Browsed by
Month: July 2017

3 Cases of Missing Parenthetical Punctuation

3 Cases of Missing Parenthetical Punctuation

In each of the following examples, a complementary comma that provides closure for a parenthetical phrase is missing. Discussion after each sentence explains the problem, and a revision demonstrates the solution.

1. A-list actors, including Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, and Bill Murray provide the voices for CGI characters.

If the sentence began with the actors’ names and was a simple statement of identification, only the commas after the first and second names would be required. But because the names, preceded by the organizational signal word including, are parenthetical to the main clause, “A-list actors provide the voices for CGI characters,” providing examples rather than constituting a comprehensive list, a comma must follow Bill Murray’s name to complement the comma after actors: “A-list actors, including Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, and Bill Murray, provide the voices for CGI characters.”

2. Despite Jones’s busy schedule, Smith said that he always found time for her.

Smith does not say something in spite of Jones’s busy schedule; “Smith said” is parenthetical to the main clause, “Despite Jones’s busy schedule, he always found time for her,” so it should be bracketed by two commas: “Despite Jones’s busy schedule, Smith said, he always found time for her.”

3. If he got lost, Jones was told a search party would not be sent to rescue him.

The sentence suggests, with an apparently tangled tense construction, that if “he” were to get lost, he would be informed that no search party would be sent to rescue him. But what is meant is that he was told that if he got lost, no rescue effort would ensue. “Jones was told” is parenthetical to the statement, just as “Smith said” is parenthetical in the previous example, so it must be set off from the main clause by commas before and after the phrase: “If he got lost, Jones was told, a search party would not be sent to rescue him.”

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: 3 Cases of Missing Parenthetical Punctuation

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total:
Words That Follow “Sequi”

Words That Follow “Sequi”

The Latin verb sequi, meaning “follow,” is the source of a diverse array of words pertaining to “going after” in one way or another. This post lists and defines the term’s descendants.

Sequel, originally meaning “retinue” and later coming to mean “result,” came from a Latin term meaning “that which follows.” The dominant modern sense, that of “a continuation of a story,” is nearly as old; prequel is a recent coinage created on the model of sequel to refer to a story that predates a related tale in an overarching narrative but was created first.

Sequence originally denoted liturgical verses that followed others; later, the word came to mean “series” or “continuity or order of events,” as well as “result.” The prevailing adjectival form is sequential, though sequent also exists.

Consequent is the adjective form of consequence, which literally means “follows with” and refers to a result (often, an unfortunate one); the adverbial form is consequently. (Consequence also means “importance,” as in “a man of some consequence,” from the idea of something significant having multiple consequences.) Subsequent (“follows closely”), with the same transformations to other parts of speech, is generally more neutral in connotation and pertains more to chronology than to outcome.

Segue, originally an instruction, meaning “now follows,” in a musical score, came to mean “smooth transition” and usually refers to such an event in communication or the media, as when someone effortlessly changes the subject of a conversation by bringing up a related topic, or when one filmed scene shifts to another with little or no disruption.

The adjective obsequious refers to someone who is overly attentive so as to gain favor; a sequacious person lacks independent or original thought. (The latter term is much more rare than the former.) The noun forms are, respectively, obsequiousness and sequaciousness (or sequacity); adverbs are formed by adding -ly to the respective adjectives.

Sequitur, adopted directly from Latin, means “consequence”; it is used rarely, though it appears in the common term “non sequitur,” describing something that does not logically follow from what occurred or was said before. Sequester originally meant “mediate” and later come to mean “place in safekeeping” and then “isolate.” (Sequestration is a legal procedure or a chemical process.)

Persecute and prosecute both mean “follow,” but persecution is persistent harassment or punishment, whereas prosecution is performance or pursuit as a duty, especially as in the context of bringing legal action or instituting legal proceedings, though originally the former term had a legal sense as well. Pursue (the noun form is pursuit) is descended from prosecute—not persecute—by way of French and originally referred to following someone with antagonistic intent; it still means “chase,” but often refers simply to following an inclination, as in “He intends to pursue a medical degree.” One who pursues is a pursuer; pursuant is a rare variant that also serves as an adjective, usually in legislative documents.

An associated word that may not be immediately apparent as such is, regardless, right there in pursuit: suit. The sense of “a set of clothing” for suit derives from the matching uniforms of a suite, or retinue; suite, by extension, came to also mean a set of things in general, especially a grouping of rooms or a series of musical compositions. The legal sense of suit (often referred to as a lawsuit) shares the “set” sense from the notion of being part of a retinue attending (following) one’s lord at court; courtiers would present a suit to obtain consideration from their superior.

A suitor, therefore, is a party in a suit, or a petitioner, or one who seeks to take over a business or who courts a woman. To sue is to carry out a suit or to plead; the word is obsolete as a synonym for woo. (The name Sue, an abbreviation of Susan, ultimately from Hebrew and meaning “lily,” is unrelated.) Ensue originally meant “follow” or “seek”; it retains only the former sense.

Two other words whose derivation from sequi may not be apparent are sect, which pertains to a group within a religion with distinctive beliefs or observances, and execute, which means “follow up,” though it also developed the sense of “carry out capital punishment” from a legal sense of “passing judgment.” Sequin, a word for a small, shiny ornament often used on clothing, is unrelated; it derives ultimately from an Arabic term pertaining to minting currency, from the resemblance of a sequin to a gold coin.

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: Words That Follow “Sequi”

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total:
20 Idioms About Reptiles

20 Idioms About Reptiles

The phrases and expressions listed in this post pertain to lizards and other reptiles, usually with a pejorative or otherwise negative allusion that reflects the dim view many people have of such animals.

1. After a while, crocodile: A lighthearted response to the rhyming slang “See you later, alligator”

2. Crocodile tears: Hypocritical or insincere expression of remorse or sadness, from the traditional belief that alligators shed tears to lure prey or when they are eating prey

3. If it was a snake it would have bit you: A hyperbolic observation that an object one seeks is nearby and obviously visible

4. Lot lizard: Derogatory slang for prostitutes who solicit in parking lots frequented by truck drivers

5. Lounge lizard: The male equivalent of a gold digger, a man who frequently visits bars and clubs in order to meet women, especially wealthy older women, to sexually or financially exploit them; the phrase alludes to such a man’s primitive impulses

6–9. Nurse/nurture a snake/viper in (one’s) bosom: To harbor someone that turns on his or her benefactor; a reference to one of Aesop’s fables, in which a snake bites a person who had taken care of it when it was injured

10. See you later, alligator: A humorous rhyming farewell, the traditional response to which is “After a while, crocodile” (sometimes abridged to “Later, alligator”)

11. Seeing snakes: Drunk to the point of hallucinating that one sees snakes where they are not (compare “pink elephants”)

12. Snake eyes: A slang reference to a roll of two dice in which only one spot shows on each, suggestive of the eyes of a snake

13. Snake in the grass: A deceitful person who pretends to befriend one for his or her own benefit

14–15. Snake oil/snake oil salesman: A fake remedy or solution, from the tradition of purveyors of such products offering them to gullible would-be customers; a snake oil salesman (traditionally, generally only men engaged in this practice, so the term is gender specific) is a person offering fake remedies or solutions

16. Snakes and ladders: A board game for children involving beneficial ladders and snakes that function as obstacles

17. Tortoise and the hare: An allusion to the wisdom of steady perseverance, from the characters in one of Aesop’s fables, about a plodding, methodical tortoise that wins a race against a fast but overconfident hare

18. Turn turtle: Turn upside down, from the notion of a turtle being overturned, unable to right itself

19. Turtle heading: The act, imitative of a turtle’s head extending from its shell, of looking over the top of an office cubicle wall to satisfy one’s curiosity about a stimulus (also called prairie dogging)

20. Up to (one’s) neck in alligators: A metaphorical reference to losing sight of one’s goal when overcome or preoccupied by pressures, from the expression “When you are up to your neck in alligators, it’s easy to forget that the goal was to drain the swamp”

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: 20 Idioms About Reptiles

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total:
Grammar Quiz #10: Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers

Grammar Quiz #10: Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers

Each of the following sentences includes a modifying phrase that confuses because it the statement is erroneously constructed or because the phrase is incorrectly located in the sentence. Recast the sentence so that the phrase properly modifies the part of the sentence it refers to.

1. Waiting for the rainstorm to pass through, the day passed slowly.

2. We only drove as far as the state line the first day.

3. To complete the transaction, the check box for the terms of service must be checked.

4. Limping along the sidewalk, I felt sorry for the stray dog.

5. They gave prizes to the top contestants in gift-wrapped boxes.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Waiting for the rainstorm to pass through, the day passed slowly.
Correct : While we waited for the rainstorm to pass through, the day passed slowly.
Alterna.: Waiting for the rainstorm to pass through, we watched the day pass slowly.

The sentence requires — in either the main clause or the dependent clause — reference to one or more participants who are waiting.

2.
Original: We only drove as far as the state line the first day.
Correct : We drove only as far as the state line the first day.

When only precedes the verb, the implication is that only driving, and no other action, occurred, but the meaning is that driving occurred only to a certain point.

3.
Original: To complete the transaction, the check box for the terms of service must be checked.
Correct : To complete the transaction, check the check box to indicate that you agree to the terms of service.

An actor must be specified for the action in the main clause.

4.
Original: Limping along the sidewalk, I felt sorry for the stray dog.
Correct : As I watched the dog limping along the sidewalk, I felt sorry for it.

The sentence construction implies that the person identified as the subject was limping. Depending on the context, this may be true, but more likely, the dog, the subject of the person’s sympathy, is the injured party.

5.
Original: They gave prizes to the top contestants in gift-wrapped boxes.
Correct : They gave prizes in gift-wrapped boxes to the top contestants.

This sentence implies that the prize recipients were wearing, or located in, boxes. The modifying phrase about the prizes should immediately follow the reference to the prizes.

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: Grammar Quiz #10: Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total:
3 Cases of Nonequivalent List Items

3 Cases of Nonequivalent List Items

When a list of items in a sentence is not a simple matter of a, b, and c, writers can easily err in erroneously constructing the sentence, mangling the syntax in the mistaken belief that nonequivalent items are equivalent. Each of the sentences below presents a distinct problem with parallel structuring of lists, and the discussions and revisions that follow the examples explain and resolve the problems.

1. If you have a kitten, pregnant, or nursing cat, we recommend that you feed it kitten food.

This sentence reads as if it refers to three types of cats: kitten cats, pregnant cats, and nursing cats. However, “kitten cat” is redundant, so kitten must appear syntactically distinct from the two other types of cats mentioned. The references to those types may be combined into a compound phrase, but it must follow a conjunction and a shared article, and the punctuation between them must be omitted to allow them to share the article: “If you have a kitten or a pregnant or nursing cat, we recommend that you feed it kitten food.”

2. Companies need to embrace innovation, cultural change, and embark on the digital-transformation process to become more nimble and keep up with the changing business environment.

This sentence attempts to refer to three actions: embrace of innovation, embrace of cultural change, and embarkation on the digital-transformation process. But “cultural change” is not provided with its own verb, and the comma that precedes the phrase prevents it from sharing one with innovation. In order to share, the comma must be replaced by a conjunction. In addition, because such a revision results in two, not three, list items (the combination “embrace innovation and cultural change” and the phrase about embarkation), no internal punctuation is required: “Companies need to embrace innovation and cultural change and embark on the digital transformation process to become more nimble and keep up with the changing business environment.”

3. Factors influencing technology selection and implementation include the entity’s goals, marketplace needs, competitive requirements, and the associated costs and benefits.

Because “associated costs and benefits” is only tangentially related to the entity, it should not be part of the list describing various aspects of the entity; the sentence must be revised so that “competitive requirements” is clearly the final item in the list: “Factors influencing technology selection and implementation include the entity’s goals, marketplace needs, and competitive requirements and the associated costs and benefits.”

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: 3 Cases of Nonequivalent List Items

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total:
“Off” and “On” Compounds

“Off” and “On” Compounds

Off and on frequently appear as prefixes, but word structure can vary: Should the prefix be hyphenated to the root word, or should the entire word be a closed compound? This post lists examples of such terms.

Prefixed words, like compound words, go through an evolutionary process. Unlike as is the case with compounds, however, there is no open phase. Online, offbeat, and the like derive from the idea of being “on a line” or “off the beat,” for example, but they never existed as “on line” or “off beat.” (“On line” is a dialectal variant of “in line,” referring to standing in a queue, but this sense is distinct from the notion of an electronic link.) However, the former did start out in hyphenated form, transitioning during the 1990s as web browsing went mainstream (though a few publications and organizations remain holdouts), while offbeat was coined as a closed compound.

Closed off- and on- constructions are prevalent, but some hyphenated terms persist. Generally, however, if the word is a noun, it is closed. Consider the following: offshoot and offspring, and onlooker and onset. (However, off-ramp and on-ramp stubbornly remain hyphenated.)

Adjectives seem to be more of a mixed bag: Besides offbeat and online, closed compounds include offsetting and ongoing and the pairs offside and onside, offshore and onshore, and offstage and onstage (all of which are occasionally seen hyphenated). But note the pairs on-air and off-air and off-screen and on-screen, as well as off-color, off-key, off-limits, and off-white. (A few such terms, such as off-screen and on-screen, occasionally appear closed.)

Note that phrases beginning with off or on that serve to modify a noun are hyphenated before it, as in “off-the-cuff remarks” and “on-the-job injuries.” Treatment after the noun varies, however, according to whether the phrase is permanent or temporary. Off-the-cuff, which appears in dictionaries, is rendered as such after the noun (“remarks made off-the-cuff”), while “on the job” is not considered a standing phrase, so it is not hyphenated when it follows a noun (“injuries that occurred while an employee was on the job”).

How does one know the difference between such phrases? One keeps a list or consults a dictionary, or both. Unfortunately, one of these strategies, or a combination of the two, is essential also for confirming the style for terms prefixed by off or on.

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: “Off” and “On” Compounds

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total:
3 Problems with Introducing Sayings and Questions

3 Problems with Introducing Sayings and Questions

Often, an incorrect form of punctuation is deployed to set off the introduction of a saying or a question from the quoted material itself. The following sentences demonstrate various errors related to this issue, and discussions and revisions explain the problem and illustrate one or more solutions.

1. The old saying, “What gets rewarded gets done,” is as true with risk as with any other activity.

Setting the quoted saying off with commas implies that it is equivalent to “the old saying,” meaning that it is the old saying—the only one in existence. However, that phrase and the quotation are appositives; they both describe the same thing (a saying—one of many), so no internal punctuation is required: “The old saying ‘What gets rewarded gets done’ is as true with risk as with any other activity.”

2. From that perspective, we should ask: Are executives looking at portfolio management? Do they understand how the budgeting process works? Do they understand how the capital-allocation process works?

A colon should not be used here, because that punctuation mark serves as a sort of soft period, indicating the end of an independent clause and at the same time signaling that what follows will be some form of an extension of that clause. But what precedes the colon is not an independent clause, so that initial part of the sentence should be extended to become an independent clause: “From that perspective, we should ask the following questions: ‘Are executives looking at portfolio management?’ ‘Do they understand how the budgeting process works?’ ‘Do they understand how the capital-allocation process works?’” (Note, too, that because the questions are conjectural utterances, they should also be framed in quotation marks.)

Alternatively, a comma can replace the colon: “From that perspective, we should ask, ‘Are executives looking at portfolio management?’ ‘Do they understand how the budgeting process works?’ ‘Do they understand how the capital-allocation process works?’”

3. When we speak to heads of audit of organizations in the health care sector, many ask the same question, Where do we start?

This sentence illustrates a problem opposite to that discussed in the previous example. What precedes “Where do we start?” is a complete statement, so a colon should replace the final comma to set up the question: “When we speak to heads of audit of organizations in the health care sector, many ask the same question: ‘Where do we start?’” (Again, the question itself should be enclosed in quotation marks as well.)

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: 3 Problems with Introducing Sayings and Questions

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total:
Hind and Behind

Hind and Behind

This post discusses the words in which the element hind, pertaining to location or movement in or to the rear, appears.

The adjective hind means “back” or “rear.” Hindbrain refers to the rear part of the brain. Hindquarters denotes the rear part of a four-legged animal, though the term is sometimes used informally in place of “buttocks,” and a hind shank is a cut of meat from the upper part of an animal’s hind leg. (Heinie, and its alternate spelling, hiney, are slang terms for the buttocks.)

To hinder is to hold or keep back, and something that does so is a hindrance. (Hinder is also a comparative of the adjective hind, meaning “more behind.”) Hindmost is a synonym for last, seldom used but widely known from the expression “The devil take the hindmost.” Hindsight means “perception of an event after it occurs” and is usually seen in the phrase “in hindsight” or in the expression “Hindsight is twenty-twenty,” which means that one’s vision is clear (at 20/20 acuity) in retrospect because it is easier to analyze and judge an event after the fact than before it occurs.

Hinterland, taken directly from German, means “back country,” connoting an area far inland or remote from urban areas.

Behind stems from the Old English adverb and preposition behindan, meaning “after” or “at the back of”; the first syllable means “by,” and hindan means “from behind.” The compound behindhand, serving as an adjective and an adverb, means “in a backward state” (of development or thinking) or “in the rear”—or, perhaps formed on the model of beforehand, “unable to pay.”

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: Hind and Behind

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total:
Capitalization of Names of Academic Disciplines

Capitalization of Names of Academic Disciplines

When do you capitalize a word or phrase that denotes an academic discipline? This post details the distinctions between these terms as proper nouns and as generic descriptions.

If you’re writing a résumé or a biographical blurb for yourself or someone else, or editing one, or you’re otherwise referring to an academic discipline, begin one or more words with uppercase or lowercase letters depending on whether the text pertains merely to the discipline itself or to an entity devoted to the discipline, such as a course, a department, or an institution. Note the following examples:

“My course load includes classes in French and astronomy,” but “My favorite classes last semester were French III and Introduction to Astronomy.”

“He obtained a degree in Asian studies,” but “He enrolled in the Department of Asian Studies” (or “the Asian Studies Department”).

“It has always been her ambition to study architecture,” but “The building that houses the School of Architecture is a disgrace to the discipline.”

When references to academic disciplines are listed, as on a business card or a résumé, or in institutional promotional text such as flyers or in lists, they are labels rather than prose, so capitalization is acceptable.

On a related note, take care to distinguish between singular and plural terms. For example, social science is a specific academic discipline, the study of society. However, the social sciences are, collectively, the academic disciplines pertaining to humans, such as archaeology, economics, geography, and so on (including social science). (Likewise, observe the distinction between communications and “mass communication.”)

Again, both terms are capitalized only as part of a proper name (for example, “the Department of Social Science,” “the Institute of Social Sciences”). In addition, because they constitute standing phrases, they are not hyphenated as a phrasal adjective. (For example, “The paper examines athletics from a social science perspective.”)

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: Capitalization of Names of Academic Disciplines

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total:
3 Types of Erroneously Located Modifiers

3 Types of Erroneously Located Modifiers

The three sentences below demonstrate related syntactical errors: a misplaced adjective clause, a misplaced modifier, and a dangling participle, respectively. Discussion following each example explains the error, and a revision solves it.

1. Shortly after Smith spoke, Jones’s ruling was released, which was in favor of groups who say the state provides constitutionally inadequate mental health care for prison inmates.

The parenthetical in this sentence, and adjective clause, must immediately follow not the phrase that includes the noun to which it pertains but the noun itself: “Shortly after Smith spoke, Jones’s ruling, which was in favor of groups who say the state provides constitutionally inadequate mental health care for prison inmates, was released.”

2. Even as he reassured them that their jobs were safe at the morning meeting, he told other advisers he knew he needed to make big changes.

This sentence contains a misplaced modifier that suggests that the jobs were safe at the morning meeting, but they were safe in general, so the additional, nonessential information “at the morning meeting” should immediately follow the part of the sentence that it modifies: “Even as he reassured them at the morning meeting that their jobs were safe, he told other advisers he knew he needed to make big changes.”

3. After electing to take another flight, we are reaching out to the passenger to resolve this issue.

The participial phrase (so called because it includes a participle—in this case, electing) features a dangling participle because the phrase refers to the passenger but immediately precedes the subject we. Often, a sentence that includes a dangling participle is easily revised by changing the subject so that it pertains to the participial phrase, but in this case, the result would be the awkwardly passive statement “After electing to take another flight, the passenger was contacted so that we could resolve this issue.” A better alternative is to convert the participial phrase to an independent clause: “The passenger elected to take another flight, and we are reaching out to her to resolve this issue.”

Click here to get access to 800+ interactive grammar exercises!

Publish your book with our partner InstantPublisher.com! Professionally printed in as few as 7 days.


Original post: 3 Types of Erroneously Located Modifiers

Blue Essays website is the place to order you assignments assignments for all subjects.

We have specialized and qualified writers to work on your assignments.

Get a quote from the calculator below.

Type of paper Academic level Subject area
Number of pages Paper urgency Cost per page:
 Total: