Usage and Grammar

Q. What is an acceptable way to refer to myself in a Chicago-style paper? I have always been told not to use “I”: “I disagree with Dr. Fream’s conclusion.” In the past I have been told that I should refer to myself as “this author”: “This author disagrees with Dr. Fream’s conclusion.” An English-teacher friend of mine, in checking one of my papers, stated that she believes the use of “this author” is in error.

Q. An author has insisted on placing a “sic” after quoting authors who use “him” or “himself” to refer in general to persons rather than using gender-inclusive language. We think this is a bit pretentious and that the quoted material should stand on its own. Do the wise editors have any advice?

Q. I have learnt that it is wrong to make adjectives out of verbs. Please advise if “increased” is used correctly in the following sentence: Increased competition from international players interested in India is a key downside risk. I refer to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.

Q. How do you handle words that do not appear in the dictionary? Are they considered wrong? Within my documentation the writer uses the word “Typomatic.” This means when you are in our software and start typing a word, the word appears in the field as you type the word. In Merriam-Webster this word does not appear.

Q. OK, this may be silly, but is there a hard and fast rule about verb agreement when the subject and verb are split by an additional subject that is offset by parentheses or em dashes? My thought is that this “extra” subject should be ignored, but I’m guessing, and I can’t find a clear answer. Example: The evolution (and inspiration) is just beginning. Or should it be, The evolution (and inspiration) are just beginning? I feel like the absolutely correct version is the former, not the latter. As always, thanks for your expert recommendation!

Q. Recently my wife corrected my grammar several times in one day, in front of her family, which led me to seek an opportunity to publicly correct her. I contended that she should have said “high quality” instead of simply “quality.” She insisted that I was wrong, and I fear that I may indeed be wrong, but I would like your insight on the off chance that I might be right.

Q. When quoting from Scriptures, which are often interpreted as God literally speaking, is it grammatically correct to say “Psalm 1:1 reads” or “Psalm 1:1 says”?

Q. As an editor, I am usually a big fan of the dictionary, as well as a generally obedient disciple. However, I was shocked to see that my dictionary allows “timely” to be used as an adverb. Is it true? I feel betrayed. I have spent a lot of time changing “Policies were implemented timely” to “Policies were implemented in a timely manner.” Do I need to find a new dictionary?

Q. I am editing an important policy statement (with legal implications) and wonder whether this sentence needs a singular verb (“is” instead of “are”): A complainant who wishes to withdraw the complaint and/or a respondent who does not wish to participate in the hearing process are advised to contact the manager.

Q. My younger colleagues see absolutely no problem with this construction: “Based on the report, the authors drew up a summary.” I see this everywhere now and wonder if my reaction, which is to change this into “On the basis of the report, the authors . . .” or “The authors drew up a summary based on the report,” is because I’m a dinosaur.