GrammarPhile Blog

Test Yourself Against Our Experts

Posted by Conni Eversull   Jun 18, 2014 6:00:00 AM

TeacherWe thought we'd do something a bit different today. We often receive questions directed to our Grammar Experts and reply to them privately. I'm going to share some of these questions today and give you an opportunity to test yourself against our experts. Names have been changed to protect the innocent!

After you've completed your answers, please click the link at the bottom of the post to see our Grammar Expert's Answers.


Question #1 - Proper format

What is the correct way to insert the name of a physician in the body of a letter?  Would the following example be correct?

"You chose to honor—[first name last name, M.D.]—with special recognition. I'm quite certain [Dr. last name] greatly appreciated your thoughtfulness."


How would you deal with this example?


Question #2 - Is a comma needed?

Media and communications have been an interest of mine since I was twelve, when I had the opportunity to take a tour of Baker + Baker's Boston office. Does there need to be a comma after "twelve?"


Does the comma belong after the word "twelve?" If so, can you tell us why?


Question #3 - Work speak?

I was wondering if you could clear something up for me. At my work many people use the following term, "The work is pending to be submitted."

First, I'm not even sure which definition of pending they mean to use and second, I don't think anything can be 'pending to be [verb]ed.' Am I crazy? Thanks!


What do you think? Is this phrasing correct? If not, how would you fix it?


Question #4 - Are my sentences clear?

Do the following statements need to be rewritten?

  1. Hopefully, Anne will be able to understand that.
    • According to my source, this sentence suggests that it is Anna who is hopeful, not the speaker. It seems counterintuitive to me.
  2. Considering their size, dogs can be surprisingly strong.
    • In this case my source states that according to this sentence, the dogs are considering their size while being strong.
    • I have met with such use of the word "considering" so often that I had always assumed it was correct. I would be grateful if you could offer an explanation on why this can be considered a grammatical mistake.


What's your opinion? Do these sentences need to be rewritten for clarity?


Question #5 - Capital or Hyphenate?

My son's fifth grade teacher is insisting that "all around competition" should be capitalized in the following sentence:

"Ms. Johnson practices many hours a day for the gymnastics all around competition."

Her reasoning is that it is a "specific type of competition." I think there should be a hyphen between "all" and "around" but no capitalization. Please help.


What do you think? Is the teacher correct or is our reader correct?


Click here to see all of the answers to this week's questions.

What do you think of this post? Is it helpful? Challenging? Would you like to see more like this? Please post your comments.





Topics: hyphenation, writing, commas

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