Here are the corrections and explanations for last week’s entries.
Identify and correct the error in the following piece.
“A large group of local residents march with their pets during a rally against animal abuse Saturday.”
The subject of the sentence is “group”, a singular, collective noun; therefore, the verb has to also be singular because subject and verb must agree.
“A large group of local residents marches with their pets during a rally against animal abuse Saturday.”
Both “indeterminate” and “indeterminable” are adjectives sharing the same root.
“Indeterminate” means vague or unclear.
“The time is indeterminate, but I know the comet is going to hit the earth.”
“Indeterminable” means unable to find, decide or be determined.
“Her motives were indeterminable but she left town yesterday morning.”
“Real” is an adjective and can only modify nouns and pronouns.
“She had real class and should not have been living in such a dump.”
“His motives for loving her were real.”
“Really” is an adverb and can modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.
“I really like the show I saw last night at the Casino.” (“Really” modifies the verb “like”.)
“He fought really hard but lost the match.” (“Really” modifies the adjective “hard.”)
“I really, really want to fly in an F-18 at twice the speed of sound.” (The first “really” modifies the adverb “really” and the second “really” modifies the verb “want”.)
“Dissemble” is a verb meaning to fake, to pretend or to dishonestly hide what one is doing.”
“The executives, to a man, would blithely dissemble when questioned about their responsibility for the devastating oil spill.”
“Disassemble” is a verb meaning to take apart and is the opposite of “assemble”.
“I forgot a washer and will have to disassemble that hose mechanism or it will leak uncontrollably.”
FULFILLING THE MANDATE
Identify and correct the errors in the following pieces.
“Until last week, that is, when it was revealed Google wasn’t just listening in.”
This is not a complete thought.
“Nobody knew, until last week, that is, when it was revealed Google wasn’t just listening in.”
“Consumers will pay a lot less for their drugs, so will insurance companies and those with drug coverage will pay lower premiums too.”
This is a run-on sentence with a comma splice thrown in to boot. I suggest semi-colons so it will make sense and be structurally correct.
“Consumers will pay a lot less for their drugs; so will insurance companies; and those with drug coverage will pay lower premiums too.”
“Drug stores make a lot of money from taxpayers, that’s why there are more drug stores in Ontario (3314) than there are Tim Horton’s across Canada (3029)!
This also is a run-on sentence using a comma splice.
By the way, the conclusion is absolutely illogical and false. There is no correlation or justification for comparison.
“Drug stores make a lot of money from taxpayers; that’s why there are more drug stores in Ontario (3314) than there are Tim Horton’s across Canada (3029)!
RULE OF THE DAY – # 3
ACTIVE VOICE/PASSIVE VOICE
“Active voice” means that the subject of a sentence is doing the action of the verb. This is the normal structure of a sentence.
“She would shoot baskets for hours so she would have a chance to make the team.”
“The boy sang the most beautiful rendition of the anthem that I have ever heard.”
“Passive voice” means the subject receives the action of the verb.
“The target was shot full of holes.”
“The anthem was sung with all the passion of a true nationalist.”
The passive voice is used to give the object in a normal sentence more importance.
The passive voice can only be used with verbs that take an object.
RULE OF THE DAY – # 4
PROGRESSIVE VERB FORMS
“Progressive tenses” for verbs refer to continuing action in the present, the past or the future.
“Progressive tenses” are formed by using the present participle of the principal verb with various forms of “to be” as the auxiliary verb.
There are “passive progressive tenses” and “perfect progressive tenses”. I will cover them at another time.
“I present you with this award.”
“I am presenting you with this award .”
“I presented the award yesterday.”
“I was presenting the award yesterday.”
“I shall present the award tomorrow.”
“I shall be presenting the award tomorrow.
“I examine the scene looking for clues.”
“I am examining the scene looking for clues.”
“I examined the scene yesterday.”
“I was examining the scene yesterday.”
“I shall examine the scene tomorrow.”
“I shall be examining the scene tomorrow.”
Verbs that indicate psychological states (desire) or permanent conditions (cost) are not used in progressive forms.
“Don’t worry about it!”
This is what is a really stupid and insulting phrase. It is on a par with “No problem”. It assumes, by the speaker, that I should be worrying, fretting or fussing over something and the speaker will allay such feelings. I find such an assumption to be patronizing and condescending. It is egregiously meaningless and self-directed and should be removed from the English language.
“Only the educated are free.”
Epictetus, a Roman slave and philosopher who lived from 55 to 135 AD, wrote this.
LAST WEEK’S WORDS
“Insipient” (adj.) means folly or a lack of wisdom.
If you correctly cited Monday’s folly of using a plural verb with a singular collective noun which is the subject, you win a gold star for your forehead.
“Celerity” (n.) refers to speed, quickness, briskness or rapidity.
“Ribald” (adj.) means humourously vulgar, off-colour or bawdy.
“Propagate” (v.) means to multiply sexually, to transmit from one generation to another, to circulate, to broadcast or to disperse.
“Atrophy” (n.) refers to wasting away, weakening, a lack of nutrition. The accent in on the first syllable.
“Atrophy” the verb, with the accent on the last syllable, means to waste away.