David Crystal has a good section on the peculiarities of English here (68-79).
His advice on 'government is' vs 'government are' seems to apply to a lot of puzzling
variations: "It depends on what is meant" (76). He has a good quote from a scientist
on data: "If I write 'data is', people will think I'm ignorant - that I don't
know my classical languages. If I write 'data are', people will think I'm pedantic
and stuffy." (77). Crystal confesses he could not help, and suggests avoiding
policymaking (UN new), policy-making (WHO:92, formerly old UN:347), policy-maker (WHO:92),
policy-maker (NSOED ), but policymaker (UN new)
See 'Apostrophe "s"'
(at least I think that's how it's punctuated according to the rules,
though not in any civilized country).
Publications, print and online (separate article)
I just don't see how anyone can claim to say the last word on this. Look at my
trouble with punctuating the sentence on possessives. Or go the references - there
you will find question marks and exclamation marks followed by a comma (the marks
are in the titles of books). Where can you find help on punctuating a reference
at the end of a quotation, as in "said to be ill." (298). Shouldn't it be: "said
to be ill" (298).? (or should I punctuate that: '"said to be ill" (298).'?
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