Six impossible things

Posts Tagged grammar

Adjectives and adverbs

Last week I was looking at web sites and found yet another one that advocated “Never, EVER use any adjectives or adverbs!” It went so far as to advocate going through one’s work and deleting all of them. So I decided to test that technique to see […]

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How it gets said #2: Punctuation

The workhorse of conveying tone and delivery within dialog is punctuation. Dialog certainly can follow the standard English rules for punctuation, but often it doesn’t. The differences are as much about leaving out “required” punctuation as they are about adding more or less of it than the […]

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Grammar, Syntax, and other Actual Rules

Spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax. For a lot of would-be writers, they seem to be love ‘em or leave ‘em – which is to say, many of the folks I talk to have either an absolute slavish devotion to formal grammar, punctuation, or else a firm conviction that […]

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Weak and Strong?

One of the bits of advice that is often given to would-be writers is “Use strong verbs.” Apart from my usual allergy to rules and generalizations, one of the things that bothers me about this is that I’ve seldom seen anyone try to explain what it means, […]

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Formal and informal

First off, it has been brought to my attention (thanks, John!) that I need to tell my regular readers that The Far West is now out and available in hardcover. The e-book will be out in October, they tell me. On to the post. Back in the […]

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Misunderstanding grammar

Once again, I have been driven to frothing at the mouth by a would-be writer-and-critiquer’s thick-headedness in regard to both the construction of the English language and the so-called rules he’s trying to apply, and you folks are going to have to put up with the resulting […]

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The Lego Theory, Part 6

A quick recap, for those who are getting a little lost: Fiction (and the English language generally) is built up by combining smaller units into larger and larger ones according to various rules and principles, the same way you build large, intricate Lego models by putting a […]

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The Lego Theory Part 5

Clauses are the next step up from phrases, and they are intimately connected with sentences. They come in two varieties, independent and dependent, and the first sort is a sentence, or could be if you punctuated it differently. “He ran, but she escaped.” is a single sentence […]

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The Lego Theory, Part 4

Before I go on, I would like to remind everybody once again that the vast majority of authors do not consciously and deliberately micro-manage their writing to wring every last bit of strength out of every word’s position, rhythm, etc. Most of the time, we work by […]

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The Lego Theory, Part 3

Every set of Legos has the basic square and rectangular blocks that you build most of your castles and dinosaurs and pirates with, and then a bunch of oddly shaped pieces that you use to make the fancy bits. Last post, I compared the basic Legos to […]

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