Usage and Grammar

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”?

Q. Would it be “None of us gets to decide these things” or “None of us get to decide these things”? Thank you.

Q. My question is about using a definite article before an attributive noun used to identify someone. For instance, “the photographer Ansel Adams took my picture,” as opposed to “photographer Ansel Adams took my picture.” Do you prefer to use the article? Newspaperese style seems to be to omit it, but I’m a holdout. Thanks for any guidance.

Q. Is it correct to use “with” as a conjunction, as in “The regulator received four complaints this month, with two of them related to anticompetitive behavior”? I don’t do it, as I want to avoid it being read as “along with,” but I see this type of construction quite often.

Q. Would “Depending on” count as a dangler in “Depending on the weather, the play will be performed outdoors”? If not, why not?

Q. “The majority of samples were/was extracted from regular biopsy procedures.” I think I should use “was,” but “were” sounds better to the ear. What is the correct way?

Q. Hello! I understand that when an indefinite pronoun like “everything” is the subject of a clause, it takes a singular verb (per CMOS 5.67). But I’m stumped by the following sentence, whose compound subject is composed of two indefinite pronouns: “Everything we say and everything we do [is/are] built on this idea.” Does it take a singular or a plural verb? The singular sounds better to my ear, but the plural seems like the logical choice.

Q. Which is correct, “in the peninsula” or “on the peninsula”? Why?

Q. AP style dictates that blonde (with an e) should be used only as a noun and I believe only for a female subject. Blond should be used as a noun for male subjects and as an adjective for both. I cannot find any reference in CMOS, but Merriam-Webster lists both spellings as variants for both nouns and adjectives. Is that Chicago’s position?

Q. Is this use of the passive voice correct? “The restaurant’s excellent dinners had been being prepared by Chef Bob for many years.”