Issue For August 23, 2004
Writing Question of the Week
In a museum team editing session, the use of the phrase "hundreds others" is being debated. I contend that, while it is difficult to pronounce and not commonly heard, the phrase is technically correct as shown in the sample below. That is, it is not necessary to insert "of" in the phrase, because "hundreds" acts as an adjective, and "others" the now. In this sense, it acts like the phrase "many others." What is your view? Here is the sentence:
A few people elected to go off to war. Hundreds others elected to remain behind.
Thanks for your advice! --Marge
Unfortunately, I can't explain exactly what it is about "hundreds" that requires the insertion of "of", but it does. The best I can do is explain my sense of it, so I do hope this makes sense.
There seem to be three classes of words that we're dealing with: definite quantities (two hundred others, three thousand others); indefinite quantities (many others, some others, a few others); and approximate quantities (hundreds of others, dozens of others, thousands of others). As you can see, the first two groups do not require (and do not correctly permit) the insertion of "of." The third group, however, is the opposite. "Of" must be inserted and can not correctly be omitted.
Gigi, Purdue Writing Lab tutor
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This Week's First Question
Should it be, "nicely done", or, "done nicely"? Many similar examples. "Thinly slice", or "Slice thinly." I prefer, "slice thinly". Comments or corrections please.
In usual usage in the English language, it seems that the adjective or adverb is used before the noun or verb, in which case it would be nicely done . . . nicely is telling HOW it is done thinly slice . . . thinly is telling HOW it is sliced --Sharon Sandahl
Adverbs of manner (mostly formed by adding -ly to the adjective) are usually placed after the verb and after the object, respectively. Examples:
Slice the bread thinly, please.
She is singing (that song) beautifully.
If, however, an adverb of manner modifies a past participle, the adverb is placed before the verb.
She is always well-dressed.
This job has been nicely done.
This Week's Second Question
Could you explain in detail and give some examples for the difference and similarity between "rather than" and "other than"?
"Rather than" suggests a preference; "other than" suggests a condition or command, e.g.:
"Rather than go to the movies, I'd like to visit the museum."
"Other than lemonade, we have iced tea to drink."
"Can you recommend any movies other than comedies?"
This Week's Third Question
Regarding MLA Style: When an authorís last name is used parenthetically and you continue to cite the same author, you use only the page number thereafter. However, when you go to the next paragraph and on, do you need to recite the authorís last name parenthetically in each of the following paragraphs to avoid confusion? Or do you just continue to cite the page until a different author is cited?
This appears to be a matter of clarity, not rules. If you are clearly and explicitly referring to the same author, page numbers should suffice. But if there is any chance of confusion whatsoever, it's best to err on the side of caution and go with author and page number in the paranthetical site. --Angela
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