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.
Search Pain in the English
I’ve done some research about the use of “for example” in its shortened form, but have been left more confused than ever.
Is it eg, e.g., or eg.? It comes from the Latin “exempli gratia”, so I would have thought it correct to place a period after the e and after the g in place of the missing letters.
Yet, in official documents all over the place I see one or two periods, or none at all. I have in front of me an official document from the New South Wales government, The Board of Studies English K-6 Syllabus. Throughout this document each example is preceded by “eg”, no dots at all. Same with other Board of Studies documents, however other Education Department documents do have e.g.
Personally I think that e.g. is more correct, but seeing no dots at all in an official document on teaching English to primary school students, had me wondering whether the convention in this case has changed, or whether it might simply be a matter of choice with no one way being either right or wrong.
Which is correct, or doesn’t it matter?
On this page (#18), the writer says, rather authoritatively, that “LEGOs” (plural of LEGO) is wrong because “LEGO” is a company name (a proper noun). I disagree. Firstly, there is no grammatical rule that says a proper noun cannot be used to refer to a countable object. “Mac” is a proper noun. It’s a name of a product but it is also used to refer to the individual Macintosh machines, i.e., “Macs”. Think of car companies, like Honda, BMW, and Porsche. When we refer to their cars, we say, “Hondas”, “BMWs”, and “Porsches”. BMW’s own site uses the plural form: “Today’s BMWs are equipped with...” And, Porsche’s own site says, “Barely any two Porsches are identical.”
So, I would say “LEGOs” is perfectly fine if you are referring to the pieces of LEGO. It is however wrong to say “LEGOs”, if you are referring to the brand/company.
And, this should be a sparate issue from how the company officially uses the term for their marketing and communication. They could have their own policies but that does not make “LEGOs” grammatically incorrect. The correct use of a word is not determined by the person who coined it.
What do you think?
On the Web, the majority seems to think we need a question mark in the following context:
Q: “What is the meaning of life?”
A: “Who knows?”
I disagree. I consider “who knows” as a phrase or an expression, not a question; not even a rhetorical question. Adding a question mark sort of ruins the response especially in writing because it sets up an expectation (or subtle tension) of further response. A period, I feel, is the right choice because it’s a complete answer. In speech, we would not pronunce “Who knows” as if we are really asking a question; that is, our tone is missing the question mark. What do you think?
We’re arguing in the office. Help us get this straight once and for all.
You could boil the question down to this: how would you write this title?
“email Is Destroying Our Children”
email or e-mail?
Do you capitalize the E if it’s at the beginning of a sentence or part of a title?
Do you capitalize the M if it’s at the beginning of a sentence or part of a title? If so, do you only do this when it’s hyphenated?
While on vacation during the first week of summer, I came across an advertisement for the H1N1 Vaccine on the back of a coach bus. It stated “Get your ‘free’ H1N1 vaccine today!”
This begs the question, does putting quotation marks around “Free” (but not as a quotation, of course) serve any function or purpose? Such as:
All these hot dogs are “free”.
i wonder why english has capital letters? as a non native english speaker, i could not understand the logic behind it. it also increases key strokes on typewriters, computers, and makes it difficult for non natives. i am sure that if puritans of english would be mild, it could be reduced.
similarly i find the use of THE very problematic. why it cant be reduced to a minimum?
I am in media relations and sent a story pitch to an editor telling him I could send him more information if he was interested and added a question mark to ensure some kind of response, e.g.,
I can send you more information if you are interested?
Is this grammatically incorrect? I just like doing this because it’s not as forceful as Are you interested?