QUESTION Is it incorrect ( I think so) to use the phrase "individual to" or "unique to" in the following sentences?
Is the correst usage "peculiar to"?
- Example: The treatment should be individual to the particular patient.
- Example: The expression is unique to urban hipsters.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Richmond, Virginia Thu, Jun 6, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I don't see anything in my dictionary that suggests that anything is wrong with "unique to." Merriam-Webster's quotes Ronald Reagan saying that something is not "unique to California." That use of "individual to," however, seems idiosyncratic, to say the least. We can say that the treatment has been individualized for a particular patient, but I wouldn't use "individual to" as a modifying phrase.
QUESTION Which is the right form?
The same problem with:
- Our headquarters are located in ...or
- Our headquarters is located in ....
I have asked native speakers, but they don't seem to be sure either.
- Hosting services make it easy to...or
- Hosting services makes it easy to
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Helsinki, Finland Fri, Jun 7, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The noun "headquarters" can be either singular or plural. It might depend on how "sprawling" the headquarters are or if you're thinking of a singular buildling. Usually, if I had to bet, it would go with a plural verb. With "hosting services," you have to decide whether you're talking about the concept, the idea of hosting services (in which case you would use the singular "makes") or a plural number of actual services (the plural "make").
QUESTION Is this right?I pushed in my debit card and lo! It never came outleave alone the tickets.My doubt is regarding the capitalisation of 'It's after lo! Is the expression leave alone the tickets okay? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE London, England Sat, Jun 8, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE As an idiomatic explanation (archaic though it may be), Lo! is often followed by an exclamation mark in this fashion. As for "leave along the ticket," Burchfield says that "let alone" and "leave alone" are interchangeable, except that "leave" is "fractionally lower in the social register" than "let."
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 I feel many people incorrectly use "their" when they should be using "its." I wish to know the rule. Here is an example:"The prosecution should not have the right, this late in the game, to change their story."Isn't the use of "their" incorrect? Shouldn't it be replaced with "its"? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Roswell, Georgia Sat, Jun 8, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Not necessarily. Like most corporate nouns, "prosecution" is often treated as a singular concept. "The corporation forfeited its rights to sue," for instance. Quite often, however, the singular entity is treated as a group of individuals and we use plural verbs and pronouns to refer to that noun. Your sentence would be an example of that if, say, we're thinking of the various members of the prosecuting team of lawyers. Another example: if the prosecution team came into the courtroom and sat downa whole bunch of well-dressed lawyerswouldn't we say that the prosecution took their position in the courtroom (sat in their chairs)?
QUESTION Please advice on the correct way to refer to an annual event held by my company: Annual User's Conferenceor
Annual User Conference SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Ronkonkoma, New York Thu, Jun 13, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Good grief! Can't you change the name of that conference? I would hate to be called a "user," and I certainly wouldn't want to attend a conference made up of users. (Although it's probably not as bad as being called an "end user," a phrase one hears all the time nowadays.) If you insist, though, the first option suggests that only one user will be in attendance. Since there is probably a whole bunch of users descending on Ronkonkoma, I would recommend (assuming a name change is not in the cards) either a Users Conference or a Users' Conference.
QUESTION A colleague just came to me and told me that the grammar check in Word listed the following as wrong: "There were no pharmacokinetic or statistical analyses performed on this data." The grammar check wanted to insert 'was' instead of 'were'.
Now, I don't trust grammar checkers, but this does raise a question. Is Word right in this case, or am I right? I think that the plural of the verb to be should be used, since we are speaking about two different kinds of analyses.
Still - perhaps the negation changes something? Thanks for the input!
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Montreal, Canada Thu, Jun 13, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE I have to assume that you've spelled "analyses" correctly (which would mean that you've misspelled it in the phrase "different kinds of analyses" [where you want "analysis"]). "Analyses" (with the "e") is the plural of analysis, and the "were" is appropriate, no matter what Word's grammarcheck says. I'm surprised that Word didn't insist on "these data."
Learn to regard grammar checkers as kindly, bumbling uncles that mean well but don't always know what they're talking about.
QUESTION My husband and I are having a disagreement about a sentence we heard on television last night. We disagree over the tense of the verb. The sentence was as follows"The laughter and the tears that is American Idol"I was thinking that the verb should be "are" because of the compounding word "and." I thought this would make the word plural. My husband thinks that it should remain "is" because of the word "that." I hope that wasn't a confusing explanation. Thank you very much! SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Muncie, Indiana Thu, Jun 13, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE "The laughter and the tears" certainly sounds like a compounded subject to me. The plural "are" would be the appropriate choice; "that" has nothing to do with our choice of verb number. Of course, this is not a complete sentence yet at best, it's a stylistic fragment, a blurb from an ad for the American Idol show, I take it.
QUESTION I am an English teacher, and I have a grammar question. I have a student who is writing an essay about making a sandwich. She wrote, "It's something that your family and you can enjoy together." I told her that the better way to phrase her sentence would be to say "you and your family." Her reasoning was that if she used first person, she would say, "my family and I," so she used the same logic for second person.
I would like to give her a grammar rule to help her in the future. If I am at fault, I would like to know that as well.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Cincinnati, Ohio Thu, Jun 13, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The logic of polite language (if we can all it that), in which other people are put before "I," simply doesn't apply to the other pronouns. I agree that your order is an improvement. The problem with the student's order is that we're left wondering why "you" isn't simply included in "your family."
QUESTION What is the correct way to make the term "State Board of Pharmacy" plural? Would it be "State Boards of Pharmacy" or "State Boards of Pharmacies?"
Thanks for the help.
SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Lake Forest, California Thu, Jun 13, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE The word "pharmacy" in that title is an abstraction, a singular idea, like "Education"or "Real Estate" or whatever. So we don't want to pluralize it to "pharmacies." We can just pluralize the word "board" and have something like the National Association of the State Boards of Pharmacy.
QUESTION Could you tell me if the following sentence is correct:When opportunity knocks so loudly, it has to be something big.Should it be loud instead of loudly? Is loudly an error? And if so, why? SOURCE OF QUESTION & DATE OF RESPONSE Unknown Thu, Jun 13, 2002 GRAMMAR'S RESPONSE Usually, the typical "-ly" ending is our adverb form, and we say things such as "He spoke loudly on the phone." But the "loud" form can also serve as an adverb, and that's what you're using in that sentence. I'd go with "loud." This will happen with some adjectives. We say, for instance, that the "submarine ran deep in the cold waters of the Atlantic." Or 'She buys her clothes cheap at the secondhand store." Quirk and Greenbaum put it this way: "In many such cases, the adjective form and a corresponding -ly adverb form can be used interchangeably, with little or no semantic difference, except that some people prefer the adverb form."
Authority: A Grammar of Contemporary English by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. Longman Group: London. 1978. p. 237.
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