Here are the corrections and explanations for last week’s entries.
CORRECTNESS VS. STYLE VS. USAGE
Find and correct the errors in each example and state your reasons for your assessment.
“Because what happened to Eisenhower is fairly common among adults learning a second language, even adults as accomplished as Dwight Eisenhower.”
This is a subordinate clause because it begins with the subordinate conjunction “because” and cannot stand by itself. Removing “because” corrects it.
“What happened to Eisenhower is fairly common among adults learning a second language, even adults as accomplished as Dwight Eisenhower.”
“No matter how determined the student is, no matter how hard they work, their skill does not improve.”
The author is talking about a single student but then shifts to the plural “They” in the second clause. This is incorrect regardless of how often people use it. The simple solution is to pluralize the word “student”.
“No matter how determined the students are, no matter how hard they work, their skill does not improve.”
Identify the possessive case of the following nouns: John, Moses, women, girls, officers, son-in-law.
John – John’s
Moses – Moses’
Women – women’s
Girls – girls’
Officers – officers’
Son-in-law – son-in-law’s
List the possessive singular and possessive plural cases for the following: gypsy, mother-in-law, hero, actor, child and ox.
Gypsy – gypsy’s, gypsies’
Hero – hero’s, heroes’
Actor – actor’s, actors’
Child – child’s, children’s
Ox – ox’s, oxen’s
Add an apostrophe and an “s” to form possessive case of a singular noun.
In the case of a few singular nouns which have two “s” sounds, only the apostrophe is added.
To form the possessive case of plural nouns not ending in “s”, add an apostrophe and “s”.
The possessive case of compound nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and “s” to the last word.
How many writing errors can you find in the following pieces?
Correct the errors.
“Really? It sure doesn’t show anywhere in the budget. Because when it came time to pull the trigger Duncan has only fired blanks. Here’s his downsizing; he’s cutting 1,000 jobs from Ontario’s staff of 1.3 million. All accountants, it seems.”
The group of words beginning with “because” is a subordinate clause. (1)
The punctuation after “downsizing” is incorrect. (2)
The group of words beginning with “All” is not a sentence. (3)
“Really? It sure doesn’t show anywhere in the budget because when it came time to pull the trigger Duncan has only fired blanks. Here’s his downsizing: he’s cutting 1,000 jobs from Ontario’s staff of 1.3 million, all accountants, it seems.”
“No new major spending. An overall increase in spending to 0.9 percent. Spending on health care, which has been rising inexorably about seven percent a year, stopped at 2.1 per cent more.”
The group of words beginning with “No” is not a sentence. (4)
The group of words beginning with “An” is not a sentence. (5)
“There is no new major spending but an overall increase in spending to 0.9 percent. Spending on health care, which has been rising inexorably about seven percent a year, stopped at 2.1 per cent more.”
Identify, explain and correct the error in the following piece.
“The threat of looming cuts that have hung over the public service for months have created a slew of management headaches, including a decline in the attrition rate that departments are counting on to help manage widely expected job losses.”
“Threat” is the subject of the sentence and it is singular; it needs a singular verb. “Cuts”, which is plural, is not the subject.
“The threat of looming cuts that have hung over the public service for months has created a slew of management headaches, including a decline in the attrition rate that departments are counting on to help manage widely expected job losses.”
“In route” is the incorrectly anglicised version of the French phrase “en route” meaning “on the way”.
“En route to the golf game, Lucky was struck by lightning and missed his tee-off time.”
“Oral” refers exclusively to the spoken word.
“The oral presentation by the valedictorian was creative and inspiring.”
“Verbal” refers to anything expressed in words, both oral and written.
“He backed up the wishes for his bequests by signing the transcript of his verbal communication.”
In the legal context, an unwritten agreement is still an “oral contract,” not a “verbal contract.”
HOW TRUE IS THIS?
“It is not giving children more that spoils them; it is giving them more to avoid confrontation.”
John Gray, an American relationship counsellor, lecturer and author born in 1951, wrote this.
LAST WEEK’S WORDS
“Extenuating” (present participle) means to represent as less serious, to underestimate, to make light of or to mitigate.”
“Extenuate” is the verb form.
“Extenuation” is the noun form.
“Extenuatingly” is the adverb form.
“Extenuator” is another noun form.
“There were so many extenuating circumstances regarding the crime that the jury could not find the defendant guilty as charged.”
“Hortatory” (adj.) means to give strong encouragement, heartening, inspiring or reassuring.
“The hortatory cheers and encouragement from the crowd drove the young woman to the finish line and victory.”
“Transitory” (adj.) means passing, interim or enduring for a short time.
“Childhood is wonderful and carefree but it is transitory and must also be used as preparation for adulthood.”
“Illusory” (adj.) means unreal, deceptive or not real.
“The drugs gave the teen the illusory sense that he was a superman and that he could fly.”
“Occlude” (v.) means to block, to obstruct or to impede.
“A single beaver can build a strong enough dam that he can occlude an entire stream and cause serious flooding.”