Where to Put the Word “Only”?

The wordย only is very often misplaced in a sentence. Always put it just before the word that it refers to/modifies.

…I only have a dollar. ๐Ÿ™
…I have only a dollar. ๐Ÿ™‚

…She only listened to her brother. ๐Ÿ™
…She listened to only her brother. ๐Ÿ™‚

…He only knows where it is. ๐Ÿ™
…Only he knows where it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

…He only got one hit in the game. ๐Ÿ™
…He got only one hit in the game. ๐Ÿ™‚

And the list goes on and on.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“The reason is…” Yikes!

Okay. So my cute little happy and unhappy facces came through only as question marks. Sorry about that. Here it is again.

Once you say “the reason,” all other words implying the reason are unnecessary. These are always wrong.

…The reason why is that she was ill.
…The reason is because she is ill. ย [This one leads the list!] …The reason is on account of she was ill.
…The reason is due to the fact she is ill.

These are the ONLY correct ways to say this.

…The reason is that she was ill.
…The reason is she was ill.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

“The reason is…”

So many people make this mistake. My very favorite Dodgers announcer, Vin Scully, whose English was really excellent, made this error. And he is not alone. I heard it three times yesterday and had the news on for only an hour.

Once you say “the reason,” all other words implying the reason are unnecessary.

…The reason why is that she was ill.ย ?
…The reason is because she is ill.ย ?ย [This one leads the list!] …The reason is on account of she was ill.ย ?
…The reason is due to the factย she is ill.ย ?

The ONLY one that is correct!

…The reason is that she was ill.ย ?

Or you can omit the word “that.”

Just a little PSA from one who cares about the language.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

That Confusing “S”

The last post on the “s” engendered more than a few questions. Here are a couple of answers.

In the construction, “…one of the girl’s/girls’ phones…” or “…one of the voter’s/voters’ choices…,” the form should be plural possessive.

…We were talking with one of the girls’ friends at the time.
…It has to deal with one of his friends’ mothers.

Awkward!! Ugly!! But it is correct.

POSSESSIVES

There is variation in the rules that are taught (and found in books) regarding the formation of possessives.

I think this works as there are no exceptions for any word in the language, no matter what the word ends in or how it is pronounced.

Singular Possessive: Make a word singular possessive by adding an apostrophe “s” to the singular form of the word. All words, including words and names that end in “s,” follow this rule.

…I drove Ms. Ellis’s new car.
…We were seated with Mr. Sanchez’s son.
…She wrote to Mr. Hopkins’s attorney.

(Yes, there may be a problem with pronunciation. I recommend that you follow the rule and not the pronunciation in order to avoid having two different forms of the same word; however, some of you may disagree. It is an editorial decision on your part.)

Plural Possessive: To make a word that ends in “s” plural possessive, add just the apostrophe. If the plural form does not end in “s,” add apostrophe “s.” Be sure to make the word plural first.

…I drove the Ellises’ new car.
…We were seated with the Sanchezes’ son.
…She wrote to the Hopkinses’ attorney.

…She writes children’s books.
…It is in the men’s department.

Happy punctuating!

Margie