QUESTION What kind of phrase is "no one disregard you" in "Let no one disregard you." I'm trying to diagram this but I just can't think of what kind of phrase it is. It seems like some kind of an object of "let" (implied second person subject as an imperative), it doesn't have any relative pronouns or subordinating conjuctions, so I'm not sure if it's a clause or a phrase. It's translated from Greek, where "no one" is actually one word, but that doesn't really affect the construction of the sentence. Would you just put the phrase on a pedestal after a "direct object line" following "let"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Wed, Mar 13, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "No one" would probably be one word in English except that it looks stupidnooneand no one would know how to say it. Quirk and Greenbaum analyze a sentence such as the one you give us as a third-person imperative, one in which the subject of the sentence is actually in the objective case. In "Let him do the dishes," for instance, they say that "him" is actually the subject and "let do" is the verb. In a sentence such as "Let's go to the movies," they say that the contracted "us" (again, in the objective case) is the subject of the sentence and they would call this a first-person imperative. So in your sentence (believe it or not), the subject is "no one" and the verb is "let disregard."
Authority: A Grammar of Contemporary English by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. Longman Group: London. 1978.
QUESTION Sometimes I can't tell if I have written a sentence consisting of two independant clauses joined by a conjunction, or one with a single subject modified by two actions in the predicate. This causes me to puzzle over the placement of a comma. The following is an example:Brighton thought of Rabindrnath Vidyasagur, a graduate student who had a penchent for odd-ball concepts and who was seeking a topic for his doctoral thesis.This sentence was written in the context of what to do with an unusual idea. Are "was seeking" and "had a penchent" two verbs modifying the subject, or are there two independent clauses jioned by "and"? Do I place a comma between "concepts" and "and"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Escondido, California Thu, Mar 14, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, you don't want a comma there. Neither "who had a penchante for odd-ball concepts" nor "who was seeking a topic for his doctoral thesis" is an independent clause. They are both dependent adjective clauses modifying "graduate student," which happens to be an appositive for that fellow's name. When you're joining two dependent clauses (especially modifiers like this), you usually don't need a comma to connect them. (If I said you never needed a comma to connect them, I would undoubtedly be overstating the case.)
QUESTION From Carl Van Doren's history of the Constitutional Convention, The Great Rehearsal:"Mason ranked with Washington or Jefferson as one of the three most eminent Virginians of their day."Shouldn't the conjunction here be, 'and'? If 'or' is used, doesn't it suggest the TWO most eminent Virginians? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Kew Gardens, New York Thu, Mar 14, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I agree. The "or" seems to suggest that there's a third Virginian lurking outside the sentence somewhere. The "or" would make more sense if the sentence said "Mason ranked with Washington or Jefferson as the most eminent Virginian of the day." The "and," however, would nicely clump the three gentlemen.
QUESTION The following sentence, composed by historian Ronald Radosh, serves as a reminder that writers must edit their work diligently, or expect to see it posted on sites such as this one:"As the Communist system in the Soviet Union and its Eastern European colonies was on its last death throes, one of the great moving forces for an end to the reign of Communist terror was that of the beleaguered working classes."To begin, a person or thing is IN his/its death throes, not on thempossibly Radosh was thinking, deathbed. Further, death throes are, well, terminal. Categorizing them as 'last' seems redundant, although I won't insist on this point. Finally, the second clause is rather confused. To my ear, "the beleaguered working classes" were "one of the great moving forces,"which is not exactly what the sentence says. What is wrong with the phrase, "that of," as written by Radosh? Am I nit-picking? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Thu, Mar 14, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If we eliminate all the modifying words and phrases in that last clause, we're left with "one of these was that of ______," which is close to being nonsense. We can happily cut down "was that of" to a simple verb, "was." Or we might consider moving the real subject of the clause to its beginning: "the beleaguered working classes were one of the great moving forces. . . ." But it's probably good to give those working classes the end focus in the sentence. You're right, though: the "that of" is unfortunate. I suppose whether or not you have "last death throes" or just "death throes" depends on how you wish to take your dying.
QUESTION How do I clearly explain the difference between "kind, kindly and kindness"?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Kawasaki Shi, Kanagawa Ken, Japan Mon, Mar 18, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Kindly is one of those peculiar words (like friendly, lonely) that look like adverbs but are (in this case, almost always) really adjectives. The kindly old man, the kindly climate. It means, simply, pleasant, agreeable, beneficial. Kindly can also act as an adverb, most frequently in the phrase, "They took kindly to our suggestion. . . ," where it means "readily." Kind is a simple adjective, and kindness, of course, is a noun. As long as you explain the uses of "kindly" or simply suggest that the word be avoided you'll have done your job.
QUESTION A native speaker says that "I will do my best" often carries with it a tone of doubt. That is to say, "I will do my best" is often used when the outcome is doubtful. I think this is true. How about "I did my best" and "Do your best"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Osaka, Japan Mon, Mar 18, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Your "native speaker" is right. That phrase often suggests that the person who says it might not be entirely successful. This is why, in the movies, you'll hear someone say "I'll do my best," and that person's boss or coach or parent will respond in a peremptory manner, "Don't do your best. Just do it!" Your other sentences"Do your best" and "I did my best"carry the same overtone of possible shortcoming. It's interesting that you bring this up as a learner of English as a second language. Perhaps this tone of doubtful outcome is not universal in such a statement?
QUESTION What is the correct way to punctuate this sentence. I found it very hard to punctuate this sentence with the phrase "following which" in it. Which sentence is correct? Thank you.
- Winston dropped Clifford off, following which, he and Lawrence drove to an alley approximately ten blocks from Winston's residence.
- Winston dropped Clifford off, following which he and Lawrence drove to an alley approximately ten blocks from Winston's residence.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Commerce, California Mon, Mar 18, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It's horrid in either case (referring to the "following which"). Can't we write something like "Winston dropped Clifford off. Then he and Lawrence drove to an alley ten blocks from Winston's residence." (Can you leave out "approximately"? Ten blocks is fairly exact, isn't it?) Or you could write ". . dropped Clifford off, and then he and Lawrence. . . ."
He had too much to drink.How would you break the above sentence down into grammar? (Ex. noun, pronoun, adjective, etc..)
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Eau Claire, Wisconsin Mon, Mar 18, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE That's an interesting way of putting it, breaking it down into grammar. Your subject, of course, is "He" and its verb is "had." "Too" is an intensifier, an adverb modifying a determiner, "much," which is looking for something to modify. In this idiom the thing modified water, booze, whiskey, wine has been omitted, and that's perfectly acceptable. The infinitive phrase, "to drink," is also modifying that understood object.
QUESTION In your opinion, is it grammatically proper to use the word "disconnect" as a noun? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Vancouver, BC, Canada Tue, Mar 19, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No, but who am I? I never saw anything wrong with "disconnection" or "lack of connection," myself. The latest Merriam-Webster's lists "disconnect" as a noun (dating back to 1976), so its use has some official sanction, I suppose. If you do a search through the online Atlantic, you'll find an unfortunate abundance of its nounish use. (I can create words, too.)
QUESTION When typing a sentence is it all right to separate a name? Like
I ran into Mr. Sam
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE U.S. Military in Germany Tue, Mar 19, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE According to the Gregg Reference Manual, we should try not to divide personal names at the end of a typed line or to separate names from their titles. When such a division is necessary, however, for aesthetic reasons, it's a good idea to separate the title from the name or to create the division within the title (if it's a long one) and, if an initial is involved, to keep the initial with the last name. When you're using a word processor, this might involve the use of a so-called "forced break" (usually holding down the option key and hitting the return key).
Authority: The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin. 9th Edition. McGraw-Hill: New York. 2001. Used with the consent of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill. p. 230-231.
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