QUESTION Is is incorrect to use ANYMORE in the positive? Like . . .There's so much traffic ANYMORE, I don't ever want to drive.It sounds funny. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Aurora, Colorado Tue, Dec 11, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Burchfield reports that this is an American regionalism, but that it can be found in virtually every part of the country (but rarely if ever, apparently, in England). In the sense of "nowadays" or "now," the word is sometimes used in positive sentences. Burchfield quotes President Truman as saying, "It sometimes seems to me that all I do anymore is to go to funerals." I wouldn't recommend this usage in formal or academic text.
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 "any")
QUESTION Can you please tell me which sentence is grammatically correct? (Notice I omitted the "to" after the word "respond" for the second sentence) I think the first sentence sounds better, but cannot expalin why the second sentence may not be correct.
- The following is a survey for all employees to respond to anonymously.
- The following is a survey for all employees to respond anonymously.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE New York, New York Wed, Dec 12, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You definitely need the "to." Try it in a simpler sentence: "Here's a survey for you to respond." But you're probably better off rewriting the sentence: "Employees should respond anonymously to the following survey."
QUESTION In the sentence "Some of our staff have been in the field for many years." Is the word "have" correct or should it be "has?" Thank you. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Houston, Texas Thu, Dec 13, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The indefinite pronoun "some" is your subject, and "some" can be either plural or singular depending on what you're talking about. In this case, I would say that "staff" is referring to a group of countable individuals, and I would use the plural "were." "Staff" is frequently singular, especially in the United States (as opposed to England), but here I would say that its countability should prevail.
QUESTION Is the word "of" necessary in the following sentence?The sales force has been setting records for the past couple of months. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Atlanta, Georgia Thu, Dec 13, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to Burchfield, using "couple" without an accompanying "of" would be completely "alien to British ears." In the U.S., you're more apt to hear or even read something like "the past couple months," but I wouldn't use it in formal or academic text.
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 "couple")
QUESTION Am I wrong to think that most of us use "assume" when we really mean "presume," as in the phrase, "I assume you already know everyone here?" or "I assume we'll see you sometime over the holidays." When do we use "assume", and when "presume"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Melville, New York Thu, Dec 13, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE When the meaning is "to suppose," you can use these words pretty much interchangeably. I suggest you look up the word "presumptuous," and this might give you an idea of the flavoring you get with "presume" that you don't get with "assume."
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?
Does the verb is/are agree with "the reason" or with "the students" ?
- Sick students is the reason I am not feeling well.
- Sick students are the reason I am not feeling well.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE New York, New York Sun, Dec 23, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The subject here is "sick students," which certainly seems to be plural, but you're really talking about the idea of sick students or the unusual number of sick students, and both of those ideas are singular. I'd go with the singular "is." However, you might be wise to reword the sentence and modify "sick students" in such a way that a singular verb doesn't sound so odd: "Having all these sick students / The rapid increase in the number of sick students is the reason I'm not feeling well."
QUESTION I would like to ask you what kind of category an expression like "noun after noun" (e.g. "question after question" in (1)) belongs to.(1) John asked me question after question.I guess that the expression is a noun phrase, because it takes a prepositional phrase like an ordinary noun:(2) John asked me [question after question about Mary's illness].If this reasoning is correct, it will be predicted that the expression should be post-modified by a relative clause like (3).(3) John asked me question after question which no teacher had answered.Is sentence (3) correct? If so, what is the antecedent of the relative pronoun "which", the whole phrase "question after question" or just "question" before "after question"? I appreciate your help. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Tokyo, Japan Sun, Dec 23, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't have any reference material that describes this particular idiomatic expression, but that's just what it is. "Something after something" is a way of suggesting that whatever "something" is just keeps going on and on; there doesn't seem to be an end to it. Technically, it's simply a noun followed by a prepositional phrase: "time after time." In your second sentence, I agree that the expression can be followed by a modifying prepositional phrase just as if you had said "several questions," instead. Because "question after question" is a rather general idea, I think I'd use "that" instead of "which" in your third sentence, but otherwise I find no problem with it. And I would say the antecedent has to be the entire phrase (as if it were "several/many questions") mostly because nothing else makes sense.
QUESTION I am having trouble understanding hyphenation. I've read your section, but I'm still confused.
Do you only hyphenate words that are used as compound adjectives like "a color-coded manual"
What if you were to say "The manual is color coded" would you still hyphenate "color coded," even if it comes after the noun?
I work at a magazine, and a bunch of us Managing Editors cannot agree on this. Please help us! I know this probably sounds pathetic, but nothing ever really spells it out for us; all our grammer books say is to hyphenate compound adjectives that come before a noun.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Madison, Wisconsin Sat, Dec 29, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If you're doing a lot of work with text in which such choices occur, you'll want to get hold of a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style (or photocopy the relevant chapter from the library's copy) and check out Chapter Six. Generally, a modifier like "color-coded" will be hyphenated when it appears before a noun, but the hyphen disappears when it comes after a noun (as in "the manual is color coded"). One way to test this is to look up the phrase in the dictionary; if you can't find "color-coded" in the dictionary, that means that the phrase should not be hyphenated when it appears after a noun. Another way to test your choice is to do a search in the online pages of a magazine you can trust, like the online Atlantic.
QUESTION Which is correct?"He died before me," or "He died before I."Normally a preposition requires an object, but here the implied "did" ("he died before I did") seems to call for an "I," although it sounds funny in pronunciation. What is the applicable rule here? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Santa Barbara, California Sat, Dec 29, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You will want the "I" if you provide the "did," thus creating an actual clause (which demands that a subject form, "I," be used); otherwise "before" is acting as a preposition, not a conjunction (and "me," as the object of a preposition, would be required).
QUESTION Is it grammatically wrong to have the headline of a release as "The University awards two outstanding staff members"? While I know that "honours" is a better choice, is "awards" absolutely wrong? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Hong Kong Sat, Dec 29, 2001 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I hesitate, always, to use terms like "absolutely wrong." But the word "awards" works best when it has an appropriate object to award: you can "award scholarships to students," for example, or "award medals to scouts." That is the usual order of things and to discrupt this order to is to risk ambiguity (or even absurdity).
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