Friday, July 23, 2010
The sales letter addressed to Ms. Mary Smith, 123 Main Street, Chicago, IL 60601, will be mailed today. (Notice the comma after the zip code.)
Were vs. was. The subjunctive mood—what?—is a verb expressing a doubt or a wish and typically occurs in clauses using if or wish. For example, If I were you, I’d transfer to another department. I used to say, "If I was you..." I don’t remember if Mom corrected me.
Bad vs. badly. I used to think most people were saying this one incorrectly. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was the one saying it wrong! Use the adjective (bad), not the adverb (badly), after a linking verb (is, are, look, seem, feel, sound, appear, etc.) when it describes the verb’s subject. I feel bad saying this incorrectly for so long!
As I tell my students, “Just because it sounds right to you, doesn’t mean it is right.” Grammar rules! Right, Mom?