General Writing and Grammar Help/sentences

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4. Some of the victims in the city’s gas explosions were firefighters.
2014 has been a disastrous year for our country.  A series of terrible events have caused great turmoil in society.

Are all sentences grammatically correct?
(1.) In the first sentence, if I change “firefighters” to “male”, should I say “are male” or “were male”?
(2. )  In the second, is there a better word than “turmoil”?

5.The police released the suspect due to lack of evidence.
Can I pay with a one-hundred-dollar bill? I don’t have the exact change.

Are both sentences grammatically correct?
(1.)  In the first sentence, can I say also, “The police arrested the suspect due to decisive evidence”?
(2)  In the second, can I say also, “Can I pay you a one-hundred dollar bill”?


6 For the general public, taking the MRT is the fastest way to get around the city.

Your idea is too general. You should come up with a more creative idea.


Are both sentences grammatically correct?

(1.)   In the first sentence, can I leave out “taking”?
(2.)   In the first sentence, what is another way to say “get around the city”?
(3.)    In the second, what is a substitute for “general”? "Usual"?

Answer
  4. Some of the victims in the city’s gas explosions were firefighters.
2014 has been a disastrous year for our country.  A series of terrible events have caused great turmoil in society.

Are all sentences grammatically correct?

**** There is a problem with the second sentence.   The word "series," although it sounds plural, is actually a collective noun -- a singular word that refers to more than one person of thing.
For instance, we know that a "committee" is made up of more than one person, BUT we still think of it as a singular noun: The committee is meeting this afternoon. To be technically correct, your sentence should read "A series . . . HAS CAUSED. . . "  The intervening prepositional phrase "of terrible events" suggests that the "series" includes more than one occurrence, but prepositional phrases do NOT determine which verb to use for the subject.  If you have questions on this matter -- which is a constant arguments among grammarians -- please send me a separate message about prepositional phrases and how they relate to subject.


(1.) In the first sentence, if I change “firefighters” to “male”, should I say “are male” or “were male”?

*** Since they are dead, you would use the past tense "were."

(2. )  In the second, is there a better word than “turmoil”?

**** disturbances; upheavals, unrest; dissatisfaction

5.The police released the suspect due to lack of evidence.
Can I pay with a one-hundred-dollar bill? I don’t have the exact change.

Are both sentences grammatically correct?

*** YES

(1.)  In the first sentence, can I say also, “The police arrested the suspect due to decisive evidence”?

*** YES

(2)  In the second, can I say also, “Can I pay you a one-hundred dollar bill”?

***  You can say, "Can I GIVE you a one-hundred dollar bill?"  OR  "Are you able to make change for a one-hundred dollar bill?"


6 For the general public, taking the MRT is the fastest way to get around the city.

Your idea is too general. You should come up with a more creative idea.


Are both sentences grammatically correct?

*** YES

(1.) In the first sentence, can I leave out “taking”?

*** YES

(2.) In the first sentence, what is another way to say “get around the city”?

*** to travel throughout the city

(3.) In the second, what is a substitute for “general”? "Usual"?

*** In this case, "general" means "non-specific" or BROAD.  EXAMPLE:  Your assertion is much too broad; it cannot possibly cover every instance.


Your idea is too general. You should come up with a more creative idea.
Your idea is too BROAD.  You should come up with a more SPECIFIC or DEFINITE idea.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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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.

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

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

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