QUESTION Is the phrase "looks to be" grammatically correct? I see it all the time! "The weather looks to be getting colder." "The stock market looks to be at an all-time high."
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Corona, California Sun, Dec 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to Burchfield, this phrase (meaning "has the appearance of" or "seems to be") has been around for a long time, since 1775 at least, and seems to be gaining in popularity, especially in America. It is an acceptable idiomatic expression.
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 "look")
QUESTION Is the following phrase grammatically correct:"Dedicated to provide solutions."I'm fairly sure the correct phrase is:"Dedicated to providing solutions."but I can't figure out exactly what's wrong with the first one. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Irvine, California Sun, Dec 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I agree. You are dedicated to something, and the thing that you are dedicated to ought to be in the form of a noun or a verb form behaving like a noun in other words, a gerund, an "-ing" form, "providing."
QUESTION I am having difficulty understanding the difference between a Gerund noun and a verb. I understand that a Gerund noun - was a verb and became a verb and often names activities. For example singing is a Gerund noun, but isn't this also a verb (a doing word)
Help I am confused. How do you distinguish between the two?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE London, England Sun, Dec 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE An "-ing" form is never a real verb when it's standing by itself. If it's accompanied by an auxiliary, it can be a verb, as in "He is singing in the shower" or "He has been singing in the shower all morning." But when the "-ing" form is by itself, it's being either a noun form, a gerund, as in "Singing is such a happy activity," or an adjective form, a participle, as in "The singing nuns thrilled the audience."
QUESTION Here's a sentence from the most recent Newsweek: "In matters military, American women have long been skeptics." Why is the adjective after the noun? Is it an exception like "attorney general" or a stylistic device? What about "a nation united" vs. "a united nation"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Sun, Dec 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE There are certain set phrases that require the postposition of the modifier: attorney general, body politic, president elect, Boston proper, etc., usually because these phrases are borrowed from French or another language in which postposition of the modifier is commonplace. In a phrase such as "matters military" or "a nation united," the postmodification will tend to bring end focus or concentration of meaning on the modifier (as opposed to the thing being modified). The process can also lend a rather literary and formal air to the phrasing (and, if overdone, a kind of stuffiness).
QUESTION YOUR_QUESTION_WAS = This is a word "usage" question rather than a pure grammatical question. I am in an argument about the correct use of the phrase: "You've got another thing coming." As in, "Well, if you expect me to give you a million dollars, you've got another thing coming." A few friends, one of whom is an editor, says that the correct phrase is: "You've got another THINK coming." I've never heard the work "think" used in that phrase.
Do you know what is the correct usage?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Austin, Texas Sun, Dec 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The idiomatic expression is "You've got another think coming," meaning, "You need to think about this some more" or "Your ideas about this matter need to change." The expression "another think" is even in my Merriam-Webster's.
QUESTION Where are you at? (this is the phase in question)
Example when I ask a person over the phone (who I know is driving) "Where are you?" They respond "In my car" The answer I am trying to get is maybe a nearby freeway exit. This person then says "Oh you want to know where I'm at?" Then proceeds to tell me what I wanted to know. SO FRUSTRATING!
- You cannot end a sentance with a preposition. Or is it alright to do now?
- Is having WHERE and AT in the same sentance wrong? Someone long ago told me that it is repetative. Ever since that day I have never said that phrase. Other people are telling me that phrase is correct.
This phase is used a lot and drives me crazy! My favorite is when they shorten it to "Where at?" I scream inside my head every time.
Your feedback would be appreciated!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Sun, Dec 2, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Burchfield refers to "Where are you at?" as a tautologous regional usage. Clearly, we're better off without the "at." On the other hand, I'm interested in your example, and I wonder why "Where are you at? seems to do a better of job of asking where the car is located on the freeway. I suppose it somehow further emphasizes the issue of location and exact location. Maybe it's a phrase that will take on additional, special significance with the widespread use of Global Positionining Systems. (Do you ask your Onstar service, "I know I'm in Texas, but where am I at?")
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 "at")
QUESTION Should "member at large" be hyphened in this sentence.The Board, by their action, stated that the Presidents of the four sectional associations, plus the member at large and the Director select the annual award winners.Thank you very much for your assistance. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Lansing, Michigan Mon, Dec 3, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE When the term is used to describe someone who represents an entire political or social entity (as opposed to one of its subdivisions), you'd use a hyphen.
Authority: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Electronic Edition, Version 1.5. 1996. Used with permission.
QUESTION Grammar has never been my strong suit, but there's a type of phrase that always puzzles me. I found the following sentence in a recent Time Magazine article :"A week that began with warriors on horseback streaming down into shredded villages ended with U.S. commandos guiding bombers with laser beams."It's not clear to me whether the bombers have laser beams or the commandos have them and are using them to guide the planes. If my grammar was better would I know which one had the beams?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Avon, Massachusetts Mon, Dec 3, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It's fairly clear to me that the commandos are using laser beams to guide the bombers, but maybe that's because I've read about this use of laser beams elsewhere. The meaning would have been much clearer with something like " . . . U.S. commandos using laser beams to guide bombers to their targets."
QUESTION This sentence has a compound subject. Yet the verb is singular and correctly so, but why?"The test and the use of a man's education is that he finds pleasure in the exercise of his mind." Jacques Barzun SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Reynoldsburg, Ohio Tue, Dec 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Apparently Barzun feels that the experience of testing and using one's education is actually one process which seems reasonable enough. So the two things have melded into one concept or "thematic subject."
QUESTION Regarding the following phrase, does the adverb "personally" modify both "participated" and "aided?"if the agent has personally participated or aided in making the sale or purchaseIf so, what is the rule of grammar that supports that reading? Thank you very much for any help, and your wonderful website. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Miami, Florida Tue, Dec 4, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Just as the "has" serves as an auxiliary for both "participated" and "aided," the enclosed adverb also modifies both main verbs. This would be true unless a subsequent adverb replaces the sense of "personally," as in "has personally participated or impersonally aided in." Notice that the "in" has a "suspended" use at the other end of the phrase. I'm going to leave an e-mail icon here in case someone else would like to offer some insight on how this works.
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