Posts tagged english
Posts tagged english
I honestly didn’t know the answer to this, nor did I know “dialog” was a word that existed.
Google has told me that it’s different spellings of the same word, but google isn’t always right, so feel free to correct me if you know of a difference.
As with many mistakes, I can see where the confusion comes from. Both sound the same when heard out loud, and that leads to troubles when converting thoughts from verbal to written.
This should be relatively simple to remember, though.
Past shows that time has elapsed; something has happened before. It is an adjective, therefore it describes/modifies something.
Passed shows movement. It is a verb, so it describes an action, state, or occurrence.
Here’s some an example of each:
B passed the liquor store on her way home.
B remembered what happened last time she was at the liquor store, and thought about not entering, but decided that it was in the past so it was of no consequence anymore.
If one tries switching one out for the other, the sentences makes no sense at all. So really, this is a simple case of mishearing and unknown definitions.
Helpful hint: If you’re ever unsure which to use remember “t for time” because past has to do with time. Get it? YAY!
I’ve been seeing a lot of authors throw French into their fics. While I understand why you’re doing this, it’s something that shouldn’t be happening.
Why you’re doing it: To keep it authentic. To make the character more real. Etc.
Why you should stop: There are many reasons.
Your best option is to put the foreign language in italics with a note somewhere, or have it made clear before/after the italics. (Example of the latter below.)
“You look like nincompoop in those pants,” B said in German, as she put on a skirt.
“Yes, but the pants are easier and less traumatic to deal with,” replied B, as she put the skirt on, “but if you insist, I will wear the skirt.”
“Good. Now spin, and watch that mother fucker fan out.”
I only need to clarify once that the italics are German, I don’t butcher a language (well, that’s debatable, I guess), and everyone understands that B is speaking German to herself without being confused or frustrated. This makes it easier on everyone.
Times when it is acceptable to use another language.
Any questions or have a topic you’d like covered? Feel free to ask away.
Both of these words are pronounced the same, but they have very different meanings and are not interchangeable in the slightest.
Cue has one meaning:
One can’t be switched out for the other. You can’t drop the last “ue” off of “queue” to make “que” because that has no meaning at all in English.
I understand Britishisms slipping in because people from all over write fic, but really, queue kind of rips the reader from the story. It’s not a term that’s commonly used in the US. If you want to use queue, go for it, but I strongly recommend using something else like “wait in line.”
But please, do not use queue for cue.
This topic has been bothering me for a while.
Word choice can enhance a story, but it can also distract.
Sometimes authors use really awesome words like “verisimilitude” or “imbues.” These words get across the meaning much better than other words or phrases could do.
As a word geek, I know these words, and get excited when I see them used.
As a beta, though, I have to stop and really think about the word. Would the audience understand it? Could they pick up the definition from contextual clues? Should this word be replaced with more common word? Does the word distract from the story?
I also have to keep the character in mind. Would they use this word? Would they even know this word? Does this word fit the scene?
And honestly, I’m not sure what to do in every situation. A lot of the authors I beta for use amazing words, and a lot of the time I ask them what they think they should do. If the story was just for me, I’d leave every larger word I see. Because it’s not just for me, though, I really have to guess about the general knowledge of the reader. And that’s hard.
I guess this lesson to take from this is that sometimes betaing isn’t black or white. Sometimes you have to talk it out with the author. And sometimes you have to change really awesome words.
I would also like to pose this question to you: Would you like an author leave in larger words, and just assumes the audience understands/can figure it out, or would you rather have the author (and I hate this phrase, but I can’t think of a better one) “dumb it down?”
“Nother” is not a word.
You have to choose either:
A whole other
You can’t mix the two options.
Both are the opposite of more, but they are NOT interchangeable.
Less is used when something can’t be counted; things like ideas or something that you measure.
Fewer is used when you can count what is being removed.
Fewer apples on the tree
Fewer people on that ship
Fewer grammatical mistakes
Because one letter really does make a world of difference.
Then is used for many things, but than is only used for comparisons.
Bill is taller than Fred.
I’d rather have cake than a cookie.
First I write, then I edit.
Eat your dinner then you can have cake.
Easiest way to remember: than is used for comparisons.
First, what is a preposition?
A preposition usually precedes a noun or pronoun, and deals with space or time relative to the noun or pronoun.
Huh? Yeah, that’s not very clear. Seeing prepositions in action is usually more helpful, so here’s some examples:
The puppy ran next to the fence.
The puppy was inside the kennel.
Those examples deal with where the puppy is located, or space.
The puppy arrived after dinner.
The puppy barked during the show.
Those examples deal with when the puppy did something, or time.
Now, ending a sentence with a preposition is usually frowned upon, and I usually agree, but for authenticity in dialogue/thoughts I can see the benefits of disregarding this rule.
1) “What did you step on?”
2) “On what did you step?”
The first is, technically, grammatically incorrect because it ends with a preposition. Switching it to the second, though, makes it sound unrealistic and a bit pretentious. No one speaks like the second example. If the second were to come up in a piece I was editing, I would actually switch it to the first. Coming upon something like that is jarring, and rips the reader from the world you’re trying to create. Making sure the reader isn’t jarred from the story because of something like phrasing should always come before being grammatically correct.
That being said, if you can switch it to be grammatically without sounding odd, I recommend that option.
Lastly, if you’ve become paranoid and want to know if the sentence you’ve just written ends with a preposition (just me?), or would just like to know which words are prepositions here is a list of the most common prepositions.
Yes it would, anon!
As you all know, there are two forms of this word: one is a verb, and one is a noun.
“Affect” is the verb. It means to influence something, or causes change.
“Effect” is the noun. It is synonymous with “the result.”
“The change in climate will affect our future.”
“The effect of the climate change is drastic to our future.”
It’s a little difficult to really understand the differences - honestly, the only way to really get it is to memorize which one is which. Sometimes I personally think “oh, if this is a noun, then it would be able to take a ‘the’ and since ‘the’ ends in ‘e’ then it must be effect!”
Rare Uses of Affect and Effect
So what about those rare meanings that don’t follow the rules I just gave you? Well, affect can be used as a noun when you’re talking about psychology—it means the mood that someone appears to have. For example, “She displayed a happy affect.” Psychologists find it useful because they know that you can never really understand what someone else is feeling. You can only know how theyappear to be feeling.
Thanks, Anon, for bringing that up! It’s actually one of my own personal pet peeves and I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of doing a post about it before!