7 8 9 10 11 Displaying 57-63 of 191 Articles

None takes a singular verb if what it refers to is singular and a plural verb if its referent is plural. But why is that? If none means "no one, not one," shouldn't it always be used with a singular verb? Formal agreement dictates that a singular subject pair with a singular verb and a plural subject pair with a plural verb. Yet the result doesn't always make sense. When formal agreement fails us, we reach out for notional agreement.  Continue reading...
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Last week we dealt with some possessive questions when there were plural possessors. Now we'll deal with other possessives, which are more complex than they appear, and plural possessives.  Continue reading...
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Two of the longest sections in most grammar and style guides concern how to form plurals and how to form possessives. Some guidelines are identical—almost no plurals are formed with apostrophes, no matter how many "All Drink's Half Price" signs you see—and some disagree: Is the possessive form of "Texas" rendered as "Texas'" or "Texas's"?  Continue reading...
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Blog Excerpts

Why Do People Love Their Language Peeves?

On WBUR's Cognoscenti blog, Jan Freeman (formerly the language columnist for the Boston Globe) writes: "In the 15 years I've been writing about the English language, I've learned a lot, but one question remains as baffling as ever: Why do people love their language peeves so dearly?" To find out her answer, click here.
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We're all familiar with those words that modify nouns. Words like big, yellow, northern, and government. They're called adjectives, and their job is to modify the nouns they're next to.

Government?  Continue reading...
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I was recently taken to task for writing the following in a blog post:

That's one thing with pet peeves: they're our pets. We're enamored with them.

Do you see the problem?  Continue reading...
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In the Language Lounge, we look at how language changes incrementally over time in ways that are not obvious to one or two generations of speakers, but become obvious over a span of decades or centuries. Need proof? Just look at the elliptical grammar of English-language headlines, which can stump non-native speakers.  Continue reading...
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7 8 9 10 11 Displaying 57-63 of 191 Articles