March 28, 2006  •  billedwards

The “he or she” problem

I find educated speakers saying the following: “Everyone must do their duty.” or “The next player must move their piece if the move is possible.” This is caused because people do not think ahead when speaking. To avoid this, they could start with the plural, such as: “All of us must do our duty.” or “Players must move their piece if the move is possible”. What will future grammar books say about the time honored rule that pronouns must agree in gender, number, and case? They must agree in gender, number, and case with the exception that in order to avoid using “he or she” or “his or hers”, the plural may be used as an exception.

March 10, 2006  •  joe3

I vs I’ve

“As I mentioned before” or “As I’ve mentioned before” Which one is correct and why, or is there a different place and time to use either?

March 6, 2006  •  sue

“It is I” vs. “It is me”

Which of the following is correct? It is I. It is me. A grammar teacher mentioned to me something about the nominative case being used after the verb “to be” and not the usual objective case (”me”) that I thought it should be. He said the verb “to be” was an exception, but I can’t find anywhere that this is written down as such. Anyone any thoughts?

March 2, 2006  •  isabella

‘is/are’ and ‘do/does’

From a grammar test this was a correct sentence: Dr. Stephens is one of those professors who do whatever it takes to get his point across to his students. It still sounds odd to me, however. Should it perhaps say: 1. Dr. Stephens is a professor who does whatever it takes to get his point across to his students. or 2. Dr. Stephens is one of those professors who do whatever it takes to get their point across to their students. Any thoughts?

February 25, 2006  •  carrieagnes

First double negatives and now double possesives?!

I was watching the news today, and the title of a story they presented was “Legacy of Don Knott’s”. Now, at first glance, I was positive that it was a grammatical mistake. I mean, why say “Legacy of Don Knott’s” when saying “Legacy of Don Knott” would do the job? But then I replaced “Don Knott’s” with “his” (the phrase thus becoming “legacy of his”) and the latter phrase seemed to make sense. We say things like “that book of his”, so why not “legacy of his”? So here comes the question: Are both the phrases “Legacy of Don Knott’s” and “Legacy of Don Knott” correct? Is there such a thing as double possesive? And why, for goodness sakes, can’t we just simply say “Don Knott’s Legacy”?! And whatever happened to the man, anyway? Why are they all of a sudden presenting a story on his legacy? (Or, shall I say, legacy of his.)

February 18, 2006  •  jill

Nashes or Nash’s??

I am recently married and don’t really understand how to pluralize (is that a real word?:)) my new last name, Nash. For example, if I want to have a party at my house, would I invite people to meet at “The Nashes” house or “The Nash’s” house? My husband and in-laws state that the first use is correct but my friends seem to want to use the latter version. Some enlightenment please!

February 1, 2006  •  penelope

Is ‘love’ continuous or not?

A TV ad about a food company uses the phrase: I’m loving it! how can I explain the use of the verb ‘I love’ in the Present Continuous? According to the British English Grammar, some verbs such as ‘I love’ have no continuous form.

January 7, 2006  •  brian

If or not

Both “if” and “whether” can introduce a subordinate clause: “I was wondering if you would come” and “I was wondering whether you would come”. However, the phrase “whether or not”, as in “I was wondering whether or not you would come” is okay, but “if or not” in the same context seems not okay - google searches bring up 100 million hits for the first phrase, but just 15,000 for the second. This came up in a class I was in, and I was surprised because I do use “if or not” in informal speech; why are these two phrases different? In both cases the “or not” is redundant, if you think about it.

January 7, 2006  •  andrew2

your call will be answered in the order it was received

I hear this all the time while in a hold queue on the phone, but it sounds like bad English to me. I would prefer “...in the order in which it was received”, although that does sound a little overwrought. I just can’t think of anything better. What do you experts say?

January 2, 2006  •  elfparade

I/Me function in brackets.

I recently came across a construction about which I’m unsure, as the construction makes the functions of the individual parts a bit unclear. The sentence is, “Social players (and even me!) would be interested to know people’s birthdays.” I contended that the text within the parentheses should be corrected to “(and even I)” considering one would not say “Me would be interested.” However, I was told that, in the above sentence, “and even me” functions like “you and me.” I don’t see how that applies. Which is the correct construction, and why?

December 29, 2005  •  jon

a couple

I can’t figure out which of the following is correct. It makes sense that “couple” would be singular, but it looks wrong in this sentence. What would you do? There is a couple who (is/are) leaning on the wall of a building.

December 16, 2005  •  mariskova

Live or Living

If I come from country A, but currently I am in country B (for 5-10 years/study or job assignment) what tenses do I use for this sentence (situation: when I have to introduce myself)? -I live in B -I am living in B

December 12, 2005  •  m56

“to be doing”

Do you use both these in your variant? “What does he want us to do when the boss arrives?” (action can begin at the moment the woman arrives) “What does he want us to be doing when the boss arrives?” (action must begin before the woman arrives)

December 1, 2005  •  saul

Me vs. I

They have provided no evidence of contacting either Joseph or I. Did I use “I” correctly?

November 22, 2005  •  eva

large-scale project vs large-scaled project

I’m often quite confused when to use the’-ed” with such words. Is there fundamentally, any difference between “large-scale project” and “large-scaled project”? Cheers Eva

November 18, 2005  •  conrad

Squirting participle?

A friend and I were discussing the most funnily named facets of grammar when I brought up the trio of hanging, dangling and squirting participles. When he inquired about the meaning of the third I realised it had escaped me. Neither of us have been able to find a definition in the following period and I suspect it may be obsolete. Can anybody set me straight in regard to the meaning and/or existance of such a term? P.S Whilst this may be a bit off topic, any other contenders for ‘funniest part of grammar’ would be welcome too!

November 16, 2005  •  jason

Plural form of anonymous

My friends and I were debating one day, and none of us could come up with a good answer: What is the plural form of anonymous? Is there a plural form of anonymous? Any help would be well appreciated.

November 9, 2005  •  jennifer2

Obj of Prep + Gerund

In another language forum in which I regularly participate, the following debate ensued: I am envious of his getting rich. I am envious of him getting rich. American English speakers argue that the second construction (him getting rich) is impossible, given the fact that if the noun object were NOT a gerund, the construction would not make sense. For example: I am envious of his success. I am envious of him success. Our BE friend argued that “him getting rich” was indeed correct because the gerund construction compliments the direct object pronoun. Anyone care to chime in?

November 8, 2005  •  marcelo2

‘S (apostrophe+S) versus OF

Consider the example: There’s a teacher that has two groups and basically he always teaches both groups the same thing. One day he asks his students, “Can you give me one example of a car that has sirens?” In one group a student answers, “A policeman’s car has sirens.” In the other group he gets this answer, “The car of a policeman has sirens.” My question is: Is there a possible difference in meaning between both answers? I think they are perfect equivalent, but my English professor says that when you use “apostrophe + S” you always establish a relationship of possession and when you use “OF” it doesn’t necessarily happen. She also says that there’s always a difference in meaning, though it’s not always a striking one. She just didn’t explain what her explanation meant, that is, she didn’t give any example using this explanation in a context. She gave some examples such as: * a woman’s scent * the scent of a woman And tried to explain this possible difference without giving a sentence (context) in which they occur. Again, my question is, is there a difference between these two structures: * The car of a policeman has sirens. * A policeman’s car has sirens. Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance, Marcelo

November 8, 2005  •  mariskova

Uncountable nouns

Which one is correct? 1. Honey and milk are my favorite. or 2. Honey and milk is my favorite. My answer is number 1, but my friend said no.2 because both nouns are uncountable.

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