QUESTION In this sentence, do I place a comma before "along" and after "associates?"Presidents/General Managers from across the country along with a limited number of headquarters associates attended two days of planning sessions that culminated in an awards dinner on Saturday evening. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Newport News, Virginia Thu, Nov 1, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The trouble with that sentence is that the "limited number of associates" is a real tag-along and these people probably feel bad enough as it is getting stuck with a title like "associates" (which has come to mean practically nothing at all). Instead of sticking them into this sentence as an afterthought, why don't we give them front focus (either that or give them their own sentence), as inAccompanied by a limited number of headquarters associates, presidents and general managers from across the country attended two days of planning sessions that culminated in an awards dinner on Saturday evening.
(And we'll get rid of those unnecessary caps on "presidents" and "general managers" while we're in this democratic frame of mind.)
If you really must leave the associates where they are, I would draw even more attention to their separateness with a pair of dashes:Presidents/General Managers from across the countryalong with [accompanied by?] a limited number of headquarters associatesattended two days of planning sessions that culminated in an awards dinner on Saturday evening.
QUESTION Should the words "folk" and "blues" be capitalized when referring to American Folk music or American Blues music?
I am confused since i think that they would be considered genres and, therefore, capitalized.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE New York, New York Fri, Nov 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, don't capitalize those words. For instance, in Albert Murray's recent book, The Blue Devils of Nada, he writes, "The blues were only at bay; they can never be blown entirely away once and for all," and he defines the "blues esthetic."
QUESTION The information can be found in chapters/chapter 6-8.
Do we need 's' after chapter? Thanks for your advice.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Hong Kong Sat, Nov 3, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If you do a search on Yahoo! for the phrase "chapters three through" (using the plural form), you'll find dozens of responses. If you use the singular, you'll find it used in constructions such as "Read chapter three through page 68." I'd go with the plural because that's how people say and write it, even though I'm not completely convinced it's logical to do so. If you simply compound the chapters, of course, you'll use the plural form, as in "Read chapters three and eight," but that's not what you're asking.
QUESTION After selecting teams for pick-up basketball, we often say, "It's us five against you five" and then point to various people. But should we really be saying "It's we five"? The team is we five? We five are the team?
Lately I've been saying, "It's we five," but I feel like a nerd saying it, and because I'm still somewhat unsure, I often mumble it quickly in fear of looking like a grammar nerd. If indeed it is "we five," to what extent should one submit to the slang of the court?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bronx, New York Sat, Nov 3, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If you and your girlfriend go to visit someone and you knock on the door and the people inside say "Who is it?," do you answer "It's we," or do you say "It's us"? First of all, don't get beat up on the basketball court over a point of grammar (a flagrant foul is one thing; grammar is another); second, the "us" in that construction is acceptable in all but the most formal (and stuffiest) of writing.
QUESTION I am still trying to find out what "Noun adjunct" means. I searched in my grammar books and some other resources but couldnt get any information about it. It is dealt with in my lesson book. So I must know what it really means. Could you help me please? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Amasya, Turkey Thu, Nov 8, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that it refers to the possibility of a noun phrase serving as what is called a time adjunct, as in "She'll be here next Thursday" or "She lived here last year" or "She went to school every summer" or "She'll join us the following weekend." These phrase behave adverbially. Frequently, they amount to a prepositional phrase with the preposition omitted: "She'll join us onthe following weekend."
Authority: A University Grammar of English by Randolph Quirk and Sidney Greenbaum. Longman Group: Essex, England. 1993. Used with permission. p.
QUESTION In the following sentence, please tell me if the word "school" should be capitalized and why. My mom and I say it shouldn't be, but my teacher says it should.Is Miss Bishop's Sunday school class going to sing? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Madera, California Thu, Nov 8, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Always believe your mom. My dictionary backs her up in this case.
Authority: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Electronic Edition, Version 1.5. 1996. Used with permission.
QUESTION We are debating the use of the words pair and pairs.
When is it applicable to use pair, and when is it applicable to use pairs? Do you have 3 pair of pants or 3 pairs of pants?
Is the usage different when talking about individual things combined to make a pair, such as playing cards, horses etc.
Is my sled pulled by 2 pair of Black Huskies, or 2 pairs of Black Huskies.
Thanks for your help in resolving this ongoing dispute.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Carson City, Nevada Thu, Nov 8, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to Burchfield, always use the plural "pairs" when the phrase is preceded by a numeral. So you want "two pairs of black huskies." You will sometimes hear or read the singular in this construction, but Burchfield implies that it is not standard English, especially in Britain.
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 I wonder if you could resolve my most recent quandary. Which tense is correct in the following sentence:It is my humble opinion, however, that the mistakes of a few should never warrant a fundamental change in policies and accommodations, especially when they are what [DISTINGUISH/DISTINGUISHES] and sets us apart from others.Again, thanks for your sharing your expertise. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Washington, D.C. Thu, Nov 8, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Actually, this is not a matter of tense; it's a matter of number. Do we want "distinguishes" to go with a singular "what" or do we want "distinguish" to go with a "what" that seems to refer to "they," which is obviously plural? In this case, try substituting "something" for the clause in question: "They are [something]." And what, in this case, is the something that they are? "What distinguishes and sets us apart from others." So the noun clause that serves as the predicate nominative for "they are" can comprise singular verbs like "distinguishes" and "sets apart."
QUESTION Does this sentence need to have the third "to" (and to harnessing) to make it parallel to "to harnessing"?We are dedicated to harnessing the full strength of our resources to serve your needs and to implementing a pragmatic strategy that will benefit you in this challenging and ever changing environment. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Fri, Nov 9, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The infinitive "to implementing" wants to be in parallel with "to harnessing," but it succeeds in looking like something that's trying to be parallel with "to serve" (but failing miserably in the effort). The sentence is drowning in a surfeit of "-ing" words. What about something likeWe will use all our resources to serve you and implement whatever strategies are required in this challenging environment to secure ________ [whatever it is you're trying to accomplish for these clients]?
QUESTION I need to know if the words"apple picking"and the word "one" in the following sentence are nouns:We will go apple picking, one and all.It's for a LA homework assignment. I thought they were but I'm not sure. Thanks. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bethel, Connecticut Fri, Nov 9, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I would call "apple picking" a gerund, which is, indeed, a kind of noun, a verb phrase used as a noun. "One," though, is a pronoun.
Previous Grammar Log
Next Grammar Log
Index of Grammar Logs
Guide to Grammar and Writing