Questions tagged [grammar]

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

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15
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there any difference between these two sentences? (Adverbs)

I'm just trying to work around the whole "Adverbs are the devil" rule. Is there any difference between these two lines in regards to writing quality: He smiled patronisingly at them And He had ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

'This one' as a pronoun

I'm writing a story in English but I'm not a native. I’m a Brazilian Portuguese speaker. It bothers me how repetitive and ambiguous pronouns can be. In my language we can use the equivalent to ‘this ...
0
votes
0answers
13 views

Can “indignantly” be used in a situation where the person it's applied to is looking down on someone? [migrated]

Given the following sentence, is "indignantly" used correctly: "I can't believe a filthy beggar like you would dare to even speak to us." The lead girl in the trio indignantly berated him. The ...
3
votes
2answers
184 views

When should the dialogue reference be written, before or after the dialogue?

This might be a very trivial question but I don't know what to google to get an answer so asking anyways. In this dialogue; "I have such a miserable cold, your sarcastic remarks are hardly ...
1
vote
3answers
98 views

What tense to use for events that are still happening?

The question is similar to this but the answers does not answer me. In my general fiction novel, which is told in first person singular past tense, I encounter moments where I am confused whether to ...
1
vote
0answers
72 views

Is there a prefix for 'old'? [closed]

I am writing a sci-fi novel in which humanity has struggled to survive in colonies throughout the solar system after the Earth becomes uninhabitable. I am writing a passage about a main character's ...
1
vote
2answers
112 views

Grammar of, in dialogue, someone quickly negating a previous word?

For example, let's say that someone says a word, but then immediately "corrects" it to a different word. Do you use a comma, an em dash, or what? In addition, if it's at the beginning of a ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How to handle characters who are more educated than the author?

This is inspired by a few things that have been breaking my immersion when reading Worm. The main protagonist is a teen, and most chapters are first-person POV, so grammatical casualness fits. I don'...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

When quoting, must I also copy hyphens used to divide words that continue on the next line?

I want to quote a text in which re of the word relationships is on one line while lationships is on the next, and a hyphen follows re (re-) to indicate that the word continues on the next line. When I ...
1
vote
2answers
55 views

Using a possessive pronoun before using its antecedent in a poem

I was seriously wondering if it's a problem to use the antecedent, which is "Mr Spooner", after the possessive pronoun "his". Also, I am wondering if we can use "his" without ever using an antecedent. ...
2
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1answer
52 views

Crowdsource feedback for research articles

Are there crowdsourced feedback platforms, or does somebody know where I can find somebody that does not ask a lot of money for checking some research articles that I have written for mistakes in ...
5
votes
1answer
36 views

Capitlization of A Named Experiment

I have an experiment which we call 'the krypton experiment'. In referring to the krypton experiment, should it be capitalized? e.g. The Krypton Experiment was used as a source of benchmark data. or ...
0
votes
3answers
119 views

Using a grammatically incorrect tense for stylistic effect

Immanuel Kant has been born in Europe. I heard you can't use the Present Perfect for dead people, so can I use it to indirectly state how influential Kant was (as if he were Immortal, or that he ...
2
votes
4answers
119 views

Replacing adverbs

I understand the reasons so many people have dislike for adverbs in writing, but I'm struggling with how to find a real balance. For example, these adverbs can die: "He ran quickly" is easily ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Should I start a new paragraph after a dialogue if the action is being taken by a new person?

I am currently editing an original work of fiction, and one of the things I'm having the most trouble with is dialogue and paragraphs after certain character's actions. I know it sounds a little ...
3
votes
5answers
71 views

Should I change from past to present tense to state a fact that continues into the present and is unyielding?

Within narration in past tense, should a statement of a universally true fact be in past tense or in present tense? For example, in the short text: It was late afternoon in Zubrin. The air was ...
6
votes
5answers
197 views

What are the chances that agents or publishers will accept my manuscript if there are some grammatical errors in it?

English is not my native one, but I can talk and write with it, but maybe not as well as I would like to. Many readers have told me that my stories I wrote are really good, but still, I make some ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Should the name of a mythological creature be capitalized?

The name of the mythological creature in my novel is "manananggal". When I'm referring to it, should I capitalize what it is?
2
votes
2answers
62 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
vote
5answers
201 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.
1
vote
4answers
127 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
239 views

How to indicate that the source language is gender-neutral?

The source language in question is Standard Chinese. It is a gender-neutral language. One big thing that English speakers complain about English is the gendered pronoun, namely the third person ...
3
votes
1answer
125 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 ...
-5
votes
3answers
137 views

Are creative writers all granted implicit immunity from grammar rules?

That'd sure come in handy for me.
4
votes
6answers
227 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
votes
4answers
165 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 ...
22
votes
9answers
4k 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
votes
0answers
335 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
73 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
114 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
votes
4answers
447 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
122 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
191 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
546 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
votes
4answers
172 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?...
1
vote
2answers
81 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
226 views

Trudy said - or - said Trudy?

Hope someone can tell me if there are any "rules" about placement of the verb 'said.' As any avid reader knows, 'said' regularly appears before and after the subject who is speaking. Is there any real ...
1
vote
1answer
211 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
votes
2answers
124 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
184 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
92 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
292 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
votes
11answers
11k 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
214 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
301 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
votes
7answers
399 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
51 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
110 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; ...