The Grammar Logs


Which is the correct way to write the following:

  • Three Hundred Fifty-Five Thousand Nine Hundred ($355,900.00) Dollars

  • or
  • Three Hundred Fifty-Five Thousand Nine Hundred Dollars ($355,900.00)
Source of Question, Date of Response
Locust Valley, New York # Tue, Feb 8, 2005
Grammar's Response

This is the form recommended by the Gregg Reference Manual:

Three Thousand One Hunded and 50/100 Dollasrs ($3100.50)

Never put the parenthetical insertion between the number and the word "Dollars," although you can write either "One Hundred (100 Dollars) or One Hundred Dollars ($100).

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. 129.


Please could you explain to me the difference in meaning and use of the following examples

  • His work CONSISTS IN dealing with foreign representatives
  • and
  • His diet CONSISTS OF wheat and dairy products

I cannot find any clear explanation of this in any of my dictionaries or even in Swann's books

Source of Question, Date of Response
Aukland, New Zealand # Tue, Feb 8, 2005
Grammar's Response

I did a search for these two phrases in the online Atlantic, and it would seem that "consists of" is followed by a countable, plural entity or series of entities, whereas "consists in" is following by singular notion (which might, in fact, be quite abstract).


Is it correct to say:

  • Who is smarter than who? or
  • Who is smarter than whom?

or neither?

Source of Question, Date of Response
Unknown # Wed, Feb 23, 2005
Grammar's Response

Most writers, in this sistuation, wouild regard "than" as a preposition and make the who/whom choice an object the preposition, thus calling for "whom." However, see (in the middle of the page) Choosing Case After Linking Verbs and "But" and "Than"

The cover of Sports Illustrated this week announces a "special report" entitled "A deadly bacteria invades the locker room." Is there any reason not to write them a letter telling them that they should use proper grammar, at least on their cover; in other words, is there any way that they can get away with using "bacteria" (which is plural, last time I checked) as a singular noun? I'm itchin' to stick it to the man, especially since the cover photo is of the Daytona 500, and I can't see how NASCAR is any more a sport than ogling swimsuit models.
Source of Question, Date of Response
Somerville, MA # Fri, Feb 25, 2005
Grammar's Response

Where did you check the usage of "bacteria"? It is, indeed, a plural word, but it also has a time-honored singular usage, meaning "a strain [type] of bacterium." The distinction between the singular bacterium and plural bacteria is seldom followed or even useful outside of very scholarly and pedagogically technical writing (not exactly Sports Illustrated). It is rapidly going the way of other dodos like medium-media, datum-data, cactus-cacti, etc. As for sporting qualities of ogling and going around an oval track at 200 mph, I suspect they're related by enhanced heartbeat counts, and by the fact that people will pay good money for tickets to get through the door. One of my sons tells me that he's wondering what happened to all the tops of the swimsuits used in SI; somebody's being cheated, and the models seem neither to mind or notice.


I'm having a disagreement about grammar with a ladyfriend who is a retired HS English teacher. I have a Minor in English from many, many moons ago.

I say that the sentence "Write me a letter." is incorrect. I think that the sentence "I mailed you a letter" is also incorrect. I contend that they should be "Write a letter to me." & "I mailed a letter to you".

My HS English teachers (from 50 years ago) would have killed me graveyard dead had I written sentences such as #1 & 2 above.

HELP please before this disagreement escalates into open warfare!

Please point out the location for the correct answer on your fine website. She will NOT take my word for it! She must see it in writing!

There's a rather significant "bet" (wink, wink!) riding on the outcome of this!

I appreciate your help. Thanks a bunch.

Source of Question, Date of Response
Williamstown, North Carolina # Sat, Feb 26, 2005
Grammar's Response

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the objective complement structure used in "Write me a letter." There never has been, to the best of my knowledge, and I suspect you misunderstood your teachers of yore (or else they were awfully quick on the trigger!). (Look it up in the index by "objective complement.") How would you sing "Cry me a river" or say "Give me your money" without it?


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