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Correct grammar when using / or () using "or" between two words

 
 
iGeo
 
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 10:49 am
What is the correct grammar to continue this sentence after using a slash or parentheses to differentiate "or" words?:

Ex.1:
Are/will the Chicago Blackhawks be a hockey dynasty?
vs.
Are/will the Chicago Blackhawks a hockey dynasty?

Ex.2:
The official(s) coordinate the game.
vs.
The official(s) coordinates the game.


Do I take the first word or the word after the slash to dictate the grammar rule for the sentence? I believe it is the word after the slash or parenthesis, but English grammar rules can be tricky. For example, if you say "No animal, as well as plants, is immortal.", that sentence is grammatically correct, as the "is" should be singular and the immediate noun is not directly referenced by the word "is".

Thanks in advance!
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 608 • Replies: 8
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dalehileman
 
  0  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 10:57 am
@iGeo,
Oboy Geo, that's really a good q

Is/will the Chicago Blackhawks be a hockey dynasty? very common, while

Will/is the Chicago Blackhawks a hockey dynasty? no way
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iGeo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 06:19 pm
I'm assuming that words using / or () will need to follow chronological order of tenses, as well as a singular-to-plural order.

So, it should be "Was/Is/Will..." and "Is/Are...." at the beginning or somewhere else in the sentence. But this may not always hold true... what if the event happens in the present but also happened in the past, when the most important / relevant event is the present one?

For instance:
"An economic collapse is/was an important factor for politicians who will vote on banking regulations."
vs.
"An economic collapse is/was an important factor for politicians who voted on banking regulations."

If the present event is relevant, I would think that you'd go with the first example above. If the historic event is relevant as a general claim, then I'd think to go with the second example above.

If they're equally relevant/important, then I'd think that the order would follow chronologically. Then, I wouldn't necessarily know which tense the sentence should follow grammatically, besides this line of reasoning - the use of / and () essentially equals the word "or". So, using the hockey example, "Are/Will the Chicago Blackhawks be a hockey dynasty?" is equal to "Are or will the Chicago Blackhawks be a hockey dynasty?" I believe that in "or" sentences, the last word must structure the grammar of the sentence, and thereby all / and () sentences are structured by the last word and plural form, respectively. Please confirm, or correct me if I'm mistaken. Thanks.
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FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 06:38 pm
@iGeo,
I'm pretty sure both words have to match the grammar of the rest of the sentence. I think the sentences you wrote simply can't be written in the form you're trying for. Furthermore, doing that unnecessarily complicates the sentence and annoys the reader by making him/her do extra work to get your message.

"Ex.1:
Are/will the Chicago Blackhawks be a hockey dynasty?"

Are the Chicago Blackhawks a hockey dynasty? Will they ever be (one)?

"Ex.2:
The official(s) coordinate the game."

The officials coordinate the games. (It seems highly unlikely that a single official could do all of the coordination alone.)

When you do use the word "or," though, remember that it's dysjunctive, the opposite of "and."

Tom and Bob work.
Tom or Bob works. (The second noun controls the grammar.)
iGeo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 06:49 pm
@FBM,
That () example is not the best. Let's say for the () example, it's instead as follows:

"The player(s) is meditating before the game." In that example, let's say you know for sure that one player meditates before the game to be mentally prepared, but you can only assume that other players are also meditating in their own way as a ritual to be mentally prepared. So let's assume that we DO use the (), then what word should the grammar of the sentence follow, the singular or the plural form?

If we also do use the /, then what word should the grammar of the sentence follow?
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 07:04 pm
@iGeo,
"The player(s) is meditating before the game."

The player(s) is/are meditating before the game.

That's the way I'd do it. By the way, I would recommend that you keep in mind that, as the writer, what's in the reader's mind is what's important, not your own. You should think about what the reader can/will assume about how many players are meditating and write accordingly.

I hope that was helpful.
iGeo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 07:05 pm
@FBM,
That actually makes sense for the () example.

I mostly see other people use it and I was wondering what the correct grammar would be when I read it.

The use of / (not the parentheses example) is still confusing to me.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 07:15 pm
@iGeo,
If you use /, you have to supply both forms for the reader, I think. That's what I was trying to demonstrate.

That said, I googled a bit, and it seems that it's not a favored thing to do. It's better to recast the sentence, I think. Requiring extra work to get the meaning of your sentence isn't friendly to the reader.

http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2009/07/to-slashnot-to-slashthat-is-the-questionquandary.html

http://www.linguisticsgirl.com/punctuation-rules-for-slashes-in-written-english/
iGeo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Jun, 2015 07:31 pm
@FBM,
Ah I see. Thanks, I'll just try and avoid it its usage as best I can.
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