Grammar is the first rule
Wednesday, Apr 28, 2004
I want Kerry to win more than anything, which is why the following is so frustrating: A few weeks ago I got my first ever piece of real, physical political correspondence from the Kerry campaign. The first sentence reads, "All our hard work and determination -- all the energy and enthusiasm that you and so many other dedicated people have brought to our campaign -- are finally paying off."

Are?! Admittedly, this is a difficult sentence, since 'all our pennies are shiny' but in that case, 'our pennies' is plural. In the above case, "our hard work and determination" is singular, and the modifier 'all' doesn't group together many disparate items, but rather refers to the grand sum of a single item, as in 'all our work was for naught,' as opposed to 'all our work were for naught.'

Ugh. I hope part of my campaign contribution goes to a proofreader. In a battle like the one running for the next six months, it's stupid to miss points for something like this.

Update: Thanks to Andrew, for convincing me that the letter was correct after all. Hard work and determination are two individual things, so 'all' groups them together, making the total plural.


If you like it, please share it.

Hi, I'm Kevin Fox.
I've been blogging at since 1998.
I can be reached at .

I also have a resume.


I'm co-founder in
a fantastic startup fulfilling the promise of the Internet of Things.

The Imp is a computer and wi-fi connection smaller and cheaper than a memory card.

Find out more.

We're also hiring.


I post most frequently on Twitter as @kfury and on Google Plus.


I've led design at Mozilla Labs, designed Gmail 1.0, Google Reader 2.0, FriendFeed, and a few special projects at Facebook.

©2012 Kevin Fox