Sunday, January 27, 2008

CORRECTIONS & EXPLANATIONS - January 27, 2008

Here are the corrections and explanations for last week's postings.

Monday

PRONUNCIATION

Pronunciation" is the stress or accent put on a syllable.

Film" is a one-syllable word, so “filum" is incorrect. Say “fillm”.

A" is not pronounced as in “hay”. It should be said as in “flat”.

Coupon" is not pronounced as in “queue”. It should be said as in “chicken coop”, “coup d’etat” or “scoop”.


Tuesday

DO THESE NEED FIXING?

"...these kind of things..."
“These” and “things” are plural. Therefore, “kind” must also be plural.
"...these kinds of things..."

"Nearly 30% of Canada's bee colonies were killed off last year."
The subject of the verb, “were killed” is 30%, which is a collective singular noun. Therefore the verb must be singular.
"Nearly 30% of Canada's bee colonies was killed off last year."


Wednesday

COLON/SEMICOLON

A "colon" is a unit of punctuation that connects what precedes it with what follows; it usually indicates a list is to follow. A semi-colon cannot be used in place of a colon.
“The sports I played as a youth were: football, baseball, table tennis and hockey.”

A colon” is also used after a salutation in a formal or a business letter. A comma is incorrect in these examples.
“Dear Mrs Robinson:”

A "semicolon" is a unit of punctuation used in place of a period when clauses are related. It also must be used with compound sentences where clauses have commas within.
“Betty Lou went to Nashville; Billy Joe, who adored her, followed a day later.”

ARE THERE ERRORS BELOW?

"One of the largest fears that all humans have is to be rejected. If you love someone, then you will want to spare them this pain."
There are two errors: the sentence starts in the third person with “one“ and “you” is the second person; it should be changed.
The second error is that the author is speaking of a single person and then switches to the plural with the word “them”; he must maintain the singular throughout.
"One of the largest fears that all humans have is to be rejected. If a person loves someone, then he will want to spare that person this pain."

Thursday

IS THIS ACCEPTABLE?

"This, despite the fact that the university is a public body funded with public money."
This is an incomplete thought; it needs a verb.
"This occurred, despite the fact that the university is a public body funded with public money."


Friday

FOREBODING/FORESHADOWING

Foreboding" (n.) implies an ominous or an evil feeling or aura. In writing, it is considered to be a hint of something evil to come.

Foreshadowing" (n.) usually is a hint of what is to come but it does not have to be evil or negative in nature.


THIS WEEK’S WORDS

Acuity" (n.) means keen, sharp or insightful.

Intractable” (adj.) means stubborn, inflexible or obstinate.

Ethereal" (adj.) means unearthly, delicate, waiflike or ghostly.

Expiatory" (adj.) means being able to make atonement, reparation or payback. It comes from “expiate”.

Deleterious" (adj.) means harmful, ruinous or damaging.


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2 comments:

KFJ said...

PERCENT is listed by the American Heritage Dictionary as a plural noun. Therefore, the argument that 30% is a single collection and must be conjugated with a singular verb is not entirely accurate. Basically, it depends on the context (text copied from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/percent):

per·cent also per cent (pər-sěnt')

n.
pl. percent also per cent One part in a hundred: The report states that 42 percent of the alumni contributed to the endowment. Also called per centum.

Usage Note: Statistically speaking, a quantity can be increased by any percentage but cannot be decreased by more than 100 percent. Once pollution has been reduced by 100 percent, for example, it ceases to exist. In defiance of this logic, however, advertisers sometimes refer to a 150 percent decrease in lost luggage or a new dental rinse that reduces plaque on teeth by over 300 percent. Presumably what is implied by the latter is that the new rinse is three times as effective as some other rinse, but such constructions are still subject to criticism as illogical. · Percent can take a singular or plural verb, depending on how the quantity being described is viewed. Very often what determines the form of the verb is the noun nearest to it. Thus one might say Eighty percent of the legislators are going to vote against the bill or Eighty percent of the legislature is set to vote the bill down. In the second sentence the group of legislators is considered as a body, not as individuals. When percent is used without a following prepositional phrase, either a singular or plural verb is acceptable.

In this case, the so-called nearest noun, "colonies", is plural, so we can safely conclude that "were" instead of "was" is the preferred form.

KFJ said...

The American Heritage Dictionary says the following about PERCENT (copied from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/percent):

Percent can take a singular or plural verb, depending on how the quantity being described is viewed. Very often what determines the form of the verb is the noun nearest to it. Thus one might say Eighty percent of the legislators are going to vote against the bill or Eighty percent of the legislature is set to vote the bill down. In the second sentence the group of legislators is considered as a body, not as individuals. When percent is used without a following prepositional phrase, either a singular or plural verb is acceptable.

Therefore, since "colonies" (the so-called nearest noun) is plural, it cannot be deemed incorrect to use "were" instead of "was" in the sentence illustrated.