Here are corrections and explanations for last week’s entries.
“Bloc” is a noun referring to groups of people or nations such as a bloc of voters.
“Block” is a noun referring to a solid piece of something, a rectangular area or the inability to remember something as in a writer’s block or stoppage.
“Block” is also a verb meaning to obstruct or stop something.
“Beside” is a preposition meaning next to or adjacent to, over and above or apart from.
“She was beside herself with grief at the loss of her puppy.”
“Besides” is an adverb meaning moreover, in addition or otherwise.
“I like that car because it is beautiful; besides, it is cheap enough for me to be able to buy it.”
Identify and correct the errors in the following examples.
“Host of challenges face new BP head.”
“Host” is the subject and it is singular and demands a singular verb.
“Host of challenges faces new BP head.”
“Further down the page is a pathological diagnosis of fibroadenoma – a benign growth in the breast.”
“Further” means in addition to. “Farther” refers to distance. They are not interchangeable.
“Farther down the page is a pathological diagnosis of fibroadenoma – a benign growth in the breast.”
“None of the allegations in Johnston’s lawsuit have been proven in court.”
“None” is singular and demands a singular verb.
“None of the allegations in Johnston’s lawsuit has been proven in court.”
A THOUGHT TOO OFTEN NEGLECTED
An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.”
Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, wrote this.
DOES ANYBODY KNOW ANY GRAMMAR?
I am merely a recorder. I copy what has been written in newspapers and ask you to correct the mistakes. My reaction is twofold and very simple: either the writers were never taught proper grammar and sentence structure, so are incapable of being correct; or they are too lazy to care about being correct. I try very hard not to be cynical and abusive when I see these errors on a daily basis and I am saddened that there is so little professional pride demanding correctness in one’s writing. Just look at the collection of incorrect sentences that I presented this week; many have incorrect subject-verb agreement and that should never happen if the professional writer is being professional.
With that philosophy in mind, identify and correct the errors in the following pieces.
“The cities represent the core markets where the crop of newcomers hope to win share against Rogers as well as Bell Canada and Telus Corp., the country’s other main carriers.”
“Crop” is singular and the subject of the verb “hopes” which is plural; the verb must be changed.
“The cities represent the core markets where the crop of newcomers hopes to win share against Rogers as well as Bell Canada and Telus Corp., the country’s other main carriers.”
” ‘I got to believe any decisions I made as a councillor are protected by legal policy, but I don’t know yet how it works.’ ”
What kind of English is “I got to believe”? It is street jargon and needs to be upgraded, especially when being used by a seasoned retired newscaster and current city councilman.
The comma in the sentence, which is the reporter’s contributed error, is not necessary because the subject of each clause is the same.
” ‘I have to believe any decisions I made as a councillor are protected by legal policy but I don’t know yet how it works.’ ”
A NEW ONE: REALLY A PET PEEVE
What is wrong with the following sentence? Correct the problem.
“That’s a whole nuther issue.”
This was spoken by a nationally syndicated newscaster so deserves attention. I am sorry but I did not know how to spell “nuther”. Should it have been “nother”?
“That’s a whole other issue.”
I made a spelling mistake in the heading of yesterday’s blog entry. I would like to say that it was a test to see if anybody reads closely but I have to admit to being lazy in my proofreading. I promise to follow my own advice in the future so that I can polish and retain my English usage credibility. As my penance, I will endure the whips and scorns of outrageous fortune and not correct the original entry.
A FUN CHALLENGE
Identify the famous line and the source of that line that I have incorporated into my diatribe above.
The quote, “…the whips and scorns of outrageous fortune…”, is Hamlet’s in Act III, Scene 1.
LAST WEEK’S WORDS
“Intrinsic” (adj.) means belonging to a thing by its very nature, the very essence of a thing, inherent or inbuilt.
“Propitious” (adj.) means favourable, encouraging, lucky or indicative of forgiving.
“Expostulate” (v.) means to discuss, to argue, to remonstrate or to reason earnestly against something about to be done by another.
“Expostulation” is the noun form.
“Expostulator” is the noun for one who argues.
“Expostulatory” is the adjective form.
“Conciliatory” (adj.) means intended to reconcile or appease, politic, smooth or flexible.
“Sardonic” (adj.) means grimly humourous, biting, barbed or mordant.