The Word Guy / Knowledge

Plural Questions Have No Easy Antlers

Q. I drive a school bus, and this morning one of my seventh graders said to me, "Monte, did you see those deers on the side of the road?" I explained to him that certain words, like "deer," are both singular and plural. Why is that? -- Monte ...

Send in the Nouns

Q. I was taught that the possessive should be used before nouns ending in "-ing." For example, one would say, "Your laughing ruined the mood," rather than, "You laughing ruined the mood." Yet it always seems that people are using the latter ...

'Lay' or 'Lie'? Oh My!

Q. Has it become acceptable to use "lay" instead of "lie," as in "the dog is laying down"? I hear and see many reporters, journalists and other well-educated people using "lay" for "lie." -- Hilde Reichenbach, Essex, Conn.

A. Hilde, I hereby ...