Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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August 26

Spies and First Ladies! (childhood books filter)

I was just reading this thread asking for good mysteries for children. I wanted to chime in with a great story/series which of course I cannot for the life of me now remember. As I recall it was at least two, maybe more short stories or novellas. The letter Q always seemed to be involved (nod to James Bond no doubt?). There was one which I think was entitled The Four Quarters which featured a kidnapping solved by triangulating homing pidgeons. [more inside]
posted by eglenner at 7:15 PM - 6 answers

Why is it "charley horse" and not "charlie horse"?

"Charlie" is a much more common shortening of "Charles" than "Charley." But the North American phrase for an involuntary spasm in the calf muscle is always spelt "charley horse." How's come? [more inside]
posted by Perodicticus potto at 12:58 AM - 4 answers

August 25

Books about Australia for an 11-12 year old

One of my kids gets to go to Australia next year thanks to a kind relative. This same relative wants kiddo to prepare for the trip by reading about Australia. What books would be good for the kid that age to read? I'm looking for recommendations for non-fiction about Australia (or portions thereof) as well as fiction set in Australia. Kid is 11, will turn 12 relatively soon, and reads at least a couple grade levels ahead.
posted by Alluring Mouthbreather at 1:25 PM - 16 answers

what's the most succinct way to phrase this rule?

I want to have Just One Rule in my MS classroom this year, under which all other rules fall. What I have so far is "make learning your #1 priority." I like the concept but I'm not wild about the phrasing. Help me punch it up! [more inside]
posted by chaiminda at 11:14 AM - 20 answers

Help me not feel guilty about reading during the day.

I have a freelance writing/editing life with a workflow that varies and a schedule I regulate, at least in part. I have nice gaps of open time, some days more than others, but my schedule is nicely flexible. [more inside]
posted by swheatie at 9:09 AM - 13 answers

August 24

Books about dragons for a precocious 11-year-old

My 11-year-old niece is a big fan of How to Train Your Dragon. What other age-appropriate books revolve around dragons? [more inside]
posted by Paragon at 2:38 PM - 32 answers

August 21

Titles in Literate as Real Estate Headings.

For a piece that I’m writing, I’m looking for the titles of well known of literature that could double as the heading of a real estate listing. [more inside]
posted by falsedmitri at 5:20 PM - 27 answers

Choosing a style guide for civil engineering proposals

I'm create a communications style guide for a civil engineering company, which is mainly for their proposals but will likely be used for other communications. These are proposals for engineering services for municipal, residential, and commercial developments, ranging from 5 - 50 pages. I haven't worked in this field before, so I'm wondering what standard text I should choose as the underlying style reference? [more inside]
posted by alicat at 2:17 PM - 2 answers

which quote or text should we print on the ceiling of our elevator?

Our office building manager has decided he wants to order a custom sticker to place on the ceiling of our elevator, which is in need of a little facelift. He wants to have a "fun" or "feel-good" quote to brighten people's day when (if) they look at it. Only he doesn't know what text exactly. I'm in charge of the graphic design for said text, but i'm personally not convinced we should have a text there at all, so i'm turning to the hivemind to convince me with your great ideas. [more inside]
posted by PardonMyFrench at 5:12 AM - 45 answers

August 19

Writing Prompts for Creative Non-Fiction

I'm trying to flex my writing muscles a little more often. Specifically, writing in the creative non-fiction / memoir / personal experience category. What are your favorite writing prompts? [more inside]
posted by nightrecordings at 12:45 PM - 5 answers

August 18

How do I improve my storytelling?

Some people can tell the most boring story and keep an audience on the edges of their seats. On the other hand, when I try to tell people about the most interesting things I've experienced (and there are some pretty interesting ones), it tends to land with a thud. I seem to have no natural talent for storytelling, but I'm hoping it's something I can learn to improve. [more inside]
posted by primethyme at 7:59 AM - 14 answers

August 17

Top social science journalism you've ever read-- go!

What are your favorite long magazine features (or books) on topics related to psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology? Looking for work that blends serious reporting with excellent writing.
posted by Mystical Listicle at 1:18 PM - 9 answers

August 14

Is this argument a logical fallacy?

" Because children and innocents all over the old are killed by America in foreign wars etc. , grieving for "white" Americans or Europeans ( while NOT grieving of all the other nameless innocents who are killed) is hypocritical." This statement is obviously problematic and not entirely reasonable but I'm trying to determine if it falls within some logically false argument, I can't quite think of one it fits into. Thanks for the help.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:39 PM - 13 answers

August 13

VocabularyFilter: what does a dupe, mark or patsy do?

I need a word that describes an action taken by someone who has been tricked into participating in a scam, but who is neither intentionally participating nor directly affected by it. Think of a person who receives a misdirected package and is asked to send it on to the "proper" recipient. (The scam would be that the misdirected package is actually stolen, or contains contraband, or something like that.) [more inside]
posted by spacewrench at 1:46 PM - 20 answers

August 12

Book Identification: Collection about Nuclear Anxiety

This is a long shot, but I'm trying to find a collection of writing about nuclear anxiety I read 10+ years ago. Few remembered details below the fold. [more inside]
posted by dysh at 6:08 AM - 2 answers

August 11

Easiest way to learn German?

What is the easiest and most constructive way to learn German? Would it be best to start with the prononucitations first, since they seem the most difficult to grapple with? Should one learn how to spell it first or speak it first? Is a tutor worth the financial investment and time? How long does it usually take to learn casual German? Thanks.
posted by RearWindow at 10:35 PM - 11 answers

Is this short sci-fi piece online anywhere?

This thought experiment from 1981 is making its way around social media because of its obvious timeliness for current events. Seeing it again reminded me that I've never read Nancy Collins' 1991 short story, Iphigenia, which is based on the same premise. [more inside]
posted by brozek at 8:57 AM - 5 answers

August 10

If you liked books A & B, you might like C.

What other books would you put in the same category as "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry" and "The One-in-a-Million Boy"? [more inside]
posted by aniola at 11:09 PM - 1 answers

GIve me Epistolary NOvels

I've been hankering for some stories written in the form of letters, diary entries, and related literary detritus of late. Can anybody recommend good ones? I've read Dracula, lots of Lovcraft, and the Newbury-winning Nothing but the Truth. [more inside]
posted by Alensin at 8:15 PM - 57 answers

What does these sentences mean?

This is from"The Fallen Idol" by Greene. I 'd like to know about some vocabularies. [more inside]
posted by mizukko at 8:50 AM - 12 answers

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