QUESTION What is the rule regarding underlining a phrase or word at the end of a sentence specifically, is the punctuation mark underlined too, or is it not? Personally, I would avoid this situation, but our marketing clients seem to really love underlined phrases at the end of sentences. In addition, what do I do when the last word in an underlined phrase at the end of a sentence is a commonly used set of initials?
1st example: For a limited time only, we are offering your choice of a free accessory a gift worth $50. (If the last phrase is underlined, do I underline the period too?)
2nd example: Switch your rate plan now and get free long distance and no roaming charges in the U.S. (If the last six words are underlined, is the second period in "U.S." underlined too?)
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Houston, Texas Thu, May 2, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Generally, no, we don't underline punctuation marks that end or otherwise set off a piece of underlined text. There are, however, some exceptions, especially when the punctuation marks are an integral part of whatever is underlined, as in a title: "We loved the new version of Oklahoma!, but the tickets are awfully expensive." (The exclamation mark is underlined because it's part of the title of the musical.) With your examples, I would say that the period after "$50" is simply a sentence-ending period, and I would not underline it. However, the final period in your second example is also part of the abbreviation for U.S., so I would underline that period. Mostly, though, you've got to teach your clients to back off on those superfluous underlines.
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. 79.
QUESTION In what case(s) is it appropriate to use "anytime" vs "any time"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Van Wert, Ohio Mon, May 6, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Use the single word "anytime" as an adverb meaning "any time whatsoever"; use the two words to mean "any amount of time" or as the object of a preposition such as "at":
The single word adverb, anytime, is apparently used much more frequently in the U.S. than it is in the UK.
- Do you have any time to help me with my homework?
- Have you worked for MacDonald's at any time in the past?
- You can come over anytime you please.
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. 285.
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 YOUR_QUESTION_WAS = The L.A. Times recently had the following headline:There Was 4, but Now There's 3Are these grammatical errors ever acceptable? Thanks for your help. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Los Angeles, California Mon, May 6, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In casual speech and writing, you will frequent hear and read a construction such as "There is a man and a woman in the next room." The verb agrees with what some grammarians call the "existential subject," there. Whether there can legitimately be regarded as the subject, however, is a matter of debate. Most writers would say no, at least not in formal text and conversation. In such constructions, the subject comes after the verb. Since "four" is plural (as is "three"), I'm surprised the Times didn't go with "were" and "are" in that headline.
QUESTION How does the word "talk" function in the following sentence?You should try listening to your grandfather talk about his experiences in World War II. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Cedarville, Ohio Mon, May 6, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "Listening to" is what is called a prepositional verb (verbal form in this case) and "grandfather" is the object of that verbal. (It works the same way in a much simpler sentence: "Listen to the birds sing.") It's the word "talk," though (as opposed to "talks") that makes your question difficult, though. "Talk" is a bare infinitive form here (an infinitive form without the "to"). In a sentence like "Hear him roar," we would say that "roar" is the bare infinitive. This happens typically with verbs of perception: "We saw him todrive the car," "I watched him tosmoke," and with "help, let," and "make": "She made him do it," "We let him win." I hope this helps.
Authority: A University Grammar of English by Randolph Quirk and Sidney Greenbaum. Longman Group: Essex, England. 1993. Used with permission. p. 831 and 841.
QUESTION In the sentence below, is "which" with a comma, the appropriate word to use verus "that?"Rich's tenacity and overall investigative skills allowed him to discover facts, which led to the arrest of the infant's nineteen-year-old mother. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Commerce, California Tue, May 7, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE If we got rid of the comma and used that instead of which, the sentence would mean that it's the facts that led to the arrest of the culpable mother. If we keep the comma and use the which clause as a kind of summative modifier, it would mean that Rich's skills and the facts that are discovered by means of those skills have led to the arrest. Surely the sentence using that is more to the point.
QUESTION In the following sentences, how do the infinitive phrases (in parentheses) function?
I think these are the same but I don't know what to call the part in parentheses. Thank you.
- Mr. Bryant allowed me (to go home).
- John made me ([to] eat crow).
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Rapid City, South Dakota Tue, May 7, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In both cases, the infinitive phrase is an object complement. The difference is that the verb "made" calls for a "bare infintive." (It's similar, in that regard, to the verbs of perception: "She saw him toscrawl something on the wall" or "We heard the dogs tohowl in the distance.")
QUESTION Can you please tell me if the following sentence is gramatically correct. Specifically, I'm wondering if "when falling down" is a dangling participle?Bret's arms would always hit before his head when falling down. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE San Roque, Pangasinan, Philippines Tue, May 7, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't know if it qualifies as a full-fledged dangling participle, because one can figure out what the sentence means pretty quickly. But your instincts are correct, and the sentence would be greatly improved if that participial modifier came first in the sentence so it could more clearly modify Bret (but change "Bret's arms" to Bret himself so that he is falling, not his arms). Also, I would suggest giving "hit" an object, like "hit the ground" or "hit the floor."
QUESTION Is the sentence below gramatically correct?However, they are, in fact, a carnivorous member of the jellyfish family who have chosen a more stationary life attached firmly to the aquatic substrate.I am not sure about these parts of the sentence (in CAPS): They are, in fact, A CARNIVOROUS MEMBER of the jellyfish family who HAVE... SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Redmond, Washington Tue, May 7, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE It becomes clear as your sentence proceeds that "they" act together, as a unit, so the singular "a carnivorous member" is appropriate in this context. I think I would change "who have" to "that has" for that same reason. Perhaps the "more" makes sense in the wider context of your paragraph (you're comparing these sea critters to something else); otherwise, leave it out.
QUESTION Are both recurring and reoccurring correct usage or do they have distinct meanings? Are they both correct? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Ohio Thu, May 9, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I was not aware of any difference between these words until I looked them up just now, so I thank you for asking this question. According to Bernstein, reoccur is used to suggest a one-time repetition, whereas recur suggests repetition more than once, usually according to a fixed schedule, as in "the recurring phases of the moon," although it can also apply to a one-time repetition.
Authority: The Careful Writer by Theodore Bernstein. The Free Press: New York. 1998. p. 387.
QUESTION I am in the military and I have a question about the grammar that it used on our award certificates. More precisely, the question is in regards to the proper way to read the scentence. Our award certificates read as follows:The United States of AmericaIn question is the second line, "To all who shall see these presents, greeting:." Should there be an "s" on greeting, and which definition/pronunciation of "presents" is correct?
To all who shall see these presents, greeting:
This is to certify...
All the help that you can give will be greatly appreciated.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Naples, Italy Thu, May 9, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Use the "greeting" without the "s" and pronounce the word "presents" as you would the "presents" under the Christmas tree (meaning the "present words" or the legal instrument that uses those words).
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