The Grouchy Grammarian: A How-Not-To Guide to the 47 Most by Thomas Parrish

By Thomas Parrish

Do you devote apostrophe atrocities?

Are you plagued by the lie/lay conundrum?

Do you end up caught among floaters and danglers?

Do your matters and your verbs refuse to agree?

If so, you're no longer on my own. one of the most favourite execs in television broadcasting and at significant newspapers and magazines-people who fairly should still comprehend better-are responsible of creating all-too-common grammatical error. during this delightfully fun, smart consultant, Thomas Parrish issues out real-life grammar gaffes from top-notch courses equivalent to the recent York occasions and the recent Yorker to demonstrate simply how frequent those blunders are. With pink pen in hand, Parrish's fictional buddy the Grouchy Grammarian leads the cost, analyzing the forty-seven commonest errors in English and providing the fundamentals of fine grammar with a captivating mix of fussiness and customary experience. All of which makes The Grouchy Grammarian the main interesting, obtainable how-not-to advisor you'll ever learn.

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Sample text

51 To look at this point in another way: may goes with can, and might goes with could. ) One other set of may-might meanings deserves discussion here. When we say “I may go to Boston tomorrow,” we are not merely expressing a possibility; we’re saying that tomorrow quite likely will see us on the way to Boston. If we say that we might win the lottery, we’re acknowledging a possibility (after all, we bought a ticket) but are realistically expressing a high degree of doubt about it. Thus, if we say that we might go to Boston, we’re saying that it could happen but there’s not much chance of it.

It should be “support . . ) Shaking his head, my friend muttered something about “these reporters,” and went on: “Nobody’s ever told them what they ought to say, and they haven’t been curious enough to find out for themselves. ” I couldn’t argue much with that—even if I’d been foolish enough to try. ” Apparently the plural “Americans” was so intimately close that the wire-service writer couldn’t resist making the verb plural to match it—and thus succeeded in producing nonsense. Somewhat more complex is the situation in which you take a close look at the subject and it seems at least a bit plural but A G R E E M E N T; O R , W H E R E D I D T H E S U B J E C T G O ?

Two words serving as nouns are sitting right there in the subject spot, aren’t they? Yes, indeed they are, but nevertheless the sentence is telling us about one punishment, not two. Although the rule of subject-verb agreement, or concord, did not become firmly set until the eighteenth century, it has since, as my grouchy friend says, become the key to clarity for the sentence and thus to true communication. ” Well, yes, there are two nouns sitting in the subject spot, but, as Bryant goes on to say, “if a group of words, even though plural in form, creates one conception in the mind of the person using them as a subject, a singular verb follows.

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