Usage and Grammar

Q. I am wondering about the order of masculine and feminine nouns in a sentence. For example, is it correct to say, “Bring your daughters and sons to the event”? This seems awkward to me. It seems more appropriate to put the masculine first: “Bring your sons and daughters to the event.” Is this correct?

Q. I think this is correct: “We may recognize whether any of our friendships is truly spiritual.” My boss thinks it should be are: “whether any of our friendships are truly spiritual.” I can’t find a reference to this in the CMOS except that indefinite pronouns typically are treated as singular when followed by a verb.

Q. Is the word two in the phrase “two codirectors” redundant?

Q. Lie vs. lay —I’m just not getting it. I’ve read the Q&A submission about this and the recommended article. And I’m still not sure. Every time lie is used in an example it is always preceded by a person. I want to know if lie can also be used with objects, such as “The adhesive and plates lie flat under the roof shingles.”

Q. The author insists on using the word “aforementioned,” which I tell him is strictly lawyers’ jargon. He says that he will abide by CMOS’s arbitration.

Q. Which is CMOS’s position on the use of the word irregardless? Wikipedia states, “The term ‘irregardless’ has begun to move towards acceptance because incorrect words or grammatical conventions are absorbed by the English language based on common usage.” This logic bothers me.

Q. We recently published a letter from our college president that said, in part, “Together, we will work to turn hopes and dreams into reality, and address the challenges that lay before us.” A reader has pointed out that it should be “lie” instead of “lay.” What do you say?

Q. Which is correct: “The population is estimated at over 5,000” or “estimated to be over 5,000”? Both drive me crazy!

Q. This sentence was in a script that I was given for a second round of edits: “The identifying information you provided is not valid for a new or an existing card member.” The an had been marked for deletion by the previous editor. I would have chosen to retain it because my understanding is that each adjective used in a series such as this should be accompanied by the article that would be correct if it were used alone. Which is correct?

Q. When writing a scholarly article, can you use the word that in this context? “It held [that] a nurse’s discretion is not authority exercised in the interest of the employer.” My question is whether that should be taken out, because it seems to be an extra word that is not needed.