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Can You Solve This July 4 Riddle?

July 4 edit


I featured this riddle on Facebook, and it seems to have stumped people. Do you know the answer?

Syntax Training 

Posted by Lynn Gaertner Johnson
By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

8 comments on “Can You Solve This July 4 Riddle?”

  • 4th of July and not July 4th because there was a notation on the original document and the date was written “4th of July”

    Wendee Gabel

  • When the day follows the month, it’s written with the number (1, 2, 3, 4…). When the day comes before, it is written as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th (or spelled out).

  • Cathy, you got it! The rule for writing dates in business is that month-day dates use the cardinal number (1, 2, 3). As you note, day-month dates are fine with ordinal numbers, such as the 4th of July.

    Many people outside the U.S. use cardinal numbers before the month, as in 4 July.

    Check your email for your prize!


  • July 4 is not owning anything july 4, 2014 the ” of ” july indicating it iscontained in- identifying one of the days of july. July 4 is the correct date. July is a noun .july can not be used as an adjective 4 th is ordinal number. And july is a noun and cant be used as adjective because it dies notmean snything

  • You have been so kind to answer my questions regarding proper grammar in the past. Now I have another one.

    I hear more often now “so fun.” It sounds awful to me. Even heard Laura Bush use it before, and I was surprised. I looked it up and it was not correct. I always say “it was so much fun.” Why do people go along with the masses??
    Thank you.

  • Hi, Sandra. Like you, I prefer “so much fun.”

    But “so fun” is correct. “Fun” can be used as an adjective. Compare these examples:

    –It was delightful.
    –It was boring.
    –It was wonderful.
    –It was fun.

    Just as we can say “so delightful,” “so boring,” and “so wonderful,” we can say “so fun.”

    I hope my answer is helpful.


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