QUESTION I want to know if the following expression is acceptable.This book is worth while reading. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Busan, Korea Fri, Apr 12, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The compound "worthwhile" has become one word, and if you write "This book is worthwhile reading," it is acceptable. The word "worthwhile" then becomes a modifier for "reading." You might consider writing "This book is worth reading" rather faint praise, but praise nonetheless.
QUESTION Must a plural verb ALWAYS be used with a "both . . . and" statement?"Both Bill's coffee and mine is cold."The singular form "is" seems appropriate here because coffee is an uncountable noun. How about if we have two different uncountable nouns?"Both Bill's coffee and my tea is cold."I have been teaching ESL for 6 years and I've never encountered this question before, nor can I find a resource that addresses it. Thank you for any light you can shed on this. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico Fri, Apr 12, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I can't think of any situation in which words compounded by "both" and "and" would not use a plural verb, whether the subjects are countable nouns or not. If you think of the two coffees as singular entities the coffee in Bills' cup and the coffee in yours perhaps it becomes a bit clearer why we need a plural verb. A singular verb tries to make one substance of the two discrete "coffees," something that hasn't been true since the coffee was poured from the pot.
QUESTION Is the use of the article 'the' required/correct when referring to ships by name? What rule applies here? Does it vary? I can construct two examples, both of which sound right to my "ear".
Since the noun is a proper name, using 'the' would seem incorrect ('the ferry' vs a particular named ferry). However, if 'the' is omitted from ex2 it sounds awkward to me. Thanks for the help!
- ex1 - M/V Issaquah was the ferry for this morning's run.
- ex2 - We are riding on the M/V Issaquah.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Seattle, Washington Sun, Apr 21, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I doubt if there are any rules about this sort of thing, but if I use a much more common name, I keep coming up with situations in which I use the article "the." "The Queen Elizabeth/The Nautilus was launched on . . . . " "We shipped aboard the H.M.S. Pinafore. . . ." I think you want that the.
QUESTION I want to ask about this sentence:His having been unemployed for two years is worrying.if this sentence is using noun phrase. what are the rules of the noun phrase? In that sentence, is the word "having" a verb? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, China Sun, Apr 21, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Having been unemployed" is a gerund phrase and since a gerund is a verb form acting as a noun, you could regard this as a noun phrase if you were so inclined. "Having" is a kind of verb, a gerund, but it's a verb form, really, acting like a noun. I'm not sure what you mean by the "rules" for noun phrases, but you can find more information by clicking HERE
QUESTION Is there any difference in meaning between: I run every day (to lose weight).and I'm running every day (to lose weight).?I learned from a grammar book that the progressive form indicates temporariness. I also learned that the progressive implies that the repetition takes place over a limited period of time when it's combined with habitual meaning. Is this true?
You can never imply (almost) the same meaning as the simple present using the progressive?
You can never say the sentence  above when you think you are going to make a permanent habit of running every day?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Japan Mon, Apr 22, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The grammar book is right. The progressive form will suggest the temporary nature of the activity. "He is running for President" says that this activity is going on now, but it won't last forever. We can't say the same thing with "He runs for President" (unless we meant to say that someone seems to be running for office constantly and every time there is an election. "I run every day to lose weight" means that the activity is habitual; it's been going on for a long time and I don't foresee the activity coming to an end.
QUESTION What is the difference between the two conjunctive adverbs "however" and "nevertheless"?
For example, why can we ONLY use "however" in this sentence ...
"Fewer men smoke today than in the past, however the number of women smokers is rising."
Yet, both work in this sentence:I'm trying to teach my students this difference, but I'm having a lot of trouble. I appreciate your help!
"Studies indicate smoking is bad for one's health, however/nevertheless, people still continue to smoke."
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Pasadena, California Mon, Apr 22, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I had never thought of this distinction before, and the dictionary isn't a lot of help, is it? First of all, it's important to use semicolons with those conjunctive adverbs. (The normal pattern is ". . . than in the past; however, the number of women . . .") But the matter of when to use one and not the other is a matter of subtle logic. The "however" is a simpler level of contradictoriness. Men do this; however, women do that. "Nevertheless" is a more complex relationship: "In spite of the fact that studies indicate smoking is bad for one's health, people continue to smoke." It's that "in spite of one thing, the other" that calls for the use of "nevertheless." I'll leave an e-mail icon here in case someone else can offer a clearer explanation of this difference.
David Eason offers this explanation of the difference:
1. However to indicate negation, detour, or contradiction where there is no direct correlation or causal relationship between two conditions.
2. Nevertheless to indicate negation, detour, or contradiction when a direct correlation or causal relationship exists between two conditions.
For example, there is no direct correlation or causal relationship between the fact that fewer men smoke and the fact that the number of women smokers is rising. However, a direct correlation exists between the fact that smoking is bad for people, but people continue to smoke anyway.
QUESTION When asking a student to write a sentence using prepositions, the student responded with the sentence, "The veterinarian was about to leave when another injured pet arrived." The student is using "about to leave" as the prepositional phrase. My colleagues and I do not think "about" in this sentence is a preposition. We are thinking that it is being used as an adjective (predicate adjective) since it follows the word "was." Although, we can also see it as an adverb if we replace it with the word "ready." What would be your opinion on this?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Shepherdstown, West Virginia Mon, Apr 22, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It appears, from the dictionary's definitions, that about is used more as an adverb than it is used as a preposition. As an adjective, you have only the peculiar usage, "Is John about?" meaning Is John in the area? My Merriam-Webster's uses "about to join the army" as an example of an adverbial usage, "usually combined with 'be' and a following infinitive." So that's definitely what you've got here. See our section on the verb "to be" for some help on the distinctions betweeen "to be" verbs as linking verbs and existential verbs. In this sentence, your "was" is an existential verb, which is then modified by the adverbial construction "about to leave." Give your student a lot of credit for coming up with something interesting even if it was wrong.
QUESTION "She is nine years old."In this sentence what parts of speech are "nine," "years," and "old," and what does each of these words modify? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Cedarville, Ohio Mon, Apr 22, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Old" is an adjective, the predicate adjective describing "she" (on the other side of the linking verb, "is," as it were). The quantifying phrase "nine years," then, modifies "old," so we can say that it behave adverbially (modifying an adjective) a parallel would be "very old," in which "old" is modified by the intensifier "very" (as opposed to a quantifier).
QUESTION Which is more correct: A handful of venture funds HAVE returned fees to their limited partners.
A handful of venture funds HAS returned fees to their limited partners.Thank you very much (we have a dollar riding on the outcome, and, more importantly, the sentence is part of an article). SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Menlo Park, California Mon, Apr 22, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Are you thinking of this handful of funds as a conglomerate, a singular entity? I doubt it. I think you're still thinking of the funds as separate things, held together, figuratively, in someone's fist. The notion of pluralness (is that a word?) dominates in this case, and I would definitely use the plural "have returned." The same thing happens, for instance, in a phrase like "a variety of cigars." We could say "a variety of cigars is available" if we're emphasizing the variety; we'd say "a variety of cigars are available" if we're thinking about all those different cigars. Someone owes me fifty cents.
QUESTION Should it be "your and your family's property" or "your family's and your property"? I was under the impression it should be the 2nd choice but now I'm not so sure. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Mon, Apr 22, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE When the possessive pronoun becomes one of the owners in an expression of joint possession, it's bound sound clumsy if the personal pronoun comes first. I'd go with your second choice, also. Can you reword the phrase to "property belonging to you and your family"?
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