QUESTION Will you please explain the difference between "in" and "into"? What would be used in the following sentence:Please call (in to) (into) the board room by dialing XXX-000-YYYY.Thank you for your assistance. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Montvale, New Jersey Wed, Jan 23, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Choosing between in and into is a matter of location and relative positioning: into usually involves movement, whereas in usually indicates only position. If you're on the sidewalk and you want to be inside a building, you walk into the building. If you're walking around inside the building, you might say that you're walking in the building. But there are times when the "to" is really part of an infinitive or other construction: "He walked in to deliver the mail." Verbs that convey a sense of motion, though, usually go with into, even when they're being used figuratively, as in "He threw his hat into the ring." I think I'd let that principle apply to "calling into the office."
Authority: The Careful Writer by Theodore Bernstein. The Free Press: New York. 1998.
QUESTION I am a medical transcriptionist who has a problem. I have been told that it is a serious breach of grammatical ettiquette to say "The patient has been diagnosed with...." I understand it is more proper to say "The patient has been diagnosed as having...." My boss and I constantly argue over this and he always changes the sentence prefering to use "with" instead of "as having." Do you have any idea which is proper, or are they both acceptable? Thank you so much! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Houston, Texas Wed, Jan 23, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Technically speaking, the person is not diagnosed, the disease is diagnosed. Thus we can say that a physician makes a diagnosis of hypoglycemianot that a physician diagnoses Joe Smith with/as having hypoglycemia. Either "with" or "as having" still makes the person the object, not the disease (the thing being diagnosed), so changing "with" to "as having" doesn't really improve anything.
Having said this, we must add that Burchfield notes that it has become a common practice to use the verb with a person as object as in "the baby was diagnosed with diphtheria." So it's now common, but not exactly "proper" (Burchfield's word).
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 Here is the sentence:We carefully reviewed the matter after which we contacted the company to ask that they reconsider their position.Question:Do I use a comma after the word "matter" and after the word "which", or do I use a semicolon and a comma?Thank you for your help. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Atlanta, Georgia Wed, Jan 23, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE We can eliminate that "after which" to good effect by writing something like"After we reviewed the matter, we contacted company officials to ask them to reconsider their position."(Can you come up with a more specific word than "matter"?)
QUESTION Is "Neither are you" a sentence? What part of speech is "neither"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Warner Robins, Georgia Wed, Jan 23, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I suppose that could be a sentence in a certain context. I might tell a friend of mind that he's no expert when it comes to car repair, and he might well retort, "Neither are you."
Generally, "neither" is a conjunction, sometimes a correlative conjunction (when its little buddy, "nor," tags along). Here, though, I think it's an adjective, the predicate adjective of an inverted sentence. Merriam-Webster's provides for that usage and role.
QUESTION Rain will fall today from southern New England to eastern Texas while flurries occur in parts of northern New England.In the above sentence, would it be better to use and instead of while? Whatever conjunction is used, shouldn't there be a comma between the independent clauses?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE State College, Pennsylvania Wed, Jan 23, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE A comma might help break up the sentence, but wouldn't it be improved if we put the "while clause" first?While flurries occur today in parts of northern New England, rain will fall todayfrom southern New England to eastern Texas.
QUESTION I need to re-write this sentence using plain, positive language and I cannot figure it out. Would you be able to help me please? The sentence is:If your evidence is not received before June 18, 2002, which is one year from the date of our first letter, your claim, if entitlement is established, cannot be processed before the date of the receipt of the evidence.Thanks for your help. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Ames, Iowa Thu, Jan 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Between the unnecessary "which clause" and the passive constructions, that sentence is a bit of a mess, isn't it? I would make these suggestions:If we do not receive your evidence before June 18, 2002 (one year from the date of our first letter), we cannot process your claim before the date of the receipt of the evidence, even if entitlement is established.
There might be a more efficient way of saying "before the date of the receipt of the evidence," but I don't know what it means. I have a weird feeling (which often comes over me in the presence of lawyers) that it doesn't mean anything at all.
QUESTION Which is correct?
- If any of you has questions, we will answer them.
- If any of you have questions, we will answer them.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Livonia, Michigan Thu, Jan 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The pronoun "any" is perfectly capable of being either singular or plural, depending on how it's used. Here, it is clearly referring to a possible group of people, so I'd go with the plural "have." You could change it, of course, to "any one of you," and then you'd need a singular verb, but that's a different matter.
QUESTION In the sentence, "If I had one million dollars, I would spread my wealth around a little," what part of speech is around? What does "a little" modify? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Rosemont, Pennsylvania Thu, Jan 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word "around" can be a preposition ("around the corner"), an adjective ("she's the best accountant around"), and an adverb, which is what it's being in your sentence, telling us where you might spread your money. The phrase "a little" also modifies the verb, telling us how you would spread it. If you're asking if "around a little" is a prepositional phrase, I don't think so, even though it looks like one.
QUESTION I am editing documents for our manufacturing company. This sentence appears on every product data sheet. I am having trouble with this one; I read through the website and am still confused. Personally I would rewrite the whole thing but that is not an option.
MS Word considers the first sentence correct but it just doesn't look right to me.
Which is correct?
- "They are offered in good faith, but without guarantee, as the conditions and methods of use of our products are beyond our control."
- "They are offered in good faith, but without guarantee, as the conditions and methods of use of our products is beyond our control."
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Mount Laurel, New Jersey Thu, Jan 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think you have a good argument. What is beyond your control? "The conditions and methods of use of your products." I can see why MS Word thinks that the subject is pluralbecaues of that "and" in there, but "the conditions and methods of use of our products" sounds like one idea to me, a singular entity which is beyond our control. "Conditions and methods of use" is like macaroni and cheese, rice and beans well, not exactly, but you get the idea. (Incidentally, my version of Word completely ignores "macaroni and cheese are" and "macaraoni and cheese is"; maybe it's on a diet.)
QUESTION When writing about people who are hoping to be (or pretending to be) something they aren't I've seen the phrase "would-be" used.He is a would-be piano player.What if you're not sure what the person is, only suspect him of something?There, at the bar, was the may-be murderer.Or is it still "would-be"? And how is this phrase acting in the sentence? As an adverb? adjective? I'm completely confused.
Thanks so much
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Portland, Oregon Thu, Jan 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Would-be" serves as an adjective, meaning "desiring or having the potential to be (something)." I suppose that idea of "potential" covers your "may-be" murderer. Nowadays, you can throw "wanna-be" in the mix, at least in casual writing: "The wanna-be mayor started making speeches every time he saw a crowd."
QUESTION Here is the sentence:The 90s were a time of legacy development and product improvement.90s were ?
What is the correct way to refer to this specific decade of time? What is the correct verb that should follow?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Orlando, Florida Thu, Jan 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I think the fact that the plural "90s" is connected by a linking verb to the singular "time" is making this sentence sound weird. It is possible to speak of a decade as a loose collection of years and use a plural verb, as in this sentence from a James Fallows essay in Atlantic:the Silicon Valley nineties were financially distinct, but rather a natural extension of the ideas that undergirded the Wall Street eighties.We could have avoided the problem in your sentence with something like "the 90s was a decade of . . . ."
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