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  1. J

    "In the event..." or "In the eventuality..."

    Which is better? "In the event..." or "In the eventuality..." Eventuality is the possibility of an event, but if you are describing a hypothetical situation, does that mean that "in the eventuality" is better? For example, say Hilary Clinton ran for president in 2016. Would it better to say...
  2. J

    Whoever and Whomever (again)

    "However, he said he would not be intimidated out of his home by whoever was behind the attacks." This is from the BBC no less. BBC News - DUP councillor George Duddy's home targeted in second graffiti threat I would have said that "whomever" was correct in the above sentence. The reason I...
  3. J

    Single subject (made plural by parentheses clause) single/plural verb?

    When you have a singular subject in a sentence and a clause in parentheses - which, if the parentheses didn't exist, would mean a plural verb was required -what is the correct form of verb? For example, what is the correct verb in (b) below: (a) The cat, and for that matter the dog, were...
  4. J

    Mitigate, with and without a preposition

    I have searched through other threads but this question doesn't appear to be directly addressed elsewhere. When does "mitigate" need to take a preposition? eg which of the following is correct or better: (a) The new drug mitigates the effects of cancer. (b) The new drug mitigates against the...
  5. J

    irrespective and preposition "of", "whether" and addnl "or not"

    irrespective and preposition "of", "whether" and addnl "or not" Is the following grammatically correct? "The headmaster imposed a strict policy on students wearing a specified uniform, irrespective whether the students' parents could afford the uniforms." Should "irrespective" always take...
  6. J

    Conjunctions "and" and "or" and commas

    I can't see this specific issue being aired previously though there are threads which which deal with separate clauses. Can you help with this sentence from Britain's Daily Mail "Although in many cases neither men nor women reported injury or emotional effects, about one in ten in both genders...
  7. J

    Which of you two boys is/are throwing stones at the cat

    This is a plural/singular verb question, but I can't see it answered elsewhere. Elsewhere the consensus is that when you have a collective noun and plural nouns, you can use either a singular or plural verb eg A pack of wolves was attacking the sheep or A pack of wolves were attacking the...
  8. J

    Abolition versus Abolishment

    Can you help? Both "abolition" and "abolishment" appear to be acceptable nouns to describe the act of abolishing. Is there a difference in usage? I think "abolishment" is more formal and specific and "abolition" is more general, so - (a) The 19th century saw the abolition of slavery in the...
  9. J


    Help! If John has a mortgage from Acme Bank on his house. Because John can't repay his mortgage, the bank moves to repossess John's house. Is the bank foreclosing on the loan or the property or both? In respect of mortgages, "foreclose" is defined as follows "a. To deprive (a mortgagor) of...
  10. J

    Proved, proven - past tense

    In the sentence: "Whatever your views on Thatcher, her fears about the European Central Bank have certainly proven to be well-founded." would "proved" be better, and if so, why?
  11. J

    "A" word, A-word, "A"-word

    Right now, we're having a national debate about legalising abortion in certain circumstances. There is a reluctance by some people to refer to "abortion" when discussing the detail of the proposals. Which of the following would be best, and why (a) There is a reluctance to refer to the "A"...
  12. J

    "focus intensely" and/or "focus intensively"

    Seems our media is always on the look-out for hyperbole, and it's no longer enough to focus on an issue, it needs something more superlative. "Focus intensely" seems to be accepted but I have recently noticed "focus intensively" being used by media that should be authoritative. The presenter...
  13. J

    Monolith versus megalith

    Have recently noticed our press using "megalith" to describe large organisations; would previously have expected to see "monolith" eg Valuation of IBRC loan book sparks keen interest - The meaning "megalith" seems to really be limited to buildings and architecture, meaning...
  14. J

    Rooseveltian or Rooseveltesque or Rooseveltite

    Could only find this thread on -esque, and it's now closed Are there rules about using suffixes -esque and -ian as in Rooseveltesque and Rooseveltian to describe things as having a quality of FD Roosevelt? And what about the...
  15. J

    Is "that" as a conjunctive now redundant?

    Our Central Bank has issued a new coin which displays script from James Joyce's Ulysses: "Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things that I am here to read." The original written by Joyce omitted the "that" as a...
  16. J

    Which versus That

    Any views on which of the following is better (and why)? (a) I was reading the guidelines which were really helpful to my understanding of the problems. (b) I was reading the guidelines that were really helpful to my understanding of the problems.
  17. J

    Where should the comma(s) go in this sentence?

    This sentence just doesn't feel right! Is it missing a comma? Mary was the manager in what was the town's best bar. Would these be better? (1) Mary was the manager in, what was the town's best bar. (2) Mary was the manager in, what was, the town's best bar. (3) Mary was the manager in...
  18. J

    Does Singular collective noun of plural nouns take a singular or plural verb

    Help. Which of the following is correct? A group of prisoners has [singular verb] escaped A group of prisoners have [plural verb] escaped It should be (a), right? But that feels wrong because the noun immediately preceding the verb is a plural. Any views?
  19. J

    [Grammar] Why are words which qualify adjectives described as adverbs

    Been years since I studied grammar but adverbs are supposed to be words which qualify verbs eg "slowly" is an adverb and in this sentence it qualifies the verb "walked" - "I walked slowly" But why are words like "rather", "somewhat", "quite" regarded as adverbs eg "I am somewhat happy" Is it...