QUESTION Which is correct for "much" and "many?"
- Much thanks for helping us on Saturday OR
- Many thanks for helping us on Saturday
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Ashland, Wisconsin Thu, May 10, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Although you will hear "much thanks" in casual speech, the noun "thanks" is always plural and "many thanks" is appropriate. We can't have a "thank"; that would be too much like one hand clapping. Although it's always plural, meaning "grateful thoughts or sentiments," it's still treated as something countable, so we use "many thanks."
Authority for this note: WWWebster Dictionary, the World Wide Web edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Tenth Edition. Used with permission.
QUESTION When "write off" is used as a verb, should there be a hyhpen,e.g., we will write-off that debtWhen "write off" is used as a noun, should there be a hyphen,e.g., that is a write-offWhen "contracts in process" is used, should there be a hyphen,e.g., Contracts-in-process at December 31, 2000, are included in the accompanying financial....Thanks! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Sandy, Utah Thu, May 10, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE When it's a verb, "write off" has no hyphen; when it's a noun, it does have a hyphen. It sounds like "contracts in process" might become a thing unto itself in the legal world and it might, therefore, require hyphens. Are there journals or trade publications that would use that phrase frequently, where you could use their pattern as a model for your own usage? As an outsider to that world, I don't see a need for the hyphens, but if the phrase is often used and the hyphens help the readability of the sentence, use them.
QUESTION I don't know whether I should use has or have with this subject.Jon's behavior and attitude _____improved.I don't know whether the verb should agree with Jon or behavior and attitude. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Cross, South Carolina Thu, May 10, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Unless those two things, behavior and attitude, have glommed together like macaroni and cheese, you've got a compound subject there with two discrete subjects, so you'll want a plural verb, "have improved." "Jon," in any case, is not the subject; the possessive form, "Jon's," acts as a modifier of the subjects.
QUESTION When referring to the first person to do/acheive something, if the person is still alive, do you use the historical present tense (because they will always be the first) or do you use the past tense (because they did it once and it's o ver)? For example:Hilary Clinton is/was the first First Lady to serve in the Senate.Does it change when she's no longer a Senator or when the next First Lady gets elected to the Senate? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Indianapolis, Indiana Thu, May 10, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Putting a great historical perspective on the matter, would we say that "John Quincy Adams was the first son of a President to become President of the United States"? But while he was President or while he was alive, even, we would have said, "John Q. is the first. . . . " I think the tense of your sentence changes when Ms. Clinton is no longer in the Senate or no longer around, or as you sugggest, when the next First Lady becomes a senator.
QUESTION Should I use an 's after Kansas in this sentence?*To establish the State of Kansas position regarding accessibility requirements for public and inter/intra-agency access to Web-based information available from Web sites of Kansas State government agencies and organizations.* SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Kansas Thu, May 10, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If you have to write it that way, yes. However, may I suggest "To establish the position of the State of Kansas regarding. . . ."? If you think "Kansas's" looks clumsy, what if you lived in Illinois? (Would "policy" be a better word than "position"?)
QUESTION When am I supposed to use "despite" and when am I supposed to use "although" ? For example, the following sentence I know is incorrect:Despite it is raining, we went swimming.I know this sentence is incorrect but I don't know "why". What is the grammatical reason why? I think I can correct it by writing: "Despite the fact it was raining, we went swimming" or "Although it was raining, we went swimming" or "Despite the rain, we went swimming".
Are these three senteces correct? If so (even if not) why? Thank you
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Milan, Italy Fri, May 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Although the meaning is essentially the same, the two words work in quite different ways. Although is a subordinating conjunction: it connects ideas and makes one idea subordinate upon another for its meaning. Despite, on the other hand, is a preposition: it will be followed by a noun or pronoun object of the preposition (like "the rain" or "the fact it was raining"). It really can't be used as a conjunction as in "Despite it is raining. . . ." (Despite has other uses; it can be a verb, but it's rarely used that way.) Yes, your three sentences are correct.
QUESTION Is the word "welcomed" ever used (with the "d") as an adjective? For instance, could you say, "That was unwelcomed publicity" or "He made unwelcomed advances"? Also, do you always use "welcome" (without the "d") when saying something like, "Your ideas are welcome" or "I hope you feel welcome"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Columbus, Ohio Fri, May 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If you look up the word "welcomed" in the dictionary, you'll probably find the meaning "welcome" and vice versa. I would use "welcome" in the examples you give. If you said, "I hope you feel welcomed," you would mean that you hope that I felt properly appreciated by people coming up to me and saying hello and slapping me on the back and saying how happy they were to see me. In other words, the word "welcomed" would emphasize a bit more of the action of welcoming. The word welcome has all that meaning, but it emphasizes the feeling.
QUESTION Which sentence is correct?
Also, what area of grammar does this question pertain to?
- We both will benefit from the program.
- We will both benefit from the program.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Irvine, California Fri, May 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In those sentences, "both" is a pronoun; like the word each, however, it can move around in the sentence (Joe and Bob have each won a million dollars. Joe and Bob each have won a million dollars. Joe and Bob have won a million dollars each.) The function of "both," "each," and "respectively" is to indicate that the action is "segregatory." In other words, there is a difference between the sentences you wrote and "We will benefit from the program." In your sentences, you will benefit and I will benefit. (Try it with buying a car: In "John and I bought a car," you don't know how many cars are involved. In "John and I both bought a car," you know that I have a car and so does John. The action is thus segregatory.)
QUESTION Where do we put the adverb EARLY at the middle or end of a sentence? eg I took my child early to school or I took my child to school early SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Italy Fri, May 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE See the Royal Order of Adverbs. Although adverbs are relatively slippery and can often appear almost anywhere in a sentence, there is a certain order in some cases. Here, you want the adverbial prepositional phrase that tells where ("to school") coming before the adverb that tells when ("early").
QUESTION The term "way" has become a synonym for "very." I believe, however, that until just a few years ago, this usage was accompanied by an apostrophe ('way) to indicate that it was an abbreviation for a longer expression, such as: "The field was far and away larger than any he had seen." Today it would be common to say: "The field was way larger than he had seen..." What I'm wondering is: Am I correct about the origins of this use of "way," if so when did the apostrophe disappear, and, fina lly, should it have been kept? --Awaiting your wisdom with thanks. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE St. Paul, Minnesota Mon, May 14, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't think I have ever seen this construction with an apostrophe, and I have my doubts about the origin that you suggest. The use of "way" + "too" + an adjective, as in "He's way too short for the team," has been around in American English for at least a century, and it is now catching on in British English, according to Burchfield. The use you cite, though, is new and a bit different "It's way larger" and my dictionaries, etc. don't even refer to it. The latest version of the Oxford English Dictionary might refer to its origins, and you'll have to look it up the next time you're in a library large enough to own the latest OED. Way has become an interesting word. I gather that "No way" is an American phrase, and I've heard students respond to "No way!" with the rejoinder, "Way!"
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.
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