Q: Which is correct, or are both correct? "How are you? Fine." In America everyone says "Good."
A: The grammatically correct answer to How are you? is I am well. But I am good, or I'm fine are acceptable in informal (conversational) usage--in Nortrh America, at least. Unless you're writing dialog, however, stick with the adverb well in writing. Q: Is the following sentence punctuated correctly? She looked at him, "Where are you going?" Why does the comma belong there and why is it incorrect to write She looked at him and asked, "Where are you going?"
A: The first example is incorrect because it's missing a verb of speech (say, ask, state, exclaim,etc). Your second example is correct. You always set off a direct quotation from the rest of the sentence by using a comma, question mark, or exclamation point: She asked, "Where are you going?"or "Where are you going?" she asked."
Note that in the idiom many people use today, in which the verb be like is substituted for the verb say, the comma remains:She's like, "Michael Phelps won eight gold medals!" and I'm like, "No way!"Unless you're writing dialog, however, it's best to avoid this informal usage.
Q: Is it correct to say "a historical site" or "an historical site"?
A: You usea before a consonant sound, and an before a vowel sound. Since historical begins with a consonant sound (sounded or aspirated H), the proper usage is a historical site. (Note that a silent H means the word starts with a vowel sound: An honorable mention.)
You will find a few authorities, however, who will accept an before a word beginning with a sounded H.
Q: Our question is about the words "to Scotland" in this sentence. We just cannot figure out if "to Scotland" is a prepositional phrase or if Scotland is just the indirect object. If "to Scotland" is a preposional phrase, we are trying to determine if it is an adverb phrase answering where the action is going or if it is an adjective phrase modifying the direct object, "boat".
Here is the sentence that three of our best teachers are stuck on: "Christie will take a boat to Scotland."
A: Since to is a preposition, to Scotland must be a prepositional phrase, with Scotland the object of the preposition. We wouldn't classify Scotland as an indirect object here, because Scotland isn't really receiving or being given anything. For example, in the following sentence, Britain would be an indirect object, as well as the object of a preposition: During World War II. the United States lent destroyers to Britain. (Note: You could also say, ...the United States lent Britain destroyers.)
Adverbs answer the questions, how? how much? when? or where? Since to Scotland answers the question, [to] where? it would be classified as an adverbial phrase.
Looking at it another way, to Scotland modifies the verb take; it doesn't describe the noun boat. If you wrote Christie will take the boat with oars to Scotland, the prepositional phrase with oars is adjectival. It describes the boat, answering the question, which boat?
Q: I want to [know] the difference between "out to lunch" and "out for lunch."
A: Out to lunch has two meanings. First, it can mean that a person has left the home or office to eat lunch: John has gone out to lunch. Second, used with the verb to be it can also mean a person is not in touch with reality: Sally is out to lunch; she thinks there are people on Mars.
Out for lunch also means a person has left to eat the midday meal: Jennifer has gone out for lunch.
Q: Which sentence is correct?
There is not enough words to express how grateful I am.
There are not enough words to express how grateful I am.
A: Since words is plural, you must use the third-person plural form of the verb with a there is/there are construction: There are not enough words to express how grateful I am.
This is a very wordy sentence, however. Consider shortening it by using an alternative: I am grateful beyond words or I am exceedingly grateful."
Q: I frequently have sentences that have "as well as" in them and I have always put them as:
The page was wet, as well as, smudged. Someone told me the commas were not necessary.
A: In your example, no commas are necessary. The correct form would be, The page was wet as well as smudged. But "as well as" in this context is wordy, and can be simplified: The page was wet and smudged.
If you're using as well as to begin a parenthetical phrase, however, you need two commas: The page, as well as the rest of the book, was wet and smudged.
Q:We had a disagreement about whether or not the word "videoing" is actually a word. I found the word used in several sites used the phrase "videoing weddings". I say it is an accepted word; my wife said not.
A: Well, let's put it this way: Video as a noun and adjective is in the dictionary, but the verb to video is not. The recognized verb is to videotape, as in I am videotaping my sister's wedding. Perhaps someday to video will become an accepted verb. But it's not there yet.
Q: I want to order a gift with the possessive of Russ, but I am not sure if it is "Russ' " or "Russ's." Can you tell me which is correct? On the website it looks like both is correct. Is that right?
Q: Which is correct? I appreciate your finding the error. or I appreciate you finding the error.
or would it just be better to say: Thank you for finding the error.
A: In your example, the gerund finding is used as a noun. In such a case, use the possessive pronoun your: I appreciate your finding the error. I was disappointed by his leaving early. Your inclination to find a write-around is good, however. Whenever you're not sure what is correct, rewrite your sentence in a way that you know is right.
Q: Which is correct, "corresponds to" or "corresponds with?"Also, "compared to" versus "compared with?"
A: It all depends on the context.
Regarding your first question, corresponds to is correct when you mean that something is similar or equivalent to something else: The English word "tree" corresponds to the French word "arbre." Some authorities accept corresponds with in this context as well.
Regarding your second question, use compared to when you assert that two or more things are similar: He compared the body movement in gymnastics to that in modern dance. Use compared with when you want to illustrate or highlight the similarities or differences between two things: During the Civil War, the North had thousands of miles of railroads compared with the South, which had far fewer.
Q: Is the use of "mounted" with "to" ever correct? I have seen many sentences in patents using the words together, e.g. the picture is mounted to the wall.
A: Mounted on is preferable, but it would be too much to say that mounted to is wrong. Mounted to has a taste of industry jargon, which is not surprising in a patent document.
Q:I am drafting a letter about a family with the last name of Arms. When I refer to the family in the plural sense (ie. referring to Mr. Arms, Mrs. Arms and Junior Arms) using the last name do I add -es (Armses)? My coworker advises that I should just use "Arms" as there is already an s at the end.
Q: Is it better to write; Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and Frank or Thank you for taking the time to talk to Frank and me.
A: It is always considered better form to place yourself last in a series:Thank you for taking the time to talk to Frank and me.
Q: Someone said to me "my son's friend slept walked when he stayed at our house."Is "slept walked" proper English? I thought it should be "my son's friend walked in his sleep when he stayed at our house."
A: The verb is to sleepwalk. Its past tense is sleepwalked, as in My son's friend sleepwalked when he stayed at our house. Your alternative sentence is fine, too.
Q: My coworker likes to use the expression "If it were I..." An example would be "If it were I, I would delegate this task". I don't know if it just sounds odd or if it really is grammatically correct. Can you help?
Is this correct to show possessive form for the word"business" ... business' ? As in , " the business' methods were illegal"? Or is it "business's?"
A: Most nouns that end in S add an apostrophe and S to form the singular possessive: business's. Your sentence would properly read, The business's methods were illegal. For more on the possessive and nouns ending in "S", see http://www.yourwritingguru.com/possessivenouns.html.
Q: Is this the proper use of the apostrophe?
Thank you for overseeing their preparation for this evenings' musical celebration.
A: No -- you've used a plural possessive for a singular noun. The correct usage is Thank you for overseeing their preparation for this evening's musical celebration. For more information on possessives and apostrophes, see http://www.yourwritingguru.com/possessivenouns.html.
Q: When do I use ' .....'? I know when I use ".........." when it's a quote, but not sure about '
A: We understand that you are asking when to use apostrophes (or single quotation marks) instead of (double) quotation marks around a quotation. You use apostrophes when you have a title or quotation inside a quotation, such as these:
"When I asked Joe for an explanation, he told me 'No comment,'" Linda said. "I know the Bible says 'Love thy neighbor,' but the Smiths' behavior makes it hard to like them," Sam said. "To quote General MacArthur, 'I shall return,'" John said. "My favorite poem is 'Fire and Ice,'" Melanie said.
Q: Could you please tell me if this is an incorrect way to write time -- '8:30am'?
Or must it always be '8:30 am' or 'AM' or 'A.M.'?"
A: This is a question of style, and it depends on the style manual your office or organization uses. We're not aware of any that would allow for no space between the hour and a.m. or p.m. Many civilian styles call for times to be written like this: 8 a.m.; 11:30 p.m.; 2 p.m.; 3:45 a.m. Others prefer the minutes after the hour even on the hour: 8:00 a.m.; 2:00 p.m. Note that the a.m. and p.m. are lower-cased with periods after each letter.
Q: What is the rule(s) governing the use of "as long as" versus "so long as?"
A: Our perusal of major dictionaries shows both are acceptable. They are almost synonymous, and we find no reason to prefer one over the other.
Q: When using an article before an acronym or initials, should "a" or "an" be used? Example:
"The patient will undergo a MHSI imaging scan."
Is "a" correct, or should it be "an"?"
A: The rule is to us a before a consonant sound and an before a vowel sound. This applies to abbreviations and acronyms as well as to words. So an MHSI scan would be correct, since the letter M is pronounced "em."
Q: Is this correct: "Therefore, since you is his primary care physician, we would like to transfer management to your office at this time."
A: No, this is very wrong. The proper form of the verb to be for the second person (you) is are. The sentence should read: "... since you are his primary care physician...."
The present tense conjugation for the verb to be is: I am; you are, he/she/it is, we are, you are, they are.
Q: Can you please tell me the proper way of writing "the inspector(s)' evaluation?" Where does the apostrophe go?"
Q: If someone says "next Friday," does that mean the next Friday coming up, or does it mean the Friday after next? Would the next Friday be referred to as "tommorow" or would it mean "the Friday after next." Tell me correct way to say "this Friday," "next Friday," "the Friday after next," "this comming Friday," etc. What's correct for all these terms?
A: The best way to say something in a situation like this is to be so precise your listener or reader can't misunderstand. For this reason, terms like next Friday, are usually too vague -- they don't mean the same thing to everyone. If the day is important, you're much better off specifying the date: (next) Friday, April 27 or, when speaking, Friday the 27th.
When you're the listener, you should ask for clarification when someone says next Friday:"Do you mean the 27th?" In communications theory, this is called "feedback," and it's a very important tool to ensure that the listener has understood what the speaker has said.
Q: My coworker always transposes the word "also" in every sentence. For instance, if the sentence reads:
"The program also will allow departments to increase."
He changes it to: "The program will allow also departments to increase."
A 3rd instance but not used here could be: "The program will also allow departments to increase."
I am just curious and would like to find out definitively how to use the word.
A: An adverb should be placed as close as possible to the word it modifies. With a compound verb, the preferred position for an adverb is between the parts of the compound verb. Given those two generally accepted rules, your third example, "The program will also allow departments to increase," is the most correct. The second example, "The program will allow also departments to increase," is incorrect, since "also" does not modify "departments." As an alternative, you could say "The program will allow departments to increase, as well." Q: What is the correct spelling of the plural of the words "you" and "me"? I transcribe specialized material that sometimes uses references to "the many yous (you's?) of you," or "all of the mes (me's?) of me." "You's" or "Me's'" don't seem correct, as it is not a possessive use. But the spelling "yous" and "mes" are confusing as well. Unfortunately, there is not reference in the style guide for this particular spelling conundrum.
A: What an interesting question!
This is really a question of style, so there's no one right answer. There is some precedent for using an apostrophe here: Sentences like "Mind your p's and q's," or the baseball team "Oakland A's," in which you use the apostrophe when forming the plural of the individual letters. Since "yous" and especially "mes" look very weird, we think you can justify using the apostrophe to emphasize that you are using an artificial plural for what is really a non-plural word, and not inventing some new word: "me's" and "you's". (After all, the real plural of "you" is "you", and the real plural of "me" is "us.")