Grammar question

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by muttmeister, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Usually I am pretty good at grammar; I even used to teach it. But there is an advertisement on TV that is driving me crazy. They say, "Our company will create well-paying jobs." Now, I know that a job can pay well; in that case well is an adverb that modifies the verb pay. And I know you can have a good job. In that case, good is an adjective tha modifies the noun job. But creating well-paying jobs sounds wrong. To me, well-paying is a hyphenated adjective that modifies the noun jobs. However, well is in adverb and good is an adjective so shouldn't it be good-paying jobs? Or am I missing something?
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I'll admit, you kind of lost me with the "technical jargon"...LOL.... but after turning this around a bit, I thought of something. I don't know if it is correct or not but it is all I have at the moment. :tongue: Personally I think the hyphen is what's throwing you. If you were to rearrange the sentence a bit, would you say a job pays good or pays well? You could say that the pay is good, but if you are talking about the job specifically, shouldn't it be that it pays well?
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Since you ladies seem to know what you're talking about.............Would you like to write my next philosophy paper?? It's for Mr. Anal. :rofl:

    Actually, I always thought "well-paying" was slang. But I'm no enlish teacher. Used to be I spoke perfect English. School corrupted me. I know when things sound right, but I know next to none of the rules behind it.

    I would have said "good paying jobs". Shrugs. Like I said, I had 12 yrs of school corrupt me. lol
  4. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Even if you leave out the hyphen, the "well" or "good" doesn't modify "job"; it modifies "paying" in which case I think it should still be an adjective. I could diagram the sentence but don't know how to show it here. I still think they're wrong.
    "The company" is the subject
    "will create: is the verb
    "jobs" is the direct object
    "good-paying" or "well-paying" modifies jobs, not paying so it has to agree with the object.
  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Well, I don't know... I type "well-nourished", "well-developed" or "normal-appearing" a gazillion times a day. "well-paying" would seem to fit in gramatically but I'm not sure of the technicalities of it. They're using a verb as an adjective with an adverb maybe?
  6. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I would say this
    Which makes sense:
    "Does it pay wel"l or "Does it pay good"

    I think the correct version is pay well, so then well-paying should be correct.

    My grammar is fairly good. It used to be much, much better. I don't remember all the technicalities of grammar anymore. I may be wrong.
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Not fer nuttin' but this here thread makes me head hurt. :hammer:
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Muttmeister, your instinct that this sounds wrong is right on the money.

    In a construction such as well-nourished, well is an adverb that modifies the gerund nourished.

    In the case of well-paying, they are trying to bend a present participle to fit where a gerund should go. It's not the use of well, but the use of paying that's iffy.

    It should either be, "Our company will create well-paid jobs", which sounds awkward, but is grammatically sound. Or, better still, change the construction altogether to say something like, "Our company will create jobs that pay well" which avoids the whole gerund-mess in the first place.

    (Yes, I am a grammar geek. I perseverated on diagramming sentences all through primary school. Even asked the teacher for extra grammar assignments...slinking off to the corner now with my Elements of Grammar book)
  9. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Peeking out of the corner (that I evidently share with Trinity) to agree with her. From one grammar Nazi to another.
  10. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Is that a Strunk and White I see in your hand in that corner? It is a good read! Or would that be a well-reading book????LOL
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    Oh, geez, I haven't diagrammed sentences in 100 yrs. lol

    I sometimes go with-what sounds right whether it's correct or not. (Then sometimes I don't know the difference.)

    One of my pet peeves is for people to use "an historical event." Somebody must have changed the rules after I finished school. If memory serves, the correct way is to use "an" before a word with a vowel. But, it's been way, way too long ago....
  12. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Thanks; that makes sense.
    I bought my mother a t-shirt that says, "I'm the grammarian about whom your mother warned you." Guess I should send one to you. LOL
  13. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    How bad is it that I don't even know what a particple is, anymore?
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Shelia - I used to think the same thing. We had an advertisement at work and they used "an XYZ event" as the slogan. I swore up and down it was wrong - but upon consulting (great site) I was ashamed to realize I was very wrong. You use "an" to denote an entity, event, etc.

    "Good" sounds right to me as well Mutt. Although I am not sure I can quote any rules.

    Trinity I was a dork like that too. I LOVED diagramming sentences in school. The longer the better.

    And yep, Strunk and White is sitting above my head as I type.
  15. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Participle is one thing that should go in the back of your brain and never brought out again. I'm quite certain it was a male difficult child that made that thing up.

    I vote for pay well.

  16. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009
  17. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    There is indeed a Strunk and White. Also a Brewers, a Usage and Abusage, a Shorter Oxford, a Concise Oxford, A Mrs. Byrnes...
    (I collect dictionaries and grammar books. Maybe I need a support group?)
  18. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Muttmeister, I WANT that shirt! What a howl!