November 20, 2017

From Soup, To Nuts?

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The hotel staff can arrange a wide array of entertaining activities, from hikes through the Sonoran mountains, to guided tours of the area’s unique historical sites, to gallery excursions highlighting painting, sculpture, and local crafts.

See those commas before "to guided tours" and "to gallery excursions"? They're not necessary. They don't really make sense, either. Yet some writers assume that every sentence that describes a range "from" something "to" something else automatically gets commas.

Not so, as a simple example like "from soup to nuts" illustrates. So only use these commas when they'll help the reader organize the information.

 

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Envelope and Envelop
Posted by June on November 20, 2017
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Last week, I almost missed a pretty big mistake in an article I was editing. A travel piece said that the luxury of some hotel would "envelope visitors in luxury." I didn't catch it on the first pass. Only on the second read did I notice that the article needed the verb, envelop, and not the noun meaning something you put a letter into.

So keep an eye out for this one. And if you're prone to blow right past this error, you're not alone.

June Casagrande is a writer and journalist whose weekly grammar/humor column, “A Word, Please,” appears in community newspapers in California, Florida, and Texas. more

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  • 'Whom' vs. 'Who' at the Beginning of a Sentence

    June A.S.: Everything you said is right, but I'm not sure which comment you're directing it at. Are you getting confused by passive voice as it comes into play in these sentences? "I called him" uses the object pronoun "him" because, as you said, is an object. When you invert that sentence to say "He was called," it's not the same sentence structure. In passive voice, the object of the action (so to speak) is made the grammatical subject of the sentence. So "He was called" does, as you said, required the subject pronoun "he." I don't believe anyone said anything to the contrary.

  • 'Whom' vs. 'Who' at the Beginning of a Sentence

    A.S. WRONG! If "Whom was called into the office" is a question then it's the equivalent of asking "Him was called into the office?" which is obviously wrong. If it's a statement it's still wrong. Look, it's not difficult: Me, him, her, them and whom are objects. I, he, she, they and who are subjects. If the person in the sample sentence is the object (as indicated by "whom") then the office must be the subject but there's no verb for the subject, so the person must be the subject and is therefore who. Understand?

  • E-mail vs. Email

    June Punctuation rules for American English are indeed "always" put the period or comma before the closing quote mark. British style is as you described (that is, it follows a certain logic). But American rules are rooted in a printing convention that originated from aesthetics concerns. I'm quite confident that this American convention will go the way of the dinosaur. Wikipedia is proof: Their style is situational in the way you described. But for now, it's the rule: The comma always goes "inside," as does a "period."

  • A Not-So-Thrilling Typo

    June Oops. Fixing now. (Better late than never.)

  • A Not-So-Thrilling Typo

    JR "An" Not-So-Thrilling Typo?