QUESTION Is "I am quintessential." a proper sentence? Is quintessential used properly in "I am quintessential"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada Sun, Jun 3, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Grammatically, there's nothing wrong with the sentence; I'm just not sure what it means. Doesn't one have to say that one is quintessentially something? or that one is the quintessence of something? I think the writer of your sentence has confused "essential" with "quintessential."
QUESTION Which of the following is correct:
- She is five FOOT nine inches tall
- She is five FEET nine inches tall
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada Sun, Jun 3, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE For some reason (please don't ask why), we use what is called the "zero plural" when the measurement is a pre-noun modifier (pre-noun), as in "a four-foot wall" or "six-inch ruler" or a "five-foot, nine-inch woman." We would also say "She's five-foot nine." However, in your sentence, you're not using the measure as a pre-noun modifier. I think the normal expression, in your sentence, would be "She is five feet, nine inches tall."
Authority: A Grammar of Contemporary English by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. Longman Group: London. 1978. p. 180.
QUESTION As a stand alone sentence which is correct....."It came out nice" or "It came out nicely"? Would the idiom "came out" serve as a linking verb? If so, given that "came out" could be substituted with the verb TO BE (in this case is or was), wouldn't the correct usage be "It came out nice?"
Thank you for helping me and some friends settle this debate.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Kansas City, Missouri Mon, Jun 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't think I'd get very upset if I read "The cake came out nicely," although that would seem to describe the manner in which it slid out of the oven or the pan. If you're talking about the cake's appearance or its edibility, I think we can regard "come out" (a phrasal verb) as a linking verb and use "nice." It would be much the same as "ended up being," wouldn't it, as in "The party ended up being quite nice"? Unfortunately, the example in Merriam-Webster's, "Everything came out all right," doesn't help us at all, as "all right" can be either an adjective or an adverb. Perhaps you need to consult the Oxford English Dictionary on this. (Your assignment for the next time you're in the library.) I'll leave an e-mail icon here in case someone else wants to offer an opinion on this.
QUESTION How is "vis a vis" spelled, what does it mean and how should it be punctuated in a sentence? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Minnesota Mon, Jun 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It's spelled with hyphens; whether you have the accent mark over the "à" is apparently up to you. It means, literally, face-to-face, but it is used, nowadays, to mean "in relation to" or even "when compared with." If "in relation to" does the job for you, use that English phrase instead of the French idiom.
QUESTION Can a noun be used as a verb? Example: disposition. I work in a manufacturing facility. When we make a bad part, a Non-Conformance Report (NCR) is written. This NCR will be dispositioned by a Manufacturing Engineer (M.E.). Meaning it will be researched, an explanation of cause and corrective action filled out, and be signed off by the M.E. and Q.E. (Quality Engineer). I think this is using the noun disposition as a verb and is entirely proper English. Our Human Resources personnel thinks that disposition should never be used as a verb and wants to kick back a Performance Appraisal based on the usage of disposition as a verb. Can you please help? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE West Plains, Missouri Mon, Jun 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE This verb, disposition (which doesn't have a home in my dictionary, by the way), means a lot of different things in your lexicon. This reminds us of Humpty-Dumpty, who insisted to Alice (who had objected to Humpty's use of the word "glory"):"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to meanneither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be masterthat's all."
Your HR people are certainly quite right to object to the use of "disposition" as a verb, but whether they can get away with rejecting your appraisals based on bad word usage is a matter for someone else to decide. Personally, I think you'd be better off spelling out, briefly, the responsibilities of the M.E. (as you have done above).
Many nouns, in fact, are used as verbsand many are used that way without notice or comment. In recent years, a great deal has been made of using the noun impact as a verb. And access is another one. If disposition is ever to be regarded as a verb, it's got a long way to go.
QUESTION Hello. I would like to know if the folowing two sentences are correct:
Thanks for the help!
- No, when I met her, she wasn't working at the bank anymore.
- No, she wasn't working at the bank anymore when I met her.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Hannover, Germany Tue, Jun 5, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You could probably get away with either one of those sentences in informal writing or speechpeople will know what you mean, but you're probably better off using "no longer," as in "When I met her, she was no longer working at the bank."
QUESTION When verbs are omitted in a sentence using zeugma, would it be correct to say that the verbs are "understood" like the pronoun "you"?Example: She wanted new clothes; John, new books; and I, new morals.Thanks for your thoughts on this. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE York, Pennsylvania Wed, Jun 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You're referring, apparently, to the "understood" subject, "you," in a sentence such as "[You,] Floss your teeth every day." In the sense that we "understand" and can thus mentally "provide" the missing verbs in your zeugma construction, there's certainly a parallel here, but there's also a difference between a rhetorical device and a basic grammatical construction.
Incidentally, zeugma is nicely defined in Professor Burton's The Forest of Rhetoric as "a series of clauses in which the verb employed in the first is ellided (and thus implied) in the others. Example: Her beauty pierced mine eye, her specch mine woeful heart, her presence all the powers of my discourse. PuttenhamThere are also hypozeugma and mesozeugma, which we leave for you to discover in Burton's grand forest.
QUESTION My question addresses the use of the "as-as" construction versus what I thought was the "so-as" construction. I thought I had learned somewhere that one uses the as-as case for a more 'positive' comparison between two things, whereas the so-as case is used for a more 'negative' comparison. Unclear? Probably. My examples:
Perhaps my use of positive and negative here are somewhat incorrect, but if both of these forms are used, I suspect you will surely recognize what I mean.
- positive comparison: Tom could run as fast as John.
- negative comparison: Tom could not run so fast as John.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Boulder, Colorado Wed, Jun 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE This is what Burchfield has to say about "so . . . as" in comparison constructions: "Quite commonly. . . , in the nineteenth century and earlier, the antecedent could also be so, especially, but not only, in negative setences. . . . Nowadays as . . . as is overwhelmingly the more common of the two, but so . . . as is far from extinct.
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 "as . . . as")
QUESTION Good day .... Could somebody tell me if the following is correct:THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT JOHN DOE HAS ....The phrase is the beginning of a diploma for grade 8 graduation. Somebody has said it is grammatically incorrect, and should read:THIS CERTIFIES THAT JOHN DOE HAS ....Is the former acceptable? Thanks. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada Wed, Jun 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If I had to choose between them, I'd choose the second, although they're both grammatically OK. Unfortunately, they both sound like a fishing license. Wouldn't something like BOWMANVILLE MIDDLE SCHOOL
On the recommendation of the faculty,
the Board of Education of Bowmanville, Ontario,
does hereby confer upon
this Diploma (or whatever it is)
this sixth day of June 2001.
QUESTION In the following sentence.Angie looks lovely.What is the word lovely considered. Adj. Adv. etc... SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE St. Paul, Minnesota Wed, Jun 6, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Not all words that end in "-ly" are adverbs (although most are). "Friendly," "lonely," "lovely" are all adjectives. The word "lovely" in your sentence is a predicate adjective, and "looks" is a linking verb.
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