Amy Einsohn's Un-Answer Key to Grammatical Stumpers and Moral Indignation

Amy Einsohn's Un-Answer Key to
Grammatical Stumpers and Moral Indignation

Author, The Copyeditor's Handbook

From the May 16, 2002 forum:
When the Word, Phrase, and Even the Sentence Are Not Quite Right


Almost all of these items provoked lively debate. For a summary of the controversies among usage experts on any of these items, consult Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage.

1. Almost everyone voted for (c). A few editors held out for (b).

2. Very contentious, with many votes for each of the four choices.

3. Almost everyone voted for (c).

4. Split decision, with slightly more votes for the singular verbs than for the plural verbs.

5. General agreement that the choice depends on the context (some academic/scholarly authors, especially those in economics, strongly prefer the plural verb; older authors tend to strongly prefer the plural verb).

6. Only a very, very few people objected to the use of "due to" in sentence (b). Some editors were surprised to hear that there was any controversy about treating "due to" as a preposition.

7. Very contentious, with some people insisting that one or the other was incorrect or sounded funny. One suggested rewrite that satisfied almost everyone was "No more than seven percent . . ."

8. Split decision, with a fair number of editors saying that both forms were fine.

9. Split decision.

10. General agreement that (a) is the traditional convention, (b) is incorrect, and (c) is an acceptable newer convention. (The FAQ on The Chicago Manual of Style Web site says commas are not required; if one uses commas, a pair is needed.)



Copyright 2004, Amy Einsohn.

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