QUESTION Does "within 365 days after the expiration of the term" modify all or part of what comes after it in the sentence below?Fred will pay Frank $30.00 if, within 365 days after the expiration of the term, the clothing is sold, or Fred enters into a contract to sell the clothing, or negotiations continue leading to the sale of the clothing.My reading is that the phrase applies to all three conditions. Is there a "rule"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Tampa, Florida Thu, Feb 10, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The phrase is included within the "if" clause and will govern everything that follows, including the subsequent clauses connected by "or." If you wanted the "with 365 days" phrase to apply only to the "clothing is sold" clause, you'd need a harder break after "sold."
QUESTION Is "from throughout" incorrect?Example: We choose a number of groups from throughout our entire system.Why not "we choose a number of groups from our entire system"? Does this achieve the same meaning as "from throughout"?
Thank you for your help.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Antonio, Texas Thu, Feb 10, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE My first instinct is to avoid the double preposition (like jumping off of the table) and to say that "from," by itself, would suffice. I doubt if you need both "throughout" and "entire" in the same sentence, but "from throughout" does mean something slightly different, that your choices came from a cross-section of the entire system. It might be a bit clumsy, but I don't see a simpler way of saying this. What about using the idea of the "cross-section" (or similar phrase) or modifying "groups" with a word like "representative"? I'll leave an e-mail icon here in case some reader has a better idea.
QUESTION I am wondering how to determine when to use the word "on" and when to use the word "upon." Does it even matter?
- ex: I hate to rely ____ my parents.
- ... the force exerted _____ her.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bellingham, Washington Thu, Feb 10, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to Burchfield, the choice seems to be entirely arbitrary and depend on the writer's sense of the sentence's sound and rhythms. I would say that "upon" sometimes sounds a bit more formal. "So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow. . . " sounds more important, somehow, than "So much depends on a red wheelbarrow." But it's up to you.
Authority: The New Fowler's Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996. Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.
QUESTION Okay, I have a toughie (sic.!). What is the difference between "So long as" and "As long as"? Are they interchangeable?
Thanks for your help.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Redding, California Thu, Feb 10, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The phrase "as long as" can mean either "during the whole time that" or "provided that (or only if)." The phrase "so long as" can substitute for "as long as" when you mean "provided that." According to this definition (from Burchfield) the phrasing one hears at weddings, "so long as they both shall live," is either wrong or archaic.
Authority: The New Fowler's Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996. (looked up under "long") Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.
QUESTION I would to know if this sentece is acceptable:"Your visit will be welcomed and it will be our pleasure to assist you in preventing and overcoming health problems".I'm not sure welcomed should have the "d" on the end? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Montreal,Quebec,Canada Thu, Feb 10, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word "welcome" can serve as an adjective, so it would work as a predicate adjective in "your visit would be welcome." As a participle, "welcomed," it would also work in "your visit would be welcomed" which is what I would go with, but either is acceptable.
Authority for this note: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Electronic Edition. 1994. Used with permission.
QUESTION I have a question regarding the use of "birthday" versus "anniversary." Amazingly, I have been "corrected" twice on this in the last week--and it's starting to hurt! Details follow:
Last week, I was asked to make an announcement at a major conference. A pair of Army nurses asked me to make an announcement marking the 99th anniversary of the Army Nurse Corps. Well, when I made the announcement, I asked all the nurses to stand and take a bow, and for the audience to extend a warm round of applause for the "99th birthday of the Army Nurse Corps." About an hour later I saw one of the nurses, who thanked me for making the announcement, but said I should've said "99th anniversary" not "99th birthday." That's case one.
This morning, my boss asked me to draft an email for him to send to our entire staff, commemorating our organization's (the TRICARE Management Activity) second anniversary. You see, we were officially created on 10 February 1998, and so he wanted to celebrate the anniversary, and also give them a bit of a inspirational message for the future as well. True to form, when I sent him my draft, I used "birthday" not "anniversary," because I believe it is being used within the context of a celebration ("Happy Birthday America," "The City of New York celebrated its 255th birthday today...") My sense is that "anniversary" is obviously reserved for weddings, but also has a patina of historical gravity (the anniversary of the D-Day invasion). Anyway for the second time in as many weeks I had my "birthday" changed and "anniversary" inserted.
I prefer "birthday" in these contexts. Am I right?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Falls Church, Virginia Fri, Feb 11, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word anniversary will have to accompanied by additional description anniversary of what? its founding? its official recognition? Birthday doesn't have this problem, but I suppose that most folks associate the word with the birth of human beings or at least animals and only extend it to nations and cities metaphorically. I also have to agree that the word anniversary extends a sense of historical gravity that birthday doesn't, and therein lies their strongest argument for preferring anniversary. I wouldn't have changed your choice of words, but I've reached the point in my life where celebrating anniversaries and/or birthdays doesn't feel like such a good idea.
QUESTION According to a British linguist, sentence (2) is likely to be far more worrying than (1). If a doctor used (2) in addressing a patient, the patient would have reason to be pessimistic.
Is this true? I feel the opposite. Let me have your opinion.
- The illness can be fatal.
- The illness may be fatal.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Osaka, Japan Sun, Feb 13, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE We have discussed this in English Alley, and decided that the British linguist is right, that it's more worrisome to be told that your illness may be fatal. The word can doesn't really express likelihood, which may does (slightly more than might, in fact). Although the word can tells us that the illness has the capability of being fatal, that doesn't tell us anything about the likelihood, whereas may implies a definite likelihood. Modals, however, are slippery fellows, and a great deal of meaning can be conveyed with tone of voice in either of these sentences; it could be sobering advice in either case.
QUESTION I am having an argument with the editing department at my workplace. Question: In the sentence "Crash recovery prevents the database from being left in an inconsistent state," is the "from" necessary, or should I take it out? My editor thinks "from" need not be used in this instance.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Atlanta, Georgia Mon, Feb 14, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to Burchfield, either construction is "legitimate." I guess your usage will thus be determined by your relationship to the editing department. Personally, I'd leave the "from" in the sentence.
Authority: The New Fowler's Modern English Usage edited by R.W. Burchfield. Clarendon Press: Oxford, England. 1996. (under "prevent") Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.
QUESTION In this sentence, explain the word "even" and what it modifies:Even nonmusical people can play the kazoo. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Raymondville, Missouri Tue, Feb 15, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word even in that sentence is modifying the adjective "nonmusical"; it is an adverb. It's kind of hard to say what it means. The OED says the word is "used to invite comparison of the stated assertion, negation, etc., with an implied one that is less strong or remarkable" which is the kind of definition that makes me wonder why I ever opened the dictionary in the first place.
QUESTION I sometimes get confused over possessive versus descriptive. The name of the company I work for is Analysts International. Here's the sentence in question:
Is either way correct?
- It must be approved by Analysts International's management.
-- OR --
- It must be approved by Analysts International management.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bloomington, Minnesota Tue, Feb 15, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If I were you, I would first avoid the problem by referring to "the management of Analysts International," and second, I would work toward changing the name of the company so I could avoid saying "Analysts [anything]." The first choice is you give is better than the second, but the possessive with "of" is still better.
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