General Writing and Grammar Help/Which is correct?

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Question
Dear Ted,

How are you?

I would like to ask you a question:

Guest: Excuse me, waiter?
Waiter:__________________  a. What’s the problem?  b.Yes, sir?

Which is correct?
Thanks!

Best Wishes,

Cheng Chang

Answer
Dear Walden/Cheng Chang:


How are you?

*** I have been sad, because you haven't been sending me questions!

I would like to ask you a question:

Guest: Excuse me, waiter?
Waiter:__________________  a. What’s the problem?  b.Yes, sir?

Which is correct?

*** Although either one could be used, I would choose B.  There is no reason for the waiter to think there is a problem, so responding with "What's the problem?" is very peculiar.

Look at this conversation --

Guest:  Excuse me, waiter?
Waiter:  Yes, sir?
Guest:  May I have more water?
Waiter:  Of course, sir.

This is a minor incident.  There is NO problem, so the waiter should not even imply that there is.

Ted

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

Experience

I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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