Some Time Vs. Sometime: Another Grammar Lesson

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I find this fairly straight forward, yet I still trip up on it occasionally. 

Sometime means eventually, an eventual future. Example: I will get to New York sometime next year. If you can substitute eventually and the sentence still makes sense, use sometime. 

Some time means an unspecified amount of time. Example: I spent some time on the phone with her. In this instance, some is an adjective modifying time. If you can use another adjective and the sentence still makes sense use some time. 

This is the same for other some words. Someday and some day.

Who vs. That: Another Grammar Lesson

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For some reason I’ve been having trouble with when to use who and when to use that lately. I used to have it down, but just like the one time in high school I wrote an entire paper without using than (I had convinced myself it wasn’t a word…), I’ve gotten myself mixed up.

Luckily for me a quick Google search helped me remember what I already knew and cleared away the confusion.

The simple answer is Who is for people. That is for objects.

The more complicated answer is addressed by my favorite Grammarian, Grammar Girl (post can be found here). She found that according to the Heritage Dictionary, “It is entirely acceptable to write either the man that wanted to talk to you, or the man who wanted to talk to you.”

Grammar Girl determined it is a bit of a grey area. “My guess is that most people who use who and that interchangeably do it because they don’t know the difference,” she wrote. “To me, using that when you are talking about a person makes them seem less than human.”

Something else I learned in her post, “whose, which is the possessive form of who, to refer to both people and things because English doesn’t have a possessive form of that. it’s fine to say, ‘The desk whose top is cluttered with grammar books,’ even though it is obviously ridiculous to say, ‘The desk who is made of cherry wood.’” I didn’t know that!

Bottom line: who is for people. That is for objects.

Over vs. More Than: A Grammar Lesson

This is a pet peeve of mine. It drives me crazy. I hear it all the time. In advertisements, in the media and in every day speech.

I try not to correct people when they’re speaking, but it isn’t always so easy to bite my tongue. The only thing I can do is try to get a read on person and situation and see if they would appreciate the help or be offended. More often than not, the person would be offended and so I keep my mouth shut.

The best way I’ve found to remember which to use is this: more than is for quantity and over is for jumping. The cow jumped over the moon.

Now there are some experts that claim that over has been used to describe quantity since Old English. The AP Stylebook disagrees. “Generally refers to spatial relationships,” and more than “is preferred with numerals.”

I’m going to go with the AP Stylebook on this one.