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Questions tagged [grammar]

Questions about the rules of grammar, and how to properly apply them to writing. Note that questions asking to improve or check grammar of a specific piece are off-topic.

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Why the word `event` in singular form in following context? [migrated]

I am trying to understand the following sentence: In many cases, we are interested in the probability of some event, given that some other event has happened. "some" + "event": ...
Sardor Abdirayimov's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
54 views

Using unusual grammatical wording to refer to people

All that will die tomorrow Is whom I loved and will still love So I was wondering if this is a common thing in poetry. You refer to people as "all that", and then use whom, which creates a ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
38 views

Question on noun/adjective grammar for poolside and mountainside

Quick question for people's thoughts: I want to write a sentence: Enjoy an audiobook whether you're poolside or mountainside. My question is... Would you write this sentence as the above, or as: Enjoy ...
Rob's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do you convey that an action is subconscious when writing in first person?

My protagonist had a traumatic experience that means she keeps her distance from men. Sometimes, if she genuinely feels in danger, all her actions will be calculated and thought-through. However, most ...
BubbleQueen's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
208 views

Why do artists make grammar mistakes in their songs?

I would be deeply grateful if you answer my question. I'm currently writing my thesis about standard and non-standard English grammar and the main problem of my work is why artists make grammar "...
user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
882 views

Should I use do or did?

I work for a publication, and a subtitle for one of the articles goes thus: "What do Jesus, John, Jude, Mark, Matthew, Peter, and Paul have in common?" It is referring to people in the Bible,...
wonderingcopyeditor's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
178 views

Nonbinary character who is gender fluid, changing pronouns smoothly?

I have a character that's nonbinary. I'm more looking into a good mechanical way to change the pronouns for the character every time they change their presentation. The (fictional) language they speak ...
Kim Yoonmi--Surname first's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
158 views

Which Is Clearer: 'Being pressed' or 'Pressed'?

Consider these two sentences: [1] Being pressed against the wall, he struggled to break free. [2] Pressed against the wall, he struggled to break free. I've recently spent some time reading grammar ...
MJ Ada's user avatar
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1 vote
5 answers
155 views

Is there a smooth way to indicate that third person pronouns don't matter so much in my worldbuilding in English?

For context, I am nonbinary, and also East Asian. My language of fluency is English, but I know other languages and also have an anthropology degree. (Japanese, Korean, a tiny, tiny bit of Mandarin, ...
Kim Yoonmi--Surname first's user avatar
5 votes
6 answers
554 views

How Should We Implement the Given-before-New Principle in Fiction?

It's safe to say I've become a bit of a grammar nerd since I started writing my first novel. Three years after my first words landed on the page, I'm only now coming to the end of my final round of ...
MJ Ada's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
100 views

Avoiding ambiguity when using pronouns to refer back to different parts of the preceding clause

I have the following sentence A Terminal Interface is used to interact with the Operating System that acts as an intermediary between the user and the computer hardware. I want to make sure that the ...
Prego's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
53 views

Should this sentence use "might be" or "might have been"?

I am writing about a woman who has found an anonymous parcel on her desk, and she is talking to her colleague to find out who might have sent it... The novel is written in past tense, and I am not ...
Jurij's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
40 views

Non finite (..ing) v finite (..ed) verb form correct usage

The rhythm of these 3 excerpts below are different, they read to me more or less the same though. Are any actually grammatically wrong? It's funny the sort of questions that pop up when you start ...
Bertbarber 's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
51 views

a/the when talking about the company in a resume

In a resume, where the format is: {Company Name} - {Title} - {Start Date} - {End Date} - {Location} {Summary of the responsibilities and accomplishments at the company} One of the entries is the ...
Sam's user avatar
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-1 votes
4 answers
88 views

Which one is correct grammatically concerning good and well? [closed]

If I am asking my child to close the door completely, should I say, "Close the door good." or "Close the door well."
Vanissa's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
71 views

"we say x is a variable ... " vs "we say that x is a variable ..."?

I am writing a mathematical paper and many definitions include statements like "we say that c is a constant ... " My question: Is "that" really necessary here?
SagarM's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
94 views

Do scientific papers use "minus N" or "add -N"?

Imagine scientific papers written in English. Is it common in this field to express the subtraction of values as "add -N"? So for example instead of writing "Patient weight minus 2"...
toni's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
55 views

parenthetical... suggestion?

okay, trying to settle an argument. on my dating profile, one of the prompts says: "together we could.." among other things, my response includes, "eat (spicy) food". my friends ...
coconut.aminos's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
120 views

Is this an extraneous preposition?

Is it correct to include the "on?" Gap years are best for students to decide (on) their majors.
Jonathan Abbado's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
1k views

Usage of semi-colon

Which one is correct? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the context matters. I've heard that "if the sentence cant stand on its own, the semi-colon isn't needed", but I frankly can'...
jtb's user avatar
  • 316
1 vote
1 answer
393 views

How do I list a married couple when one of them is deceased?

I need to list a married couple as honorees on an event invitation. They are the recipients of an award, but the husband has recently passed. If I say the late Joe and Jane Smith, does that imply they ...
Mimi B.'s user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
102 views

Does it make sense to use the English language ungrammatically because the worldbuilding of your world tells you to do so?

Does it make sense to use the English language ungrammatically because the worldbuilding tells you to do so? I was thinking about writing a story in a world where gender pronouns don't exist and ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
171 views

Can you switch from past to present tense to expound on an action?

If the text is primarily past tense, can you briefly switch to present tense to expound on an action? An example is as follows. She took one step before the brass bell above her door echoed a sharp ...
Bubbles's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
461 views

Can someone "have a moment of reprieve"?

I'm editing a friend's essay for graduate school. They use the sentence: "I want to help patients have a moment of reprieve." It feels odd to me, but I don't want to make an edit if it's ...
T. Esther's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
35 views

Comparison of two categories over a specific period of time

Year: 2009 / 2019 Mobile use: 15% / 26% Table use: 5% / 19% what is the correct way to describe changes in two different years? I have tried to describe the changes in three different sentences,...
DrDentMBR's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
98 views

"Through using" or "through use of"?

"Phishing entails collecting victim information through using social engineering." Is this correct? It sounds better to use "through use of" to my ears, but would that be more ...
H D's user avatar
  • 1
11 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do I always need a comma after a person's name?

This is a big issue between my husband and me. He says always put a comma after a name, I say only when a break is needed. Example: A review of the complaint filed by Andrew, shows that Linnea, and ...
A. McGowan's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
70 views

What is the 'it' doing in this sentence?

I don't like then sentence I have just written: "If the mat is too thick, then it becomes difficult to balance." I believe the meaning is clear, but is it bad grammar? Specifically, I can't ...
Chris 's user avatar
  • 103
1 vote
2 answers
84 views

Is it accurate to use hyphens after people's names? (John - , Hi John -)

I've seen a number of people especially in business settings use hyphens after names while writing or addressing other individuals. Is this accurate? e.g. John - I've been trying to reach you or Hi ...
Naman Kamra's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
670 views

When the pronoun "I" occurs outside of quotes, is it always a narrator's voice?

When the pronoun "I" occurs outside of quotes, is it always a narrator's voice? If there are exceptions, I would be grateful for examples.
user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
87 views

Question about present tense writing, and use of the words: have, and think

I am just beginning to get serious about the way I write, furthermore I’m a very cautious writer so I would just like to know if these simple paragraphs are correct. I am trying to clarify both my use ...
Courtney's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
435 views

Can "splooge" be considered a form of onomatopoeia?

I know I've heard that sound. I can't quite remember where. If you Google it, it refers you to ejaculation. I did find one reference that identified it as a verb and a noun, but no mention of ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
118 views

What is the verb in Mark Twain’s sentence?

In Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad he ends chapter 31 with the following two sentences: This saddens me. I will to bed. I have never seen this grammatical form. What is the intransitive verb in “I ...
Vogon Poet's user avatar
  • 1,112
2 votes
4 answers
147 views

Can "they" be used when it comes to a person and their animal companions

Yes, I know that an animal is referred as “it” unless the relationship is personal (like a pet that has a name). Then they'd be "he" or "she" It's more on the context of: A person ...
AmateurWriter's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
450 views

How to write a biography without pronoun repetition?

My question is similar to this one, but I am not happy with the answer. Also, my style and sample example are very different. I am writing a biography and all the writing has become, ' he did this' '...
The White Cloud's user avatar
0 votes
4 answers
120 views

Is there a resource (website, book, etc.) to learn the basics of novel/story grammar?

I'm interested in learning to write as someone that has been a reader my whole life. I'm aware there are many website for tips like "every time a different character speaks, start a new line"...
Dave's user avatar
  • 11
-2 votes
1 answer
72 views

This, that, these, those [closed]

English is not my first language. I am writing a more or less formal text (nonfiction). When I am talking about something that I introduced in a previous paragraph or sentence, is it correct to always ...
Bento de Espinosa's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
333 views

Whether to use settle "in" or "on"

I've been writing some flavor text for my next board game release, which is about settling a colony in/on different planets, and I am not sure if I'm using those two prepositions correctly, if I have ...
Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers
3k views

When writing, should I describe a scream instead of having the character yell out "Ahhhh!"

Another writer was critiquing my story, and she mentioned that I should describe the scream and show the reaction of the character instead of having the character actually scream out "Ahhhh!"...
Dawn Kelli's user avatar
  • 1,075
0 votes
3 answers
190 views

What's the solution for "language being subjective" affecting readability? To write more concisely or what?

What's the solution for "language being subjective" affecting readability? To write more concisely or what? To me it seems like knowing how to make a "well understood" text seems ...
mavavilj's user avatar
  • 165
1 vote
2 answers
136 views

Is using non-sentences bad writing?

Consider the following extract of text (content not important, only sentence structure): When the jump is made, from seeing a subject as vocational, to worthy of study for the sake of knowledge alone,...
JP McCarthy's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
59 views

Newbie needs help with hyphen confusion!

I'm new here, trying to sharpen up my grammar skills due to a new transcription job. I have a question pertaining to one of the documents I'm typing right now. I use the Grammarly app as my word ...
user52904's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
128 views

Using past or present tense when writing about an event occurring on that day

I was wondering which of the two sentences are correct: The homework was due today The homework is due today My story is written in past tense, but character X says this in narration during the ...
Wholly Tolly Tomburry Dommy's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
3k views

Interspersing German in English dialogue?

My situation is this: in the dialogue I’m writing, the characters speak primarily English but occasionally use a German word for lack of a proper English equivalent. German capitalizes all nouns ...
Lea's user avatar
  • 153
0 votes
1 answer
118 views

Why do I lose focus and direction in my songwriting?

Today while writing my song, every line seemed to fight me. It seemed to wander without direction. I don't always have this problem but would like to figure how to avoid writing songs that wind up ...
Cool Guy's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
4k views

How can I avoid overusing "I" and "I'm" in a first person short story?

The story I'm writing uses 'I' and 'I'm' way too much, and it's really obvious. The problem is that I cannot find words to replace the two, and when I do, it always changes and bends what I'm trying ...
Rose's user avatar
  • 163
0 votes
2 answers
90 views

Comma after colon, or just use hyphens instead?

Please read the following sentence: My interest in learning and thirst to seek out information whenever I can: my curiosity, is what I would consider my greatest talent. In this situation, is the ...
Mave's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
0 answers
42 views

Relapse or relapses?

I'm writing an academic paper on the topic of substance use relapse. I am wondering when it is appropriate to use 'relapse' without a preposition when used as a noun in a singular form. Two examples ...
oustella's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
99 views

When is a colon recommended or more grammatically correct than a comma or semicolon when used mid sentence?

Please note I am posting as a UK English writer, I point this out as I know there are differences between American and UK grammar guidelines or accepted practices. I would also add that I am asking ...
kerry's user avatar
  • 131
0 votes
2 answers
190 views

Can I link a dialogue tag to dialogue using a colon

Can I introduce dialogue as follows - The headmaster entered the room: "Everybody sit down now!" or - "Everybody sit down now": The headmaster had entered the room I know I could ...
kerry's user avatar
  • 131

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