I'm teaching a humanities course at an open-admission college. The students are extremely poor writers, and have almost zero knowledge of English grammar. This semester, I want to help them avoid comma splices, since that's one of the top three issues I see in their papers (spelling errors and sentence fragments being the other two). Can you help me design a lesson/activity to help them? [more inside]
posted by philosophygeek
on Jan 11, 2011 -
When a sentence uses more than one object, how are objective pronouns used with them? Common sense would say that they are only relevant to the direct object, but what if I want to refer to the indirect object? Hardcore grammar-mining ahead! [more inside]
posted by Senza Volto
on Jan 8, 2011 -
Is there any graduate program that emphasizes writing skills (in English) while providing a rigorous education in grammar, literature, and related languages (i.e. Latin), without focusing on literary criticism, but rather on writing itself? More after the jump. [more inside]
posted by Nebula
on Jan 8, 2011 -
English language filter: Do all nouns have a plural form? If not what is an example of a noun with no plural form?
posted by West of House
on Dec 16, 2010 -
Are there official grammatical rules about the capitalization of the words "god", "lord" etc. when referring specifically to Christianity (or any specific faith)? [more inside]
posted by Carlotta Bananas
on Dec 5, 2010 -
What's the proper way to order dates in geologic time when writing and why? In this example, The Iapetus Ocean existed between 600 and 400 million years ago
, would it be equally correct to write 400 to 600 million years ago
? Can you also direct me to a source for the rules?
posted by Kronur
on Dec 2, 2010 -
UK spelling question: I'm applying for a job. Which format should I use on my CV and cover letter? [more inside]
posted by anonymous
on Nov 30, 2010 -
I'm looking for resources that document the matching Korean grammar rules for Japanese grammar patterns and vice versa.
For example: ～ている = ~고 있다; は＝은・는, が＝이・가 (for the most part, right?) [more inside]
posted by qvinx
on Nov 19, 2010 -
Which language has the most homophonic words (one sound, multiple spellings. In English, e.g., BEAR and BARE)?
It's hard to do precise comparisons across languages because they differ in what counts as a word, in how complicated their inflectional system is, etc. But even approximate data would be useful.
I saw one paper on automatic speech recognition which showed that the system made more errors on French than Italian German etc. and that most of them were due to homophones. But, where are some real facts about degree of homophony across languages?
posted by cogneuro
on Nov 9, 2010 -
Is anyone familiar with a German publisher of high-quality, thorough, foreign language grammars? I recall seeing a pretty comprehensive series for South Asian languages....but never made a note of the publisher.
posted by anelsewhere
on Oct 28, 2010 -
Are there grammar textbooks at the middle school and high school (or even elementary school) levels that incorporate any of the developments in understanding of English grammar that have been made in the past several decades? [more inside]
posted by strangeguitars
on Oct 18, 2010 -
Is there a short, lovely, simple poem I can give to ESL students that contains significant examples of English 'count' nouns (basic stuff you can count) and 'non-count' or 'mass' (concepts, feelings, liquids) nouns? [more inside]
posted by amtho
on Oct 17, 2010 -
My newspaper recently reported that X "has died of an apparent suicide." This strikes me as grammatically fuzzy. "X has apparently committed suicide.", I know is correct. How else could this be correctly rephrased, or is the original perfectly fine?
posted by eaglehound
on Oct 15, 2010 -
I'm a professional copy editor who has been blessed with an intern with good instincts and grammatical understanding, but needs to learn the techniques of the craft. Right now I'm just reviewing her work and discussing her mistakes/omissions as they arise, but I'd like to do more formalized instruction. Can anyone recommend a lesson plan? [more inside]
posted by thinkingwoman
on Oct 6, 2010 -
Where does the colloquial English phrase "I'm good" come from, and has it suddenly exploded in popularity? [more inside]
posted by bad grammar
on Sep 28, 2010 -
At my job we often need to ask the nationality of people we’re speaking to on the telephone. Help me solve a small disagreement around the grammar/ semantics of exactly how this is done. [more inside]
posted by cilantro
on Aug 25, 2010 -
Is there such a thing as an "advanced" spelling and grammar program for Microsoft Word or WordPerfect? Bonus points if it is designed for the legal world. [more inside]
posted by 2legit2quit
on Jul 25, 2010 -
Is the plural of a variety of bread, "breads" or does it remain bread?
"I scale, mix and bake various breads from scratch for a busy café and catering orders."
posted by wocka wocka wocka
on Jul 19, 2010 -
Punctuation filter: Comma, colon, semicolon, dash? Is what I'm saying even grammatically correct? [more inside]
posted by a.steele
on Jun 10, 2010 -
"Best" and "worst" experiences involving grammar and learning grammar? I think we were asked to write this to increase empathy, but I can't think of anything with any emotional weight, so I thought I'd ask for your experiences. Please answer especially if you had a difficult time with grammar. [more inside]
posted by amtho
on Jun 8, 2010 -
Can you reccommend a good, in-depth primer on grammar? I don't mean where to use a comma, but rather a clear definition of, for example, nominative, accusative, dative and genitive cases. What exactly are tense, mood, person, number, and voice. That kind of thing. [more inside]
posted by Nothing
on Jun 6, 2010 -
Please help resolve an office grammar debate regarding hyphenated adjectives! (Sounds fun, right?) [more inside]
posted by Flamingo
on Jun 4, 2010 -
I know this is a silly question, but I've never been able to figure this out. If my sister and I have a favorite song, how would I describe that fact in a sentence? "That's my sister and I's favorite song", "that's my and my sister's favorite song", "that's my sister's and my favorite song?", or some other permutation I may not be seeing? [more inside]
posted by Buddy-Rey
on May 28, 2010 -
Looking for a handy reference book on English grammar. What would you recommend and why? [more inside]
posted by moody cow
on May 11, 2010 -
In his book "Fathers and Sons", Alexander Waugh quotes an essay written by his grandfather Evelyn Waugh that includes this sentence:"He would have liked to do the same with me, but my school was less conveniently placed for visiting (sic) and the hard times of the First World War made hospitality difficult." Why the (sic)? What was Evelyn Waugh's error here?
posted by davidjmcgee
on May 2, 2010 -
What's going on grammatically in the opening verse of the Quran, which uses a sound masculine plural for the word "worlds"? [more inside]
posted by Biru
on Apr 9, 2010 -
Italian speakers/readers/writers: my client is naming his new business "Studio Della Statua" or "Studio della Statua". I know that in English, the second capitalization scheme would be fine, but... [more inside]
posted by amtho
on Apr 6, 2010 -
What's the term for the use of a product name as a singular noun (like iPod), and why do companies do this? [more inside]
posted by tmcw
on Apr 4, 2010 -
Is the phrase "needs replaced" an English language regionalism? Is it an American English regional phrase? Is it of relatively recent vintage? Why does it seem to be gaining prevalence? [more inside]
posted by OmieWise
on Mar 15, 2010 -
When you pluralize a number, do you need an apostrophe? What I mean is if someone's address or phone number contains the number 3 twice, do I say it has two 3's
or two 3s
posted by shelayna
on Mar 10, 2010 -
Please make these sentences grammatically correct for me. For some reason, I am unable to format this idea into a coherent couple of sentences that read well. Your help is greatly appreciated. [more inside]
posted by cheechman85
on Mar 3, 2010 -
How did skipping a grade work out for you or your child, and what were the factors that made the biggest difference? [more inside]
posted by Betsy Vane
on Feb 25, 2010 -
Why do we precede acronyms starting with the letter U with 'a' instead of 'an', e.g. "a USB key" or "a UFO"? Acronyms starting with a consonant are frequently preceded by "an" because consonants' names have a different spelling than the letters themselves, e.g. M as em and H as aitch, therefore "an HIV outbreak" or "an MRI". However, U's name is spelled u, and acronyms that start with other vowels are preceded by 'an', e.g. "an ABC license".
What's the deal?
posted by BigSky
on Feb 12, 2010 -
"One hundred and one" vs. "one hundred one." Which is correct?
posted by nestor_makhno
on Feb 11, 2010 -
"Sunday 7 February 2010." Is a comma required between "Sunday" and "7"?
posted by Busoni
on Feb 7, 2010 -
GrammarFilter: Is the phrase "I will trade you.." often misused, or is it a perfectly valid usage that drives me crazy? [more inside]
posted by mikeh
on Jan 11, 2010 -