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Syntax Training | Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

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« Johns Hopkins' Apology: How It Fell Short | Main | Don't Make Us Slog Through Long Sentences »

December 31, 2014


Martha Ray

In the first paragraph, I was wondering if there was any issue with the use of "were" instead of "are". Thoughts?
"The content and your approach were extremely helpful."

P.S. Lynn, you are my grammar hero! All the best to you in 2015.

Al Driver

Were, rather than was, if you're using past tense, I believe.
Lynn, I think you are fighting an uphill battle in our (formerly) great nation. English was my worst subject in school; however, I discovered that almost all of my co-workers were even worser(sic) than I was in that regard. LOL
I would appreciate any corrections in the above blurb.

Al from Brooklyn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Martha,

Interesting question. I used "are" because I intended the content and approach to continue to be helpful.

Thanks for your good wishes!


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Al,

I don't yet understand your first comment about "were" rather than "was." "Were" would be used for plural subjects, but I am not sure what you are referring to.

I appreciate your "blurb." No corrections to make!


Al Driver

Hi Lynn,

I was referring to "content" and "approach" in your example and to the comments which were made by Martha regarding the same.
I enjoy your very informative posts and I hope you have a blessed new year.


Lisa Mutchler

I am very curious about the "additional error" your word processing software encouraged you to make!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Thanks for your clarification, Al.

And thanks for your good wishes. Happy new year to you too!


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Lisa,

I love your curiosity! My grammar and spelling checker suggested changing "me" to "I" in this sentence:

--Please let Reggie and me know when you leave.

That's like telling tourists to turn left when they were going the correct way on their own.



Dear Lynn,

Kindly advise on your below mentioned comment:

'Thanks for your clarification, Al.'

I understand that sometime back I read that the word only 'thanks' should be avoided and rather it should be addressed as 'thank you', as thanks is not existed.

Kindly advise your feedback.


Lisa Mutchler

Thanks for responding, Lynn! That reminds me of a habit of my fourth grade teacher. If one of us students ever said something like "Me and my friend" she would interrupt us and say, "What?" as if she hadn't heard us. Her intention was to get us to correct our grammar before continuing, but it did not instill in us a correct understanding of the difference between a subject and direct object- it just made us avoid ever saying "My friend and me"!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lisa, I do that with my 20-year-old daughter and with one of my professional friends (with her permission). The friend is improving.


Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello Purshotam,

"Thanks" is informal. It is fine to use it with friends and in informal messages. If you were writing to a professor or a potential employer, you would probably choose "Thank you."




Could "however" have been used in this form;

I always appreciate your practical tips. However, I did not understand one of the points in a recent blog post.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello Stephany,

Yes, your example is correct.


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