QUESTION Listening to sports news or events we often hear commentors say things like: 'England are playing Mexico next spring.' Is it good grammar? Would it be equally or more appropriate to say that 'England is playing against Mexico next spring.'? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Wroclaw, Poland Sat, Feb 23, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You must be listening to a British broadcast. Yes, they would say that; team names take plural verbs in the UK (or so I've been told). In the U.S., we'd say "is."
QUESTION A radio ad uses the sentence "If you live or work in Manitowoc County, this you'll find worthwhile." The sentence irritates me more than fingernails on a chalkboard! What grammatical rule does it break? Thank you. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE St. Nazianz, Wisconsin Sun, Feb 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't know if there's an actual rule broken in this sentence, but I can't imagine why the writer of this sentence would want to invert the normal subject-verb-object order of "you'll find this worthwhile." The initial adverb clause would also suggest that the first thing that comes along in the main clause would be the subject "you." But that peculiar inversion, with "this" coming first, is the main problem.
QUESTION Do you understand this sentence?A heated corridor provides access to Washington Street from the Main Street parking lot next to the Delft Theatre. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Munising, Michigan Sun, Feb 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Well, sort of. I can get to Washington Street from the parking lot next to the Delft Theatre by means of a heated corridor which sounds kind of handy on a February day in northern Michigan. That series of three prepositional phrases, though, does make the sentence a bit hard to follow, I must admit. Assuming that one can go both ways in this heated corridor, it might have been better to say that the corridor simply connects the two points or that it runs between the two points.
QUESTION Reading Manser and Turton's The Penguin Wordmaster Dictionary I came upon a sentence like this: 'When the group is considered AS a number of individuals, a plural is used'. The sentence comes from a section discussing the usage of 'majority', but I am interested in how the word 'consider' is used in the context. I am aware that it is possible to use 'as' after 'regard', but 'consider' should normally be followed by a noun or 'to be'. Or am I wrong? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Wroclaw, Poland Sun, Feb 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Burchfield notes that in the twentieth century, various writers on usage have expressed reservations about the use of consider as to mean "regard as being." He goes on to say that the choice "does not seem to be based on particular rules, but rather on the nature of the surrounding words. . . . Constructions with consider as seem to be the least favored . . . and the least common."
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 "consider")
QUESTION Is the window open(ed) or it is close(d)? If I hear correctly, people say "the window is open" But they say "it is closed." Please let me know what is the right way to say, I think we have to say it is opened.
Thanks a lot
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE New York, New York Sun, Feb 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You can use either the adjective open or the participle opened, and mean pretty much the same thing. "Opened" will stress a bit more the process by which the window became other than closed (i.e., someone opened it). Close/closed, however, won't work that way if for no other reason than the adjective close has come to mean something else, something other than "not open." It means near by, so we can't say "the window is close." Open/opened, though, works sort of like welcome/welcomed. "Welcomed" will emphasize the process of being made welcomeloud shouts of hello, smiles all around, slaps on the back, offers of free drinks, etc.
QUESTION Is this correct grammer:He has and continues to serve this organization well. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Raleigh, North Carolina Sun, Feb 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, that has definite problems in parallel form. You could say "He has served and continues to serve this organization well," but doesn't the word "continues" sort of suggest that he's been doing this for a while anyway. So just get rid of the first verb and say "He continues to serve this organization well" [and then perhaps add, "just as he has done for the past fifty years"].
QUESTION I homeschool my son and in the course of covering "linking" verbs and "intransitive" verbs became confused. Are linking verbs also considered intransitive verbs? If linking verbs are intransitive what is the correct method for naming them in the sentence. I have three sources that give slightly different information. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Sun, Feb 24, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If you wanted to, you could regard linking verbs as a kind of intransitive verb, but the definitions really don't have that much to do with one another and the distinction is worth keeping straight in your head. See our definitions for linking verbs and intranstive verbs, and learn the kinds of verbs that can be regarded as linking. I think that's the place to start.
QUESTION Should an en dash be used after open compounds? For example, should an en dash be used instead of a hyphen after words such as "foreign exchange" when we mean foreign exchangerelated? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, India Mon, Feb 25, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The Gregg Reference Manual does recommend using an en dash instead of a hyphen when combining an open coumpound with a participle as in a White Housebacked proposal, a Frank Lloyd Wrightdesigned building, health carerelated expenditures.
QUESTION My roommate and I quite frequently get into arguments about grammar and other writing related issues. I'm having trouble finding information to support my side of the most recent argument, and I was wondering if you could help.
I believe, as I have been told before, it is technically accurate for me to say, "Our room smells fabulously." This is not to say "our room smells fabulous" is incorrect. I just believe the first example, although more awkward and less common, is technically more accurate. My roommate does not think this is the case, but has no reasoning to support himself.
He offered a counter-example: would it then be accurate to say, "She ran fastly"? I told him the correct grammar would be "she ran quickly," but I could come up with no justification other than "fastly is not a word."
Am I correct at all? If so, please enlighten me as to why. If not, I suppose I would like to know why as well. Thank you.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE St. Paul, Minnesota Mon, Feb 25, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Sorry, but I'm going to have to side with your roommate on this. "Smells," like the other sense verbs, is a linking verb, and we connect the subject ("our room") with a linking verb to an adjective ("fabulous"), not an adverb ("fabulously"). On the other hand, your roommate is wrong about "She ran fast." "Fast" is correct in that sentence because "fast" happens to be one of those few adverbs that don't have an -ly ending.
I'm pleased to hear that someone's arguing about language usage!
QUESTION Which is correct and what is the rule?
- The experiment and the write up is due Monday.
- The experiment and the write up are due Monday.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Poughquag, New York Mon, Feb 25, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Those two things feel like discrete elements to me; I'd go with the plural verb "are." If they feel like one thing to you (like macaroni and cheese), stick with the singular. I also think I'd put a hyphen in "write-up" or try for another word like analysis or summary?
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