QUESTION Which of the following is correct?
- Whatever remains are only pieces of cake.
- Whatever remains is only pieces of cake.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, UK Thu, Sep 21, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Regardless of the correct answer, you'd be much better off, of course, turning your sentence around: "Pieces of cake are all that remains." To answer the question, though, the noun clause "whatever remains" is a singular entity, regardless of the predicate. We want "is."
QUESTION Which is correct 'orient,' or 'orientate,' and if both are, which is the Americanism? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Thu, Sep 21, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't think either is an Americanism. Some people will get very upset when they hear "orientate," but it's been around for a hundred years or more, and there's nothing really wrong with it, although I wouldn't use it myself. This is what Burchfield has to say about it (not his tone of resignation):In the fact of the evidence, what is one to do? In practice I have decided to use the shorter form myself in all contexts, but the saving is not great. And one can have no fundamental quarrel with anyone who decides to use the longer of the two words.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 Which sentence is correct: I can see better with my left eye than my right. Or. I can see better with my left eye than my right one SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Mon, Sep 25, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I would think that your first version would get the job done in everyday speech or writing; the "one" seems unnecessary and be left understood. I think I would include the "with" in the second part of the comparison, though: "I can see better with my left eye than with my right."
QUESTION The chief sports editor for the Charleston Post and Courier wrote the following regarding the Olympics:"Although my guilt has been somewhat eased by reports that viewership is down considerably, that only makes me feel that I've allowed myself to join the ranks of the passive and disinterested."In that context, should he have used "uninterested"?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Charleston, South Carolina Mon, Sep 25, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE My Merriam-Webster's Dictionary tells me that "disinterested" can mean "not interested," which would make it appropriate in that sentence. Many careful writers, however, insist that uninterested should be used to indicate a lack of interest, and disinterested should be used to indicate impartiality, a lack of bias. To avoid getting on the bad side of these readers and writers, it's probably a good idea to use these words in that way. According to Burchfield, the use of "disinterested" to mean "not interested" (which is what it used to mean, according to him) is making a comeback, but he would use it to mean "impartial" or "unbiased."
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. Used with the permission of Oxford University Press.
QUESTION Is "the most favorite" correct in English? I thought "my favorite subject", for example, meant "the subject which I like best" and so the word "favorite" couldn't be used with "most". Some English speakers, however, told me that my most favorite is grammatically correct, especially these days.
Can we say "My most favorite food is sushi" ?
I'd be really happy if you answer this question.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Japan Mon, Sep 25, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think many careful writers understand the word "favorite" the same way you do and they won't qualify the word with "most." The dictionary, however, says that the word simply means something that is regarded with special favor or liking and that seems to allow for qualification, and we do often say something like "Sushi is my least favorite food." I would say that "My most favorite food is sushi" is OK, but we're better off without the "most."
QUESTION I'm wondering about usage of "protect against" versus "protect from". Is one construct preferred over the other, and if so, under what circumstances? I've seen them both used almost interchangeably. Does it matter at all? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Mon, Sep 25, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't think there's any difference. I notice that when we use "guard," we use "against" with it, but that doesn't seem to apply to "protect." I'll leave an e-mail icon here in case someone else wants to add some advice here.
QUESTION Which sentence is correct?What is the treatment and prognosis? or What are the treatment and prognosis? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Tupelo, Mississippi Mon, Sep 25, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If "treatment and prognosis" can be regarded as one thing, a singular entity (which seems a bit unlikely), we can use the singular "is"; otherwise, we have to use "are" in that question.
QUESTION When writing Probate Judges Association, would it be correct to use Probate Judge's Association, or Probate Judges' Association? I'm confused as to where the apostrophe should go in Judges. Thanks SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Anniston, Alabama Mon, Sep 25, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I vote for neither. If you're specifically talking about an association that belongs to the probate judges, then I'd write it as a plural possessive, "Judges'." However, I don't think that's what you're describing in this title; I think it's an association made up of probate judges. The "Probate Judges Association" would use "probate judges" as attributive nouns, as modifiers. The possessive form isn't necessary at all.
QUESTION I work as a copyeditor for a publishing company and there is some contention among the writers about the correct use of "while" and "although." I know there are rules governing the use of "while," and as a copyeditor, I know that it is frequently used and abused. But, I have been unable to deliver any hard evidence either way to the writers. Could you point me in the right direction?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Lincoln, Nebraska Mon, Sep 25, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Some editors have steadfastly opposed using "while" in anything other than its temporal sense ("during the time that" or "at the same time as"). Burchfield says, however, that "while" has been used in a concessive or adversative context since the sixteenth century. He adds that "the temporal, concessive, and contrastive uses of while (or whilst in Birtish English) pose no threat to one another and are all part of the normal apparatus of the language." One example he gives of acceptable usage is "While domestic happiness is an admirable ideal, it is not easy to come by." I recommend you get hold of Burchfield's book if you're really interested in knowing more about this.
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. (under "while")
QUESTION s the word "irrespective" acceptable in scientific writing? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Milwaukee, Wisconsin Tue, Sep 26, 2000 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think the question is whether irrespective is acceptable in any writing. I regard it as a clumsy substitute for "regardless of," although I see it is listed as acceptable in my dictionary. It doesn't seem to matter whether the text is scientific or not.
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