May 21, 2018
NominalizationsTOPICS: COPY EDITING, GRAMMAR, NOMINALIZATIONS
"The walking of the dog is an activity that Naomi enjoys."
What's wrong with this sentence? Grammatically, nothing. Yet it's still bad writing because it turns an action, walking the dog, into an abstraction represented by a noun. Most of the time, verbs are more interesting as actions than they are in noun forms, known as nominalizations. Here's what you need to know.
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Stay for Awhile or A While?Posted by June on May 21, 2018
LABELS: A WHILE VS. AWHILE, COPY EDITING, GRAMMAR
"Stay for awhile" is, technically, a grammar mistake. A preposition like "for" takes as its object a noun phrase — a noun or pronoun with or without modifiers. "For" is a preposition, but "awhile" isn't a noun. It's an adverb. So it can't be the object of "for."
"A while," on the other hand, is a noun phrase. It can be the object of the preposition "for." So "Stay for a while" is correct.
But if you take out the preposition, the dynamic changes, which is why both "Stay awhile" and "Stay a while" are correct. Here's a column I wrote a while back explaining why noun phrases like "a while" can function adverbially even though adverbs like "awhile" can't function as nouns.
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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