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#36848 - 03/17/01 08:29 PM Grammar Question
ms.strident
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 515
Loc: Newfoundland, Canada

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All my grammar knowledge comes from reading or from the gut (i.e. what sounds/feels correct), I have no actual training so I get stuck from time to time. Or perhaps my grammar always sucks and I've never noticed. Anyway...

Should I say

1) Semantics is the problem there.

2) Semantics are the problem there.

My gut says 1) but my English major friend says 2) because semantics is plural.

So do I go with my gut or my friend?

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#36849 - 03/17/01 08:50 PM Re: Grammar Question
Shelly
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Baltimore, MD, US

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It'd be 'Semantics is the problem here.'

You never have one 'semantic' -- that's an adjective. 'Semantics' is a noun, not some sort of pluralization of the adjective (we don't pluralize adjectives in English, anyway). It's not a plural. It's a different part of speech. It's a field of study. It's a way of life. Et cetera.

Compare it to saying 'psychology is the problem here.'



[This message has been edited by Shelly (edited March 17, 2001).]

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#36850 - 03/18/01 02:44 PM Re: Grammar Question
ms.strident
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 515
Loc: Newfoundland, Canada

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Thanks, Shelly. I was using 'economics' for comparison and we all tangled up in nouns and adjectives. It was late at night and we'd had a few beer* and the conversation turned to grammar - yeah, I'm a nerd.

To anyone not from Newfoundland that would be 'a few beers' but according to my Newfoundland and Labrador linguistics teacher we're preserving old language forms around here and most people have a few beer instead of a few beers - oh yeah, even more of a nerd!

[This message has been edited by ms.strident (edited March 18, 2001).]

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#36851 - 03/18/01 03:48 PM Re: Grammar Question
Shelly
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/14/01
Posts: 107
Loc: Baltimore, MD, US

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Discussing grammar in the middle of the night makes one a nerd?

Oh, dear.

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#36852 - 03/19/01 11:05 AM Re: Grammar Question
ms.strident
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 515
Loc: Newfoundland, Canada

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Well, if other Chickliterati discuss grammar in the middle of the night, that makes it a cool thing to do. I was mistaken. I'm not a nerd, I'm cool, and I rock. And so do you, Shelly!

This is what I get for holding myself up to the standards of the rest of the world instead of the illustrious standards of Chicklit.

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#36853 - 06/03/01 10:13 AM Re: Grammar Question
Erink
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 06/03/01
Posts: 4
Loc: Washington DC, USA

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I have another grammar question- someone help me, please. Are you:
racist towards smb or
racist against smb.
Also, am I correct in assuming that "racist" by itself is actually a neutral word, meaning that you have strong feelings about a certain race but not whether or not the feelings are negative?

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#36854 - 06/03/01 02:27 PM Re: Grammar Question
TraceyB
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/06/00
Posts: 1483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN

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According to my American Heritage College Dictionary:
 Quote:

racism: 1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. 2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race. racist: adj. or n.


Based on those definitions, I'd always consider "racist" or "racism" as perjorative, not neutral, words. That's because I consider the attitude described in those definitions to be abhorrent.

As to the first part of your question, my gut feeling is that one is "racist towards smb," but I have no definitive source on that.

[This message has been edited by TraceyB (edited June 03, 2001).]

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#36855 - 06/14/01 01:34 PM Re: Grammar Question
Reni
Ching Shih


Registered: 02/22/01
Posts: 186

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Actually, I don't really think that the adjective 'racist' can take a prepositional phrase. But that's also a gut feeling, so there you go.

My question is punctuation-related. Does anyone know of standard guidelines for using single quotes vs. double quotes? I often use single quotes when I'm referencing a word (or letter, or phrase) as a word, rather than the meaning of that word - like I did above. Whereas I'll use double quotes as shudder quotes to indicate some kind of strange inflection, or to report dialog, etc. But I'm not sure whether I just made up those rules in my little head or whether there are general rules on the subject. Anyone have any thoughts?

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#36856 - 06/14/01 04:53 PM Re: Grammar Question
RaisinGrrl22
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 05/04/01
Posts: 21
Loc: Providence, RI, USA

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Unfortunately, Reni, it depends on where you're from. The rules for quotations are, oddly (or not) different for the UK and the US. So in the US I'd say

In his book, A Brief History of Fishcakes, Snoozy McBoringPants writes, "The fishcake has been a tasty treat throughout time. 'I love them,' says Arlene."
Where in the original text i'm quoting, the single quotes are doubles.

in the UK, it's

In his book, A Brief History of Fishcakes, Snoozy McBoringPants writes, 'The fishcake has been a tasty treat throughout time. "I love them," says Arlene.'

but i think that in the US, the only time you use single quotation marks are with the quote-in-quote case. so your first line ought to read,
 Quote:
Actually, I don't really think that the adjective "racist" can take a


i could be wrong, but i hope this is helpful....

p.s., i agree with you about the prepositional phrase issue

edited because i can't type.

[This message has been edited by RaisinGrrl22 (edited June 15, 2001).]

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#36857 - 01/21/02 11:58 AM Re: Grammar Question
hula
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/22/00
Posts: 756
Loc: Victoria, BC

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Help! My boss insists that "decision making" must always be hyphenated, i.e. decision-making. Shouldn't it only be hyphenated in cases like "decision-making process" or "decision-making skills"? Is it hyphenated when "process" is implied in the sentence? I have a document that uses this phrase about 8000 times and I need to know whether to remove all those hyphens that look so wrong.

Can anyone help me?

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