“Forgo” and “Forego”

Forgo = to give up, do without
Forego = to go before

As strange as it might sound, the past tense and past participles of these words are forwent/forgone and forewent/foregone.

…He forwent his chance to make a difference on that issue.

…Had you already forgone your chance to accompany him?
…It was a foregone conclusion.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

The Comma and “My Question Is…”

What follows “is” is a predicate nominative that renames the subject.
 
…My name is Margie.
…My response was that he was incompetent.
…My question is where did he go?
 
The last one is the exact pattern of the first two, where no one would want a comma. The last sentence has a little bad grammar thrown in, in that it should be an indirect question rather than a direct question. However, bad grammar does not affect good punctuation. 🙂
 
I believe people want a comma there because they have always done it that way. What I often say in seminars is that, if you want a comma in the last one, you have to use a comma in the first two. They are the same.
I know many are going to disagree with the lack of punctuation after “is.” My question, then, is how does it work grammatically to have a comma there?
 
Happy punctuating!
Margie

“Less” and “Fewer”

Use fewer for things that can be counted:

…fewer seats…
…fewer problems…
…fewer cars…

Use less for things that cannot be counted:

…less vitality…
…less meat…
…less truth…

Words like “space” and “room” and many others could go either way, depending upon the intended meaning.

…There were fewer spaces to park after the renovation.
…There was less space between the seats after the renovation.

…I counted fewer rooms available this year.
…I had less room for my luggage.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

 

A Verb Combo

When there is a “little word” after a verb and the two words together have a specific definition — “take up,” “take over,” “take on” — the combination is always two words as a verb.

It needs to be looked up as a noun as it might be one word and it might be hyphenated.

…The cops will stake out the location.
…There was a stakeout at the location.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“i.e.” and Its Friends, Part 4

These eight expressions are often used when something is being renamed or reiterated:

i.e., that is, e.g., for example, to wit, namely, for instance, in other words

The punctuation depends upon where they are in the sentence and/or what follows them. There are six rules; so we will do a few at a time.

THE PARENTHETICAL AND THE APPOSITIVE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SENTENCE

When any one of these combinations come in the middle of the sentence, put dashes around the combination and a comma after the parenthetical.

…We needed four — that is, a yellow, red, blue, and green — to complete the set.
…It was the most heinous crime — to wit, murder — that the neighborhood had ever experienced.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“i.e.” and Its Friends, Part 3

These eight expressions are often used when something is being renamed or reiterated:

i.e., that is, e.g., for example, to wit, namely, for instance, in other words

The punctuation depends upon where they are in the sentence and/or what follows them. There are six rules; so we will do a few at a time.

AT THE END OF THE SENTENCE AFTER THE SENTENCE HAS FINISHED

When the sentence has completely finished and the appositive is used to rename the subject of the sentence, use a dash before the parenthetical.

…Her ideas were rejected by all of those who were in attendance — for example, her tax reform proposal.
…We all tried to come to the aid of the man who was injured — that is, everyone in my car.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“i.e.” and Its Friends, Part 2

These eight expressions are often used when something is being renamed or reiterated:

i.e., that is, e.g., for example, to wit, namely, for instance, in other words

The punctuation depends upon where they are in the sentence and/or what follows them. There are six rules; so we will do a few at a time.

AFTER A QUESTION

Use a question mark after the question, and let the rest stand as its own sentence.

…Where were you that day? That is, June 3.
…Were the two of you there that day? I.e, you and your brother?

Whether you use a period or a question mark at the end depends upon the intonation of the second part.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“i.e.” and Its Friends

These eight expressions are often used when something is being renamed or reiterated:

i.e., that is, e.g., for example, to wit, namely, for instance, in other words

The punctuation depends upon where they are in the sentence and/or what follows them. There are six rules; so we will do a few at a time.

WHEN THESE WORDS AND WHAT FOLLOWS ARE AT THE END OF THE SENTENCE:

If followed by a fragment, use a pair of commas.

…I bought a new car, that is, a VW Beetle.
…This is a very serious crime, to wit, murder.

If followed by a complete sentence, use a semicolon and a comma.

…She has to have surgery; i.e., she has to have a hysterectomy.
…He was late that day; in other words, he didn’t make it on time.

If followed by a list, use a colon and a comma.

…Send everything to me: for example, bills, receipts, canceled checks.
…I visited several Oregon towns: namely, Eugene, Portland, Salem, Bend.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“Yes” and “No”

I think we have done this recently, but here it is again.

There are several rules floating around on what comes after yes and no. The easiest and simplest is this: When the words after yes and no echo or repeat the words in the question, use a comma. Otherwise, use a period.

…Q Were you there on Friday?
…A Yes, I was.
…A No, I wasn’t.
…A Yes, I was there.
…A No, I wasn’t there Friday.

…Q Were you there on Friday?
…A Yes. I got there at 10:00.
…A No. I was working.
…A Yes. But I didn’t see him.
…A No. Because I was working.

…Q  Were you there on Friday?
…A  Yes. Correct.
…Q You were there Friday; is that correct?

…A Yes, correct.

There is no semicolon rule that works for this situation.

Happy punctuating!

Margie