The dictionary defines the words with no distinction. Is there a difference? Which is prefered? Thanks
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Lancaster, Ohio Mon, Jun 3, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE My Merriam-Webster's and Burchfield both suggest that adventuresome and venturous are the two words in greatest currency. And it's true that whatever distinction there is among these words is often blurred. "Adventurous," according to Merriam-Webster's is more likely to suggest an imprudent willingness to undertake great risk, whereas "adventuresome" and "venturous" could describe, say, the American pioneers, who undertook risks but were not considered foolhardy (except by the stay-at-home folks they left behind).
Authority: Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Electronic Edition, Version 1.5. 1996. Used with permission.
QUESTION Should the verb in the following sentence be singular or plural?Archaeological and other historical research carried out over the past half century have demonstrated a striking external correspondence to this picture in southern Mexico and northern Central America. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Provo, Utah Tue, Jun 4, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE What is that word "other" doing in there? If we get rid of it, it becomes more clear that "archaeological" and "historical" are adjectives for "research," a singular notion that deserves a singular verb, "has demonstrated."
QUESTION Please explain what is wrong with this phrase/slogan, if anything: "Building Airports Better"
It just doesn't sound right to me!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Long Valley, New Jersey Tue, Jun 4, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE That is a strange slogan. Better than someone else? Better than what? Is it the airports that are better or the process of building them? Wouldn't "Building Better Airports" make more sense? I have spent whole afternoons walking from end of O'Hare to the other, and now you're telling me there's hope?
QUESTION I want to say: Therein lies the problem. Need to know if this is proper English? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Atlanta, Georgia Tue, Jun 4, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE My Merriam-Webster's includes that phrase, just like that, so it seems blessed by one dictionary maker anyway. The construction is rather formal, perhaps even a bit stuffy, redolent of dust and antiquity even, but it is proper English.
QUESTION What is the proper politically correct, gender neutral, term to use in the salutation of a letter being directed to a business concern? Should it be "Dear Gentlepersons" or "To Whom It May Concern" or what?
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Los Angelese, California Tue, Jun 4, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Use "Ladies and Gentlemen" or "Gentlemen and Ladies" unless you know the organization is made up entirely of men, then you'd write "Gentlemen," of women, "Ladies" (or "Mesdames," to be very formal).
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. 369.
QUESTION I am looking for the correct way to write the time of day. For instance when do you use the word o'clock? Is there a more formal way than another?Ex: is 6:30 the same as six thirty. Would that need to be written like this: six-thirty?Could 6 o'clock be written with a numeral and the word o'clock and be OK, or would it need to be written like this: 6:00 or six o'clock.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Los Angeles, California Wed, Jun 5, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE To put special emphasis or exactness on the time, use the number, as in 4 o'clock. To be a bit more formal about things, though, write out the number, as in four o'clock. If you need to include hours and minutes with o'clock, write it as half past four o'clock or half after four o'clock (but not four-thirty o'clock).
Generally, "o'clock" is more formal than a.m. or p.m. And we don't want to use the two expressions in combination. We use a hyphen to separate the hour from the minutes, as in four-thirty, but not if the expression of minutes requires a hyphen, as in four thirty-five.
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. 124.
QUESTION Do the number of "kind" and the number of the thing "kind" is talking about have to match? For example, can you say "My favorite kinds of bird are..." or do you have to say "My favorite kinds of birds are..." and "My favorite kind of bird is..." ? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Wed, Jun 5, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Concerning the number of the noun that follows kind of, Bernstein has this to say:If . . . the noun is an abstraction, it is singular. For other words, either a singular or a plural may be used, depending on whether it is thought of as a category name or as members of the category. For instance: "It takes all kinds of people [category] to make up a world," but "All kinds of persons [members of a category] were in the audience"; "Various kinds of argument [category] were taken up in the course in logic," but, "Various kinds of arguments [members of category] broke out between the strikers and the police" (250).
"My favorite kind of bird," then is certainly possible. "My favorite kinds of birds" is also possible, although "the singular for the generic class [bird] is preferred" (Bernstein 250), especially if you are thinking of birdness here as a category and not as individuals of the species. The use of the plural is "not a capital offense" (Bernstein 250).
Authority: The Careful Writer by Theodore Bernstein. The Free Press: New York. 1998.
QUESTION What's the difference between circle and orbit as verbs? Thanks for help SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Wed, Jun 5, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE You're asking someone who very nearly flunked high school geometry? I could be wrong (obviously), but I think that the answer depends on the notion of dimension. A wolf might circle his prey, and that activity takes place pretty much on a plane surface, the pasture or wooded field. But the earth orbits the sun, describing a circular path through space. An orbit does not have to be perfectly circular, either; it can be elliptical. But it does have to be round.
QUESTION Is this right?A natural flair for acting coupled with oodles of confidence and good looks make Kalidas a favourite with the movie-going populace. SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE London, England Wed, Jun 5, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE No. The subject of the verb is "a natural flair," a singular notion, so we need the singular verb form, "makes." The subject is modified by the phrase "coupled with oodles of confidence and good looks," but it is not compounded by that phrase into something plural.
QUESTION Which is correct?
Is the "s" included on backward or not? Thank you for your help.
- He arched his head backwards to see the car.
- He arched his head backward to see the car.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Somewhere, Connecticut Wed, Jun 5, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE In the U.S., you will probably use "backward"; in the UK, you will probably use "backwards." But either is correct on either side of the ocean, and your choice will be determined by the sound of the sentence and your taste in such matters. By the way, did he really "arch" his "head"? That sounds painful.
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