QUESTION I have the following sentence:"If there is more than one router and/or more than one switch between your firewall and your service delivery point, please explain the purpose of the device."Should it read "If there are...?" Should "device" be plural? Or perhaps "purpose?" It's the "and/or" that's confusing me.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Honolulu, Hawaii Wed, Mar 6, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It's difficult to fathom why, but "more than one [whatever]" takes a singular verb, so you want "is." Do you really need the "and/or" in this sentence? It seems to me that "or" would do the job quite nicely. You're right: the "and/or" is confusing. I suppose you could change "device" to "device(s)."
QUESTION Does this phrase sound correct:"The more people buy GoBack, the more you earn."(GoBack is a software product) SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Maple Grove, Minnesota Fri, Mar 8, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It's not really correct. You use "more" as an adverb in the first part of the sentence and as a noun in the second part; that can be confusing, especially in a sentence that pretends to use parallel form. On the other hand, if Macintosh can get away with "Think different," you can probably get away with your phrasing.
QUESTION "I have finished a Higher Diploma in Translation and Interpretation." My teacher corrected it as " I have completed a ..." Why should 'finished' be replaced by' completed'? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Hong Kong Fri, Mar 8, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It's probably not the most important stylistic consideration in the world, but your teacher has made a good suggestion. The point of your sentence is not that you have brought your studies to a close (finished), but that you have accomplished all the various requirements of that degree. It's a distinction worth making.
QUESTION I believe it is incorrect to begin a sentence with the word "therefore;" but I cannot find a reference which explains why.
Therefore, we believe that . . . .
Shouldn't this be reworded to
We believe, therefore, that . . .
What rule that governs this word choice?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Cape Canaveral, Florida Fri, Mar 8, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't think you'll ever find a rule that says you shouldn't begin a sentence with "therefore." It might well be that the adverbial conjunction has a tendency to clank a bit when it's hanging out there at the beginning of a sentence, and your text will, indeed, flow more smoothly, more elegantly, if you tuck this parenthetical element into your sentence. But if it's important to stress the transitional element, go ahead and place the therefore at the beginning.
QUESTION Which sentence is correct?
- With sincere appreciation, we both send thanks to you for performing our wedding ceremony.
- With sincere appreciation, we both send thanks to you for performing our marriage ceremony.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania Fri, Mar 8, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The two terms are all but interchangeable. I think "wedding ceremony" is a bit more precise, though. The effusive meter reads awfully high on this sentence, and it might be more to the point to register, somehow and more simply, how grand it was to have this individual take part in or officiate at your wedding.
QUESTION I am confused regarding the use of the word Honorable. I am making a Certificate of Appreciation for some of our Government Employees and I was trying to read/copy the old files. Unfortunately, I become confused. I learned in my English course that we use the word Honorable when we address a high ranking official. For example in making a letter to the Mayor, my salutation should be Honorable Ben ____, City Mayor, etc.. But in making a certificate of appreciation I think I should not use the word Honorable because he is the one giving the Certificate am I right? Is it not self serving? Calling himself Honorable and signing it? Please help me. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Fri, Mar 8, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't have any reference books that speak to this matter of writing etiquette, but I would be willing to bet that you're right, that it wouldn't make sense for the mayor to refer to himself as "the Honorable ______" in signing proclamations, etc. If you do a search on the Internet for "proclamations, governor," you'll find numerous official proclamations in which various governors "sign" the document with just their name, no "honorable" in sight.
QUESTION I am a 2nd grader and am learning about vowels and consonants. Have you ever heard of the "Angry R" when discussing consonants? Could you direct me to a site that talks about learning vowels and consonants? Thank you. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Wadsworth, Ohio Fri, Mar 8, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE My third-grade-teaching spouse tells me that you are learning about what she calls the "-r controlled vowels." In a syllable like "ir," "er," "ar," etc., the sound of the vowel is swallowed up or controlled by the sound of the consonant "r." (You hardly hear the "i" or the "e" at all in a syllable like "er" or "ir"; the lion-like "r" has devoured it.) I guess that element of dominating or swallowing up other sounds has led to the descriptive label, "angry R's."
There may well be Websites that discuss vowels and consonants, but I haven't been able to find one that would be suitable for second-grade study. Perhaps you and your classmates and teacher should create one.
QUESTION Hello, we use the term here "on call" to describe work related duties. Such as:
I am "on call" for the rest of the evening. (Meaning I might or might not be called to work). My question is, do I put a hyphen in between on and call in this case?
I put a hyphen when using it to describe a length of time, such as: Throughout the on-call period, I was never called to work. Is that correct also?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Commerce, California Fri, Mar 8, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE When you say you're on call, you won't use a hyphen, but when you use the phrase as a pre-noun modifier, you should add the hyphen, as in "Throughout the on-call period."
QUESTION Hello from Hawaii: What is the subject in this sentence these airlines, or each?These airlines each have/has reported increased sales.Is each not singular in this case? If "airlines" is the subject, then "have" would be the correct answer, right? Or is it has? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Hawaii Tue, Mar 12, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE When "each" follows the noun in that manner (as opposed to "each of the airlines," in which "each" would be the subject and you'd want a singular verb), it is regarded as an adjunct to the noun and the noun itself ("airlines") controls the number of the verb. So you want the plural "have reported."
Authority: The Careful Writer by Theodore Bernstein. The Free Press: New York. 1998. p. 154.
QUESTION Here's the sentence (and question) in question:I am studying the pictures of the class, in the hope of being very, very sure of who is who.(Can anyone make the case that that should read "of whom is whom," as "who" is the object of the preposition "of" and the object pronoun is "whom" and not "who"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Ramon, California Tue, Mar 12, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, no one can make that case. You are being sure of something, and the something that you're being sure of is embedded in the clause "who is who." So the entire clause is the object of the preposition "of," but that doesn't mean that you change the forms of the pronouns within the clause. It's similar to "He asked who was at the door." Who is the subject of the clause, "who was at the door," and that entire clause is the object of the verb's action, "asked."
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