Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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May 3

Help me find a German Pensioner for a Pen-pal!

I need some help finding older Germans who would like to be old-fashioned pen-pals. I need to practice my superpowers! [more inside]
posted by Tchad at 5:48 AM - 5 answers

April 30

On Quotation and Punctuation

Should a sentence end with a quotation mark or the punctuation mark? [more inside]
posted by ourt at 9:01 AM - 23 answers

Doodling in a rare first edition

I have purchased for someone I care about very much a somewhat rare first edition of a book by their favourite author. I am considering defacing it by writing an inscription and a profane doodle inside the cover. [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 8:34 AM - 38 answers

April 28

What are female names that are also actions?

I've recently realized, much to my dismay, that guys get all the active, doing, [enter verb here]-er names, like Hunter, Cooper, etc. Female names seem to get inactive nouns, like Rose or Patience. Laaaaame. Can ya'll think of any active, female names of the [Verb]-er construction? Or even any cool verbs that aren't traditional names, but would make a nice name? The best I've come up with is Runner, which I think sounds lovely, but that's just me.
posted by Grandysaur at 7:08 PM - 53 answers

Alaska children's book

Trying to remember two separate Alaska kids' books I used to read all the time that have somehow gotten lost over the years. [more inside]
posted by huckit at 12:56 PM - 4 answers

April 27

What happened to the short mystery novel?

In my blog, I've been running analyses of the length of mystery novels and have found that the short mystery novel has waned as an art form, the fall-off seeming to begin in the 1980s. Does someone know why? [more inside]
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:03 PM - 9 answers

negative roman numerals? fractions? imaginary numbers?

Weird pagesetting question: I'm writing an introduction for the reprint of a book that already has a preface (and will be getting a NEW preface for the new edition). We want to retain the original pagination for the reprint. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog at 12:09 PM - 10 answers

April 25

Suggestions for childrens foreign language vocab books?

I would like to know what the standard children's books, specifically vocabulary learning books for babies and toddlers, are in each language. [more inside]
posted by skwint at 3:25 AM - 3 answers

April 24

Unauthorized persons are not allowed?

What was that story I read once, in which someone comments to their (military?) supervisor that the sign "Unauthorized personnel are not allowed beyond this point" is redundant, because "unauthorized" means "not allowed"? Challenged to rewrite the message, the storyteller goes through a number of increasingly awkward attempts and finally ends up with "Unauthorized personnel are not allowed beyond this point" as the best phrasing.
posted by moonmilk at 10:55 AM - 7 answers

April 22

Japan-filter: From Bullfighting to Kurosawa in a Cocktail

How do you say "Blood and Sand" in Japanese? [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:09 PM - 8 answers

Help me get over this sudden fear of doing something really dumb.

I work in broadcasting. Lately, I have the awful feeling that I'm about to inadvertently say something that will get me fired. Can you help me work through this, and chase these thoughts away? [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 2:35 AM - 11 answers

April 21

A Story about Oxford Boating

A story about a disastrous boating excursion in Oxford, not by Connie Willis or Jerome K. Jerome-- what book is this from/what story is this? [more inside]
posted by damayanti at 7:03 PM - 2 answers

April 20

How can I improve the readability of my writing?

I think I write in a confusing manner. Folks seem to have a hard time wading through my sentences and paragraphs. Maybe it's because I use peculiar words. Maybe I phrase things awkwardly. Maybe I just don't understand how to properly structure a sentence. I don't know. Do you have any advice about how to write in a way that's easy to read and understand? [more inside]
posted by sam_harms at 9:04 AM - 25 answers

April 19

Tractor work for two?

A teenage you works on a farm. A romantic interest visits and expresses interest in riding on the tractor but ideally you'd like to get some chore-like thing done at the same time. The two of you do what together on a tractor? [more inside]
posted by pie_seven at 3:22 PM - 19 answers

April 17

Or should I just contact the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows guy?

I'm looking for a term (either a neologism or something that already exists) for a person who so precisely resembles someone from your past, someone whose relationship with you is unresolved and will never be resolved, that they drag up all the feelings associated with that person despite having no actual connection to them. Stuff like "dead ringer," "spitting image," "doppelganger," etc. only covers the appearance, not the emotion.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 1:51 PM - 14 answers

April 16

Is this lyric an example of a a metonym?

U.K.'s song Rendezvous 602 begins: "It's five o' clock/Driving down Park Lane/As London leaves/For the weekend again"? Is "as London leaves" a case of metonymy, or is it something else? No prog rock shaming, please
posted by thelonius at 5:58 PM - 6 answers

April 14

What was this trashy old scifi book?

A friend has told me about a book he remembers reading as a youth, and I am kind of maddeningly curious what it was. Any help? [more inside]
posted by kafziel at 6:53 PM - 6 answers

April 13

Yet another book recommendation

I'm desperately searching for a new series. I'm in the mood for an academic leaning fantasy romance, which is almost too specific. Help me not go crazy in my search? [more inside]
posted by Krop Tor at 7:13 PM - 37 answers

April 12

I used to make money writing. How can I do that again?

I like to travel. I also like to make money. I have always heard about the internet being a great tool these days for doing both. A very long time ago, I made money doing journalism writing for legit media outlets. I don't have a degree, just a natural talent. For the better part of the past decade, I have focused on screenwriting and have even optioned a script but other than that I haven't made any serious traction. What resources exist for doing this remotely and where should I look? What would I need to do get started? I do still have articles from my journalism days that I could provide as samples. I would also be open to other forms of writing/online work if it was easy to pick up on. Thanks!
posted by signondiego at 7:49 PM - 3 answers

What's this picture book about an invisible dog?

ASKING FOR A FRIEND: She is trying to remember the name of an old picture book that was about an invisible dog. We think it was originally published in the 30s, then re-released in the 90s at Costco as part of a set of three picture books, one of which was about a lion. [more inside]
posted by exceptinsects at 2:40 PM - 3 answers

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