QUESTION Should I use an apostrophe after Inc. in my company's name. Here is an example: Sigma Engineers, Inc.'s logo is unusual. Here is another example: Sigma Engineers, Inc.'s employees are outstanding. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Beaumont, Texas Wed, Aug 22, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Normally, if you use a comma to set off the Inc. from the rest of the company name, you'd put a comma before it and a comma after it. The second comma is dropped, however, just as you have done it above, when you turn the Inc. into a possessive. Most writing manuals nowadays are recommending that the commas that set off the Inc. simply be dropped. In that case, you would write the possessive in the same wayjust without the comma.
Authority: The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin. 9th Edition. McGraw-Hill: New York. 2001. Used with the consent of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. p. 34.
QUESTION How does this gerund phrase work?While PREPARING FOR THE SPEECH, Joe couldn't help but worry about his entrance. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Wed, Aug 22, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In a sentence like "Preparing for the speech was difficult" the phrase in question would be a gerund, the subject of the sentence. In "After preparing for the speech, John went next door to have a drink," the phrase is still a gerund; here it's the object of the preposition "after." In the sentence you give us, though, "while" cannot act as a preposition (which would make your phrase the object of a preposition). "While" is a conjunction and it is subordinating a participial phrase. The resulting construction"While preparing for the speech"is, essentially (but not technically), an adverbial clause with the subject-verb machinery of the clause omitted. For instance, your sentence could read "While he waspreparing for the speech, Joe couldn't help but worry about his entrance."
QUESTION My question is about underlining. I know to avoid underlining periods and other end punctuation, but what about in the middle of sentences? Would you underline commas, semicolons and the like?But, FlightCare puts you in control of the decision. (All underlined but the period.)Is that correct or would you not underline the comma? If no, how about the space after it? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Des Moines, Iowa Wed, Aug 22, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to the Gregg Reference Manual, you would not underline the comma (or the subsequent space) after the word "But." (Never mind the fact that we could easily leave out the comma anyway.) I hope you do not look for consistency on this issue within this Guide!
Authority: The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin. 9th Edition. McGraw-Hill: New York. 2001. Used with the consent of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. p. 79.
QUESTION My question is about the order of adjectives.
Please let me know which one is correct. Is "material" before "nationality" correct? This Web site indictates "nationality" comes before "material", but I have a grammar book which says that #1 is correct.
- A wooden English garden table
- An English wooden garden table
Thanks for your help.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Wed, Aug 22, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think that's because an English garden table is a particular kind of table and the one the grammar book is referring to happens to be made of wood. Generally, the place of origin comes before the material an Italian marble fireplace, a Danish lace wedding dress although I'm sure you'll find other exceptions even outside your English garden.
QUESTION I am doing some freelance writing for a wonderful organization that assists people of Jewish heritage in leaving hostile countries (such as the USSR) and relocating in Israel. The word "emigrate" is used extensively in their documents, and I believe that some of the uses are incorrect. I have been hired to re-write seven different documents and want to be very sensitive to the organization's wishes, but at the same time be grammatically correct!
All my usage guides indicate that one may emigrate FROM and immigrate TO, but never emigrate TO a country. The original documents have statements like, "...enabling a Jewish family to emigrate to Israel..." I try to re-write and use the correct term, but they always change it. Perhaps there are negative connotations in their experience with the words "immigrate" and "immigrant," so I am trying to re-write around the situation ("...enabling a Jewish family to emigrate from their home country to Israel..."), but that doesn't always work and I'm not sure it's correct either! Any ideas? Thanks!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Chicago, Illinois Thu, Aug 23, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I can't tell from your sample sentence whether it's being used correctly or not. It all depends on the perspective of the writer and his/her audience. If I'm reading this in Russia and I'm thinking about going to Israel, I would use the word "emigrate." I'm going to emigrate to Israel. If I'm in Israel, though, and I want family members left behind in Russia to come to Israel to live with me, I might implore them to immigrate to Israel. "Coming into" Israel would be immigrating; "going out of" Russia would be emigrating. If I'm at the airport in Moscow watching folks departing for Israel, I might say, "Oh, look at all the emigrants." If I'm at the airport in Tel Aviv waching the same people get off the plane, I might say, "Let's go welcome the new immigrants."
QUESTION I'd like to solicit your opinion on this matter. Am I right, according to your lights?
In accordance with contemporary usage, we will not use hyphens in the following:
"black-and-white," "black-and-blue," etc., take the hyphens)
- early morning rain, late afternoon sun, etc.
- a red and black sign (note, though, that the compound adjectives
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE New York, New York Thu, Aug 23, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The compound adjectives you list with hyphens are rather special cases, though. The colors in "a red and black sign" might even be reversed. I can contemplate the red and then I can contemplate the black. In a "black-and-white issue," however, or "my arm is black-and-blue all over," those colorful phrases have glommed together into inseparable, more or less irreversible combinations.
QUESTION In the following sentence, should the verb be singular or plural:Although the authors stated that the CLA supplement contained equal parts of the cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12 isomers, they failed to report what percentage of the total CLA isomers (was/were) trans-10, cis-12.Isn't it correct that the object of the prepositional phrase after the word "percentage" determines the number of the verb . . . but what about in the case of "what percentage" when a single isomer (trans-10, cis-12) is the one in question.
Thanks so much for your help.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Champaign, Illinois Thu, Aug 23, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Although your question just gave me the chills, reminding me of some rather bleak times in an Intro to Chem lab, I shall do my best. You're right: the number of the verb is determined by what is being measured within the percentage. And since "isomers" is plural, you want "were" even though you're saying that this percentage of these isomers were one thing. Subsititute a color for "tans-10, cis-12" (whatever that means), for example: "they failed to report what percentage of the total CLA isomers were green." Perhaps the word "total" is confusing things for you?
QUESTION A junior high school Japanese teacher of English put together an exam with the following statement:So my family have to help each other with a lot of things at home.I was asked to proofread it and changed have to has. Both 'K' and 'G' informed me that I was incorrect. According to 'G's teacher training in English and 'K's studying of English, family can use either the singular or the plural form of a verb. In this statement family is being used to express plurality and so the verb must be in the plural. I told them both I had never heard of such usage of the word family. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Evergreen, Colorado Thu, Aug 23, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In England, I think the use of a plural verb with the subject "family" especially where an activity (such as "helping each other") makes the family members appear to be acting as individuals would be quite common. In the U.S., however, it sounds odd and borders on the unacceptable. Americans would use definitely use "has" with the word family. We could avoid the problem posed by this particular sentence by writing "the members of my family have to help each other. . . ."
QUESTION When writing complex sentences, is it a general rule that the concrete noun appears in the independent clause and its corresponding pronoun in the dependent?
- For example:
While Susan wasn't in favor of the decision, she opted to go along with the plan.
While she wasn't in favor of the decision, Susan opted to go along with the plan.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Francisco, California Thu, Aug 23, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The fact that I cannot cite a hard-and-fast rule about this apparently simple issue does trouble me. Did I miss a day in school perhaps when I had the mumps? But I can't find anything in my writing manuals, either. Generally, we can say that it's not a good idea to keep people wondering who "she" is, so you want to come up with Susan's name in the first clause, whether it's dependent or independent. However, if it is quite clear within the context of a paragraph whom "she" is referring to, it really doesn't matter, and the choice can be a matter of "ear" and the rhythms of the sentence and paragraph. I shall leave an e-mail icon here in case someone else want to offer an opinion on this issue.
QUESTION In the announcement of our move to a new building, our web designer created the headline "Acme Corp. moves Into new building".. this just doesn't seem right to me. For whatever reason, "Acme Corp. moves in to new building" looks more correct. Should it be "into" or "in to"? Is there a better headline, perhaps, that would be more powerful? The Acme Corp. needs your help! Thanks. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Sun, Aug 26, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think I'll go along with your Web designer in this case. "Move in" is not really a phrasal verb that demands we keep the "in." Acme has moved and where has it moved? Into a new building. I don't think anyone is going to read this and think that Acme has smashed into the side of the building.
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