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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Good, bad, ugly? - "with professional efficiency" vs "with a professional efficiency" [migrated]

Is either wrong? What's your take on the difference? I'm writing my first story and have an editor who has been great. I'm going through their edits and changing my draft as per their suggestions. One ...
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1 answer
76 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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
97 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 ...
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2 votes
4 answers
121 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 ...
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Corrections on grammar or wording

Context: Person A rants on a small situation that hides/layered a bigger hidden personal problem. Person B felt/detects this Example: A character is upset of a random street cat dying, but it is ...
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2 votes
2 answers
57 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' '...
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4 answers
98 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"...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
80 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 ...
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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!"...
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3 answers
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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 ...
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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,...
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1 answer
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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 ...
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2 answers
62 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
78 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 ...
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2 answers
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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 ...
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1 answer
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Trying to decide on writing style and format for dialogue. Looking for Grammatical advice and suggestions. Native British English spearker

I am new to this forum and writing and I am trying to decide on my preferred writing style. I am currently working on dialogue and looking for ideas and suggestions for grammatically correct and 'good ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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Singular or plural verb after a list of single activities? [closed]

In the following sentence, which one is correct? "requires" or "require"? Reading all recent papers, relating them together, and finally drawing a conclusion from them require(s) ...
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1 vote
3 answers
174 views

Any programs useful for writing?

I was wondering, which programs would you recommend for writing. Whatever they possess general functions to correct your texts and grammar, and/or functions specific for storytelling/worldbuilding (...
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9 votes
3 answers
1k views

"Lack of [plural]": should accompanying verb be singular or plural?

In this sentence: It’s not our lack of answers to these problems that causes us such pain. My word processor tells me that "causes" should be in the plural form "cause", but I'm ...
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11 votes
6 answers
3k views

Is there any pronoun in English that can include both HE and SHE?

Some languages like Persian do not have gender for pronouns. For example, they use just one pronoun (Ou) to refer to he/she. This makes the language gender-neutral which to me it is more convenient in ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
39 views

Best method to separate complex/multiple nouns and the verb? Semi-colon?

Would a semi-colon be appropriate separating a list of nouns all affected by a verb/or are all the agents responsible for said action? If not what do you all suggest without altering the structure of ...
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9 votes
5 answers
4k views

I am trying to find an online, free to use and algorithm-based grammar checker, that can reliably point out mistakes. Any suggestions?

I tried using Quillbot and Grammarly, but they sometimes give inappropriate edits, or not enough information to justify edits so I am often left confused. Any suggestion would be helpful. P.S: If such ...
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2 votes
1 answer
62 views

Should a common noun which has a specific word in a different language be capitalised?

The setting is that there is a celebration underway where people of different species (lets say, humans and elves) are attending. In the elves' language they call any celebration "Jashnak". ...
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2 votes
2 answers
96 views

Are "floating quotations" to be avoided in academic writing?

I am finishing my dissertation, and my advisor was highly critical of my use of "floating quotations" or "stand-alone quotations." She directed me to a University of North Carolina ...
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1 answer
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Adverbs in a complex verb? [closed]

I want to know if this sentence is grammatically correct. The actions he took have truly led to a lack of confidence in his work. The words, "have led," are a complex verb. Is it ...
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1 vote
0 answers
35 views

When do I use Is vs Are [closed]

4.5 hectares of communal land are degrading OR is it 4.5 hectares of communal land is degrading? I sense that it is the first option, but just need to check.
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Can I use the term 'the desperate' as a kind of 'desperate people'?

I'm not an native English speaker. I have written some lyrics: Like the desperate waiting for Messiah, I'm just waiting for you. I want to use the term 'the desperate' for the meaning of 'desperate ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Dropping repeated verbs/prepositions/adjectives for different subjects

I wonder if it's alright for us to drop words like verbs, prepositions or adjectives for different subjects in the same sentence if repeated. Consider this sentence: "My son was born in 1975 and ...
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1 answer
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What is the correct order of verb - modifer - subject? [closed]

Dummy question here, but would it be "pick up [an item] or pick [an item] up? Appreciate any help.
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0 votes
1 answer
74 views

City of [city name] or [city name] city?

I’m wondering what is more appropriate when referring to a city, let’s say Damascus for example. Is it better to say “city of Damascus” or “Damascus city”? Or are they both interchangeable. I know for ...
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1 vote
2 answers
147 views

What to do when a sentence is too confusing

I’m struggling to clearly yet briefly explain what’s going on. I’m fairly sure this sentence is grammatically correct, but it still sounds clunky and confusing. For context, my POV character sits down ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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When a character is mentally recalling prior dialog verbatim, how should it be quoted?

When a character is mentally recalling prior dialog verbatim, should the dialog be surrounded by double-quotes or single-quotes, be italicized, or get no special treatment at all? For example: O'...
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17 votes
3 answers
5k views

I thought I understood tenses

I'm writing a story in the past tense, third person, deep POV. Similar to the first person, that implies that some of the narration can be read as the character's thoughts. Here are two trite examples:...
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0 votes
1 answer
24 views

Comma after adverb

Should you include a comma after an adverb, just before the adverb or not include a comma at all in this example. The adverb in question being 'prematurely'. 1 On Tuesday, the EU’s attempt to reach a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
18 views

Article use in "depending on problems to be solved"

I am writing a scientific paper, and I started the first sentence of one paragraph as below: Many algorithms are available, depending on problems to be solved. Someone told me that I need to add the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
105 views

The use of of repeated conjunction by tabloids

Here in Denmark, we have a tabloid newspaper (which will remain unnamed) which is infamous for, among other things, its ever-present writing mistakes, to the point that it almost seems intentional. I ...
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1 vote
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When to use adjective forms of anatomical nouns in scientific writing?

Consider the following anatomical parts of crustacean: carapace, abdomen, and areola. In much of published literature, you'll see the phrases "carapace length", "abdomen length," ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
130 views

Do grammar mistakes matter? [duplicate]

Do English-language speakers care about grammar so much? For example when someone makes errors concerning mixed tenses does that bother readers so much?
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2 votes
2 answers
127 views

How do I write thought?

The question basically explains it all. How should I write thought? Should I use quotations? Italization? Or should I just leave it be? This question has been bugging me for a while and I decided ...
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4 votes
1 answer
99 views

Should an edit notice be in plural when mentioning multiple document titles?

I'm sending a message to a group of people informing them of an edit to one of their documents now mentions a reference to multiple documents and their titles. There is a total of four documents with ...
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1 vote
1 answer
171 views

Using an em dash in a sentence spanning over multiple lines

When using em dash in a sentence that runs to multiple lines, especially in poetry, can it be the last word of the continuous sentence? For example, let us consider the following Wordsworth poetry. (I ...
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What is the correct usage of "sometimes" as a prefix?

For example, if one might describe themselves as an "occasional writer;" or, identifies as a writer, yet only "writes occasionally." Would "sometimes-writer" be a more ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
71 views

"not as well educated as..." vs "Not so well educated as..." [closed]

I am writing a scholarship essay and one of my sentences is: "Although both of my parents have bachelor’s degrees now, they were not as well educated or stably employed when I was growing up.&...
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0 votes
2 answers
98 views

Use of asyndeton in a list preceded by a colon?

Would the word and be omitted before the last item in either of these two sentences? Maximum tree-ring counts for species sampled are as follows: American beech (50), tuliptree (125), white ash (221),...
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