File Extensions

I have had recent questions about how to do file extensions when they are said by themselves without the full file name.

First, I would say that they should be done consistently.

Though I do not know that there is a “rule,” I would recommend that they be transcribed as they look in the file name.

…It was a .jpg file…
…I received it as a .pdf…

Happy punctuating!

Margie

Consistency for Numbers

Great seeing so many “old” familiar faces at DRA. Wow. It has been a few years. Glad to see you thriving in this wonderful field.

There was a recent discussion on numbers and their form within a sentence. Overriding all the rules for numbers is the rule for consistency: If there are numbers that measure the same thing or the same quality in a sentence, they should be in the same form.

…There were 7 girls and 15 boys…
…We bought it for $758,000 and sold it for $1,200,000…

This rule that numbers measuring the same thing is followed when the numbers are in the same general area of the transcript. If “$15.00” is mentioned on page 78 as a cost of piping and it is “$2,390” on page 234, there is no issue of consistency.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

From a Reputable Internet News Source…

Oh, my.  We are losing the battle, I do believe.

…extremely rare occurance…

Though there are no rules for ance versus ence, one would think that the more common words would be spelled correctly.

While I am here, I just want to remind you that I am starting my series of punctuation seminars on March 2. Check out all the dates here on my website.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

…”Six Weeks’ Vacation” but “Six Weeks Pregnant”…

When words showing measurement, value, distance, amount are used with an s on the end and they are in front of a noun, use an apostrophe for singular and just an apostrophe for plural.

…one week’s break from this…
…one day’s duration…

…two weeks’ vacation…
…several hundred dollars’ worth…

When using the apostrophe in such a construction, remember that there must be a NOUN that the adjective is modifying.

…six days long…
…three months pregnant…

Good news!! The word pairs book will be out in just a couple weeks. Check margieholdscourt.com for the news!

Happy punctuating!

Margie

A Fine Point of Grammar — “Is” or “Are”?

This sentence is from an English exam:

“Kay is one of the women who (is/are) (inferring/implying) that from what she read.

So let’s first say that speakers and writers “imply” and readers and listeners “infer.” So that answer is INFER.

The verb form you are looking for is in a dependent clause here; it is not the subject and verb in the main sentence.

If, indeed, the word “one” were the subject of the sentence and there were a prepositional phrase after it, then you would ignore the prepositional phrase and choose a singular verb to go with “one.”

…One of the men in the offices IS…
…One of the issues in cases like these WAS…

When the verb is in the dependent clause with the subject “who/that/which” the issue is that these pronouns do not have any number built into them. They can be singular or plural.

…boy who is…
…boys who are…

…car that is…
…cars that are…

…book which is…
…books which are…

So we have to have another way to choose the verb in a dependent clause. We decide the verb form in the clause from the form of the word it modifies. In this case, the choice is between these two:

…one who is…
…women who are…

We must look to the meaning in the sentence.

Is it saying that Kay is the one woman who is inferring something?

OR

Is it saying that there are many women inferring something and that Kay is one of those many women?

There are really several women inferring this, and Kay is one of them.

So the clause modifies “women,” and the verb is plural: ARE.

Here are some other examples:

…Ms. Ray is one of the employees who are going to get a raise.
…Scott is one of the members who are going to resign.

…Ms. Ray is the only one of the employees who is going to get a raise.
…Scott is the only one of the members who is going to resign.

What a great language!! You can have this kind of fun and more in my mini grammar class in May and June!!!

Happy punctuating!

Margie

When the “And” Is Missing

Put a comma before the and because there is an independent subject and verb after the and.

…I was driving northbound on Madison, and I turned left onto Rourke.
…Rachel went to the hospital, and she spoke with the doctor.

No comma before the and in these sentences because there is not an independent subject and verb after the and.

…I was driving northbound on Madison and turned left onto Rourke.
…She went to the hospital and spoke with the doctor.

 

If the and is left out, there needs to be a comma to separate the verbs so that they do not run together. This is called the “comma of omission” and is inserted when two elements in compound construction need to be separated because there is no conjunction between them.

…I was driving northbound on Madison, turned left onto Rourke.
…She went to the hospital, spoke with the doctor.

This rule is used for any compound combination where the conjunction is omitted.

…went with Mr. Ray and Mr. Norman…
…went with Mr. Ray, Mr. Norman…

…saw her on Friday and Saturday…
…saw her on Friday, Saturday…

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“Fewer” and “Less”

As I get ready for tomorrow’s grammar review for the CSR/RPR English test-takers — grammar is really my secret passion, my favorite!! — I thought I would review a very common grammar rule/mistake.

Use fewer to modify something you can count.

…fewer choices…
…fewer seats…
…fewer books…

Use less to modify something that you cannot count.

…less space…
…less cooking…
…less faith…

I am looking forward to the review tomorrow. Yes, I will be giving this again before the next exam.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“Not” Versus “But Not”

There is a comma before but when there is an independent subject and verb after.

…was here, but she could not stay long…
…was here but could not stay long…

…wrote her, but I wasn’t sure of her position…
…wrote her but wasn’t sure of her position…

A contrasting element begins with not, never, seldom, or rather. A contrasting element is a result of our tendency to cut the language down once we have established a pattern. A contrasting element is separated from the rest of the sentence with a comma.

…He was leaving on Friday; he was not leaving on Saturday.
…was leaving on Friday, not Saturday…

…She was hired in January; she was not hired in December.
…was hired in January, not December…

If we inset a but in these sentences, the comma goes away because the but does not have a subject and verb after it.

…was leaving on Friday, not Saturday…
…was leaving on Friday but not Saturday…

…was hired in January, not December…
…was hired in January but not December…

Happy punctuating!

Margie