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Joined: March 18, 2003  (email not validated)
Comments posted: 4
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"Neither" means that given two choices, both are to be individually rejected. Therefore a singular verb is required. If you want to refer to the duo and reject them, you should say something like "both are not".

Pretty much "what Teresa said"

joe March 18, 2003, 4:13pm

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I think people just get hung up on word building sometimes, which is why we end up with gems like "irregardless".

The whole -al adjective thing is already flawed, and is a wonderful source for more literate comics... for example

prime -> primal
crime -> crimal? No, criminal. Why?

I believe "social" was the commonly accepted term for "of society", but has evolved nearly into "of human interaction" -- and therefore people started to think there was no word for "of society"... and voila'! societal.

joe March 18, 2003, 4:07pm

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I am in complete agreement! As written English is already fraught with many strange rules and customs, I think that in this case, whoever made up the rule that ending punctuation always goes inside the quotation marks is just plain "WRONG"!

The entire idea of punctuation is to convey the syntactical meaning of a sentence or phrase when simple word order is ambiguous, or to indicate additional emotive or emphatic meaning than the words themselves suggest. That's my take on punctuation; I could be wrong. Anyway, syntactically, your list of quotes above is exactly that -- a list -- and as such, the commas should separate each item entirely, meaning the comma is outside the quotes.

While we're at it, I see you chose to include the final comma before the "and", a custom which I had been taught was optional. I don't believe that it is -- I feel that without the comma, the final two list items would be bound as a unit, such as "franks and beans". However, if I could only change one of these items in the grammar textbooks, it would certainly be the quotation-punctuation rule.

joe March 18, 2003, 3:31pm

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Naturally, I would assume that the companion expression "30 something" came before the TV show of the same name, but I believe that in that case, "30 something" would be skewed toward the latter end of the age group, since they don't want to say they are 36 or so, and would rather people think they might be 31. (whatever).

Anyway, intuitively, "20 something" means anything in 21-29 (since 20 has no "something" after it)... but since I don't know the origin of the phrase either, the original coiner could have intended the early 20's.

joe March 18, 2003, 3:23pm

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