anything). In either case, you might be wise to say that he was a member of something; it's not good to leave disconnected members lying around.
QUESTION Is there a plural form for the indefinite pronoun "one" like "ones"? Is it possible to say "Large cars have some advantages over the small ones"? If not, what is the right way? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Toronto, Ontario, Canada Sun, Mar 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Yes, the word one has a plural form, ones. In the context in which it is used, the plural ones is called the replacive one; it can be used as a substitute for a plural count noun. "Do you like these cookies?" "Well, I like the chocolate ones." Avoid, however, putting a determiner before ones: "Do you like these ones?"
Authority: A Grammar of Contemporary English by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. Longman Group: London. 1978. p. 222.
QUESTION What is the past tense of the verb "sleepwalk"? Is it "sleepwalked" or "sleptwalked"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Ranger, Texas Sun, Mar 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I would recommend "walked in his/her sleep," myself, but if you really need a past tense form, I'd go with "sleepwalked."
QUESTION Is a question mark necessary in sentences such as "May I have the attention of everyone in the building" or "Would everyone please leave the building immediately"? To me, such statements are closer to commands than questions, and a question mark would seem to detract from their urgency. What do you think? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Japan Mon, Mar 12, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I agree. See our section on question marks. When a polite request is formulated as a question, it is not followed by a question mark. This is especially true if the request is more like a public announcement.
QUESTION What is the grammar rule for using "any other" in a sentence instead of just "any"? For example, my dry cleaners is better than any other in the city. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Mon, Mar 12, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Assuming your dry cleaners is in the city, you can't say that your dry cleaners is "better than any dry cleaners in the city" because that phrase would include your dry cleaners, and your dry cleaners can't be better than your dry cleaners. "Any other" excludes your dry cleaners, so if you say "My dry cleaners is better than any other in the city" that sets your dry cleaners apart from the others, and now you can make your comparison.
Another example. Now that he's retired, we can say that Michael Jordan can still outplay any player in the National Basketball Association. When he was still in the NBA, though, we had to say that he could outplay any other player in the NBA.
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