QUESTION Which sentence is correct?The following holidays are recognized as paid holidays (when fallen/when falling) between Monday through Friday. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Oakland, New Jersey Wed, Nov 28, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Can I say "none of the above"? I know that holidays do "fall" on certain days of the week, but I think the real verb would work better (as opposed to a participle), and there's a problem with "between Monday through Friday" (what does that mean? Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday?). How about "The following holidays are recognized as paid holidays when they fall on a weekday: _______ " (I think everyone makes that useful distinction between weekdays and weekends, don't they?)
QUESTION Displaying a rounded time. Is 8 a.m. acceptable and preferred over 8:00 a.m. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Fort Worth, Texas Thu, Nov 29, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If it is, indeed, a "rounded time," then 8 a.m. will suffice. If you're trying to be more precise, of course, you want the two zeros. Consistency within a document is important, and in technical writing, you would be more apt to want the zeros.
QUESTION When an subordinate clause both follows another subordinate clause and is to be inferred as modifying the independent clause beginning a sentence, as in the following examples, should a comma be inserted between the two subordinate clauses to indicate that the following subordinate clause refers only to the independent clause?
- Roger will play better than John plays, if there is an offer of money for good performance.
- She told the committee that the president rejected their proposal, because she substituted for another.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Surrey, BC, Canada Thu, Nov 29, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The comma helps, immensely, and the reader pretty well knows that the final dependent clause modifies the initial, independent clause. There still is the possibility of ambiguity, however, and I would consider a different placement altogether for the final dependent clause. I'm not sure what that second sentence means, by the way, and I would suspect that the comma is inappropriate because the president did reject the proposal precisely because she substituted [something for something else]. Here, though, are two rewrites:
- If there is an offer of money for good performance, Roger will play better than John
- Because she substituted for another, she told the committee that the president rejected their proposal. [Unless, as I said above, the rejection happened because of the substitution.]
QUESTION More and more I'm noticing weather forecasters on TV use the phrase "in the overnight". They will say things such as "Rain will be developing in the overnight." I'd be ok with "Rain will be developing in the overnight hours." or "Rain will be developing overnight." But when they stick in a "the" before the word overnight, it just doesn't sound correct. Is it just because it's an uncommon usage or is it actually incorrect?
I'd appreciate your thoughts.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Canada Thu, Nov 29, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Traffic reporters and people who forecast the weather become rather desperate, I think, for new ways of saying the same thing over and over again. That's hardly an excuse to torture new verb and noun forms out of the English language, but I suppose one can hardly blame them for an occasional bizarre turn of phrase. I'm hoping to hear a weather person predict a change of weather "in the gloaming" someday. Let's just hope that no one else picks up on "in the overnight."
QUESTION My team leader is in charge of checking letters we send for punctuation and grammar. This person returned a letter to me claiming I had misplaced a semi-colon. Here is the sentence:You had inquired as to whether your wife's name was on the loan; a review of your loan documentation shows you are the sole borrower listed.She is claiming the sentence is incorrect and should be separated into two sentences. What do you think?
Your time is most appreciated. Thank you.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Thu, Nov 29, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The two clauses connected by a semicolon want to be closely related and nicely balanced. These two clauses meet those requirements, but I still think it's just a bit of a stretch (shifts in subject and tense, for two things) to combine these two thoughts into one sentence. And even a bit of a stretch is too much for a semicolon. Without getting too excited about it or even proclaiming the sentence to be incorrect, I would recommend a rewrite:You inquired whether your wife's name was on the loan. We have reviewed the loan documentation and have found that you are the sole borrower listed.
QUESTION Can you use the term fullest. I know it is a descriptor and you can't say fuller. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Rawlins, Wyoming Thu, Nov 29, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Because the word full refers to something at its maximum or greatest degree, it seems unlikely at first that we can use that word in its comparative and superlative forms. However, if the pool outside was half full yesterday and it rained last night, isn't the pool going to be more full today, fuller? And if you have a clothes shop for full-figured women, won't some of those figures that walk through your door be more full/fuller than others? And after our recent Thanksgiving feast, I complained that that was the fullest I'd ever been. Finally, my Oxford American does include both the comparative and superlative terms, so I guess that clinches it.
QUESTION What is the proper context and why?
- Let Joe and I figure this problem out.
- Let Joe and me figure this problem out.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Jose, California Fri, Nov 30, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You want "me" in that sentence. "Let" is what we call a causative verb. Causative verbs are followed by an object and then by the root of another verb, as in "Professor Villa let THEM SING in the hallway." (In your sentence, you have an understood "you" as subject instead of Professor Villa.) You would probably quite naturally write "Let me figure this problem out." When you add Joe to the mix, don't change the form of the "me."
QUESTION My question: I am trying to defend an assertion, that a native speaker of English would not say "This morning, I have come to school." The present perfect tensethe verb "to have" plus a past participleindicates action that took place in the past and may be continuing; for example, "I have exercised every other day for years" or " I have patronized that restaurant for many years." It may also indicate action that took place in the past, but has since stopped; for example, "I have been to Boston" or "I have driven in bad storms." Perhaps it is the present perfect tense or the meaning of the verb "to come," but illogicality lurks in the statement "This morning, I have come to school." Help! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Rockville, Maryland Sun, Dec 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You would use "I have come to school this morning" only to announce that something is going to continue now or in the immediate future, as in "I have come to school this morning to attend a lecture on semantics." So the present perfect would include more clearly the present intent for something about to happen (or something going on now). You'd probably be more apt to use the simple past, though: "I came to school this morning to attend this lecture on semantics."
QUESTION "All heaven and earth was singing." It seems as though it would be correct to say "were singing". Heaven and earth are separate entities and so this would involve the plural use of the verb. Which is correct, was or were? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Fullerton, California Sun, Dec 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't think I agree. I think "all heaven and earth" implies that everything and everyone is singing as one, so I'd go with the "was singing."
QUESTION Hi, I work in a customer service unit in which a large part of my job is letter-writing, so I am reacquainting myself with style and grammar. Although I have a good ear for the language, I find myself at a loss sometimes when I need to know the actual parts of speech and rules for usage and punctuation.
Today we had a disagreement over the following sentence, which was written by someone else:"Please be assured that we have corrected your address, and all of your mail will be sent to the proper address." (or something like that).Here is the bone of contention: I felt that it should say, "Please be assured that we have corrected your address, and THAT all of your mail will be sent to the proper address." They told me the word "that" should be left out of second clause.
What is proper usage?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Sun, Dec 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I would rewrite the sentence without the comma:"Please be assured that we have corrected your address and that all of your mail will now be sent to the proper address."The repetition of the "that" and eliminating the comma will create the parallel form for the two things that you are assuring me about.
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