May 24, 2006  •  guyadams

Interpreting “beyond that already extended”

I have run into a slight dispute at work regarding the following statement and the context is travel insurance. “The company will not reimburse for any additional cover beyond that already extended” There then follows a short list of 3 or 4 items such as health insurance, life cover, baggage. 1. I interpreted the statement as follows: The company would not reimburse for cover that was additional in the specific categories already noted. For example increasing the amount of life cover would be such a case where no reimbursement would be paid. However I interpreted the statement as meaning that if the requested reimbursement was for insurance that was not in one of these noted areas i.e. had not already been ‘extended’ then a claim would be valid. In hindsight I feel that I have used the ability to possibly twist the interpretation into a situation where a modest claim for personal liability insurance cover of £70 (which was not a listed item) will be rejected. 2. 2 colleagues thought that the meaning was simple - no reimbursement for ANY additional cover. I can see this point but if that was what was intended why did the statement not just read ‘ The company will not reimburse any additional cover’? Any ideas or somewhere where I can gather some opinions? BTW I am more interested in the principal and ensuring the correct wording for others in future than the actual claim.

May 23, 2006  •  jinmvanb

that vs. who

It seems like it happens more and more. Few [TV] reporters use phrases such as: . . . after talking to the local people that work in that plant, . . .etc., etc. Why the use of the ‘that’ instead of ‘who’ as I was taught for the correct grammar. Another one: . . . it was John that broke the news about the bribery . . . etc., etc. Is it an “exceptional” rules that when reporting (hence, verbal statement as opposed to written) it is acceptable the use of ‘that’?

May 9, 2006  •  brad

There is more than one user

OK, this may seem basic, but I’m writing a manual and I need to know “there is more than one user” or “there are more than one user”, and does that change if the sentence is preceded with the word ‘if’. As in: “If there is more than one user, you may wish to have them log in with a separate session.”

May 4, 2006  •  Dyske


In sentencing of the terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, Judge Leonie Brinkema said the following: “Mr. Moussaoui, you came here to be a martyr in a great big bang of glory, but to paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, instead you will die with a whimper.” Is this an appropriate use of the word “paraphrase”? I understood “paraphrase” as using different words to elaborate or simplify the original statement. In the above usage, she is using Eliot’s exact words.

May 1, 2006  •  isaac

Using [sic]

I am a student working on a thesis in anthropology and I am quoting one of my informants. In his quote, he says “United States Geological Service.” I know that it’s “United States Geological SURVEY,” not “service.” Should I put [sic] after the word “service” in the quote? Is it obnoxious to do that? Is it necessary?

April 25, 2006  •  jimvanb

Actress instead of Actor

According to the dictionary, Actor simply refers to “person” who acts, . . . etc. While Actress, specifically refers to the female side. Since when (and when is appropriate) the use of Actor to refers to BOTH male or female “action person”? This is not political, is it? Is it a “woman movement thingie”? Is it a similar “situation” to the word: Director not being distinguishable as to the gender of that person? Anyone for Directress (female director)?, contractor - contractress, prosecutor - prosecutress, exterminator - exterminatress, etc., etc.

April 23, 2006  •  kurt

Preposition Rule

I must inquire as to the dreaded “preposition rule.” I hear that it does not exist. I hear the story of Winston Churchill disproving the rule. I do not know what to think! Give me your intellectual input, por favor. Do we or do we not end sentences with prepositions?!

April 23, 2006  •  xmrcx

Second and a half generation?

Irrespective of whether 1st generations are the ones who are born first in the new country vs. the ones who immigrated, [See the previous post] what would your child be if say you are 1st generation and your spouse is 2nd generation - Is your child “second and a half”? Curious to know what people under such circumstance (or similar) call themselves?

April 23, 2006  •  elizabethmcauley


I have read that at one time in the American South, it was not common to use an apostrophe to form a contraction of words. Some examples used in the article were you’re spelled as youre, don’t as dont. The implication was that the change was part of Reconstruction and a way of forcing conformity on the southern states. I cannot remember where I read this nor what sources were cited as reference. Where can I find information to prove or disprove that such was the case?

April 19, 2006  •  patrick

Books of the Bible - underlined?

How ought one format citations from specific books of the Bible. For example: According to the Book of James, “Faith without works is dead.” Should “Book of James” be underline/italicized?

April 18, 2006  •  trishtillman

“Writers Forum” or “Writers’ Forum”

My students choose a favorite piece of their own writing to read aloud to thier parents at an event we call “Writers Forum.” Should it be “Writers Forum” or “Writers’Forum”?

April 7, 2006  •  manuia


Responding to an old post (see below) I was under the impression that there were several kinds of Persian: Farsi, Dari, etc. If we use the word Persian, how does someone know to which one we are referrring? I have seen it written as Persian (Farsi) to make that clear. Is there a cultural reason why Persian is preferable? Khodadad Rezakhani Mar-19-03 3:28AM Something I want to ask you to bring into attention. English has its own names for other languages: Eliniki is called Greek, Deutsch is German, and so on. About the name of the language of Iran: the English name is Persian, a correct name based on the rules of English. However, there has been a wide use of the word Farsi in main stream media (and even the computer world). Farsi is the local name for the language, and as we don’t say “I speak Espanol” when conversing in English, we shan’t say Farsi either. Please point out this matter in your weblog.

April 7, 2006  •  jivy


I’m in law school and I have a professor who keeps using the word “transcendence” to refer to a self-less lawyer, who puts his clients first. This kills me! He doesn’t know the definition of transcendence. Doesn’t transcendence mean to be on a higher plain mentally, almost like a state of nirvana? Yes, transcendence means to be above the self, but does it have anything to do with putting others before yourself? ALTRUISM is the term my professor should be using. Altruism means to put others before oneself. This professor has received many awards and is recognized a pioneer in legal ethics. I find it astonishing that no one has corrected him. He’s built his entire curriculum, which is being adopted by other law schools, on the wrong term! Am I right?

April 6, 2006  •  jon

“while” adverb or conjunction?

This question has caused a lot of argument on another message board. In the sentence below, is “while” an adverb? I’d like to see what the people here think. “Begin grooming your kitten while it is still young.” Incidentally, I vote that it’s a conjunction.

April 4, 2006  •  anette

Hi all vs. Hi everybody

I’m German, but work in an American company. So the expression “Hi all” is pretty popular as a salutation for email messages. Now, an American English native speaker told me that this is Southern accent, and I should use “Hi everybody” instead. (same with “Dear all”) What do you think?

March 31, 2006  •  stevem

Reference, refer.

Does anyone else find it annoying that reference is being used, more and more, as a verb? When people say things like “He’s referencing our trip to the mall” it really annoys me. It seems like they simply do not know that reference already has a verb form “refer.” Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

March 29, 2006  •  adam

Over exaggeration

Is it correct to say “over exaggerate”? or is exaggeration by nature already over emphasizing? Surely you either exaggerate or you don’t? It just drives me mad when people say this all the time!

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 23, 2006  •  drewfleischer

Titles in quotes

I’m writing for a trivia book that will use quote marks to signify a title. Would a correct possessive be: How tall is “Sesame Street’s” Big Bird? or How tall is “Sesame Street”’s Big Bird?

March 13, 2006  •  andys

Magazine title plus a possessive = italics?

In the phrase “...ranked in the top five in PC Magazine’s top-20 list...” I know that “PC Magazine” should be italicized. But should the italic formatting carry over to the apostrophe-s or not?

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