This is a forum to discuss the gray areas of the English language for which you would not find answers easily in dictionaries or other reference books. You can browse through the latest questions and comments below. If you have a question of your own, please submit it here.
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Help! I have an annual report ready to go to print....Can someone please tell me which footnote is grammatically correct?
Percents do not add to 100 because members may indicate more than one business activity.
Percentages do not add to 100 because members may indicate....
What is the consensus on using words like “therefore” and “thus” as conjunctions (i.e. to connect two sentences), such as:
“I ate a burger, therefore/thus I am full.”
Or, can they not be used as conjunctions, and does a “real” conjunction or a semicolon need to be inserted?
“I ate a burger, and therefore/thus I am full.” “I ate a burger; therefore/thus I am full.”
a) a program that is open source b) an open source program
(b) sounds right because “open source” is in fact a whole adjective. It is neither “open” nor “source”. So the construct in (b) is just like “a blue book”.
a) the machine that is spinning around b) the spinning around machine
Somehow, (b) doesn’t look right for me, because the base adjective is only “spinning”. Is it just my feeling, or is it indeed wrong? If wrong, is there a way to somehow “correct” it?
Thanks a lot.
I’m getting married and my fiancee (with a Harvard PhD) says that our vows should end as “until death us do part.” My priest (with a PhD equivalent who studied in Rome under the Pope) says that the traditional language is “until death do us part.”
I’m just a Texas Aggie who thinks that perhaps we should use “for as long as we both shall live.”
But just for grins, which of the “until death . . .” phrases is correct? Or are both correct?
The modal verbs, should and would, are different in meaning in that the former expresses the obligation or necessity on the part of the subject while the latter the intention or prediction in the future.
There are a couple of examples I cite below and which I found by googling.
“As a Southerner, how would I be received?”
In this sentence, ‘would’ can clearly be seen to be used to express the prediction in the future.
“How would I go about helping my brother get some help with his drug abuse and violent behavior?”
In this sentence, ‘would’ seems to mean the necessity, so ‘should’ is more appropriate in this case. What do you think?
Well, a fellow ESL teacher who is taking a degree in English told me she had to explain why it is correct to say, “The door opens.” and why it is incorrect to say, “The dog wets.” My first reaction was thinking that someone or something actuates on the door to open it. Therefore, our saying of, “the door opens” merely refers to the fact that it was opened by a third party. Thus, the sentence may have a passive structure. However, when I try to rephrase, “the dog wets” I find myself lacking an object, therefore I would need to use “get + wet” to validate the passive, but I must not add words to the sentence. I’d rather change the verb. But, alas, the purpose of the exercise is to elaborate on an argument that can satisfactorily state why the sentence is wrong. I told my fellow teacher to consider the fact that “wet” would require an object for the sentence to make sense. Any input, opinion, or observations are appreciated.
Why is it that double-negatives are looked negatively upon, yet we commonly use a double-negative prefix? I’m reffering to my gripe with the word “undisclosed.” Understandabley if, let’s say, documents, were “disclosed” we are using a negative prefix of “dis” on “closed”, here meaning not “open” to the public. So by “disclosing” the documents, we have in essence opened them. So, when we have not opened them, should they not remain “closed” instead of becoming “undisclosed?”