Thursday, November 02, 2006

Grammarians to the Rescue?

I know there are some excellent grammarians reading this blog, so I thought I'd enlist your help in two questions that always bother me. I suppose I could look these up in a text or online, but where's the fun in that? Plus, this gives you Super Grammartrons a chance to flex your know-how (hyphenated?)

Help!

This one always kills me: How do I express possession for multiple subjects, like for a thing that belongs to two people?

"I'm going to Mumford and Rupert's house." or

"I'm going to Mumford's and Rupert's house."

another example

"It's my and my brother's secret language." or

"It's mine and my brother's secret language."

Both sound awkward and wrong.

The other problem is verb tense when referring to one in a group of people. Like this:

"He's one of those people who like to complain." or

"He's one of those people who likes to complain."

I realize the verb in this sentence is the "is" in "he's," so "like/likes" is not a verb but part of the description of the predicate. But does the description refer to "one" or "people." I'm sure we probably covered this in the Grammar Nazi of all Grammar Nazi's class: Professor Rew's Editing for Writers (and thank goodness she doesn't read this blog), but I am at a loss.

Is there anyone out there who can set me straight? Thanks in advance!

Oh yeah, and P.S...what about that "Grammar Nazi of all Grammar Nazi" thing? If the second "Nazi" were singular, then my punctuation is correct, but in this case, the second "Nazi" is plural (she is one of many), but the class belonged to just the one Nazi. Wow, I never encountered this one before. Should it be "Grammar Nazi of all Grammar Nazis's class"?

Golly.

3 comments:

Renee Ronika Bhatti said...

FIRST EXAMPLE:

"I'm going to Mumford and Rupert's house." or

"I'm going to Mumford's and Rupert's house."

RULE: If the house belongs to Mumford and Rupert--they are roommates--the FIRST example (just one apostrophe) is correct. If there are two residences, it would read: "I'm going to Mumford's and Rupert's houses." (add an "s" to "house")

SECOND EXAMPLE:
"It's my and my brother's secret language." or

"It's mine and my brother's secret language."

RULE: If you take out the second subject (my brother) and read the sentence, which sounds correct? Number One! "It's my secret language," not "It's mine secret language." Taking out the second subject (or object, for that matter) allows one to decipher which pronoun to use.

EXAMPLE THREE:

"He's one of those people who like to complain." or

"He's one of those people who likes to complain."

RULE: The subject here is "one" not "people" because subjects cannot be part of a prepositional phrase: "of those people." Since "one" is singular, so must be your verb: "likes."

Have I learned enough from school and from teaching? I hope so.

Oh, and I think the plural of "Nazi" is "Nazis"; the apostrophe is only needed when indicating possession. E.g. your and Sajid's door should read (names have been changed to protect the innocent): "The Mongoloids"; It's only possessive if you indicate it's your residence: "The Mongoloids' Residence"

Whew.

-Ren

p.s. I'm glad I took a break from work to read your blog! :)

Renee Ronika Bhatti said...

FIRST EXAMPLE:

"I'm going to Mumford and Rupert's house." or

"I'm going to Mumford's and Rupert's house."

RULE: If the house belongs to Mumford and Rupert--they are roommates--the FIRST example (just one apostrophe) is correct. If there are two residences, it would read: "I'm going to Mumford's and Rupert's houses." (add an "s" to "house")

SECOND EXAMPLE:
"It's my and my brother's secret language." or

"It's mine and my brother's secret language."

RULE: If you take out the second subject (my brother) and read the sentence, which sounds correct? Number One! "It's my secret language," not "It's mine secret language." Taking out the second subject (or object, for that matter) allows one to decipher which pronoun to use.

EXAMPLE THREE:

"He's one of those people who like to complain." or

"He's one of those people who likes to complain."

RULE: The subject here is "one" not "people" because subjects cannot be part of a prepositional phrase: "of those people." Since "one" is singular, so must be your verb: "likes."

Have I learned enough from school and from teaching? I hope so.

Oh, and I think the plural of "Nazi" is "Nazis"; the apostrophe is only needed when indicating possession. E.g. your and Sajid's door should read (names have been changed to protect the innocent): "The Mongoloids"; It's only possessive if you indicate it's your residence: "The Mongoloids' Residence"

Whew.

-Ren

p.s. I'm glad I took a break from work to read your blog! :)

Kisa said...

Yay! You are awesome Renee! I just knew if you had a moment away from wedding planning and paper grading, you could help :) You gave me easy ways to remember the rules, too. Thank you thank you.

I know, what a restful break for you, huh?