QUESTION When do use "which" and when do you use "that" to modify nouns? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Davis, California Thu, Jun 10, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE We use "which" to modify nouns in clauses in order to tie those words to earlier words or phrases. For instance: "He lost his hearing in a bout with chicken pox, which disease is more dangerous than most people think." We use "that" as an adjective all the time, as a determiner: "Which book do you want? That book."
QUESTION We wish to use the phrase"...situated in the heart of Durham, land of the Prince Bishops."Should the word 'land' have a capital 'L'? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK Thu, Jun 10, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Since you are proclaiming this to be a territory "owned" by the Prince Bishops (as disputed as your claim might end up being), you might as well go all the way and capitalize it. Otherwise, "land" looks like "property," which is not what you mean.
QUESTION Would you please give me the correct answer to the following sentence?I'll pledge my support to (whoever, whomever) promises to protect the environment.Thank you. We are in a full discussion of this. I can almost justify both answers. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Needham, Massachusetts Fri, Jun 11, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Being able "to almost justify both answers" qualifies you as a professional grammarian! 8-) In that sentence you want the subject form of "whoever" as the subject of the clause, "whoever promises to protect the environment." That entire clause, then, bcomes the object of the preposition "to," but the form of "whoever" doesn't change.
QUESTION I was wonder if the sentence below must be broken into two sentence after the word changes. ThanksThe housing industry has not been immune from these changes everything from home shopping to loan applications are done from the convenience of the consumer's home. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Atlanta, Georgia Fri, Jun 11, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Yes, by all means. It's possible to use a colon or a semicolon there, I suppose, but it's really a big enough break that a full-stop period is called for. And while we're at it, let's change "are done" to "is done"because the subject of that verb is "everything," which is singular (oddly enough).
QUESTION I am bothered by the following sentence which is contained in a legal contract:"The "Effective Date" is the later of the dates on which this Agreement is executed by Buyer and Seller." (The contract will be executed by the parties on two separate dates.)Is "later" correct, or should it be "latter"? Thanks! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Clemente, California Fri, Jun 11, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The online Merriam-Webster's defines "latter" as "of, relating to, or being the second of two groups or things" which certainly seems to fill the bill in your sentence. I would use "later" only in the sense of being behind something else in time: "Of the two runners, Josefina came in later." And that's an adverb, not a noun. I guess that means she's "the later"? I don't think so. Burchfield says to be careful not to use "latter" when you're talking about more than two things (a distinction not observed by some dictionaries).
Authority for this note: WWWebster Dictionary, the World Wide Web edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Tenth Edition. Used with permission.
Authority: The New Fowler's Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996.
QUESTION I am not sure about how I shall handle this sentence:"Either John or I am / are coming"It feels like they are both exceptable, but I want to use the "am". Is it POSSIBLE to use them both?
Are they both possbile?
- "He is a Jew"
- "He is Jewish"
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, France Sun, Jun 13, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think you mean acceptable. But only the "am" would be acceptable in that sentence. With "either-or" the verb is determined by the subject closer to the verb, which is "I" in this case, which demands "am." If that sounds awful to you, you'll have to rebuild the sentence as "Either John is coming, or I am."
To be a Jew and to be Jewish is pretty much synonymous. Whether it is possible to be born a Jew and be no longer Jewish is, perhaps, debatable. (Don't forget to capitalize those words, though.)
QUESTION Do I put the genitive 's to the end of a sentence like this:
- John and Mary's wedding.
- My wife and my house.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, UK Sun, Jun 13, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The wedding, we assume, is "owned" jointly by John and Mary, so it is "John and Mary's wedding." The other construction, however, sounds so clumsy that we're much better off using the "of construction": "the house of my wife and me." (Or find some way of saying "our house" or "the house belonging to me and my wife.")
QUESTION When is it appropriate to capitalize the "W" in the word web when web being a reference to the World Wide Web.
- Come visit our Web site. (?)
- If you are developing a web site... (?)
- He is a Web designer (?)
- Let us help you redesign your Web site...(?)
- Selecting the best Web servers...(?)
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Sunnyvale, California Tue, Jun 15, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I have to confess that I am not very consistent about this, but apparently most writersincluding writers of textbooks about HTML, etc.capitalize Web when it refers to anything connected with the World Wide Web: Web page, Web site, Web server, the Web, etc.
QUESTION There is debate going on here whether the phrase "Who would you like to talk to?" is grammatically correct.
Thank you the service that your site provides.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Gaithersburg, Maryland Tue, Jun 15, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, that won't do. The "who" of that sentence is really the object of the preposition "to," so you want the object form of the pronoun, "whom." (The subject of the entence is "you.")
QUESTION I use 'some times' in the sentence 'It has been quite some times since my departure to England. is it grammatically correct? does the word 'time' exist in plural form? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Melbourne, Australia Tue, Jun 15, 1999 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word "time" certainly has its plural uses: "We've suffered through some bad times together and enjoyed the good times." There are certain uses of it, though, that won't do. We probably wouldn't say, for instance, "at what times do the trains come through?" We'd say, "at what hours do the trains come through." And we talk about historical periods, not times, etc. You want the singular "time" in that sentence of yours.
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