Usage and Grammar

Q. How would you style the past tense of “green-light”—“green-lighted” or “greenlit”?

Q. With a compound subject, does the verb number change when the conjunction “and” is replaced by “and then”? For example: “Swimming in the ocean and then running a marathon require/requires great endurance.” I’m told CMOS 5.138 applies and the verb should be plural (“require”). But it seems to me “and then” has combined the two actions into a sequence (as one) which would take the singular “requires.”

Q. Often lately, in drafts I’m editing as well as in emails from colleagues, I’ve seen “below” as an adjective—for instance, “the below example.” This looks and sounds wrong to me. To my further dismay, I just noticed it in an example in my agency’s writing guidance (which I’m partly responsible for updating). CMOS 5.250 doesn’t address this matter, but when I searched the Manual for “the below,” there were no results. Merriam-Webster lists “below” as an adjective and shows it being used before a noun (“the below list”)—but I’ve been told Merriam-Webster presents common usage rather than good usage. The American Heritage Dictionary, which I understand is more prescriptive, lists “below” only as an adverb or preposition. Before I do battle about “below” in our writing guidance, I’d like to know your opinion. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Q. CMOS 5.195 says that “compare with” is for literal comparisons and “compare to” for poetic or metaphorical comparisons. What is a “literal comparison,” and how does it compare with a “poetic or metaphorical comparison”?

Q. Is the term “log in to” or “log into” when a user is connecting to a computer?

Q. Should it be “Nobody but she and Sandra knew if he was lying” or “Nobody but her and Sandra knew if he was lying”? Surely, nobody but the Chicago Q&A will know which is correct—or if neither is!

Q. For the labels on a wall at an art exhibit, should it be “courtesy of the artist” or “courtesy the artist”? I am under the impression that “courtesy of” is acknowledgment as well as thanks to the second party for providing something.

Q. Is it “companies and people who dodge taxes” or “companies and people that dodge taxes”? What if the order is changed?

Q. I have run across the phrase “comprised of” multiple times in a book I’m editing. Depending on context, Google Docs wants me to use “composed” or “consisting” or “comprises” or whatever fits. I know M-W says that while the phrase is not technically incorrect, it does sometimes receive scrutiny. Does CMOS have an official standpoint on its use? Thanks!

Q. Parenthetical material is usually invisible to the grammar of the rest of the sentence, so should it be “a” or “an” in the phrase “a (appropriate) joke”?