372 posts tagged with grammar.
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You can't make me! o(>< )o

I-can't-believe-I'm-asking-this-filter: what is the zen way of dealing with a minor, accurate correction from an abusive person? [more inside]
posted by Eolienne on Jun 21, 2016 - 45 answers

Subject verb agreement

OK, I can't believe I'm wasting a question on this, but can you help me with this subject verb agreement question? [more inside]
posted by widdershins on Jun 3, 2016 - 34 answers

Can you spot the "nonstandard gerund"?

In Ben Yagoda's The Sound On the Page, p.62, the following is written: "A nonstandard gerund at the end of sentences is an Elmore Leonard trademark. ('Today he watched from the wicker chair, the green shirt on the stick figure walking toward the road in the rain, still in the yard when Terry called to him.') So, what is he referring to as a "nonstandard gerund"? I don't see anything working gerundively.
posted by jwhite1979 on Apr 13, 2016 - 14 answers

A mom, a grandma, an aunt. What do you call her in a sympathy note?

Angelica Smith has passed away. Albert was her son. You were her niece. You want to write a note to the Smith Family, but what to call aunt Angelica in the letter? "I'm sorry for the loss of your mother/grandmother" doesn't quite convey the love you feel. [more inside]
posted by a sock of sheep on Feb 11, 2016 - 11 answers

Do you capitalize a name like "sports day?"

The school where I work is having "sports day," where everyone is supposed to wear sports jerseys. The question came up - should "sports day" be capitalized? [more inside]
posted by robverb on Feb 11, 2016 - 18 answers

Anne Frank's stepsister?

An article came up in my social media feed talking about Anne Frank's stepsister. Is there a journalistic reason for this? [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 29, 2016 - 13 answers

On the finer points of semicolons

Using a semicolon in place of a comma when stringing together lengthy/complex dependent clauses; please advise. [more inside]
posted by geegollygosh on Dec 9, 2015 - 11 answers

How do I learn to be better at English grammar and editing my writing?

I’ve been a lifelong reader and writer. I’m realizing while doing more writing (and in particular editing my own writing) that I need better resources and suggestions for learning English grammar. I've been told by some editors that I make mistakes and I’d love to have a better sense of how to polish what I write and deal with the little bits of grammatical inaccuracies that sprout up in finished pieces. [more inside]
posted by mulkey on Dec 3, 2015 - 15 answers

Word parts and/or rules for combining them (morphemes?)

I want to write a program to generate new, realistic-sounding and -looking words. I want to programmatically create strings like 'bik', 'clible', 'aunstic', and 'cranoak', (if these words don't already exist), and avoid strings like 'bblejkm', 'aunstrbl', and other things that don't look pronounceable. Looking for a database of word parts to feed into this program, possibly with a set of accompanying rules. English or any other language (ideally with phonetic representations). [more inside]
posted by amtho on Nov 21, 2015 - 19 answers

point of view question

Hi, I am working on a story and I have a sentence that says, "Please give them the food packets." Can anyone tell me if that is second person point of view or if it's third person point of view. Thanks in advance.
posted by lynnie-the-pooh on Oct 14, 2015 - 4 answers

also, too

Explain the nuanced difference in meaning between "also" or "too" in this sentence: "We repair your motorcycle too." vs "We repair your motorcycle also."
posted by mightshould on Jun 28, 2015 - 13 answers

Grammar Help! Dealing with "s" with nouns and possesion

My friends are are debating the appropriate use of an apostrophe in light of nouns ending in "s". I am many years away from my grammar classes and a bit unsure. Test sentence inside the fold. [more inside]
posted by Funmonkey1 on Jun 22, 2015 - 18 answers

Have vs Has

It's not important at all, but it bothers me! Yes, I know something's wrong with me. But which is correct? And why? [more inside]
posted by one4themoment on May 13, 2015 - 11 answers

On Quotation and Punctuation

Should a sentence end with a quotation mark or the punctuation mark? [more inside]
posted by ourt on Apr 30, 2015 - 23 answers

"Literary studies are..." or "Literary studies is..."?

"Literary studies are..." or "Literary studies is..."? This is for an academic book written in US English. [more inside]
posted by undue influence on Mar 21, 2015 - 11 answers

Please check my colon

Please help settle a debate. Is the colon in the following sentence used properly? "Disagreement about climate change is rarely a simple dispute about facts: people’s interpretation of climate change information is influenced by cognitive factors and motivated reasoning." Thank you.
posted by griseus on Mar 3, 2015 - 23 answers

I sing the song of good grammar

Clearly Weird Al's "Word Crimes" is the ne plus ultra of songs about proper word usage. But that can't be the only one! Can you suggest other songs about grammar, syntax, etc? (Note: Ironic by Alanis Morrisette does not fit the bill, as it is neither an accurate definition of ironic nor a good song.)
posted by rednikki on Feb 12, 2015 - 14 answers

Natural Acquisition of Grammar/Usage Skills

I'm curious to hear the experiences of people with good writing skills who were raised in families with poor language usage. [more inside]
posted by Quisp Lover on Feb 11, 2015 - 31 answers

Je parle, tu parles, il parle...

Help me remember how to conjugate French properly when I talk. [more inside]
posted by Tamanna on Jan 14, 2015 - 9 answers

"Or no" or... no?

Lately I've started noticing the construction "or no" in places where I would have expected "or not". [more inside]
posted by Too-Ticky on Dec 13, 2014 - 17 answers

Seeking help for "help-seeking"/"help seeking"/"helpseeking"

Is the term "help seeking" one word or two? If it is two words, should it be hyphenated when it's not serving as a compound adjective? [more inside]
posted by quiet coyote on Oct 24, 2014 - 13 answers

Count/noncount nouns based on size?

So, I was designing rules with some EFL students in class the other day about how to differentiate between countable and uncountable nouns. We agreed that things which are too small to reasonably count are uncountable based on sand and the idea that liquids are uncountable (under the assumption that an individual 'piece' of a liquid would be a molecule and as such very, very small). Then one of the students broke the rule by asking why individual circuits are countable even though they are extremely small. So, is there an explanation for this? Does my rule just suck? [more inside]
posted by Literaryhero on Oct 15, 2014 - 25 answers

Because grammar is a mutable beast, I must ask this question.

My junior college (community college) composition students think I'm nuts because I claim it is not wrong to start a sentence with because. a) Who's right and b) What's the origination of the confusion? [more inside]
posted by angrycat on Oct 7, 2014 - 27 answers

Online English Grammar Resources Needed

I am looking for three things here: 1) Some kind of drill, preferably in game format but anything good will do 2) tools to run my writing through to catch my errors and 3) generic reference materials. Online resources are strongly preferred, in part because I get sick when I handle books and papers too much. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Sep 20, 2014 - 3 answers

Grammar/style for mathematicians?

I'm interested in learning about the details of English grammar and usage, and also maybe in picking up some prescriptions or guidelines for writing well-styled/balanced prose (a la Strunk & White, though my understanding is that there's potentially a great many schools of thought to look at here). The kicker: my academic background is in math and computer science, including the very formal reaches of things like logic, formal languages, etc. Is there any way that this stuff can help me learn that stuff? [more inside]
posted by karo on Sep 18, 2014 - 9 answers

Help me be a more accurate grammar pedant

Is there a concise term that signifies the difference between phrases such as "not all dogs are brown" and "all dogs are not brown"? [more inside]
posted by komara on Sep 10, 2014 - 33 answers

Complete sentence or not?

That is the truth of the matter. Is the above a complete sentence?
posted by harrietthespy on Sep 5, 2014 - 8 answers

Something feels wrong about this grammatical construction. What is it?

The contraction for "would have" is "would've". And yet, if I am writing that "If I have a doctor's appointment at 3pm, I would have to leave at 2pm to be there on time", I don't think I would write "would've to leave at 2pm". That doesn't feel right, but I don't know why. MeFi grammarians?
posted by John Borrowman on Jul 31, 2014 - 24 answers

Forums for Grammar Nerds?

I feel like I should be able to find this somehow, but I'm just not having much luck - where do grammar nerds go online? I'd like to find some forums. I've found a few language blogs (and if you can recommend more of those, too, I'd appreciate it) and a couple of grammar forums, but they weren't quite what I'm looking for. I want a place to really geek out on grammar/language - sentence diagramming, obscure grammatical rules, history of the English language, etc.
posted by signalandnoise on Jul 29, 2014 - 7 answers

Wanted: software to tag words and phrases when studying a language

I'm studying Japanese. I want to tag and track individual words and grammatical structures that I'm learning. What software will help me do this? [more inside]
posted by kristi on Jul 24, 2014 - 2 answers

Advice for confident everyday writing?

I'm looking for related resources (online & offline) for improving my writing skills for everyday work. [more inside]
posted by chrono_rabbit on Jul 20, 2014 - 9 answers

What Would Be In Your Best High School English Class?

I'm teaching high school-level English next year for students who need a high level of academic support and I want the class to be both highly engaging and content-rich. If you were a kid who LOATHED writing for school, struggled with boring English classes, or can remember what elements you truly enjoyed in your high school English class, what advice would you pass my way? [more inside]
posted by kinetic on Jul 17, 2014 - 46 answers

Using Flesch reading ease test

"Can you use the Flesch Reading Ease Formula with a one-word sentence or a phrase that isnt a complete sentence? Such as a multiple choice answer on a test.
posted by Postroad on Jun 24, 2014 - 3 answers

Why does my brain put an article before IHOP

The fate of the world depends on finding an answer to this question: Which is more grammatically correct -- I'll meet you at IHOP or I'll meet you at the IHOP? If grammar has no opinion, what is the most common formulation? [more inside]
posted by angrycat on Jun 12, 2014 - 28 answers

Seeking Tongue-in-cheek Latin Grammar Advice

Hi, As a member of the advisory board of the Butts Institute I've been asked to seek feedback regarding our motto, "recte, rectus, rectum". While I believe the phrase is close to perfect, would any Latin-knowers care to comment on the grammar and rectility of the slogan? Are there any adjustments we can make in order to improve it? Thank you
posted by c[,,] on Jun 7, 2014 - 2 answers

Help me find some U.S. elementary school study aids from the mid '80s.

Tryin' to track down a portfolio of English reading/writing laminated bifold four page workbooks. [more inside]
posted by coolxcool=rad on Mar 20, 2014 - 6 answers

“I’ve not” and “I’ll not” ~vs~ “I haven’t” and “I won’t” -- Why?

I’ve noticed that I’m increasingly reading “I’ve not” in place of “I haven’t” and “I’ll not” in place of “I won’t.” When I was growing up (the 70s), these expressions were exceedingly rare. I knew they existed, of course, but to me they seemed redolent of century-old books: “I’ll not brook such behavior in my classroom, Tom Sawyer!” “Fezziwig! I’ve not heard his voice since my youth.” But in the last 15 years or so, I've been seeing these phrasings more and more often in colloquial writing — other blogs, Amazon reviews, internet discussions, MeFi etc. I don’t seem to hear these forms spoken, which adds to their air of formality. [more inside]
posted by ROTFL on Mar 8, 2014 - 22 answers

Are comma splices becoming grammatically acceptable?

I am seeing comma splices used with increasing frequency, both in writing I edit at work and on various websites. They seem particularly common when the second phrase begins with the word "however." I know that some words and constructions become correct by usage over time. Are comma splices becoming acceptable? Editors, do you remove them when you find them, or let them stand? [more inside]
posted by southern_sky on Feb 1, 2014 - 42 answers

Making Convoluted Text Simple Visually

Sometimes, some documents I read are so convoluted that I don't understand what they are telling me. I've found this to be true in for legal documents including terms of agreements and constitutions among others. Is there any kind of program that looks at the syntax of sections of text and converts them into block diagrams showing the relationships between subjects and objects with the verb, adverbs, adjectives, etc. showing how they are connected? For instance, if it was highlighting the sentence, "See Spot run", there would be two boxes, one labeled Spot and one labeled You with an arrow connecting the latter to the former. I'm thinking of something similar to sentence diagramming but graphically represented and not nearly as complicated. It seems to me that if something could lay out all of the relationships within a document, that would make it much easier for someone to understand what it means. Or is that magical thinking on my part?
posted by CollectiveMind on Jan 26, 2014 - 8 answers

I know this isn't a grammar site, but I sneaked this in anyway

Is English changing to use simpler past versions of verbs now? Recently I've been seeing a lot of sneaked, dived etc., when back at school I had to learn that irregular verbs have past forms like snuck and dove. (Disclaimer: I'm not a native speaker of English.) [more inside]
posted by LoonyLovegood on Jan 20, 2014 - 24 answers

What has happened to the past perfect tense?

I've recently noticed an irritating trend in English-language writing: sections that really should be written in the past perfect tense are instead in the simple past tense. I've seen this more in American English than in British English, but that might just be confirmation bias. Is there a reason for this, for example a new style of teaching in schools or universities? And is it really new, or am I just looking for things to get annoyed about? [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Dec 14, 2013 - 30 answers

A sign of the times?

I just had someone tell me that it is correct to close a letter with “Signed, [Mr. Letter Writer].” It’s the use of the word “Signed” that I find strange and just wrong. I have never in my life seen this and am having a hard time believing it is acceptable. Can anyone enlighten me?
posted by Dolley on Dec 13, 2013 - 36 answers

Thanksgiving-related vocabulary word needed! (for adults, not children)

I am required to bring a "word of the day" to my Toastmasters club's next meeting. This word should be an interesting and useful word that will expand everyone's command of the English language and ideally would be fun to use. Twist: I want it to be Thanksgiving or holiday season related if possible. My google-fu is failing me because I keep getting results meant for children's crossword puzzles ("pilgrim", "turkey", etc.). I'm looking for something more along the lines of "puritanical" or something like that. Can be historical, related to feelings or gratitude or even satirical of the holiday.
posted by halseyaa on Nov 25, 2013 - 17 answers

From Experience... in Latin.

If I want to say "From experience" in Latin, what's the best way to say it? Right now I'm thinking "Ab expertus." [more inside]
posted by heliostatic on Nov 19, 2013 - 8 answers

so question such askmefi very internet

What is the name and/or origin of the meme where intensifers/adverbs are placed before nouns? [more inside]
posted by i_am_a_fiesta on Nov 14, 2013 - 8 answers

Grammar Books for a College Student with No College-Level Writing Skills

I am looking for recommendations on two books. I'm looking for a book that will teach me how to write essays and how to essentially write like a college student. I am also looking for a grammar book that will teach me VERY basic and simple grammar rules. For example, the difference between i.e. and e.g., when to use a comma, et cetera. Help is very much appreciated! [more inside]
posted by NowYouKnow on Nov 7, 2013 - 22 answers

Is there any difference between the three sentences?

1)I should be going. 2) I shoud get going. 3)I should go. Please tell me the difference of the nuance between the three. Thank you.
posted by mizukko on Oct 23, 2013 - 25 answers

Child Choir or Children's Choir/ Adult Choir or Adult's Choir?

What is best accepted usage for the use of apostrophe in descriptive titles such as for choirs made up only of children or adults. What is better Child Choir or Children's Choir? [more inside]
posted by foleypt on Oct 20, 2013 - 18 answers

Looking for a resource on grammar

I am learning French and am struggling with how to relate French grammar to its English equivalent. The problem: I have no general understanding of grammar. Six months ago I didn't even know what an adverb was! [more inside]
posted by contentedweb on Sep 29, 2013 - 5 answers

I tried to look this up myself, but I couldn't find the answer, so...

What is the origin of ending a sentence with a trailing "so..." ? Who is on record first using it? How did it spread? I am talking about the annoying unfinished sentence word: "We would have gone cycling, but I couldn't find my bike, so..." I am not talking about the legitimate adverb: "I love biking so!"
posted by michaelh on Aug 29, 2013 - 15 answers

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