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Patrick J.
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

How do I quote a passage while leaving out information in the middle?

Patrick J.
Answer:

Watch out! You can't twist words, so just make sure that everything you quote actually embodies the tone and point of the original source! Let's say we have a really long passage and you want to take the beginning and the end of it. Here is a quote: "The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions." If you want to quote the beginning and the end, simply add "[...]" in the middle. This is what it looks like: "The fragrance of flowers spreads [...] But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions."

English
TutorMe
Question:

Which one of these is grammatically correct? Sonya or Timothy is experienced in mechanical engineering. Sonya or Timothy are experienced in mechanical engineering.

Patrick J.
Answer:

This is one of the cases in which your ear might deceive you! This is a classic case of "subject-verb agreement." Subject-verb agreement is the idea that the subject has to agree in in number with the verb. For example, you wouldn't say, "The dog are a quick runner." This is because "dog" is a SINGULAR subject and "are" is the PLURAL form of the verb. We get a similar situation here, with a twist of course. The two subjects are "Sonya" and "Timothy." Because of this "are" seems to sound okay to the ear. However, when there are at least two subjects separated by "or," you have to make the verb agree with the CLOSEST subject. Therefore, you need to make the verb agree with "Timothy," and ONLY "Timothy." The right answer, thus, is "Sonya or Timothy IS experienced in mechanical engineering."

ACT
TutorMe
Question:

Why is the following sample sentence incorrectly written? Janice is often celebrated for her honesty, her work ethic, and being determined.

Patrick J.
Answer:

This is a common trap that many ACT students fall into! This question relates to an idea in English called "parallel structure." Parallel structure is basically ensuring that all elements in a list or description come in the same form. In other words, all elements in a list should ALL be adjectives, or ALL be clauses, or ALL be verbs (see what I did there?). This sentence is problematic because it is NOT in parallel structure. Janice is celebrated for three things: (1) her honesty; (2) her work ethic; and (3) being determined. Do you see the problem, though? "Honesty" is a noun. "Ethic" is a noun. "Determined" is an ADJECTIVE. If we wanted to make this parallel, and thus correct, we would say the following: Janice is often celebrated for her honesty, her work ethic, and her determination. All three (honestly, ethic, and determination) are all nouns!

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