QUESTION Dear Grammar,
My question is about parallel structures. Can 2 verbs connected with "and" be different types such as do-type and is-type?
For example:Thank you very much.
The methods allow us to evaluate various soil properties and are promising for the application in urban areas.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Laramie, Wyoming Mon, Feb 1, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, that sentence has some serious problems in parallel form -- or rather the lack of it -- as your question suggests. The two thoughts built into this sentence are pretty far apart: each deserves its own independent clause (if not its own separate sentence): "These methods allow us to evaluate various soil properties; they are also promising applications [for _____ ] in urban areas." Or you could tuck some of the information into a modifying clause earlier in the sentence; "These methods, which allow us to evaluate various soil properties, are promising applications in urban areas."
QUESTION What is the correct preposition to use after the word "guidance" - is it "in" or "on" something? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Dublin, Ireland Wed, Feb 3, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't think this is an either-or proposition. You can ask for guidance on a certain matter, or (it seems to me) you could seek guidance in a certain area (that is, the "in" seems a bit more appropriate when the guidance would cover a wider range of options). I tender this observation without the authority of a dictionary to back me up on it, however.
QUESTION Houghton Mifflin middle school language books indicate that the possessive form of all singular words should be written by adding 's. Your attached Grammar Guide indicates that the apostrophe alone may be added to a proper noun with another "s" in it, such as "Moses' staff" and "Jesus' book." Which is correct on ACT and SAT tests which my students will take? Also, have you heard of a rule indicating that Biblical names should not have 's added to them when they end with an "s" since the original King James version did not use this grammatical form. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Sheboygan, Wisconsin Wed, Feb 3, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't know what to tell you about the ACT and SAT tests. I would hope they'd have the good sense not to ask a right or wrong question about something which is so hotly debated. Most of my reference books recommend putting an apostrophe plus "s" after singular proper nouns ending in "s": Chris's book. The New York Public Library's Writer's Guide, however, does not. And others would give you a choice, depending on how it sounds to your ear, etc. Most would avoid the apostrophe + "s" in a name like Hodges (ending in a "z"-like sound) and would not write Hodges's paper. And all of the reference books I own do not add an apostrophe + "s" after Jesus' and Moses' names. I don't know if that has anything to do with the possessive forms used in the King James Version, although that seems like a reasonable explanation.
Are the above two sentenses the same meaning or not?
- Why are you always gunning for me?
- Why are you always opposing me?
An Australian teacher told me that be gunning for means to encourage or to support. However, my dictionary says that be gunning for means to be opposing. Please tell me which is right?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Yokohama, Japan Wed, Feb 3, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Australians have their own way of saying things, so it's always dangerous to say what things might mean "down under." In the United States, though, "gunning for me" definitely means "opposing me" -- but it means so with a decidedly vicious and surreptitious edge, so the opposition comes in the form of sneaky and mean attacks.
QUESTION I did something to strengthen my position. Did I "sure" up my position or "shore" up my position? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Boston, Massachusetts Wed, Feb 3, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You have tried to "shore up" your position. (The past tense of that, "shored up," sounds very strange, doesn't it?) "Sure up" is an interesting twist on things, but I don't think you'll find it in the dictionaries -- at least not yet.
Authority for this note: WWWebster Dictionary, the World Wide Web edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Tenth Edition. Used with permission.
I would be very grateful if you could tell me, which one of the following examples is grammatically correct in a formal written context?
Thanks in advance.
- These kind of examples are inaccurate.
- These kinds of examples are inaccurate.
- This kind of examples are inaccurate.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Finland Wed, Feb 3, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I have to assume that you are talking about several kinds (or more than one, anyway) of different examples -- which would mean that your second option is the best. You're sure, though, that you don't mean "this kind of example is inaccurate", which would also imply that there is more than one example?
QUESTION Dear Grammar English,
Would you use "and" or "or" in the following comparison?"Participation in the plan will terminate on the earlier of (a) the participant's death, [and/or] (b) the participant's termination of employment with the company."Why? Thank you.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Seattle, Washington Wed, Feb 3, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I would use "and," and I think it has something to do with the use of the preposition "of." If I said, for instance: "Who is taller? Fred or Virginia?", there is no question: I would use "or." However, if asked "Which is the taller of Fred ____ Virginia?", I would use "and." I think we have to put the two things together, with "and," algebraically, before we divide them with the "or."
Having said this, I must warn you that I answered a similar question with a similar response some months ago and got a couple of vehement notes saying that I was a moron. Also, I should caution you not to take this question to a mathematician: you'll learn much more than any reasonable non-mathematician wants to know about the mathematical uses of "and" and "or" and/or "and" or "or."
QUESTION My daughter brought home a paper that I helped her with. When it was graded the teacher and I did not agree on the answer. Please help me understand.The sentence- None of the bikers (are, is) here yet.I thought because the word bikers was included the correct way to say this would be-None of the bikers "are" here yet. The teacher says the correct way is-None of the bikers "is" here yet. Please explain. Thanks so much!!!! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Columbus, Ohio Wed, Feb 3, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE With all due respect to your daughter's teacher, you could go either way with the sentence. There might be something else in the context of the sentence or paragraph that will dictate whether you regard "none" as singular or plural (e.g., "None of the bikers have their own bike."); otherwise, it can be either singular or plural. Where it doesn't seem to matter, I would use the singular (which is, perhaps, what your daughter's teacher is thinking), but there's nothing that says I have to -- and the word "none" has been either fish or fowl in centuries of usage.
Authority: The New Fowler's Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996.
QUESTION Commas are used between independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjuction. If "so" is used alone to represent "so that," it is no longer a coordinating conjunction, right? Does that mean that no comma should be used?Example:What is the grammatical term used to describe "so" in this case, and should a comma be used or not??
He went to the store so he could buy some milk.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Marcos, California Wed, Feb 3, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You're right. Sometimes "so" will act like the other coordinating conjunctions and combine with a comma to separate two independent clauses: "It's getting really cold in here, so let's build a fire in the fireplace." But in the sentence you give us, above, it's acting like a subordinating conjunction and the second clause cannot really stand by itself. And, no, we don't want a comma in that sentence.
QUESTION Current best usage on possessives of business names and organization names:
Small's Formal Wear store is now on signs as Smalls Formal Wear, no apostrophe in the possessive. Earl's towing is now Earls towing as if there were multiple Earls in business. Veterans Hospital and Visitors Center has no apostrophe to show possessive or have these terms become generic and no longer take the apostrophe? I think it should be Visitors' Center and Veterans' Hospital with the apostrophe - what is best usage for these as above?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE West Chester, Pennsylvania Sat, Feb 6, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I can't think of any reason for Earl and the Smalls to drop the apostrophe in the possessive. Maybe the signpainter got lazy or offered a discount on non-possessives that day? The Visitors Center, however, can do without the possessive. It's not really the "center of the visitors," is it? A plural word can be used adjectivally, as an attributive noun, just as we use a singular noun in that way in "the book store." Whether "Veterans Hospital" ought to have a possessive apostrophe in it or not is a matter of earnest and legitimate debate.
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