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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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-1
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1answer
34 views

“This is the only time I could find on the calendar.” [closed]

I'd like to get some feedback on the following sentence as I tend to get confused with when to use past and present tenses, especially when both are used in the same sentence. "This is the only time ...
1
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1answer
44 views

How to translate written shorthand to dialogue

I have a character who's going to answer a question with "Either/or." She pronounces it simply either or, but I know some people pronounce the slash itself sometimes. How do I indicate explicitly how ...
0
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0answers
32 views

I am unsure whether to use is or was on my syllabus due to the preface [closed]

I have a paragraph in my syllabus to make it clear to my student that they will be graded on a curve i.e. their grade will be dependent on the grade distribution of the class. The last sentence of the ...
1
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0answers
38 views

What grammatical classification would one place a word created by ending a famous person's name with -ing? [migrated]

I've been struggling with a grammar issue that I don't seem to be able to find information on online. If one were to create a word from a well-known person's name with the suffix -ing - in order to ...
-1
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0answers
16 views

Punctuation question -help needed [closed]

Could you please tell me if the punctuation of the following sentence is correct: I know I would be an asset to your team and my knowledge and international experience will be a very good foundation ...
4
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1answer
86 views

Add Comma After “official” in “official third-party documentation”?

I'm drafting an internal standard on internal documentation covering third-party products or services in my organization. Documentation covering third-party products or services SHOULD NOT: ...
0
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2answers
39 views

Is this sentence grammatically correct? [closed]

The sentence is "How calculating are you?". I am simply wondering if under standard conventions of the English language, that this sentence ought to be perceived as being correct.
1
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2answers
76 views

Is it better to go verb-then-name or name-then-verb when writing sentences with quotes?

Which of these is correct? The first? The second? Both? verb then name: "She's late again," said Jason. name then verb: "She's late again," Jason said. I have almost always used the first ...
0
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4answers
76 views

How can I abbreviate “Equations” and “Recommendations” in a text?

When I want to abbreviate the words "Equations" and "Recommendations" in a text, how can I do this? for example Solving the above eqs. / eq's. is not possible unless by computers. After ...
1
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1answer
40 views

Is it acceptable in academic writing to write “their very self” or “very + [noun]”?

Is the "very + [noun]" structure, as an emphasis on the noun, formal-enough for an academic paper? For example in the sentence below: "The environment had a significant impact on the state of his ...
15
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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
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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 ...
3
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2answers
190 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
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3answers
104 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
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0answers
240 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
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2answers
117 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
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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
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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
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2answers
59 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
53 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
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1answer
42 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
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3answers
123 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
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4answers
124 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
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5answers
3k 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
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5answers
72 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
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5answers
255 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
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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
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2answers
63 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
328 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
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4answers
128 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
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3answers
251 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
153 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
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3answers
141 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
232 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
175 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
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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
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0answers
338 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
117 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
122 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
756 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
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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
157 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
198 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
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4answers
566 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
190 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
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2answers
94 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
227 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
240 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
128 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 ...
7
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4answers
253 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 ...