Author Topic: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!  (Read 11570 times)

Offline Grammarian

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Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« on: January 12, 2006, 05:36:03 AM »
Hi Ladies & Gentlepeople,

Well, I have a few grammar questions that I really think most people want answered, yet they daren't actually ask!

Here goes...

* Firstly, which is it....

(a) "But that's not the way to do it," said Michael. "You do it like that!"

(b) "But that's not the way to do it", said Michael. "You do it like that!"

My inclination is toward (a).


* Secondly, which is it...

(a) Writers Circle
(b) Writers' Circle
(c) Writer's Circle
(d) Writing Club ;)

What would be the description of each?

I love grammar and yet still constantly find things that confuse the heck out of me.

I tried to learn German recently but found I don't know enough about English yet!

Mattie x
« Last Edit: January 12, 2006, 06:28:05 AM by Nick »

Offline Nick

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2006, 06:27:31 AM »
Hi Mattie

You're right about the first one - the comma goes before you close the inverted commas. Check in any published novel and you should be able to see this principle in action.

The second question isn't as clear-cut. Either (a), (b) or (d) could be correct, though not (c).

If you put a an apostrophe after writers', it implies an element of ownership - the circle is owned by the writers, in other words. That may well be the case, of course.

But equally, it would not be wrong to say writers circle, without any apostophe. In this case, the word writers is simply functioning as an adjective. An analogous example would be sports hall. There is no apostrophe in this, as sports do not own the hall (obviously). The word sports simply clarifies what type of hall it is. The same could be said of the word writers in writers circle or writers group.

Writer's circle would not be correct. Putting the apostrophe here implies that there is only one writer, and with just a single member I don't think you could really describe it as a circle!

Finally, writing club is of course fine, and avoids any need to agonise over the use or otherwise of an apostrophe!

Hope this helps  :)

Nick GM
Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Offline katieoliver

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2006, 06:31:47 AM »
 Hi Mattie,

 On my opinion, to the first question the correct way to write it is (a) using the comma before closing the sentence with inverted commas.

 On the second depends. If you're using singular it's a writer's circle. If you're using plural it's writers' circle.

Offline goldanon

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2006, 10:07:09 AM »
But Nick how can you discard (c)?  Sure there could be a writer somewhere out there, who created a circle for people to come and join him in a little chat about writing.  And then it would be his Writer's Circle Of course, he might want to call it My Writers' Circle  ;)

Offline Nick

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2006, 10:21:16 AM »
I just knew someone would say that!

OK, then, if there is only one person in it, it's a writer's circle. Though in my eyes, it's actually just a single writer  :D

Actually, I've just realised you're referring to the name of this forum (sorry - I'm a bit slow today!). As you'll see, we called it My Writers Circle (no apostrophe). I suppose if I had sole ownership I could have called it My Writer's Circle, but the forum was actually created by my publishers, WCCL.

Anyway, even if I was the sole creator of Mywriterscircle.com, I wouldn't want it to appear that I was claiming sole ownership in it for myself. Every member makes their own unique contribution and in that sense the forum is 'owned' by everyone in it.

Enough, already! I'm off for a lie-down in a darkened room!

Nick GM
« Last Edit: January 12, 2006, 10:36:41 AM by Nick »
Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Offline karlmoore

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2006, 12:17:30 PM »
LOL, don't you just love grammar?

What's the best site or book for grammar out there?

One of my favourites is "The Elements Of Style" but there are plenty of other good books on the market

-- Karlos

Offline Nick

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2006, 01:29:36 PM »
Great to see you on the forum, Karl, sorry, Karlos.

My favourite grammar website is The Guide to Grammar and Writing - at http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/. This is referenced in the "What's your favourite website?" thread, below:

http://www.mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=6.0

I highly recommend this site for anyone with any queries about English grammar. If it's not covered anywhere on this huge site (unlikely), you can send a question to "Ask Grammar" a.k.a. Professor Charles Darling, who runs the site.

Nick GM



Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Offline karlmoore

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2006, 02:28:09 PM »
Ouch. That's the *best* site?

Errors from the homepage:

>> Dr. Charles Darling 's

>> An URL-hyperlink

... and various generally accepted usage violations too.

:P

I'm thinking of that great quote from Ricky Gervais: "Okay, so I'm a pedant. But a pedant is only a person that wants things to be right. There's nothing wrong in that is there?"

:)

robert1704

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2006, 03:03:11 PM »
This is something I had to learn writing my book, I did it wrong too. The editor pointed out that the only right way is:



"But that's not the way to do it," said Michael, "you do it like that!"

I bought "English grammar for Dummies" and it confirmed that.

No guarantee, after all my mother tongue is Flemish ;D

Offline Nick

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2006, 05:24:38 AM »
Hi Karl

I think you're being a bit harsh here, especially as the front page content is actually written by a college administrator rather than Professor Darling. And I don't personally see any objection to "an URL hyperlink".

Take a look inside the site at the actual content. I still think you'll be impressed  ;)

Cheers,

Nick


Ouch. That's the *best* site?

Errors from the homepage:

>> Dr. Charles Darling 's

>> An URL-hyperlink

... and various generally accepted usage violations too.

:P

I'm thinking of that great quote from Ricky Gervais: "Okay, so I'm a pedant. But a pedant is only a person that wants things to be right. There's nothing wrong in that is there?"

:)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2006, 05:26:12 AM by Nick »
Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

admin

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2006, 09:41:04 AM »
I probably am being harsh -- I was just teasing.

However "an URL hyperlink" isn't correct in my mind. I believe it should be "a URL".

There are rules dictating whether to use "a" or "an", however I don't believe they typically apply to acronyms.

You gotta love grammar ;)

Karlos

Offline Nick

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2006, 09:53:00 AM »
It's an interesting question, actually. There are two schools of thought on whether you should use 'a' or 'an' before an acronym. I found the following website which discusses this:

http://www.gpuss.co.uk/english_usage/a_or_an.htm

As you'll see, using the first method, a URL is correct. Using the second method, an URL. Though, admittedly, the site says that the first method is much more common.

Actually, I don't disagree with you that a URL is preferable. I just felt that an URL, as used on the Grammar website, was not definitely wrong.

And yes, you gotta love grammar!

Nick  :)

Check out my writing blog at www.entrepreneurwriter.net. I also have a new UK personal finance blog called Pounds and Sense.

Lin

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Re: Grammar questions you daren't ask anyone!!
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2006, 11:43:09 AM »
Could this be something to do with how the word sounds URL begins with a...........You R L,     the letter Y starts the sound, and therefore,  takes away the vowel sound of the letter U.  (We dont say A OO R L.)
I would in that case use A and not An.    Therefore A You R L sounds better.

Lin