QUESTION What is the proper way to type "e-government" (e-gov) when used within a sentence? I have seen it "E-Gov," "e-gov," "eGov," "e-Gov" ... Thank you so much for your help, as this will be used in newsletter articles. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Fri, Aug 17, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I would handle it the same that the term "e-mail" is now being handled, and as I see "e-government" on various state and federal Websites: At the beginning of a sentence, I'd write "E-government" (or its abbreviation, "E-gov"); as a title or heading, I'd write "E-Government" (or its abbreviation "E-Gov"); in the middle of a sentence, I'd write "e-government" (or its abbreviation "e-gov"). The abbreviation seems to be used in casual writing, at least. "E-commerce" seems to be used in this manner, also. It will be a while, I think, before dictionaries speak with consistency on these issues.
QUESTION Would you please tell me what is the difference among "relation", "relations", "relationship" and "relative"? And what is their usage?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Hong Kong Fri, Aug 17, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE A good dictionary will probably help you more than I can. Burchfield says that relation and relative are almost interchangeable in the sense of "a kinsman or kinswoman," with relation being the more common. (I have a feeling this might be reversed in the U.S., but I have no evidence for that.) Be careful to avoid ambiguity in the use of relationship. It can mean "association" (as in "He had a good relationship with his boss"), but it can also mean "sexual harassment" (as in "He was accused of having a relationship with his boss's secretary") or just sexual intercourse. The same is also true of the word relations, but less commonly and somewhat casually: "He was having relations with his secretary." And there are a host of other meanings for all these words, as a peak into a good dictionary will reveal.
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 Is there anything wrong with the sentence "Bank A acquired certain of the assets of Bank B" ? I am being told that the use of the phrase "certain of the assets" here is improper.
Thank you for your help.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Washington, D.C. Fri, Aug 17, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It might be regarded as a bit archaic, that phrase, and some people would probably recommend just getting rid of the "of the" and saying, instead, "Bank A acquired certain assets of Bank B." Since the fifteenth century, though, the word "certain" has been used as a pronoun meaning "certain ones" (to suggest something more specific than "some"), so your sentence is not incorrect.
Authority: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Electronic Edition, Version 1.5. 1996. Used with permission.
QUESTION I know that the sentence "We wanted the winner to be her" is correct; however, I can't remember where I found the rule for this. Why do you use the objective case with "to be?" SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Athens, Georgia Fri, Aug 17, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE An easier way to say this would be "We wanted her to be the winner," but that's not what you asked. The pronoun in question is being linked to (equated to?) something that is, indeed, an object of the sentence, "the winner," so it is appropriate that it (the pronoun) be put in the object form, "her" (not "she").
QUESTION Would you please tell me about the way the superlative form of adverbs is used. They tell us that we can say either "Tom runs fastest" or "Tom runs the fastest." And some grammar books say American speakers tend to prefer the definite article before superlative forms. Is it true that the preference is simply due to a regional factor; or is there any principle that explains the difference between the form with "the" and the one without "the"? Thank you. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Kawanishi, Hyogo, Japan Sun, Aug 19, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't think there's anything regional about this choice. With this construction, there is always an implicit prepositional phrase beginning with "of": "[Of the boys on this team,] Tom runs fastest/the fastest." Either will do the job, but I would imagine that "the fastest" is more common.
QUESTION Okay, my question is about subject and verb agreement in the following sentence:
- The quality of the board of directors and its impact upon the university community has never been better and compares favorably with the very best of volunteer associations.
- The quality of the board of directors and its impact upon the university community have never been better and compare favorably with the very best of volunteer associations.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE DeKalb, Illinois Tue, Aug 21, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE We can argue that the two subjects here combine to form one "thematic" idea and the singular verbs are appropriate. It remains a peculiar sentence, however. "The quality of the board of directors" must be a very difficult thing to measure, much less to compare to earlier boards. Also, saying that something "has never been better" might well constitute faint praise as does saying that it "compares favorably" with volunteer associations. (Is a Board of Directors really a "volunteer association"?) I would suggest that this sentiment of vague praise be altered to something more specific or something much simpler.
QUESTION 1. When an entire sentence is underlined, do you also underline the period or question mark at the end of this sentence?
2. Are subheadings to end with a period, colon, or left blank no punctuation?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Stockton, California Tue, Aug 21, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The answer to your first question is mostly a matter of aesthetics. The underline looks odd when it is continued under the punctuation mark, so when you're underlining, do not underline the punctuation mark unless that punctuation mark is part of a title. With italics, on the other hand, accompanying punctuation marks end up being slanted the wrong way, and you will get peculiar spacing between the final, italicized character and the punctuation mark if you don't italicize the punctuation (the period, the colon, whatever).
With subheadings, you ought to confer with the style manual that dictates such usage. The APA Publication Manual, for instance, says that Level 4 headings should be indented, underlined, lowercased, and ended with a period. But that's really down there in the hierarchy of headings. The other levels don't have any end punctuation marks.
QUESTION I have researched all over the internet and cannot make a decision about the use of "who" or "whom" in the following sentence, please help!Include a statement in all promotional materials stating that the Insurance Services are not obligations of, nor guaranteed by, CUSO or Credit Union, neither of who/whom shall be liable for the Insurance Services offered by Agent. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Media, Pennsylvania Tue, Aug 21, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You need the object form of the pronoun, "whom," in that phrase, because you need the object of the preposition "of." The word "neither" is subject of the dependent clause, and the subject is then modified by the prepositional phrase, "of whom." (I hope that makes sense to you.)
QUESTION Personalized instruction means that our faculty are here to help you to reach your goals.
Our office has been debating whether or not this sentence is gramatically correct. (subject/verb agreement) This sentence appears in a brochure we use to recruit students. We also want to know your opinion on the use of "to" in the sentence. Thank you
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Anderson, South Carolina Tue, Aug 21, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It is possible for a word such as faculty, staff, jury to take a plural verb when the individuals within that group are acting individually. And since you're talking about personalized instruction, you could argue that this pluralized notion of faculty would be appropriate. However, it still sounds odd, especially since there are no other clues that the faculty is acting plurally (as in "The faculty are taking their seats"). Also, collective nouns like this are nearly always singular in the U.S.A. (in England, they're more likely to be regarded as plural). For that reason, I would avoid the problem and say that "Personalized instructions means that all the members of our faculty are [or "every member of our faculty is"] here to help you reach your goals." (And yes, omit that second "to.")
QUESTION Can the word "abnegation" in the following example be uncountable?
My English Dictionary says "abnegation" is an uncountable noun. On my understanding, an uncountable noun can't be modified with an indefinite artcle and an adjective word. Although uncountable nouns can go with certain adjectives like "some", "much" and so on, they can't with any indefinite artcles.
Here is the example I have found on a Web page:Above all, there's the impression he [Mikhail Baryshnikov] gives of selflessness, of a complete abnegation of ego that makes him beautiful to watch in the same way as a horse or a cat in motion in beautiful.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Zama, Yokohama, Japan Wed, Aug 22, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Abnegation" might well be uncountable, but it's also what we could call an abstract noun. Abstract nouns are sometimes problematic in that sometimes they are accompanied by determiners, sometimes they're not: as in "Injustice was widespread within the judicial system itself. He implored the judge to correct the injustice." or "Her body was racked with grief. It was a grief she had never felt before."
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