358 posts tagged with grammar.
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Is possession for nouns that end in x indicated by a quotation mark alone or is the quotation mark accompanied by an s?

Genuinely dumb question to waste on the brain trust here but: when nouns end in x, do you indicate possession with just a quotation mark or do you need to include the s? [more inside]
posted by christhelongtimelurker on Jul 13, 2009 - 23 answers


WordMacroFilter: So my new boss is great but he has some crazy grammar and wordsmithing quirks. I received a list (no joke) of the edits he wants to see of documents that come to his desk (use affect instead of impact, effect instead of impacts, etc). I'd like to create a Microsoft Word Macro that will automate the task. [more inside]
posted by roundrock on May 19, 2009 - 7 answers

Languagehat, please hope me!

Grammarfilter. The question: "Haven't you been to Italy?" The answer: I've been to Italy. Is the correct response yes or no? [more inside]
posted by ohcanireally on May 11, 2009 - 27 answers

Can you 'criticize that'?

Can one 'criticize that?' [more inside]
posted by chndrcks on May 10, 2009 - 32 answers

Attn Grammar Nerds! "To include" or "including"?

GrammarFilter: A co-worker regularly uses the phrase "to include" in sentences such as: "Max has achieved the goals, to include such-and-such." I suspect "including" should be used instead of "to include," since "to include" implies future tense but the verb is past tense. Am I right? If so, can anyone find a link that explains this? (Google results tended us use the phrase "to include" in their text, not as their content.)
posted by quinoa on May 7, 2009 - 8 answers

He was to Africa many, many years ago...(?)

Help settle a grammar dispute: Can I say "He was to Africa," the same way I would say "He has been to Africa"?
posted by alona on May 1, 2009 - 61 answers

And so I found myself asking this for some sort of reassurance, which question would be fielded by AskMefi's language nerds with bewildering rapidity

In David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again he uses the word "which" in a way that I found unusual - a usage that is described under heading three here. I think I'm fairly well read, but I can't remember ever having seen this before. I've been having (what I think are) migraines lately and I'm curious if I'm becoming linguistically befuddled, or if this is just an obscure or archaic usage. Examples after the jump. [more inside]
posted by phrontist on Apr 20, 2009 - 28 answers

Question about the usage of 'satiety'

Question about the usage of 'satiety' [more inside]
posted by puloxor on Apr 15, 2009 - 13 answers

Going to war with prepositions

John Locke wrote "one may destroy a man who makes war upon him." I understand that in this sentence "one" and "him" are the same person, and "man" and "who" are a separate person. In the most basic sense, this sentence justifies fighting against people who war with you. But I have read sentences before - often in poetry - where cases are switched. If the above sentence were such an example, then "one" and "who" would be a person, and "man" and "him" would be the other person. In this case, the sentence would suggest that one runs the risk of destroying someone if they make war against that someone. What are some examples of such sentences?
posted by nushustu on Apr 6, 2009 - 8 answers

Help me design a writing guide for undergraduates

I'm putting together a writing guide for my undergraduate philosophy course. What information should I put in the guide? [more inside]
posted by philosophygeek on Apr 1, 2009 - 14 answers

I'm kicking around a concept for a theoretical piece I hope to work on in the near future, dealing with the way "femininity" and the "female" category are conceived of linguistically. Help me find some empirical data!

I'm kicking around a concept for a theoretical piece I hope to work on in the near future, dealing with the way "femininity" and the "female" category are conceived of linguistically. Help me find some empirical data! [more inside]
posted by parkbench on Mar 24, 2009 - 24 answers

Gotten = Have Had?

"Gotten" = "have had?" [more inside]
posted by CaptApollo on Mar 6, 2009 - 28 answers

Good examples of intercultural communications based on ideograms or common concepts?

Good examples of intercultural communications based on ideograms or common concepts? [more inside]
posted by Bio11 on Feb 22, 2009 - 13 answers

When is the Derek Zoolander School For Adults Who Never Learned Grammar Good opening?

Looking for online grammar exercises, games, etc. that would enable me to do a few exercises here and there throughout the day. [more inside]
posted by variella on Feb 10, 2009 - 9 answers

Why is Sudan frequently referred to with an article, as in the Sudan?

Why is Sudan frequently referred to with an article, as in the Sudan?
posted by christhelongtimelurker on Jan 28, 2009 - 11 answers

me vs the man

"has been changed" vs "had been changed" [more inside]
posted by jma on Jan 23, 2009 - 12 answers

When to use -ctive and -ctional?

When should I use "instructive" and when should I use "instructional"? [more inside]
posted by gmm on Jan 21, 2009 - 7 answers

Choices - taken or made?

Should I "take" or "make" a decision? [more inside]
posted by lottie on Jan 11, 2009 - 31 answers

To Rely on the Editor

Looking for examples in literature where the author had to rely on his/her editor rather heavily. I'm thinking of instances where the authors were capable of spinning a good yarn, yet they had trouble with grammar, structure, punctuation, etc. [more inside]
posted by captainsohler on Dec 29, 2008 - 23 answers

"As well [pronoun] should"

GrammarFilter: Origins and form of "As well he should"? [more inside]
posted by coolhappysteve on Dec 9, 2008 - 6 answers

English grammar question

Please help me with a quick English grammar question. [more inside]
posted by Slenny on Dec 5, 2008 - 42 answers

It is what it is?

I need help with a pronoun issue. In the following sentences, what noun is the word it replacing? [more inside]
posted by amyms on Dec 5, 2008 - 11 answers

Put a name to this awful sentence structure

What do you call this ugly form of conjoined sentence, and am I right in thinking it's ungrammatical? [more inside]
posted by electric_counterpoint on Dec 3, 2008 - 38 answers

Looking for writing software which can parse my stories..

When I was in high school, we had a writing lab with some type of mainframe-ish type terminals setup, where there was writing software available which would list frequently repeated words, point out large paragraphs, spelling errors, document complexity, punctuation errors, etc. This was awhile ago, is this type of thing freely available anywhere these days? [more inside]
posted by ceberon on Nov 26, 2008 - 5 answers

Would you answer this question? I would if I could.

In a sentence such as "When I was younger, I would swim a mile before going to work every day," what grammatical tense is in play? [more inside]
posted by woodblock100 on Nov 18, 2008 - 14 answers

Ain't got no grammar

I am married to a wonderful (black) man who sometimes has terrible grammar (sliding into ebonics). Should I continue to correct him, even though technically, he knows the proper way to say things or should I stop nagging because it will never work? [more inside]
posted by Grlnxtdr on Nov 10, 2008 - 98 answers


I've noticed the New York Times is now using "Miss", or Ms., as the accepted honorific for a women both married and unmarried. Is this MLA, or is the New York Times in the vanguard? Is Mrs. dead?
posted by plexi on Nov 3, 2008 - 12 answers

What's up with the funky syntax used by television reporters?

Extra! Extra! The verb "to be" missing from TV newscasts! Anchors and TV reporters omitting "to be," often favor using participles instead. Why? [more inside]
posted by HotPatatta on Oct 12, 2008 - 16 answers

Are there singular/plural pairs in english with completely different spellings?

In French, the singular of eye is "oiel" and the plural is "yeux." Are there any nouns in English that have completely different spellings of the singular and plural like this?
posted by Crosius on Sep 26, 2008 - 27 answers

*, 1? 1, *?

Mixed footnotes: do numbered notes precede symbol notes, or vice versa? [more inside]
posted by Shepherd on Sep 26, 2008 - 3 answers

Dots and Don'ts

Is there a rule as to how many ...'s are supposed to be placed at the end of a sentence which is to be continued? [more inside]
posted by gman on Sep 23, 2008 - 21 answers

How do I use footnotes properly?

Footnote experts/writers: Please help me decide the best way to use footnotes in my document. [more inside]
posted by Badmichelle on Sep 17, 2008 - 6 answers

Help me prove my friend wrong

"Already has" or "has already" [more inside]
posted by urbanwhaleshark on Sep 11, 2008 - 18 answers

a blessing, a doom and a pryde walk into a bar...

You have a murder of crows, sleuth of bears, even an exaltation of larks, what about Fairies? [more inside]
posted by jrishel on Sep 10, 2008 - 53 answers

Help Translating Lyrics for a Music Composition

I am a composer looking to score a piece for orchestra and Soprano Voice. I wrote it in English, and after a bit of reading attempted to translate it into latin using a dictionary and grammar book. It's not gonna be perfect, but I gave it an honest attempt, and hope the metafilter community can help me to streamline it and help me with some grammer isses I don't understand (ie.ablative or accusitive). thanks much! (by the way, the meter is 4/4 and a slow tempo,flowing legato melody, but once I have a working translation I'll make it fit) [more inside]
posted by FireStyle on Sep 4, 2008 - 3 answers

Before vs. Behind - which is correct here?

Which preposition is the correct choice in this context? [more inside]
posted by FireStyle on Aug 26, 2008 - 35 answers

Reality check in German

German grammar check: free online tools or Mac freeware/shareware? I have fairly solid German; goal is polishing drafts I'm writing in German, not translating from scratch. Seeking best stopgaps for when I can't afford or barter for a human's time. (And I don't have an MS Office CD with German tools.)
posted by kalapierson on Jul 28, 2008 - 2 answers

Apostrophe's : 2 pound a pound...

"Grocer's Apostrophe" or "Grocers' Apostrophe"? [more inside]
posted by twine42 on Jul 17, 2008 - 46 answers

super-size it to a triple tense for $1

Grammar Filter: what is the English equivalent to the "Double Future Tense"? [more inside]
posted by davejay on Jul 9, 2008 - 10 answers

No more than vs. not more than

What is the difference between "no more than" and "not more than"? [more inside]
posted by Arasithil on Jul 3, 2008 - 15 answers

When is a noun a proper noun?

English grammar filter: can a common noun act as a proper noun if the thing being referred to exists within a shared context? Please help to settle a dispute between my girlfriend and I. [more inside]
posted by ellF on Jun 6, 2008 - 29 answers

bad grammar vs. poor grammar

Which expression is correct when describing grammatical mistakes: "bad grammar" or "poor grammar?" [more inside]
posted by rinosaur on May 30, 2008 - 7 answers

How do you pronounce 'read'?

How do you pronounce the word 'read' when used in the following context? -- 'John is dry (read: boring).' /rɛd/ or /rid/ Thanks!
posted by gman on May 29, 2008 - 122 answers

How can I best learn the French language, grammar, and pronunciation?

How can I best learn the French language, grammar, and pronunciation? [more inside]
posted by christopherbdnk on May 26, 2008 - 16 answers

Simple French-language booklets for Kenyan French teacher of elementary students?

On a recent trip to Kenya, we visited a school who is in need of simple French language instruction booklets for elementary-age children. [more inside]
posted by vanoakenfold on May 23, 2008 - 3 answers

[latin grammar filter] Summa or summa? Laude or laude?

How do you properly capitalize "summa cum laude" on a diploma? [more inside]
posted by deejay jaydee on May 22, 2008 - 7 answers

Help me improve an employee's writing skills.

Looking for recommendations for English grammar workbook(s) designed for adults who did not finish high school years ago. [more inside]
posted by bartinpc on May 15, 2008 - 2 answers

Yes, I'm.

Vagaries of the English Language, part n: I need to tell my boss why the contraction "I'm" cannot stand alone as a sentence. For example, "Yes, I am" is okay. "Yes, I'm" is not. I haven't been able to find any good logic for this case or that works for the different contractions in general ("don't" can also stand alone, "I'd" and "I've" cannot). Given this is about languages, and particularly English, "just because" is, alas, potentially the best answer.
posted by whatzit on May 15, 2008 - 36 answers

[There is rockets.] vs [There are rockets.]

GrammarFilter: True/False -- The following sentence can be grammatically correct. There's rockets. [more inside]
posted by Quarter Pincher on Apr 29, 2008 - 53 answers

Don't trust the messenger

EpigramFilter: What's the converse of "Don't kill the messenger"? [more inside]
posted by Araucaria on Apr 28, 2008 - 21 answers

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