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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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-6 votes
3 answers
226 views

Are creative writers all granted implicit immunity from grammar rules?

That'd sure come in handy for me.
user32685's user avatar
4 votes
6 answers
247 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 ...
user3776022's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
285 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 ...
Ray Wilder's user avatar
22 votes
9 answers
5k 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 ...
Will Appleby's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
347 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 ...
Mafuyu-Chama's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
262 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 ...
FastBallooningHead's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
217 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 ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 279
3 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
Kelvin Rajkumar's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Noah Cristino's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
user96551's user avatar
  • 1,164
5 votes
5 answers
254 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 ...
Dan Hastings's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
688 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 ...
garbia's user avatar
  • 1,542
8 votes
4 answers
536 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?...
TribeOfOne's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
178 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 ...
GTS's user avatar
  • 11
7 votes
5 answers
305 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 ...
Suttroper's user avatar
  • 551
1 vote
1 answer
602 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: "...
NinjaKitten99's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
163 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 ...
Marcus Meier's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
379 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 ...
JP.'s user avatar
  • 173
4 votes
2 answers
308 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 ...
I am the Most Stupid Person's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is it called when poets change grammar rules?

I noticed in many poems that the verses do not contain words according to proper grammar rules. I was told that poets are allowed to do this to incorporate rhyming words. For example, in the famous ...
Farhan's user avatar
  • 195
30 votes
11 answers
25k 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 ...
EmmieCG's user avatar
  • 589
1 vote
3 answers
434 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 ...
Cas Phillips's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
343 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 ...
Geoff Smith's user avatar
3 votes
7 answers
731 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 ...
garbia's user avatar
  • 1,542
29 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
kat's user avatar
  • 291
0 votes
1 answer
62 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 ...
Frankie D.'s user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
140 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; ...
Gigen's user avatar
  • 23
1 vote
1 answer
73 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.
Sarath's user avatar
  • 221
2 votes
2 answers
792 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 '...
Typoglyphic's user avatar
1 vote
5 answers
242 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 ...
Invoker's user avatar
  • 141
2 votes
2 answers
314 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, ...
Osiris93's user avatar
  • 409
1 vote
0 answers
35 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 "...
Aryendu Kumar's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
1k 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?
Craig Schwarze's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
96 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: ...
COMisHARD's user avatar
  • 121
3 votes
5 answers
1k 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 ...
Grammarfrustrations's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
821 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, she thought ...
alex's user avatar
  • 1,143
5 votes
3 answers
326 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", ...
Ken - Enough about Monica's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
1k 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 ...
newtowriting's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
143 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. ...
anon's user avatar
  • 1
1 vote
1 answer
475 views

Which makes better sense? [closed]

Is it correct to say: Sign Up to our Newsletter Or Sign Up for our Newsletter Thanks!
Andy's user avatar
  • 113
1 vote
0 answers
129 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.
AArce's user avatar
  • 11
8 votes
7 answers
561 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 ...
ally's user avatar
  • 81
2 votes
1 answer
110 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. ...
GBG's user avatar
  • 123
2 votes
2 answers
559 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 ...
CJ Cornell's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
515 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, ...
MoniqueH's user avatar
  • 959
1 vote
2 answers
111 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. ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 11
11 votes
2 answers
280 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 ...
feeling_lonely's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
7k views

Do you capitalize the "T" in "the" in a Title or Place's Name?

When writing a title or a name of a place in a novel, do you capitalize the "T" in "the"? For example the name of an establishment, which of these would be correct: They went to The Cloak and Dagger ...
Osiris93's user avatar
  • 409
0 votes
1 answer
236 views

Do you capitalize the names of governments in a story?

I know that names of countries, states, cities, and counties are always capitalized, but what about governments and organizations? In my novella there are basically 2 sections of space, and each have ...
Abram Frost's user avatar
21 votes
12 answers
6k views

Can basic grammar rules be skipped when writing text for machine safety labels?

First of all I'm completely against this idea but a few people who contribute to the technical documentation project constantly suggest that to attain a short, quick, economic, comprehensive message ...
Montag451's user avatar
  • 433