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Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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September 23

Why Does My English Suck?
I have been speaking English for 2/3 of my life, yet I still think my English sucks. Care to enlighten me why? [more inside]
posted by pixxie at 5:08 PM - 26 answers
Finding a book I read years ago: Jailhouse Lit edition
Years ago I read a funny novel from the public library, the premise of which I can best describe as M*A*S*H crossed with Hogan's Heroes and set in a maximum security men's prison. This would have had to be about 25 years ago or more. Wondering if this rings a bell with anybody who can tell me what it might have been.
posted by Flexagon at 1:22 PM - 5 answers

Michelangelo quote translation help
A follow up to this Michelangelo quote question - Calling Italian & Urdu speakers for some translation help! [more inside]
posted by raztaj at 7:30 AM - 7 answers

September 22

Write it Down
Due to some unforseen life events, I no longer want to write in my old journal. I'm looking for a new one and need reccomendations. [more inside]
posted by Aranquis at 8:09 AM - 22 answers

September 21

A platform-agnostic Journal app.
So I've been using Oh Life to keep a journal for the last two years. The most useful feature is that it emails you a daily prompt, then stores your response online. You can also export all of your entries as a single document at any time. Sadly, the site is going away in October. Are there any other online journal apps that have similar email prompts, and aggregate your entries? [more inside]
posted by mecran01 at 4:14 AM - 6 answers

September 20

Kanji translation help
Can anyone tell me what this means? [more inside]
posted by Put the kettle on at 1:40 PM - 5 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 at 12:15 PM - 2 answers

How do actors shed their accents?
I'm very curious how actors are taught to shed their accents or mimic an accent. [more inside]
posted by tckma at 3:08 AM - 11 answers

September 19

Bookfilter: I have just finished the Outlander Series, what next please?
I'm having an Outlander series reading hangover, I loved it. I'm looking for some historical fiction romance. [more inside]
posted by ibakecake at 4:24 PM - 12 answers

September 18

Resources for writing and revising policies, procedures, & regulations?
I work in state government and my position may soon shift to policy analysis, which would include writing and revising policies, procedures, and regulations. I have plenty of experience researching regulations, but not as much in the areas of writing and revising. Can anyone recommend any resources (books or websites) which may be helpful for this type of writing? Thank you! [more inside]
posted by onecircleaday at 11:53 PM - 6 answers

MeFi Writers, Help Me With a Personal Writing Project
I'm taking next week off to do two things. The first is to develop some habits that are conducive to me writing continually, daily and with presentable results. The second is to actually have a product by the end of the week. I'm thinking one good and fairly polished short story. Please give me advice and ideas about how to accomplish this. Do you need a place to work that is for "writing only"? Do you have a daily routine? Did you have to develop self-discipline? Do you have rituals like meditation or having tea or writing by candle light? Do you listen to music? With an entire week to do whatever I want, how do I best use my time for writing? [more inside]
posted by snsranch at 5:53 PM - 12 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 at 2:36 PM - 9 answers

Making up vocabulary words?
Is there a word that means "discriminating on the basis of religion"? The closest thing I can think of is "creedist", which isn't an actual word. Is there a word that means what "creedist" would mean if it were a word that existed? Thanks!
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 5:26 AM - 16 answers

A word for someone who is a follower of trends
Can you think of a single word for a person or organisation who aspires to follow new trends and fashions? Not "hipster", which is in the ballpark, but closer to the business idea of a "fast follower"? Doesn't need to have negative connotations.
posted by dontjumplarry at 3:36 AM - 29 answers

September 17

Books that a 2nd-grade boy would enjoy reading.
My wonderful partner has a 7-year-old, 2nd-grade son who is having a little trouble keeping up with his peers in the reading department. We're trying to give him some extra attention in that area so that he can catch up, and we'd like to try and foster in him a genuine interest in reading. What books (or comics, or anything) could we give him that he might like, and which would be appropriate for his reading level? [more inside]
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:26 AM - 40 answers

September 16

Secret languages of couples
I'm looking for a (Tolstoy?) quote about how couples develop a private language based on shared references and experiences, and how it's tragic when a couple breaks up because this language is lost. [more inside]
posted by Paul the Octopus at 5:22 PM - 12 answers

September 15

How to get over a creative lull?
For something like the past four or five months, I've been in what I can only describe as a creative lull. I work as a comedy writer and have been doing this for roughly two years, but for whatever reason, I am not producing material that I'm happy with any more. I'm looking for advice from people who have climbed out of something similar, or any insight into why this is happening. I realize the awesome irony of asking this question in a very serious, unfunny way. [more inside]
posted by arsgratia at 11:57 AM - 5 answers

September 14

Dear Literary God: What are the best techniques to analyze prose?
I signed up for a senior-year seminar class for prose fiction. My GPA cannot suffer. I'm willing to learn anything and everything on the subject. Book recommendations are also appreciated. (English TAs and Profs are preferred! You are the next best thing to Literary Gods)
posted by lorn at 8:22 PM - 5 answers

SF/F short fiction encapsulating whole sub-genres or universes
I enjoy SF/F short fiction that takes a wide view of a sub-genre or universe, evoking its possibilities without spending much time on any given situation/episode. I can offer some examples, but I would be glad to read more. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:58 AM - 10 answers

September 13

Can you read/translate this Danish-language handwriting?
I have a photograph of my 3-greats grandfather, who was born in Denmark in 1848 and died in Iowa in 1926. There's text on the reverse of the image that is in Danish. I don't know what it says. Do you? Difficulty level: old person's crabbed handwriting. Thanks!
posted by That's Numberwang! at 8:23 PM - 8 answers

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