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61

I think it weakens the prose, unless it is clearly intentional ("he had a big head, big teeth, a big nose, a big attitude.") In your example, "sleek" is not a very precise description, to me. The very fact that you apply it to both a building and a door suggests that lack of precision. You can actually replace both of them with actual description of what ...


31

Yes, if it's the Grinch A unique creature, which is the Manananggal (effectively THAT creature's name), should be capitalized. No, if it's a fairy Even if your creature is rare, if you are likely to ever refer to it as a manananggal (a member of a group or species), then don't capitalize it.


30

I really like this question. I cringe to say it, but I somewhat agree about breaking grammar rules in the interest of safety. I frequently write technical emails/IT system announcements that are sent out to a large group of non-technical people and I find that if I write the emails using the same language that I'd write in my short stories, or even my ...


20

Of course you can't just ignore all basic grammar rules. For example, writing: Not cover the opening machines power be while do. obviously makes no sense to anyone, even though it's got all the right words (plus or minus a few grammatical suffixes) in there. It's just broken English. But you can totally write, say: Do not open cover while machine ...


19

I would say it is definitely a new paragraph if only to indicate 'he' didn't say 'I thought ...'. I teach that you start a new paragraph when you change speaker, place, time or character. Here the change is character.


16

The label should be as short as possible without creating ambiguity. In many workplaces, the employer is required (OSHA, ISO, FDA, etc.) to train anyone who would be working in a particular area with the hazards of the environment and the equipment. The label acts as a reminder (as well as a legal obligation). Everyone in that lab knows lighting a flame ...


16

The reason for the "adverbs are the devil" rule is they are generally "telling", not "showing". The reason we want to "show" instead of "tell" is that it is the writer's job to assist the imagination of the reader. To do that, we need to appeal to their senses, primarily visual and auditory, but also senses of heat, humidity, touch, and emotional feelings ...


14

Except in poetry, which retains its line breaks even when put on a single line, it doesn't make sense to retain a line end hyphen elsewhere on the line. It just wouldn't make sense and it would look weird. Chicago says this specifically on their website: A hard hyphen is one that is typed deliberately and that must remain whether the phrase falls at the ...


13

Without getting into social commentary, it seems to me that it's practically impossible to talk about the life of a transgendered person without getting into the sort of paradoxical or at least confusing statements that you describe. If you say "Caitlyn Jenner ... she won a gold medal in the men's decathlon ...", this creates the pretty obvious anomaly of ...


12

1. READ A LOT I agree with @Cloudchaser that writing is a craft you have to practise. You should absolutely read these books that have been recommended to you. Read as many as you can on the craft of writing and if blogging is your thing, analyse the style of other successful blogs. 2. DON'T EXPECT TO GET IT RIGHT FIRST TIME But no amount of reading will ...


12

First of all, I'll admit I had some trouble identifying who said “I thought you said that name was already taken?” I'm assuming that Oddie said it in reaction to Arden's suggestion and that Nat, the narrator, got exasperated when Arden shrugged. Please let me know if I got it wrong. Option 2 “We can just call her Rose,” Arden suggests, leaning back ...


11

Yes. Not only should you start a new paragraph for every character, but you need to be clear about who is saying or doing what. You mention the excerpt involves 3 characters. We know the first person part is Nat, the narrator. And of course the parts you label as being from Arden are from that character. But where is Oddie? Is he the speaker in the ...


11

According to The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), 2.96: End-of-line hyphens should be marked to distinguish between soft (i.e., conditional or optional) and hard hyphens. Soft hyphens are those hyphens that are invoked only to break a word at the end of a line; hard hyphens are permanent (such as those in cul-de-sac) and must remain no matter where the ...


10

Some style guides consider contractions to be informal, and therefore would not be used in certain contexts. Beyond that, there's no grammatical restraint, either on they are vs. they're or the referent of the pronoun they. They is the plural pronoun for both he/she and it. So "They are in the back room" can refer to two or more people or two or more ...


10

I'd say yes, but ... not if it loses clarity. Warning labels have to be concise or people won't be able to read them, or won't bother to read them. For example, a label that says "HIGH VOLTAGE" expresses the warning very briefly and concisely. Yes, it's not a complete, grammatically correct sentence. But you can write it in big letters so people can it ...


10

I would accept the sentence you have written, usually. It depends on the context. Tenses in English are actually incredibly complex. (I have recently written a simple guide for distinguishing between the past/present/future simple/progressive/perfect/progressive perfect, which, to be perfectly honest, doesn't cover all tenses.) Usually, I advise students ...


10

This is called poetic license. Although the more familiar use of the term is to depart from the facts for a better sounding story or phrase, the use of it to mean departure from standard grammar and syntax is arguably the more foundational one, as attested by this entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica: Poetic license, the right assumed by poets to alter ...


10

This depends on how the character sees himself (or if it's close third-person from someone else's POV, how that character sees him). If he is one sentinel of many — so it's a kind of descriptor, like "the soldier" or "the doctor" — and he's somewhat anonymous, then keep it lowercase. If he is the only one, then it's a proper designation: the Sentinel, ...


9

Because you are attaching your speaker tag to the dialogue being spoken. If you were using an action tag, or separating the speaker tag from the dialogue, then the quoted material stands alone and uses a period. Other punctuation varies. Examples: "She's late again," mumbled Jason. [comma] "She's late again." Jason looked down the street, hoping ...


9

It is author's discretion. You can also leave the tag off, as long as the speaker is clear. You can drop the name and use 'She said,' particularly if 'she' is the only 'she' in the conversation. Ralph looked at the rock shaped object on the plate. "What the heck is that?" She said, "It's a blueberry muffin." You can also place an action with a ...


9

Some thoughts, in no particular order: 1. Educated people may speak in a more casual way than their education enables (but uneducated people are unlikely to be able to speak coherently in a more educated tone) It is more jarring for an uneducated bum to talk like a research scientist than for a research scientist to mumble, cuss, talk like a valley girl, ...


8

The only rules you should feel free to violate are the rules about having a subject (which is implied), and possibly the trailing period of the sentence. All of the remaining rules should apply. For example, these three sentences from your examples should be logical enough for the average human. Do not open while powered on Disconnect power before ...


8

Your sentence is correct. I went to the current issue of The Economist, looked up the first article I saw about English literature, and found two similar constructions. Here’s one (emphasis added): The Economist, reviewing it in 1847, argued that it was “perfectly fresh and lifelike” and, as such, “far removed from the namby pamby stuff of which ...


8

As far as I've ever seen, no. You don't capitalize the word following a colon, unless it's a proper name.


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