QUESTION Which is correct:"While I would like to think the repair we (affected/effected) would be permanent,..."Could you also tell me why the chosen word is correct. Thanks. (This is from a doctor's dictation.) (I used effected. Was I right or wrong?) SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Pascagoula, Mississippi Sun, Oct 14, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Almost always, the verb is "affect" and the noun is "effect," but in this case you (and the doctor) are using the verb form of "effect," to mean something like "accomplished," and it's perfectly appropriate.
QUESTION This question is about the usage of "so...that." Is it true that we can not use "so...that" in a subordinate clause or participal phrases? For example, is it correct to say:Since the 1930's, aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, shaped so perfectly that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.Here, so..that is not used in the complete sentence, but in the participial phrase. Is it correct? Or should I change to say:Since the 1930's, aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings, wings so perfectly shaped that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.Thanks SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE El Cerrito, California Sun, Oct 14, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In your first sentence, you've used "so that" in a participial phrase. Frequently, though, a participial phrase is simply a dependent clause with the machinery of the clause omitted. The problem with the first sentence, I think, is that the comma is really inappropriate.Since the 1930's, aircraft manufacturers have tried to build airplanes with frictionless wings [that are] shaped so perfectly that the air passing over them would not become turbulent.The second sentence contains what we call a resumptive modifier, which you see in the repetition of the word "wings." It's a considerable improvement over the first version of this sentence. Now it's perfectly clear what the modifying information is modifying.
QUESTION My question concerns the word order in the following sentences:
I prefer the latter, but I do not know how to justify this. Clearly "to go by bike" is an idiomatic expression, but which rule applies here regarding the word order?
- Susan went by car to work yesterday.
- Susan went to work by car yesterday.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Berlin, Germany Mon, Oct 15, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In The Royal of Adverbs," we suggest that adverbs of manner (which would include "by car") normally precede adverbs of place ("to town") and time ("yesterday"). However, I think your ear is right in this case, and it's perfectly OK to put the adverb of place before the adverb of manner. I think it might have something to do with the nature of the verb "to go" ("went") here. It nearly demands an adverb that tells "where" to come immediately afterwards. In a sentence such as "She works tirelessly all morning at her job," the adverb of manner falls naturally before the adverbs of place and time.
QUESTION When using 1950s as a noun in a sentence, should the verb be plural or singular?Ex. In terms of aviation, the 1950s was/were considered the "Jet Age." SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Meriden, Connecticut Mon, Oct 15, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "The 1950s" is a plural construction and a plural verb is required, as in "They were considered." If you want to regard the 1950s as a discrete measurement of time, a "lump" of time, as it were, you would have to refer to it as "the decade of the 1950s was considered. . . ."
QUESTION The company I work for uses the following as a heading to a boilerplate:"Helping You Maintain Advantage"It doesn't sound right to me. I'm inclined to say "helping you maintain an advantage."
Can you please tell me if what they use is incorrect and if so, why (so that I'll be able to explain it correctly)? THANKS!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Los Angeles, California Tue, Oct 16, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE We often hear the phrase "taking advantage" without a determiner or article, but then we usually use a determiner with "maintaining [his/an/your/etc.] advantage." Unmodified, "maintain advantage" sounds like something from a physics course. I agree with you, but I doubt if you'll find anything in a rulebook or dictionary that says "maintaining advantage" is incorrect. You might consult the Oxford English Dictionary the next time you're in a library rich enough to own one.
QUESTION Is the phrase "once a week" a prepositional phrase? I know that once is an adverb, but the purpose and structure of the phrase indicate that it should be a prepositional phrase.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Jose, California Tue, Oct 16, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Indeed, it looks like a prepositional phrase, doesn't it? I think, though, that "once" functions as an adverb, as it almost always does, as in "That happened only once." In the phrase, "a week," though, the word "a" is functioning as a preposition and "a week" is a prepositional phrase modifying the adverb "once." (The word "a" functions as a preposition (meaning "for each" or "in") in phrases such as "two dollars a dozen" and "twice a week.")
QUESTION I'd like to know whether the 'if' is necessary in the following sentence:I will assume that there is no change in your requirements, and you will inform me by the end of October if otherwise. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Hong Kong Tue, Oct 16, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE As an adverb, otherwise frequently means "if not." The construction "if otherwise" might thus seem redundant. You might try rewriting your sentence asI will assume that there is no change in your requirements and that you will otherwise inform me by the end of October.orI will assume that there is no change in your requirements; otherwise, please inform me by the end of October.
QUESTION Is the expression "for free" grammatically correct or should this be phrased simply as "free"? For example, "I this book free at the garage sale" or "I got this book for free at the garage sale." If "for free" is grammatically incorrect, how did it come into our vernacular? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Wed, Oct 17, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Burchfield says that "for free" was initially an American pleonasm, but it's now used fairly regularly on both sides of the Atlantic in "light-hearted contexts" (to the point that Brits are apt to contain the phrase within quotation marks).
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 "for free")
QUESTION In the following sentence is 1492 a noun. If so, is it a proper noun or a common noun?In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed to America. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Northhampton, Pennsylvania Wed, Oct 17, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It fulfills one of the function tests of being a noun in that it serves as the object of the preposition "in." See the tests for nouns. I don't know whether it should be classified as a proper or common noun; it is the name of a year, but can we say it's capitalized? I'd be happy just calling it a noun.
QUESTION I am quite confused about the meaning of "direct" (adv) and "directly." As shown in my dictionary, one of the meanings of "direct" when it is used as an adverb is: "in a straight line, without stopping or turning aside." e.g., The next flight doesn't go direct to Rome.
And the meaning of "directly" is: "in a direct manner." e.g., She answered me very directly and openly. In fact, are they the same? I want to know the differences between them because one of my dictionaries reads that the antonym of "direct" (adv) is "directly."
Thank you very much in advance for your help.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Hong Kong Sat, Oct 20, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't know what your dictionary means when it says that "directly" is an antonym for "direct." Both words, as you point out, are adverbs of long standing. "Direct" will be used to denote "in a straight line," as in "We flew direct to Bologna," and is also used to suggest skipping over intermediaries, as in "He went direct to the president." Before an adjective, you'll also use "directly": "The lighthouse was directly opposite the island." And in most senses, you use "directly" as in "The wind blew directly in from the north" and "The recession led directly to a major depression."
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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