45,727 reputation
244134
bio website umich.edu/~jlawler
location Bellingham WA
age
visits member for 2 years, 4 months
seen 10 mins ago

I'm a retired English grammarian. I enjoy answering questions.

  1. My Website at the University of Michigan
  2. My alt.usage.english English Grammar pages
  3. Details and handouts from some recent talks.
  4. A term paper about K-12 Language Science
  5. Two scanned coursepacks from my Intro Ling class. (each ~100 pp)
  6. Scanned teaching materials from my Etymology class
  7. Abstract of a recent talk (4/12/12) in Denton, TX.

21m
comment The correct way to title a work of art
Then your publisher should tell you; or, if you're not being paid, you can use whatever caption you think is most useful and appropriate, consistent with all the other captions and conventions in its context. Writing is just technology, and whoever prints the book is in charge; think of editing as customizing a sports car for racing, or arranging a minuet for the tuba, if you like.
1h
comment The correct way to title a work of art
To whom or for whom are you writing? And what -- a bibliography? There is no ISO standard, after all; every publisher has their own ideas.
1h
answered Which article do I use if I'm pointing out an object that both I and the listener know
2h
comment Is this sentence correct English?
Like I say, I don't make up these names. Here's a more complete list of English syntactic rules; notice the other names for syntactic rules. They're intended to be mnemonic without being sleep-inducing; don't forget, there are thousands of them, of which these are only a couple hundred. This is also why good linguists always give examples, because terminology is a very weak reed to lean on.
2h
revised Which article do I use if I'm pointing out an object that both I and the listener know
added 2 characters in body
4h
comment Which word is used to specify?
Not enough context to understand, let alone answer. Sorry. I wonder why people think they're sposta restrict the words in a question to a minimum; it certainly doesn't help get answers.
4h
comment Is this sentence correct English?
Either one is OK. The optional rule of Whiz-Deletion works on relative clauses with relative pronouns as subject and a form of be as the first verb. You can perform it or not, as you please; speaker's choice.
5h
comment Ordinal numbers usage
Looks good. Just be sure not to associate one with another if you want them kept separate; this is what bullet points are for.
6h
comment Ordinal numbers usage
Don't number topics unless you're starting a paragraph for each one. That helps maintain the structure. Varying the presentation is a good idea, unless you have a large number of topics, in which case numbered bullet points might be more appropriate. That said, however, In addition does not count as a number; it might be one more feature of the topic just mentioned, so I'd be with @ElliottFrisch on this one. If you start counting, keep counting.
6h
comment What's the appropriate response to the “door knock” when you are in a fitting room?
Generally speaking, a useful answer is "Yes?", with a strong question intonation. That shows the room is occupied, and probly the gender of the occupier, which is likely all the information that's needed. If they have a question, they can ask it.
9h
revised Why do Americans leave the ordinal suffix out of dates?
edited title
9h
comment Why do Americans leave the ordinal suffix out of dates?
/θ/ is voiceless and final, so that would be easy to miss in rapid speech. The only numbers where the difference would be clear are 1, 2, 3, and any number ending in 1 or 2 except 11 and 12. Second is longer than two, and first is longer than one. That's probly the reason; "April two" or "April twenty-one" are simply easier and faster to say.
9h
revised Adverb placement
added 6 characters in body
1d
comment A derogatory definition for a politician
Or "crook". If you like Greek, there's always "kleptocrat".
1d
comment Do I use commas before the word “to” in the following sentence:
You, can, pro-, nounce, e, ver, y, syl, la, ble, this, way, if, you, like. It's the same intonation as counting: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, .... But nobody does, because it adds nothing. But some intonation is necessary, and a good writer uses enough commas to supply them. As Strunk and White might have put it, in their famous helpful style: "Use enough commas, but not too many."
1d
comment Do I use commas before the word “to” in the following sentence:
Whichever one you were referring to. The sentence, unpunctuated as it is, is multiply ambiguous, and the writer must supply the disambiguating intonation with punctuation. Incidentally, there is no speed to written sentences. People read at their own rates, and many prefer clarity and precision when dealing with technical details. No matter how slow the sentence seems to the writer.
1d
comment Multiple quantities of an object that has a descriptor and units of measure
Yes, that's one of the functions of Passive -- to avoid such situations where the details don't matter. Note (1) that the focus -- the new information -- in the sentence continues to be the four two and a quarter horsepower motors, and (2) that the end of the sentence is as prominent a position for the focus as the beginning.
1d
comment Do I use commas before the word “to” in the following sentence:
Only one comma before to, please. And only if you put a comma before the word from.
1d
comment Does addition of clause change tense
(1) it's not a clause; it's a noun phrase. Clauses have verbs and subjects. (2) tense has nothing to do with it. As @oerkelens points out, both are present tense. (3) conjunction of the noun phrase his partner Jill with the noun phrase Jack forms a conjoined noun phrase Jack and his partner Jill, which is plural (i.e, 1 + 1 = 2). (4) The verb offers, with a final /-z/, is a singular verb form. (5) The verb offer is a plural verb form. (6) The verb form agrees with the subject in number. Got all that? OK. Next time don't use technical terms.
1d
comment Pronunciations of different accent
The George Mason Accent Archive has been around for decades and contains hundreds of recordings, all transcribed in IPA, of native and non-native speakers, all saying the same texts. Native speakers are indexed by location, and non-natives by language of origin. It's a very good way to learn IPA, as well as study accents.