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Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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August 29

What is the official word for this medical thing?
So, what do medical professionals call those bars around the bed so patients don't roll out? [more inside]
posted by angrycat at 7:41 AM - 4 answers

August 27

Inversion of "Cogito ergo sum"?
I'm reaching for a phrase for a short science fiction piece I'm working on. I'd like to know what a Classical-Latin-speaking character would say if they wanted to articulate a particular concept analogous to "I think therefore I am", but expressing instead a monstrous moral conclusion they've reached along the lines of I think therefore none may be / shall be. [more inside]
posted by churl at 11:22 PM - 7 answers

Karate for linguists: doe a panphonic poem for Norwegian exist?
For the purpose of practicing Norwegian I'd like a poem / set of sentences covering all Allophones. The idea comes from this panphonic poem in the movie Mission Impossible 3. [more inside]
posted by Eltulipan at 12:21 PM - 0 answers

What is the proper pronunciation of the name "Zijad".
What is the proper pronunciation of the name "Zijad".
posted by davebush at 8:25 AM - 5 answers

August 25

What are some good quotes about farewells for my dry erase board?
I'm leaving my current position at my company this week due to a promotion. This requires me to move to another location. I have a dry erase board on which I like to put funny or meaningful quotes. Can you suggest good, pithy quotes about endings, farewells and goodbyes that I can put on it?
posted by inturnaround at 5:52 AM - 16 answers

August 23

Please help me ID this old sci-fi story
Here are a few facts about this old SF story whose author I can no longer recall. 1. It was written by a giant of mid-century SF whose name I can no longer recall. Not Sheckley, not Asimov. I thought it might be Damon Knight, but I can't find it in his work. 2. It's a story about a man who travels to the future as part of a gigantic relief effort to assist future men who are burying themselves in the earth. [more inside]
posted by Mr. Justice at 6:36 PM - 4 answers

August 22

33 1/3 series: What works, what doesn't?
The 33 1/3 series is a formidable list of little books about influential records, written by music writers, musicians, writers and fans. It seems to vary significantly in tone and in the writer's approach. For those of you who have read some of these books, which ones (or particular sections) stuck with you? Which didn't work so well? I would love to write one of these, and I'm trying to calibrate my angle as I hone my pitch.
posted by umbú at 5:42 PM - 18 answers

August 21

Help me identify my wedding reading!
This quote is all over the internet with conflicting attributions. Can you help me identify the original source? "You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving..." [more inside]
posted by purplevelvet at 11:27 PM - 3 answers

How to pick a name for my company
I would like to pick a name for my construction company. I am living in Vancouver, Canada. I am looking for something tough and masculine as the industry itself. How can I find a catchy name which is not already taken? Also, I would like to use the word "development" instead of "construction" at the end of my company name (xyz development) Do you think it is a good idea since its more general?
posted by mbn1455 at 11:11 PM - 19 answers

A play of palindromes
When I was in high school, in 1990, I found a humor collection in my school library. I am trying to remember the name of the collection. It contained a play written entirely in palindromes. I believe, but am not certain, that it contained a story by James Thurber, possibly about a man named Margaret. I'd really like to track down the name of the play and/or the author. Does this ring any bells for anyone?
posted by plague at 5:51 PM - 1 answers

Nomenclature needed for a tool
If you were working with a digital tool that was responsible for placing or verifying digital signatures, what would you expect that tool to be called? Not a product name, but rather name of the class of tool (like a codec for encoding/decoding or a compiler for translating code in one language to another)?
posted by plinth at 8:49 AM - 6 answers

August 20

Plural of Agent Provocateur
What is the plural form of "agent provocateur" and what other compound words use a similar pluralization scheme in English? At first I thought it followed the pattern of attorneys general or courts-martial but now I'm not so sure.
posted by Jeff Howard at 1:12 PM - 29 answers

Care to play Cyrano?
A dear friend is very anxious about writing someone who once declared his love yet who now ignores her. What might be the proper etiquette here? [more inside]
posted by R2WeTwo at 11:13 AM - 57 answers

August 18

It's not there for the GOOD days...
There's a pithy one-liner, almost a saying or slogan, about how it's easy to complain about or take something for granted when you don't need it, but it's super important when you do need it. I'm pretty sure that this one-liner originally applied to one specific thing (maybe the police, maybe a labour union, maybe socialized health care), but the sentiment could easily be generalized to a whole set of special purpose institutions. This whole goddamn saying is right on the tip of my tongue. Help me out?
posted by 256 at 5:23 PM - 12 answers

Wedding Reading both for, and about, sisters
Asking for a friend: She has been asked to do a reading at her sister's wedding in a few weeks. She does not want to use anything biblical or from Shakespeare. Rhyming is ok, but it doesn't have to, and not epically long. The important and tricky part - she'd like it to be on the theme of sisters, but wedding appropriate. Help?
posted by librarianamy at 5:24 AM - 5 answers

August 17

Trying to remember Latin-y word meaning place of death and destruction.
Trying to recall word used in TV show Bones, meaning place of death and destruction, maybe with connotation/denotation of incineration of slaughterhouse. I think it ended in -orium. [more inside]
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:01 PM - 6 answers

Word association: Fairy Tale
Further to the success of a previous Ask Me, in which I was given a great idea for a fictional story I am writing, I am back with another question. I would like to know what people, places, events and objects you associate with fairy tales, folklore, myths etc. [more inside]
posted by Youremyworld at 5:50 PM - 27 answers

August 14

Give me your most jargon-filled work-related statements
I love jargon, especially among sub-genres of things. This week a web developer friend uttered a sentence about frameworks and databases that made sense but sounded so ridiculous I had to stop and ask him to repeat it. I'd like to hear more of these. Please give me the most jargon-filled sentence that you might have uttered at work in the past few weeks and made complete sense to coworkers, but sounds utterly ridiculous to outsiders, and state what your occupation/context was for it.
posted by mathowie at 7:47 AM - 30 answers

August 13

Help me write a memorable enough wedding toast!
How do I write a memorable, but not too memorable wedding toast? I've looked at previous questions, and looked online but I'm having a trouble due to complicating factors. [more inside]
posted by kendrak at 6:53 PM - 9 answers

In Japanese, why is the demonstrative "あそこ" instead of just "あこ"?
Japanese demonstratives follow the こそあど pattern, such as with これ/それ/あれ/どれ and この/その/あの/どの, so why does the pattern change with ここ/そこ/あそこ/どこ? Logically, shouldn't あそこ be あこ? Why isn't this the case? [more inside]
posted by reductiondesign at 2:18 PM - 3 answers

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