The Grammar Query Thread!

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Forrest, Aug 29, 2002.

  1. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    Ships get italics... is Slumlord Alley floating on anything? Sounds like it might be (I think I used to live there, is it near Wembley Stadium?).

    All named vehicles get italics Airforce One, Voyager etc

    I think the capitals are enough for a house name. If you consider you are quoting the sign you could use quote marks as you have done.

    Who gets to use one? Generally house-proud or oddly-humoured folk. :confused:
     
  2. Sidmyster

    Sidmyster Registered User

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    i need to know which is the corect word to use.

    "I am used to handling money"

    or

    "I am use to handling money"

    any help would be much appreciated.
     
  3. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    This one is correct.
     
  4. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    Affects = To change and influence something.

    Effects = The things that belong to you.

    Now I know that effect without the "s" can mean a change that is produced in one person/thing by another, but in the following I opted for the former. Now if I am wrong, ok, but I feel I am right and a recent comment has bugged me all night.


    "Hand of Glory deals with the aftermath of a war, whose affects have touched each generation since."
     
  5. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    It should be the "effect" of war. The war affects you personally but it causes "effects" which touch generations. OR an effect which touches generations... but then we'd all wonder what the one effect was. The s would just pluralise it, wouldn't it?

    Hey, you can almost swap those two descriptions and it would make more sense. I don't know any rules but to my ear, affect is a word that goes with by and effect is a word that goes with of: affected by, the effects of... he was affected, he effected change... there is probably a whole long description with bizarre sentence structure names to explain the difference but those are too hard and boring.

    Why is a war a who? Has it got a name like a cyclone?
    ... the aftermath of the war, Gerald, whose effects have touched...

    But then "the effects of which" sounds altogether too wanky (to use a technical term).

    Does anyone know if a war can be a who or not?
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2007
  6. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    I agree with Rocket Sheep, here. It's "effects" (many, as opposed to a single one). The confusion arises because "to affect" means "have an effect". And, to add to the confusion, both "affect" and "effect" exist as verbs and nouns:

    to affect (verb) = have an effect on
    to effect (verb) = to cause a change (rather formal, and or technical jargon [economics])
    an effect (noun) = change caused by something specified
    affect (noun) = strong emotion that causes action (specialised jargon [psychology, law]). Note that "affect" is a collective noun, like "sand", and doesn't normally take the plural, or an article ("affects" is possible, but means various types of affect); I'm not aware of any other meaning of "affect" when used as a noun.

    So, I do think that "effects" fits best in your sentence.

    ***

    The "whose" is correct, here.

    The possessive case of "which" is "whose" (or "of which"). It does sound a bit formal, but it applies to houses, cars, or sandwiches. The war is still a "which", even if we say "whose".

    Or, to answer the question as asked: A war can't usually be a "who", but its things/attributes can be refferred to as "whose". It's one of the peculiarities of English.

    Some do object to "whose" for inanimate objects on account of rules they made up, and others think it's not incorrect but should be avoided on account of stylistic preference. Personally, I find it's normal English, i.e. I wouldn't even notice it.

    The controversy is quite amusing, really.
     
  7. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    My thanks, will alter it.

    Never thought of the "whose", just wrote it the way I would say it as it felt right.To be honest a lot of my writing is like that. Hence all the {insert rude word of choice} mistakes.
     
  8. Hereford Eye

    Hereford Eye Just Another Philistine

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    I always looked at it from the point of view of cause and effect. The effects of the war affected each generation thereafter.
     
  9. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    But not all those things are necessarily mistakes. And *everybody* (at least, most native speakers who are not professionally involved with grammar) just writes, or speaks. (Spoken language tends to be even less monitored, of course.) That's how language changes.

    There's a difference in mistake-status between confusing "there" with "their", and "effect" with "affect". Both are common mistakes, but hardly anyone ever has to enquire about what's correct in the former case. In a hundered years, it's quite possible that "affect" will have new dictionary entry. I doubt there/their/they're will ever be correct, though.

    "Whose" is definitely correct the way you used it, although some people deny that.

    It's precisely because people "just write" that we have so many nonsensical rules out there. People guess why a certain usage grates on them, and then they overgeneralise, fall in love with their rule and - presto - more grating. Of course, they often completely disregard the thousands of people who don't mind that usage at all.

    Only a year ago, I'd have considered any use of "singular their" as an abomination born of "political correctness". I was wrong. "Singular their" has a long, long history (and to my surprise some usage didn't even bother me; shows how little I know about my own language perception, heh!).

    Everything everyone ever writes has a bit of grammatical mistakiness about it. And the extent of the mistakiness varies; from person to person, from region to region, from situation to situation.

    Some things are clearly a mistake (their/there/they're confusion).

    Some things are most likely a mistake ("affects" for "effects").

    And some things are most likely not a mistake ("a war, whose...").

    And some things are clearly correct. ("an apple"; don't ask what about the phrase is clearly correct; that'll confuse the issue...).

    Now, if only people could agree what to put into what category... :p
     
  10. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    Apparently no one in the whole southern hemisphere knows when to use "which" instead of "that"... and we all get by. :p
     
  11. light1980

    light1980 New Member

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    query

    Which one is correct:

    "A stable currency is of course not without its disadvantages , but it falls upon the bank to stop any unpleasant inflationary aftermaths"

    OR

    "A stable currency is of course not without its merits, but it falls upon the bank to stop any unpleasant inflationary fallout"

    I think it is the first one, but my teacher is adamant about the second one being correct...
     
  12. Mahdrek

    Mahdrek New Member

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    :confused:

    please help me know if this is correct grammar:

    "May the paths you follow allow for the accommoadation of your girth"

    my gf says allow and accommodate are repetitious making it bad grammar
     
  13. Xenyth

    Xenyth Love as Thou Wilt

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    I tend to agree with your girlfriend. Allow and accommodate both mean very similar things.

    The same statement can be made with "May the paths that you follow accommodate your girth." This is also easier to read.

    Everyone has a fairly broad vocabulary - particularly those of us who are avid readers ;), so don't try to sound more intelligent by adding more words. This usually only has the effect :)D) of making the prose more difficult to read.

    Your reader will soon realise how knowledgeable you are from what you have to say and the ideas you choose to express. Just try not to use the same word for the same thing each time (eg. there is an almost endless supply of alternatives for the word 'said').
     
  14. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    Well neither. What's with the double negative for a start? Quit beating around the bush. And "of course" isn't part of the sentence so it gets a comma set. But what's it really there for? To show you're stating the obvious?

    In one sentence you're showing disadvantages and in the other you're showing merits so it is the point of emphasis that has changed not the grammar. What do you want to emphasise?

    I would agree with your teacher in that a stable currency is a desirable thing so it would have merits, and you want to counter merits against inflation in your sentence. Good against bad. Bad against bad would show no contrast... no reason for a "but".

    A stable currency has its merits, but it falls upon the bank to stop any unpleasant inflationary fallout

    (I kept the comma because I presume you're American. Australians don't need them with words like "but".)
     
  15. Rocket Sheep

    Rocket Sheep I AM too a mod! Staff Member

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    May the paths you follow accommodate your girth is much funnier too.
     
  16. jacky.diamond

    jacky.diamond New Member

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    more grammar help

    This thread's really useful for grammar help. Another GREAT resource for English grammar questions (and other general writing questions) is this forum. They've got professionals who answer your specific questions personally.


    -Jacky
     
  17. Ranke Lidyek

    Ranke Lidyek Guest

    make it count

    Well said.

    Make every word count.

    That's the one and only rule, I feel. It takes a long time to figure this out as a writer (I'm still figuring!). But if something is concise and has meaning, the reader will move forward. Every extra word is weight tacked onto meaning and those pounds drag it under. Your girlfriend was correct in this. I like the phrase here and accomodate does all your work for you. Verbs are the most powerful things in writing. Trust them and choose them wisely.

    From what I see, it appears as if you have that down. Keep writing and remember that no first draft is ever perfect. You'll always be tweaking and carving off the extra fat. Nothing wrong at all with that. The hardest part is realizing where that fat is to begin with.

    Write on....
     
  18. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    That's true. You won't believe how often I've seen people change "was running" to "ran", because it's "more concise". *Sigh*

    This piece of advise is such a cliché these days that I see writing ruined by cutting too much as often as by writing too much in the first place.

    "not without its merits" is no worse than "has its merits". I'm not talking as a writer now; I'm talking as a reader. (I was itching to type this when the post was new, but I figured Sheepie was at the receiving end of my rants often enough when it comes to these things; now I have a new victim. Be prepared. :p )
     
  19. K_Spires

    K_Spires Wizard Errant

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    Strunk and White's The Elements of Style states you should always use an 's no matter the ending of the word. Jules's cat.
     
  20. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    They do mention exceptions (here), but you're right: they would have us write, "Jules's cat". If you like that better, use it. But what Nimea says isn't wrong (I for one prefer that usage).

    Strunk and White aren't especially known for their tolerance for usage other than their own. Personally, I wish Strunk's booklet had faded into obscurity instead of being picked up by White, edited and published. People quote it to justify a lot of nonsense corrections.