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Questions tagged [grammar]

Questions about the rules of grammar, and how to properly apply them to writing.

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1answer
36 views

How can I learn about syntax from the point of view of a poet?

Are there any resources that teach syntax aimed at creative uses? I find that having words to describe what I'm doing as a poet is very useful, so I want to talk about the different sort of ...
1
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5answers
146 views

How can I state what is written on a sign?

Is it okay to write: "Shop Name", read a sign hanging above the shop. Should I use italics for the shop name or use any other type of formatting? I wasn't sure how to do this. This is for fiction.
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4answers
104 views

When is it okay to say the word “now” in a past tense story?

I’ve seen it done in Harry Potter I just don’t understand when its okay to do it, like can I say something like “John walked away from the house and was now walking along the road” or not? When is it ...
3
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1answer
70 views

Punctuation when using inline dialogue

I am a bit crazy about punctuation and I have a question that I'm struggling to find a consensus on. For dialogue (especially in fiction), I always use the standard format: "I told you I wanted ...
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3answers
90 views

Are creative writers all granted implicit immunity from grammar rules?

That'd sure come in handy for me.
4
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6answers
181 views

Can I assign actions to broad concepts?

Whenever I write, I run into the problem where I have to assign human actions to subjects that, when I contemplate about it, cannot realistically perform those actions. A teacher told me years ago ...
6
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4answers
129 views

Do I have to capitalize ESP in sci fi fiction sentences?

Some of my fiction sci fi characters are ESP sensitive and the term is used a lot. Capitalized ESP stands out in my sentences like yelling so I am using esp,lower case. Is that acceptable? Will a ...
21
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8answers
3k views

How can I improve my sentence construction or flow in general writing?

Can anyone suggest resources or techniques I can use to improve my sentence construction when writing? I am a native English speaker and fairly well educated, but confess I didn't pay much attention ...
2
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0answers
329 views

Clarifying English Writing Conventions [closed]

I need example and usage of the following. "but" - I seen it used but without comma, but after comma, and new sentence with But. What's the proper way to use it. "However" - I seen it used start of a ...
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1answer
41 views

Is this line in a song/poem grammatically correct: “But oh how the love, it still wrecks me every time.”? [closed]

Is this line in a song (or might just end up as a poem) grammatically correct: "But oh how the love, it still wrecks me every time." ?? It seems to not be grammatically correct to me, but I just ...
3
votes
3answers
78 views

Properly punctuate a quote

I am trying to learn to properly punctuate a quote, for example If I have I said "Let us go" and we left. Do I put a comma before or after the quote? Do I put a period after the word go before ...
3
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4answers
247 views

Dialogue Writing and Word Repetition [closed]

I'm an amateur writer. I'm having problems with dialogue writing specifically with punctuation and capitalization. Also, I need some advice on how to avoid word repetition. Please help this new guy ...
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2answers
703 views

No Contractions

When writing essays for History class, 5 points are taken off for every contraction. I don't see why writing it fully out is better than using a contraction, since it's shorter and it doesn't affect ...
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3answers
98 views

Should I capitalise the first letter of a title that an unnamed character has?

I'm writing from a third person viewpoint. I have a character who does not have a name. He is simply known as "The Sentinel". In fact, that is the only introduction he gives for himself. So when I'm ...
5
votes
5answers
168 views

Knowing when to disobey the advice of grammar software

When writing I try to be my own editor in order to improve the quality of what I write. When I feel happy I use Hemingway to further tighten up what I have written. Normally I aim for having a score ...
5
votes
4answers
476 views

Do you have to write in the tone of ordinary speech?

Must writing always be done in the tone/style of ordinary contemporary speech? For example, some people might say that the conjunction "for" is archaic and should not be used in modern prose, but it ...
7
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3answers
129 views

Capitalization after use of colon?

This is a sentence from a current writing project detailing how people in jail feel about reading. It provides an escape from the reality of what lies before them: time. Should "time" be capitalized?...
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2answers
72 views

What's the best way to add a break in conversation?

In my book, I have someone calling 911 to report something, then I want a police officer informing the chief they got another report about XYZ. I don't want to go into the whole conversation with the ...
1
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1answer
123 views

Would I use a capitalization for vampire?

I have been writing a fantasy story, but I am not sure if I should use capitalization on "vampire" or not. In the first example it's talking about a single vampire, but not specific one. Example: "...
2
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2answers
104 views

Is this featured article wrong about passive voice?

http://reelauthors.com/mobile/screenplay-coverage/screenwriting-present-tense-and-active-voice.php I think the article above is incorrect in its examples of passive voice. If I’m correct, I find it a ...
4
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3answers
128 views

Writing a letter from the future

I'm writing a letter from the future to my dear friends, posing as the child they're about to have. The main aim of the letter is to be amusing, but also to give some perspective (you don't need to be ...
4
votes
2answers
69 views

Present tense or Future tense (When writing articles or technical guides)

Should we use present tense or future tense when writing an article? I know this question will be off topic if I asked without example. So I will add an example: You should use a very clean font ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

What is it called when poets changing grammar rules?

I noticed it in many poems that the verses do not contain words according to proper grammar rules. I was told that poets are allowed to do that to incorporate the rhyming words. For example, in the ...
27
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11answers
8k views

Is it wrong to use the same word multiple times within a few sentences?

I have been told before that when describing things in writing I should use different words, and not to repeat myself so it doesn't become redundant, but sometimes there are no other words that work ...
1
vote
3answers
131 views

Using in' rather than ing in third person omniscient

The characters I'm working with not only speak in rural slang [i.e. frequently drop the 'g' on words ending in 'ing'] but, as a third person omniscient, I also have them thinking in it. [Thinkin' in ...
8
votes
3answers
287 views

How can I improve my grammar?

I feel like I have learned everything I know about Grammar by osmosis. I don't remember learning any of the technicalities of Grammar when I was at school and it has always been a weak area. I think ...
2
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7answers
206 views

What do sentences look like in a rough draft before they are combined into a cumulative sentence?

I am unwilling to draft without editing as I go because I worry I won't be able to translate my thoughts into cumulative sentences. For instance let's take the sentence: "He walked to the store, an ...
28
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3answers
4k views

Reasons for confusion over tenses in a story

When writing stories in past tense (which is majority of the time) whether it be an essay for class or an unassembled essay for home and in my own time, I often find myself writing some of my ...
0
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1answer
40 views

Where can i correct my work for clarity and grammar issues? [closed]

Our eyes are mysterious; driven lenses, full of exposure. The moonlight stood still in the face of adaptation. Looking forward, i saw growth. Her eyes were dull. Iris, like the flower. Her mustard ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

Referencing the present while using the past tense

It feels awkward and confusing to speak specifically about the present -- e.g. "right now," "these days", "this very moment", etc. -- when writing in past-tense. For example: "He mused about it; ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

Where can I correct my works for grammar mistakes?

When I write something, there maybe one or few grammar mistakes. Is there any online service like thing (for free) that can correct those for me? Just a curiosity to know.
3
votes
2answers
118 views

Active voice in situations where the subject is unknown

In a situation where a POV character isn't lucid enough to see or interpret what's going on around them, I find myself constantly describing things either in passive voice, or by using the word '...
2
votes
5answers
187 views

Is there a way to improve my grammar without so much cost? [closed]

I'm definitely poor at English and I always have grammatical errors. After posting a question about what apps can I use to start writing my stories, I searched in this site if how can I improve my ...
2
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2answers
182 views

Is it acceptable to start a sentence with the word “But”

I have read some sources say you never start a sentence with a conjunction, other sources say it is acceptable. and in some cases better. So can you start a sentence with the word "But" and if so, ...
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0answers
28 views

What is the meaning of this? [closed]

I have written a classification in my article and the editor after checking said: 'Cite the classifications in tabular format with appropriate table number and caption'. So, what is the meaning of "...
4
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3answers
379 views

Alternative to Strunk & White?

I have to confess that I find Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" to be a very tedious read. Can anyone recommend an alternative title that covers similar ground?
2
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1answer
40 views

When to introduce a list of two with the word “both”

I cannot think of any sentence where the word "both" is not dead-weight. Can you help me understand when it is and is not appropriate to include "both" when proceeding a list of two. For example: ...
5
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5answers
183 views

Do many people even care about “good” grammar in novels?

I realise people like me are probably many, i.e., amateurs who want to write a book and then get frustrated by having to learn all this very intricate grammar just to please the odd poindexter who may ...
5
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2answers
137 views

Turning normal phrases into gerund phrases: What's the effect in the reader?

For example, what's the difference between: She closed her eyes and thought about her life. He was so confident and handsome women circled him like vultures. And this: Closing her eyes, ...
5
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3answers
189 views

Capitalize 'it' when referring to a strange being?

I have a being with a name. I capitalize its name when I mention it. But mostly, I refer to it as "it". I use "it" a lot in dialogue, as characters talk about this being. Should I capitalize "it", ...
1
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1answer
630 views

Reported speech in a dialogue

I suppose this is not really advisable but how do you report speech in a conversation with another person? Should standard reported speech rules apply or do I treat it as direct speech? "My homeroom ...
0
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1answer
64 views

Shifting Tense and Commas in Writing

I received some critiques on my writing where the reader indicated it read fine but there was just something off about my tense. However, he couldn't put a finger on what, exactly, was wrong with it. ...
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1answer
191 views

Which makes better sense? [closed]

Is it correct to say: Sign Up to our Newsletter Or Sign Up for our Newsletter Thanks!
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0answers
107 views

Is this sentence grammatically correct — is the verb informing after the modal verb can in the correct form? [closed]

When reading about subjects of genuine interest to me, I can spend countless amounts of time learning and informing myself about them.
5
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6answers
263 views

Will I ever be able to write like a native writer?

So a little while ago someone said that I'll never be able to write on a native level because I wasn't born in the UK or America. I did, however, go to elementary school in the US at the ages of 5-10 ...
2
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1answer
52 views

Should these words be hyphenated? [closed]

I have the title for a map that shows point locations distributed across a beach where biologists will count the number of clams. The claims will be harvested and used as bait in a crab fishery. ...
1
vote
2answers
390 views

Period outside quotation marks …?

I am quoting a phrase (not dialog) that happens to come at the end of a sentence. Formal writing protocol - I think - tells us that punctuation goes inside the quotes but it seems strange here. A ...
1
vote
2answers
144 views

Comma before names of people or titles

I am wondering whether it's necessary to use commas in the sentences below when addressing or introducing someone: “You look after each other, okay children?" “You look after each other, okay, ...
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2answers
79 views

Habitual use of -ing follows -ed — is this wrong?

I have recently noticed that I consistently follow an -ed clause with further action or elaboration using -ing. I feel like something is wrong here, even though it sounds and reads well enough to me. ...
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2answers
138 views

How to clarify the objects of a sentence's two pronouns?

I am trying to describe a process. There are two players in the scenario. Player A tries to find player B. If player A finds player B, then player A tags player B. Something like that. Here is an ...