Grammatical Correctness. Part 2
3. The idea of his doing that! The idea of any one's doing that! The very notion of his doing that makes me ill.
4. What's the matter with my going? What's the matter with anybody's going?
1. The misrelated participle:
2. Owing to does not require a word to modify. The same is partly true of considering and judging.
3. Don't say due to when you mean on account of. There is no uglier sentence than "Due to the drought, corn is rising." Corn is not due to the drought.
§ 43. Tenses
1. The most common tense-error is will for shall in such phrases as I shall be glad to, I shall be happy to, we shall be sorry to, we shall have to. You may study the complicated subject of shall and will for months, but if you continue to conclude your letters with we will be happy to hear from you, your labor is wasted. We will means one of two things: We are determined, or We are willing. How brilliant it seems, then, to declare that you are determined or willing to be happy to hear from your customer.
The following table, learned not by rote but by heart, will be of the greatest practical value in the mastery of the whole subject of the future tense.
2. The next most common error is to say I shall in response to a request or an invitation. Of late years teachers have been trying to break students of saying I will for every future situation. So the great mass of the new generation are sliding over to the I shall for all occasions - and that is equally bad.
A man invites a youth to dinner. "Will you come out to dinner?" The new generation answers "I shall." Apparently he was coming anyhow. It was fated. I shall some day surely die, but I shall come to your house for dinner first. No, no! I will is the proper answer. It is to be pronounced heartily or softly, with the right degree of familiarity or bash-fulness or pleasure. It doesn't mean I will! or will die in the attempt. Chicago, that strong-minded lady, may roar her I will! But the breath of a maiden's soft I will is something quite different.
Note the following correct sentences:
Won't you close the door? I will, certainly.
Shall you answer his letter? I shall.
Should you like some candy? I should.
Shall I close the door? Yes, if you will.
I will put the room in order, if you like.
I will first answer this letter, and then, if you please, we will go.
We will change the subject.
Shall you be there? I shall.
Shall you take a wrap? No, I shan't.
Shall you recall your order? No, I shan't. Please do. No, I won't.
These examples, carefully studied and remembered, ought to cover the ground of the ordinary uses of shall and will. Note also the following examples of should and would.
1. He said he should go. He said he feared he should miss his train. [He said, "I fear I shall miss my train."]
3. (a) A general caution should be given about the use of tenses. Present is present, past is past, future is future. A logical writer keeps the tenses in their proper places. He doesn't use a present participle to indicate a time which extends far into the future. He doesn't say "Jones was born in 1860, dying in 1900." Jones can't be born in 1860 and at the same minute be dying in 1900. A careful writer will not use a past when he means a present-perfect, or a pluperfect when he means a present-perfect. Elaborate rules might be given here to prevent such errors, but it is likely that you will be able without such rules to correct the errors submitted in the exercises under this section. A little thought is perhaps better than studying a group of formal instructions concerning the so-called sequence of tenses.
(b) One of the commonest errors is to use the perfect infinitive instead of the present infinitive.
(c) In "I wanted to go" we call "to go" the present infinitive. But obviously it looks toward the future; it was future at the time when "I wanted," The case is even clearer in "I expected to go."
(d) In colloquial speech the words "I says" are too often
§ 44. I. Adverbs And Adjectives
1. Let us go somewhere [not, some place]. My hat is somewhere [not, some place] around here. Look somewhere else [not, some place else].
2. She talked in a lovely fashion [not, talked lovely]. She looked lovely.
3. The fire feels good. I don't feel very well this morning. In fact I am feeling badly.
4. It was enough to make a man fight. I began to feel like a bad man. I felt wicked. I felt truly bad. It looks bad when a man begins to swear like that.
5. She looks sweet. See how sweetly she is looking at him.
6. The crops are looking fine. That sick fellow looks badly.
7. It sounds good to hear him again. It doesn't sound well to use bad language.
8. Did you sleep well [not, good]? The pie looks good. The room, so arranged, looks well.
9. The boat keeps nice and dry. It is looking nicely.
10. How are you feeling? Well. How are you doing? Nicely. Behave nicely.
11. That piece of goods looks awfully well on him. I'm awfully glad. [An adverb is needed here. Awfully is grammatical, but of course extremely would be more dignified.]
12. I think not means precisely the same as I don't think so. Use I think not sometimes for a change.
1. The manager walked before him and me.
2. The ax is hanging over both him and me.
3. They are talking about you and me.
4. For whom are you working? Whom are you looking for?
5. It was somewhere about [not, around] ten o'clock.