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
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?
According to my research, punctuation is part of “mechanics”. If so, is it redundant to say, “punctuation and mechanics”?
I do see many instances of people using “punctuation and mechanics”. For instance, I came across an article written by an English professor entitled “Common Mistakes of English Grammar, Mechanics, and Punctuation”. If punctuation is indeed part of mechanics, then this title itself would be a mistake ironically.
When referring to “French” and “English” bulldogs, the geographic part of the breed will always be capitalized. What are the rules about capitalizing the stand alone word “bulldog?”
From what I understand, AKC dropped the requirement to use “English” in front of the word “bulldog” (or so I’ve been told....) so I am left with the word “bulldog.”
Should I capitalize or not? I referred to the AKC site to see how they were handling the capitalization and they begin by capitalizing the word then use a non-capitalized version throughout their article.
Is “someone else’s” grammatically correct? Every time I type, the spell-checker reminds me that it’s wrong.
There are a lot of discussions online about “passers-by” vs. “passer-bys”. The general consensus, from what I saw, is that the former is more correct. If this is true, shouldn’t it be “someone’s else”?
I personally feel that “passer-bys” is more correct, especially when you remove the hyphen (”passerbys”). It’s more consistent with other words like “blastoffs” and “playoffs”.