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I am writing this reference on behalf of myself

I am writing this reference on behalf of myself or the final

One of my high school students came up with an excellent question while writing an in-depth literary essay. This is her example: “What was the evidence of her [Mayella’s] offense?” Should the student leave the original pronoun and include the bracketed name? Or does the bracketed name in a sense replace the need for the pronoun?

Thank you for your timely response.


Anchorage, Alaska Fri, Jan 19, 2001

The Chicago Manual of Style seems to suggest that your editorial interpolation, enclosed within brackets, should not change the rest of your sentence. However, the Chicago book then adds, “When an interpolated word takes the place of a word in the original, ellipsis points are omitted.” I think, though, that they’re referring to instances when the interpolation replaces a foreign word or English translation that doesn’t convey the exact meaning. In other words, I think your student should keep her in the sentence you give us.

Authority: Chicago Manual of Style 14th ed. U of Chicago P: Chicago. 1993. p. 377.

I remember in high school English that we were told not to use the phrase “more quickly.” Now I hear it everyday and read it all the time. I have talked with some English teacher friends of mine and they tell me I am right. Which is correct “more quickly” or “quicker”?


Columbus, Ohio Sun, Jan 21, 2001

I have to admit that’s a new one for me. If a basketball player can move quickly, can’t she move more quickly than another player? Yes, that means she’s quicker. but I don’t see why “more quickly” can’t function as a useful comparative adverb. I’ll leave an e-mail icon here in case someone else cares to contribute a note on this. (I can’t find anything in my books on English usage, but I don’t have the Oxford English Dictionary .)

This is probably as arcane as it comes, but so be it. I am a lawyer who drafts estate plans. We have an industry-common phrase we use when naming/appointing more than one person to serve as a trustee or executor. The phrase (and my question) looks like this: “I hereby appoint X and Y, or such of them as is/are. willing and able to serve, as my executor. ” My question has to do with the is/are issue. Most of my peers and superiors have adopted the habit of writing “such of them as are able. “. My ear — and my knowledge of the treatment of indefinite pronouns generally — leads me to believe it would be more correct to say “such of them as is able. “. But I’d like some kind of documentation or other support before I go to the mat on this one.

If you happen to have any ideas of a more graceful phrasing to use, I would welcome those, too!


Minneapolis, Minnesota Sun, Jan 21, 2001

I wouldn’t go to the mat in any case on legal language. As I understand it, you would appoint two people, but if only one of them is willing, you’d be happy with that. If that’s a true translation, we might have written “whichever of them is willing. ” because the “whichever” is clearly singular. But probably the phrase “such of them” comes about because it’s useful, say, if you would appoint four or five, and two or three might be able to serve. Then the singular “whichever” would be inappropriate.

I am writing this reference on behalf of myself What is the plural of

Thus the “such of them as are able.”

I have a feeling, though, that the collective “such of them” has taken on a life of its own in legal language and will always take a plural verb. If I were you, I’d go with the flow and use the plural. As far as a more graceful phrasing is concerned, I suppose you could try “whichever of them” when you’re referring to a singular subject (one of two or one of however how many); otherwise, you’ll probably have to have a separate sentence: “If only one of these is able and willing to serve. “

What is the plural of Major General? Is it Major Generals or Majors General? Does the same answer apply to Lord Chancellor and Lord Lieutenant?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Blue Bell, Pennsylvania Tue, Jan 23, 2001

Although we often say that someone is “well liked,” it’s probably not a good idea to modify how you like someone with an adverb; it suggests, in fact, that you’re doing a good job of liking this person. Another idiomatic expression — I like him a lot — (or a simple, “I like him very much”) would be an improvement.

When using the phrase “on behalf of” is it proper to say: “On behalf of Sue, Jane and myself, I sincerely thank you for your continued support.” or should the “myself” be left out?

I seems to me that using the “myself” is redundant since “I” am saying it, but I hear and see the phrase used fairly often.


St. Petersburg, Florida Wed, Jan 24, 2001

I agree that it sounds kind of silly. Technically, I don’t think it’s wrong. One does speak, after all, on behalf of one’s self. If you throw in Sue and Jane, that’s all right, too. But I think you’re right: leave “myself” out of it: “On behalf of Sue and Jane, I sincerely thank you for your continued support” says exactly what you mean.

But Gerald Smyth of Ushiku City, Japan, writes.
It seems to me that if one speaks on behalf of someone, one speaks for that person and that person only. So ‘On behalf of Sue and Jane, I sincerely thank you’ (1) would not include the speaker’s thanks. He speaks in the interest of, or as a representative of, Sue and Jane. If we include ‘myself’, we understand ‘On behalf of myself I sincerely thank you’, which as you say is technically correct but sounds silly — though it may sound better if phrased ‘On my own behalf I sincerely thank you’ (2). Combining (1) and (2), we get, effectively, ‘On behalf of Sue and Jane, and on my own behalf too, I sincerely thank you’. I think that would make me want to rephrase the sentence without using that construction, for example by writing ‘Sue, Jane and I sincerely thank you’, or ‘Sue and Jane join me in sincerely thanking you’.

In the following sentence: Augie took him and her fishing. The pronouns are direct objects. What part of speech is “fishing”? In other words, how is “fishing” used in this sentence. Thank you.


Springfield, Illinois Wed, Jan 24, 2001

“Fishing” in that sentence is a gerund functioning as an object complement. It modifies or completes the objects (those pronouns) in this case and is similar to the final adjective in a sentence such as “We painted the garage purple ” or the final noun in a sentence such as “Who died and made you king ?”

In your opinion, is the sentence “What this is, is a travesty”, a proper one? I’m referring to the use of double “is”.

There is a mention of this in the alt.usage.english FAQ at faqs.org/faqs/alt-usage-english-faq/ that says: Double “is”, as in “The reason is, is that. ” is a recent U.S. development, much decried. According to MEU3, it was first noticed in 1971 and had spread to the U.K. by 1987. Of course, “What this is is. ” is undisputedly correct. Do you agree? What about the word “undisputedly”?


Unknown Thu, Jan 25, 2001

Even though a comma is not grammatically necessary in “What this is, is a travesty,” most writers would use one there because the sentence becomes momentarily confusing to read without it. This happens a lot when two identical words are used back to back: “Let us march in, in two’s” or “Whatever is, is good.” (The duplication of the words “that” or “had,” however, seldom necessitates a comma.)

“Indisputedly” means that the issue has not been argued; “indisputably” means that it’s not capable of being argued. Since neither is the case, the correctness of the assertion is just that: an assertion.

Authority for “is, is” question: Chicago Manual of Style 14th ed. U of Chicago P: Chicago. 1993. p. 175.

Is it correct to ask “aren’t I” If not, what can you say?

Somerville, Massachusetts Fri, Jan 26, 2001

In the interrogative form, as in “I am beautiful, aren’t I ?” this construction is widely regarded as acceptable in British English, and many people will use it in the U.S. You could say, instead, “Am I not?” The use of a contraction for “am not” is complicated, especially in declarative sentences, but the substandard status of “ain’t,” which seems to be a reasonable enough contraction for “am not,” has never been widely regarded as acceptable — probably because too many people use it for every other contraction as well.

Authority: A Grammar of Contemporary English by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, and Jan Svartvik. Longman Group: London. 1978. p. 81.

We’re trying to identify the sentence type for the following sentence: We sat silently wishing we had more time. We believe this is a complex sentence. ‘We sat silently’ is an independent clause. We are struggling with how best to explain the remaining clause. Is ‘wishing’ a gerund that introduces an adverbial clause? Please help!


Farmington Hill, Michigan Sat, Jan 27, 2001

I think what you’ve got there is a noun clause with a missing “that,” and the whole thing is embedded within a participial phrase: “wishing [that] we had more time.” That participial phrase then modifies the subject of the sentence, “we.” I’m not sure this qualifies your sentence as a complex sentence, but it does contain both an independent and a dependent clause, so I guess it must. I’ll leave an e-mail icon here in case someone has a different opinion or can clarify the structure.

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