QUESTION Does this sound right?My most important reason for wanting to take Honors English is the joy that I receive from reading and writing. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Goose Creek, South Carolina Wed, Mar 8, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If you stop and think and think about it, what does it mean that "My reason is the joy"? Maybe we could be more direct here: "I want to take Honors English because I get such joy from reading and writing" (or something a bit more specific, actually, than "reading and writing"?).
QUESTION My son has just called with an English question that I cannot answer. What is a "prenominal?" SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Weston, Florida Wed, Mar 15, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I can't find that term in the index of any of my writing reference books. If I had to guess, I'd say it referred to a noun that comes before another noun and modifies it, as in "a stone wall" or "a love poem." But I really don't know, so I'm leaving an e-mail icon here in the hope that someone else can help with a definition.
Gerald Smyth writes that he has seen the concept of a prenominal contrasted to the idea of an appositive. In "Ira Rubenzahl, president of the college, has announced. . . ." the phrase "president of the college" serves as the appositive (a re-naming) to the subject. If we wrote the same information "College president Ira Rubenzahl announced that. . ." the phrase "college president" would be the prenominal.
QUESTION When using the word "destined," I am confused on whether to use "to" or "for" in the last of the following examples:
Thank you for your consideration.
- With a location:
The train was destined to/for London. For this, I would use "to."
- With another verb:
He was destined to/for fail. I would use "to fail" or "for failure."
- But, with a person:
The package was destined to/for Sophie. I am not sure.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Stokenchurch, England Wed, Mar 15, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word "destined" probably has an import that makes it appropriate for your second sentence but not for the others. I agree with your choices of "to fail" and "for failure" in that sentence. If I had to use "destined" in the first sentence, I'd say "for London." If I had to use it in your third sentence, I'd use "for," again. But I'd probably say something like "That package was supposed to go to Sophie," instead.
QUESTION Revise the passive verbs and restate them in the active voice.Even opponents of chemical pesticides sometimes use poisions after they have been bitten by fire ants, aggressive and vicious insects spreading throughout the southern United States. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Logan, West Virginia Thu, Mar 16, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The passive construction here is "after they have been bitten by fire ants." The "they," the subject, is acted upon (by the ants). This happens to be a good use of the passive voice. There's probably a better way of writing this in an active mode, but here's one:Even opponents of chemical pesticides sometimes use poisions when fire ants, aggressive and vicious insects spreading throughout the southern United States, bite them.But I prefer the original passive construction.
QUESTION Is "century" singular or plural in the following sentence:"There was a lot of work in Germany in the late 19th and early 20th century" (centuries?) SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Thu, Mar 16, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE A reader from Canandaigua, New York, has convinced me that my earlier response here was incorrect. An analogy, he points out, would be an accident happening at the corner of "Walnut and Elm Streets," where we would obviously use the plural. If the plural centuries sounds peculiar, you can avoid the problem by using "late nineteenth century and early twentieth century."
QUESTION The Summer Bridge Program is free of cost to you.The program serves as an excellent orientation to UCSC.Question: when should "program" be capitalized? Only when with the words Summer Bridge or maybe not even then? Help!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Santa Cruz, California Thu, Mar 16, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE There's certainly no need to capitalize program when the word is not attached to the title. Whether you capitalize it in that first sentence will depend on the actual title of the program: is it a program called Summer Bridge, or is it something called The Summer Bridge Program. If you can't disassociate the word "program," then I suspect you would capitalize the word "Program" when it's preceded by "Summer Bridge."
QUESTION "....Our new collection of work by Los Angeles artists"
Question: should "work" be plural or singular?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Beverly Hills, California Thu, Mar 16, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word "work" can serve either as a non-count noun, "the work of the committee," or as a countable noun that we can pluralize. Since you're referring to a set of individual pieces of art that you have put into a singular collection, I think I'd use the plural form here, "works." (But the singular is not wrong.)
QUESTION I have a question in the following sentence:"The icon indicates that the page open on your browser is the same as the page open on the browser of the client."My question is: should it be "the page open on your browser" or "the page opened on yor browser"?
Thank you so much for the trouble.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Lisbon, Portugal Thu, Mar 16, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I'm not sure why that adjective "open" appears after the word modified, but it can serve as a simple adjective in this way; the participle "opened" is not necessary (as in "the book left open on the table"). This order is called a "postposed modifier," and you can see it at work in phrases such as "Our way back was clear" and "Something weird is going on."
Authority: A University Grammar of English by Randolph Quirk and Sidney Greenbaum. Longman Group: Essex, England. 1993. p. 392. Used with permission.
QUESTION Subject/verb agreement when using the word following
Which is/are correct? Why?
- Following are the updates and next steps.
- Following is the updates and next steps.
- The following are the updates and next steps.
- The following is the updates and next steps.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Atlanta, Georgia Thu, Mar 16, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The subject of the verb is "following," regardless of what follows in the predicate. But that doesn't really answer your question. Although "following" can act as a singular collective noun as in "His pathetic but loyal following has turned against him," in your examples it's acting as a collection of individual things (updates and steps), which are to be taken separately. Thus we want a plural verb, "are." Whether you use "The following" or adopt a kind of shortcut is up to you.
QUESTION A co-worker of mine is throwing a big party. However, on the flyer she created she used the following sentence; I am throwing a "little" party and everybody is invited. What is it called when you a certain word but actually mean the opposite? For example when someone says, "That was a bad Movie!" when they actually mean, "That was a good Movie!" My co-worker believes that it is called a colloquialism, however I disagree. Can you help? Thanks. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Chicago, Illinois Thu, Mar 16, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If there's an exact word for this, I don't know what it is. It's not a colloquialism; it's a kind of irony (or even sarcasm, in some instances). If I leave an e-mail icon here, maybe someone else can come up with a more precise term for us.
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