Your Pain Is Our Pleasure
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February 3, 2004
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Ha! I got it...
"What number is Manmohan Singh in the succession of Prime Ministers of India?"
This will return "fourteen," but, understanding the intent of the question, many people will probably answer "He's the fourteenth Pime Minister."
Yes, the second "sentence" may be a fragment, but that isn't what Ted really wanted to know.
Ted, "worst" is the opposite of "best," so despite the fragmentary nature of your second example, the usage of "worst" is correct. They are both superlatives (think about other similar words that end in -est, such as "prettiest" and "highest").
But when describing something that has gotten more undesirable in some way, the correct word is "worse."
"My son used to just steal beer from the refrigerator, but now he has become hooked on drugs. I have had the worst time dealing with him. He has gone from bad to worse."
"My boss insults customers, golfs on work time, and lies on his expense account. But worst of all, he cooks the books. I have never had a worse boss."
As a Houstonian myself, xuan, I really sympathize with you and all the other people who took the TAKS test yesterday. (MUST they call it "TAKS?" Seems like the government is tax-crazy, huh.)
"To eat breakfast" is just more precise than "to have breakfast." You can almost always substitute "to have" for "to eat."
Some weird context exceptions:
"My baby won't eat his mashed bananas." (You can't really say, "My baby won't have his mashed bananas," because he does really have them--he just won't eat them.)
"The stranded sailors ate two of their shipmates before they were rescued." (Someone braver than I am must explain why "had" just won't do here.)
"Monsieur Flambe is a circus performer who eats fire." ("Fire eater" is the special name for this, ah, profession.)
Think of a simpler example:
"I have never gone to see her new house."
"I never went to see her new house."
"To undergo" follows essentially the same format as "To go."
The following sentences are both correct:
"The patient has never undergone a colostomy."
"The patient never underwent a colostomy."
One or the other may sound better to you in your context.
I prefer "Internet," but many newspapers and magazines are going with "internet." I hate that.
As far as goes an individual site, I most often see and prefer "website." "Website" only at the beginning of a sentence; "web site," "Web site," and "web-site" are right out. But I always, without exception, see "the World Wide Web," just like that.
Whichever you choose, just make sure it's consistent.
Just to clarify "immediately to"....
You can have a sentence such as "Jane went immediately to the kitchen to make coffee," or "Mike set immediately to work on the dirty dishes in the sink." But in those cases you don't have the phrase "immediately to" as I was discussing below.
In the first example, the "to" belongs to the prepositional phrase "to the kitchen." In the second, the "to" belongs to the infinitive (basic verb form) "to work."
You can actually use "immediately" in any direction in space or time, so you can have "immediately before," "immediately after," "immediately above," "immediately behind," etc. The sense is equivalent to "right next to."
By analogy, you can have specialized uses like "immediately inside the doorway" (right next to it on the inside, like where you might find a light switch), "immediately over the next hill" (just as you get to the other side), "immediately across the street from," or "following immediately upon his heels" (like what a dog does when walking with his master). You'll get to know these by experience.
Some constructions you cannot have include "immediately in," "immediately from," "immediately to," and so forth.
I agree 100%. No doubts here :)
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