QUESTION Using a possessive such as "Kay's book" with a name which ends normally in "s" such as James - do we use James's book or do we use the rule which appliess to plurals, James' book?
Thanks for your help
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bowling Green, Kentucky Wednesday, August 26, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It's not exactly the same as the rule that applies to plurals, it's just a matter of leaving off the final "s" because it looks funny. I think that most writers would prefer James's book -- I know I would, but if you choose to leave off that final "s" you're certainly not alone, and most writing manuals provide for that, especially when the final "s" of a name creates a kind of "z" sound.
QUESTION Your site is great -- I only wish I had more time to explore it because I would probably find an answer to my question. My question has to do with comparisons in writing. I work with several people who use structure somewhat different than mine. Obviously, I am not an English expert so I wanted to ask what the proper form is (or if one way is better than the other). In our writing we compare a lot of groups. I often see sentences such as "These groups select this option more than do the other groups." I usually use something like "These groups select this option more than the other groups do." Which is best -- "more than do" as in "...more than do the other groups" or "more than ... do" as in "...more than the other groups do"? I am hoping that you can reply personally. Thank you for your help. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Wednesday, August 26, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I see nothing wrong with the nice parallel form you create when you write "more than other groups do." The "more than do" sounds kind of stuffy to me.
QUESTION How do you construct a compound possessive (with shared ownership) involving a self-referential (reflexive?) personal pronoun? For example, I want to refer to my wedding anniversary. But it's not just my anniversary, it's my wife's as well. I want to say something like: "Carla and my anniversary" or perhaps "Carla and mine anniversary" or maybe "Mine and Carla's anniversary." So, which do I use? Or is it something else?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Detroit, Michigan Wednesday, August 26, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Carla and my anniversary" would be fine. If it sounds clumsy to you, you might reword your sentence so you refer to "our anniversary." (That's just a simple possessive pronoun, by the way.)
QUESTION If you are writing "It is encouraging that the Marketing and Ad Sales departments at VH1 work closely together to achieve a successful final product." Are Ad Sales, Marketing and Departments capitalized?
Also, could this relationship be described as symbiotic?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Wednesday, August 26, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The tendency in most writing today is to do away with capitalization where it isn't entirely necessary. I wouldn't capitalize those words here (except for VH1, which must be an acronym of some kind).
The relationship sounds cooperative, but that isn't necessarily symbiotic, is it? As long as it's not parasitic . . . .
QUESTION Is there a specific term for a noun that is the same in both the singular and plural form? Examples: sheep, fish
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Baltimore, Maryland Wednesday, August 26, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I have learned that there is a name for everything, but I can't find a decent one for such words. Quirk and Greenbaum call them "zero plurals," but surely there has to be something better than that. If not, you should invent your own word and become famous. Sorry I can't help.
Authority: A University Grammar of English by Randolph Quirk and Sidney Greenbaum. Longman Group: Essex, England. 1993. p. 86. Used with permission.
QUESTION On several reports, I have noticed that when references are made to acronyms, the acronym is placed in parenthesis and quotes. (e.g. Nissan Motor Corporation ("NMC")) Is this an acceptable way to indicate acronyms? I was always under the impression that the quotes within the parenthesis were sufficient. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Los Angeles, California Wednesday, August 26, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I have no idea why anyone would want to place the acronym (please note spelling) within quotation marks. It's a waste of a good punctuation mark.
QUESTION In the sentence "Lisa and/or Tom (make/makes) the determination as to whether a 1099 is sent.", which is the correct form of Make? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Louisville, Kentucky Wednesday, August 26, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE A very bright person once explained to me why "and/or" was logically nonsense, but it seems to prevail nonetheless. If "Lisa and/or Tom" is necessary, then "make/makes" will be necessary because if it's the two of them together you'll want make and if it's one or the other it's makes. I would decide which is really the case and write the sentence that way.
QUESTION I'm in 7th grade. I would like some help on how to use the proper punctuation mark when writing quotes. Like when to use a comma, colon, etc. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Shirley, New York Wednesday, August 26, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE A good place to start is in our section devoted to quotation marks in Marks Besides the Comma. At the end of that section, there is a hyperlink to yet another "handout" on writing papers about literature which should prove helpful.
QUESTION We're in a a little dilemma at the office here concerning the use of "a" and "an". We have an acronym that is "NEDC" (stands for National Engineering Design Challenge".
In a brochure we are about to publish, I say that in a sentence it is proper to use "an" in front of NEDC. For example, "I am interested in becoming an advising engineer in an NEDC event in my area".
Others say that "a" should be used. "I am interested in becoming an advising engineer in a NEDC event in my area".
What do you think? Thank you for your input.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Fairfax, Virginia Thursday, August 27, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE When you say the acronym NEDC, you begin with the "en" sound, which, in turn, begins with a vowel sound; thus, the "an" would be appropriate. Those who would use an "a" should be fired forthwith.
QUESTION The usage of correlate is puzzling me this evening.
You're doing some data analysis and you find some similarities between two things. Do you correlate this "to" that or this "with" that--or do you simply correlate this "and" that?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Seattle, Washington Thursday, August 27, 1998 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I've read both to and with, and both make sense to me -- as in "relate to" and "connect with," which is what correlate means. The "and" is a bit of a stretch and doesn't convey what you're really doing.
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