Let’s open up the (virtual) mailbag


The mail bag is starting to overflow, so let’s open ‘er up, shall we?

Dear Conan:

If I want to express gratitude for someone copying me on an email or such, should I say “I really appreciate your keeping me informed” or “I really appreciate you keeping me informed,” or something else? I suppose I could avoid the problem by saying “Thanks for keeping me informed,” but that would mean I don’t need to consult the grammar guru.

~Mark

Dear Mark,

As it turns out, either would be correct, although your substitutionary sentence is more succinct and offers the bonus feature of preventing you from using the Valley-Girl-esque word “really.”

~Conan


Dear Conan,

Actual NPR copy (below) sent to stations today to promote tomorrow’s Morning Edition. I know you’ve covered “there,” “their,” and “they’re” before…but even the vaunted NPR can’t keep it straight. I have to hope an intern wrote it, but you’d think an NPR intern would be a little more knowledgeable.

[Tomorrow] [Later today] on Morning Edition from NPR News. You’ve got a nasty cold — and you know just where you caught it …  That guy who’s been coughing at work. A new poll suggests you can blame the declining economy, too. About half those polled said they go to work when their sick because their afraid calling in might impact their job.

Too worried about your job to call in sick …

That’s … [Tomorrow] [Later today] on Morning Edition from NPR News.

~Anonymous [who, FYI, works for an NPR affiliate that shall remain nameless]

Dear Anonymous,

Oh, sure, blame it on the intern! But thanks for that gem…reminds me of the scrolling headline I saw yesterday on CNN that said: War crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic has been extradicted to The Hague…

(Insert tasteless anatomy joke here.)

~Conan


Dear Conan,

If a two-word descriptive has a first word that ends in ly, isn’t the hyphen automatically eliminated?

Example: Selling privately owned businesses nationwide.

I remember this as an AP rule but do not know if it is a general grammar rule.

~Midge

Dear Midge,

This brings a tear of joy to my eye. Anyone who internalizes obscure grammar rules like the one above is a true hero of the people in my book. Keep up the good work.

~Conan


Dear Conan:

Can you help me determine proper word usage? I am proofing a document which contains the following sentence:

Neither Company nor Client makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the truth, accuracy, or completeness of any information provided to Reviewer under this Agreement.

Should the word express be changed to expressed?

Thanks.

~LG

Dear LG,

Yes, you should change express to expressed. It may not be the preferred version of legalese, but it’s grammatically correct! (And that’s all we care about, yes?) The verb tenses should match. Express either is the present tense of the verb, or it is an adjective that means “quick.”

~Conan

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