You asked:

Which is correct?
A block of rooms has been reserved.
A block of rooms have been reserved.

Grammar Pulis answers:

Yippee! A subject verb agreement question.

I'll answer your question by first, giving the right answer, and then explaining why.

The grammatically correct sentence is:

A block of rooms has been reserved.

Why? The verb has to agree with the headword or the main noun. In this case the headword is block. "of rooms" are modifiers. Because the headword (block) is in singular form, the verb (has) needs to be in singular form as well.

Here are more examples that follow this rule. I have used bold font for the headwords.

The stack of records has been moved into another cabinet.
A series of concerts has been scheduled for summer.
A herd of zebras passing by is making me dizzy.
A cast of thousands gets ready for the first shooting day.
My set of silver and onyx jewelry is missing.

At your service,
Grammar Pulis

Source: Understanding Grammar, Third Edition by Martha Kolln

"In the half of management, I welcome you to the Annual Planning Workshop."

Management and employees scratch their heads as they start the meeting. It takes a full minute for the snickering to stop.

Okay, so we know that things like above only happen in bad dreams. We know that the word "behalf" should take the place of that awkward and plainly wrong phrase, "the half." But there seems to be some confusion on the preposition that precedes it. Is it on behalf or in behalf?

Not a lot of grammar books can clarify this for you. The good news is that the answer is easily googled. But since you're here, I might as well help you out.

Both phrases are correct, but each has a particular use.

On behalf means "as a representative of."
"On behalf of the Management team, I thank you all for attending this meeting."

In behalf means "for the benefit of."
"We are raising funds in behalf of the typhoon victims."

So there, the next time you speak on somebody's behalf, you can be pretty sure you're using the right preposition. There will be no snickering. Promise.

Here's a sign that needs to vomit apostrophes. An eyesore and a horrible waste of black ink. There are other punctuation violations on this sign, but I will focus on the uses and misuses of the apostrophe.

So, what are the appropriate uses of this tadpole-looking punctuation mark? They are fewer than we think:

1) to indicate possession
2) for the omission of numbers in dates and letters in contractions
3) to indicate the plural of letters
4) to indicate the plural of words

Use the apostrophe to indicate possession.

I've been to Derek's office many times.
Sometimes I have to use the employees' entrance.

There are other more complex rules for the use of the apostrophe in indicating possession. But I don't want to confuse you with too much information so we will leave that for another day. Or you can check out the sources listed at the bottom of this post.

Use the apostrophe to replace letters and numbers that are omitted.

Who's going with me to the Summer Lovin' '08 concert?
I'm going to join you.

As you can see the apostrophe replaced the letter i in "who is," the letter g in
loving, the numbers 20 in 2008 and the letter a in I am. Good job, apostrophe.

Use the apostrophe for the plural of letters

Mara needs to improve her diction; she sometimes has trouble with her f's and p's.

Use the apostrophe for the plural of words.

I'm glad I can explain to you the do's and don'ts of apostrophe usage.

So here are the don'ts.

Don't use apostrophes for the plural form of nouns.

That sign should read: "We provide rubbish bins for you. Please do not throw napkins and tissue paper into the bowl.

Don't use apostrophes for the plural form of nouns using abbreviations.
Her collection of CDs is priceless.
Even professional DJs are in awe.

I hope this post helps you avoid apostrophe catastrophes. It will make me happy and we will save us some ink.

Eats, Shoots, & Leaves by Lynne Truss
The Elements of Style by Strunk & White
Comma Sutra by Laurie Rozakis
How Not to Write by Terence Denman

Writing is both art and skill. And business writing, to be effective, requires competence in both
the creative and the technical aspects of writing. Combining principles of style and form, this
workshop will lead learners to develop their writing competence to produce letters, email, and
reports that achieve results and build positive relationships.

This workshop will be a two-day event.

The Art & Science of Business Writing
January 20 & 27, 2009 (one week apart)
9:00 to 5:00 P.M.
CheQ Systems Training Room
1708, 88 Corporate Center
Valero corner SedeƱo Streets
Makati City

Click here for more details.

Please email or call trunk line # +6328933199 Local 102 to reserve seats.


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