Grammar Contest Winner

Tim Dougherty, an English teacher at a Catholic school in Delaware, is the third winner of a March 2008 grammar contest on this blog. Here is the sentence that I invited readers to correct:

Dr. Gonstead was a pioneer in the chiropractic profession, developing equipment and a method of analysis that used more than one criteria to verify the precise location of vertebral subluxation.

Tim wrote that the plural form, “criteria,” is not correct. It should be the singular form, “criterion,” as below:

Dr. Gonstead was a pioneer in the chiropractic profession, developing equipment and a method of analysis that used more than one criterion to verify the precise location of vertebral subluxation.

Tip: There can be two, three, or more criteria, but there is only one criterion.

Tim also noticed an error in one of my September 2008 posts, in which I offered the following as an example of a sentence with a nonrestrictive dependent clause:

People whose thoughts are mostly positive are happier than people whose thoughts are mostly negative, in my opinion.

In fact,  as Tim wrote, “in my opinion” is a prepositional phrase. Here’s a correct example of a nonrestricitve dependent clause. Notice that the clause begins with a subordinate conjunction (if) and has both a subject (you) and a verb (want):

People whose thoughts are mostly positive are happier than people whose thoughts are mostly negative, if you want my opinion.

Cheers,

Tara Treasurefield
Tara’s Writing Studio

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About 123clear

I translate foggy information into plain English.
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