QUESTION Is it correct grammar to use sicker and/or sickest to describe degrees of illness? This was a discussion I was having with a friend after hearing a news broadcast. Thanks for your answer! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Windsor, New York Thursday, July 30, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The comparative and superlative degrees of sick seem to be reserved for things that make us sick because they're depraved: "That's the sickest thing I've ever seen." I can't find the degrees of sick in the dictionary, where it applies to illness, but I'll leave the e-mail icon here in case someone finds evidence to the contrary. I'm sure that in casual speech or writing, we can say that we feel sicker than we did yesterday, but it's wise to avoid it (and sickest) in formal language.
QUESTION What is the protocol for URLs and e-mail addresses? Should they be underlined or italicized or both? Do they both get handled in the same manner? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Berkeley, California Thursday, July 30, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, absolutely do not underline or italicize them. Italics can be hard to read (and every letter is important in an URL, as you know) and some URLs have underlines built into them, which could be disguised if they were already underlined. I would avoid quotation marks, also, as some readers might think such marks are part of the address or locator. I have seen URLs and e-mail addresses enclosed with angle brackets and that is encouraged in some methods of citation, but those brackets, too, can be confusing. Some writers will make a point of putting URLs, at least, on their own line of type so that a confusing line-break will not be imposed by a line-ending -- not a bad idea.
QUESTION What is the difference between the nouns
The most common example for me is the confirmation of a web-based form being submitted:
- submission"Thank you for your submission"Sounds like domination!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Portland, Oregon Thursday, July 30, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Submittal" doesn't sound much better, though, does it? My dictionary doesn't even have "submittal," but the online Webster's lists it as a synonym for "submission." I'd use submission, if I were you, but if it gives you the willies, use submittal.
QUESTION I am confused about the use of "loan" and "lend". Is there a proper place to use them? Is this correct usage? ex:Gary decided to loan his cousin money for a year's tuition. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Superior, Wisconsin Thursday, July 30, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Nope, he decided to lend his cousin the money. Loan (noun) is the thing that you lend (verb). See the Notorious Confusable article on this one.
QUESTION I have an expression I put in the signature section of my e-mails. It is:"Ultimate Success is Manifested by Helping Others Reach Their Goals."My question. Am I using the correct form of the word manifest? Would it be more correct to say "made manifest"? Is the way I have it incorrect?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Redondo Beach, California Friday, July 31, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE With manifested, you've simply used the transitive verb form of this word. It can also be an adjective, as in "made manifest." This means that you can have it both ways -- well, either way. "Made manifest" sounds a bit stuffy to me, but that's a personal thing.
QUESTION What's correct between
and how about this one
- let she do it.
- let she does it.
- let her do it.
- let her does it.
Please give me the answer as soon as you can. I'll keep looking forward for the answer!
- she can make it.
- she can makes it.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bangkok, Thailand Friday, July 31, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Let her do it. She can make it. Some review of Helping Verbs might help.
QUESTION I have a question regarding the proper usage of "since" and "because." What sentence is grammatically correct and why:
Can you forward some guidelines or references that can help me understand when it is appropriate to use either "since" or "because"? Thanks.
- Reasonable efforts should be made to implement this recommendation since the problem will affect a fair number of users.
- Reasonable efforts should be made to implement this recommendation because the problem will affect a fair number of users.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Alexandria, Virginia Friday, July 31, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In casual language, since and because are used almost synonymously. In formal or academic prose, however, we don't want to use since in situations implying causality. We use it only to suggest a temporal connection. You want to use because, as you do in the first sentence above.
Authority: The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers by Chris M. Anson and Robert A. Schwegler. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.: New York. 1997. p. G-7.
QUESTION In the following example:I will let you cook this time.The phrase "this time" appears to function as an adverb modifying (to) cook, but what kind of phrase is it? Just an adverb phrase? Thanks in advance. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Allentown, Pennsylvania Friday, July 31, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It's an adverb phrase. It's probably a prepositional phrase, "at this time" (or something like that), from which the preposition has been dropped, but even if that is so, it's functioning (as you point out) like an adverbial phrase modifying the verb cook.
QUESTION Dear Grammar,
I work as an economic consultant and I am trying to figure out how to correctly spell a compound word that I tend to use quite often. The word is arm's-length (or is it arm's length)? I use this word in both its adjective and noun form:We performed an arm's-length analysis on the company to see if its dealings were at arm's length.Thank you very much, Grammar!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Francisco, California Friday, July 31, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE That's kind of a weird adjective, but if it works for you, use it in good health. I think you're right about the hyphen when it's in the pre-position and right not to use hyphen when it's in the post-modifying position. An analogy might be a full-length mirror?
QUESTION The phrase in question is "It is I" or "It was I."
Are these correct? If so, why? Isn't I being used as the object in these phrases? Does it have something to do with the fact that you are naming yourself?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Baltimore, Maryland Friday, July 31, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, the "I" is not an object in those sentences. (If it were an object, you're right: you'd want "me" instead of "I.") The linking verb -- "is" or "was" in this case -- does not take an object. Instead, it links the subject to a predicate nominative. Thus you want the subject form of the pronoun -- I -- to follow the verb.
Some writers, by the way, would contend that this is all stuffy nonsense and they would write, "It's me," which, indeed, is how people talk and how people generally write, for that matter. In formal prose, however, I would certainly stick with "It is I."
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