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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Consider a scenario where a bloodstain was discovered and analyzed. It was determined the blood came from a single source. Joe is not the source of the blood. Jack is not the source of the blood. Which of the following statements is correct and why? Joe and Jack are excluded as SOURCES of the blood. Joe and Jack are excluded as THE SOURCE of the blood.
When one has rendered a female animal unable to bear young, one spays the animal. If it happened last week, the animal was spayed. Over and over, including in vets’ offices, I have seen references to “getting an animal spade,” and even worse, “We had our cat spaded.” I don’t know what that would be: Hit over the head with a small shovel-like object?
In the following sentence, would “me” or “myself” be correct and why?
Serious gardeners like my wife and me/myself always use organic fertilizer.
Since the person talking is also a gardener and has referred to himself once already in the sentence as being in the group serious gardeners (”we gardeners”), it seems as if he should use “myself” in the reflexive. Yet this sounds wrong.
Please help! The horrid trend of using “myself” in place of “me” is starting to wear me down and confuse me.
I’m stuck on the correct use of “un-” (as in “reverse action”) and “de-”. Specifically, I want to write that a student should change an incorrectly capitalized word to the lower case. Should he “uncapitalize” it or “decapitalize” it? It’s true that the word should be uncapitalized, but since he incorrectly capitalized it in the first place, must he now decapitalize it?
“It has a great construction” sets my teeth on edge every time a writer I work with uses the phrase in written English. Is this correct/standard usage? It sounds so wrong to me, but I can’t point to the rule it violates.
Am I simply biased against... A perfectly acceptable construction?
These sound/seem so wrong:. My t-shirt has a durable cotton construction.
That house has a great construction.
With a construction of 100% cotton, her dress...
I think you omit the indefinite article.
When using the word prohibits... which is correct?
...which prohibits fences 4 ft in height from being erected ... or ...which prohibits fences 4 ft in height to be erected
...which prohibits any fence from being constructed... or ...which prohibits any fence to be constructed
Apart from the fact that convention is clearly “Table of Contents”, is there a grammatical reasoning for “Table of Content” vs “Table of Contents”?
I guess it comes down to whether the noun “content” is one that can be counted, i.e. several contents, or not.
My instinct is that in fact, content is not an enumerable noun, i.e. it should be Table of Content. But does that mean that MS Word, LaTeX and all other Desktop Publishers out there are just wrong?