Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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November 13

What words do you repeatedly spell or speak out loud incorrectly?

Usually I am a good speller. But there are words that I type regularly that I always spell wrong first. For example covenant I always first spell convenant. There are other words I often but not always mess up in spoken language, usually by misordering similar phonemes (chicken/kitchen --> "The kitchen is defrosting in the chicken"). I am guessing that I am still mentally "speaking" the word as I type, and am doing the same kind of misordering for covenant, where I put the "n" too early in the word? [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:23 PM - 40 answers

November 11

Teen books where friends are imperfect

My 11-year-old son is struggling with new friendships at a new school. He is very loyal to his friends, who can be difficult and get in trouble, and that can lead him into trouble. I would like to find teen fiction books that address these kinds of situations -- for example, where the kids have friends, and those friends are imperfect and do bad things, and kids have to decide how they will respond. I'd also be interested in teen fiction that addresses issues of troublemaking, independence or loyalty more generally. He is a fairly mature reader for his age, so books aimed at 10-14 year olds might fit the bill.
posted by beniamino at 2:59 AM - 12 answers

November 8

Your best non-fiction books of the decade?

Which non-fiction of the past ten years should I not miss? I'm looking for books that you're pretty sure you'll still be recommending thirty years from now. [more inside]
posted by clawsoon at 6:47 PM - 35 answers

Arabic calligraphy, Marvel edition

It's another Arabic calligraphy question, this time supervillain-themed. Can anyone read what it says on this t-shirt, around the Hydra skulltopus? [more inside]
posted by daisyk at 4:52 AM - 4 answers

November 7

Learning how to write short stories

I'm interested in writing short stories (genre fiction more so than literary or non-fiction). Share with me the best resources for learning how to do this well. [more inside]
posted by miltthetank at 7:17 PM - 17 answers

Definite article question

I have a question about definite article use--and its non-use. [more inside]
posted by zardoz at 5:36 PM - 4 answers

November 6

Seeking subversive fiction

I really like fiction that takes established universes or tropes and plays with them or completely subverts them. What should I check out next? [more inside]
posted by Tehhund at 6:39 PM - 36 answers

seeking information about a very old book

Look at this old book. I know nothing about it. It could be 1,000 years old. It could be a stage prop from 1987. Can you tell me anything about it? Thanks!
posted by Joan Rivers of Babylon at 5:37 AM - 11 answers

Help me find an essay about the Trump administration from last year

I'm trying to find an essay or a magazine article about the Trump administration and the Republican party from at least a year ago and my google-fu is completely failing me. Unfortunately, I don't remember the author or what publication it was in. Two things stood out for me about the essay. First, it featured a very vivid biological metaphor about some sort of insect or virus that did not just kill its victim, but completely transforms its still-alive host in a particularly cruel way. [more inside]
posted by dyslexictraveler at 5:35 AM - 2 answers

November 5

Tell me more about 19th century French lit (especially Balzac and Zola)

I'm currently in a Zola and Balzac phase and would love to hear recommendations about books, podcasts, videos, academic articles (I am grad student with access to jstore) about these authors and their novels (and other 19th century authors). Also if there are any books that link the art world with the literary world, share those too. My reading knowledge of French is low intermediate so English resources are preferred.
posted by bigyellowtaxi at 7:46 PM - 4 answers

A Star Trek-referencing short story about hot beverages and probability

I'm trying to find a short story for a friend. It's about a hacked hot-beverages machine in a research facility, and one line references Picard's famous order, "Tea, Earl Grey, hot." More details inside. [more inside]
posted by daisyk at 1:38 AM - 5 answers

November 3

Do you have transcription tips?

I need to transcribe 15 to 20 hours of interviews. Someone recommended Express Scribe software and the foot pedal, but I see that it gets pretty mixed reviews. Do you have any tips for transcribing efficiently? What has worked for you? I have a Mac, and I'm recording my interviews both on my iPhone and also with an Olympus recorder. I've found AI transcription software to be useless. And for various reasons, I'm not keen on paying someone else to do it.
posted by swheatie at 3:37 PM - 18 answers

Help me set up my clock - in Chinese?

I got this new clock from amazon which states: "2 Display mode: it can have a fixed display with time, humidity and temperature or it can alternatively switch between time, date, humidity and temperature in turn." Mine keeps switching from time to date, but I want it to stay just on the fixed display with time. I can't find any way to do change this in the English version of the instructions (I can only read English), nor in any google results. Perhaps there is something more in the Chinese version? Can anyone read this and see a way??
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 8:43 AM - 6 answers

November 1

Does multi-tabbed text editing software exist?

So, I'm always juggling a few projects at a time, and I really like using plaintext or close to it for project files. I love how Excel and its clones have tabs that let you have multiple sheets at once in a single document - is there anything like that for plaintext? Preferably free and low-feature? [more inside]
posted by LSK at 1:28 PM - 21 answers

Need allergy card translation in European Portuguese, please

Unexpected trip to Lisbon and I need to have the following to present at restaurants: Allergy Alert I cannot eat any food which contains: Fish Sesame Lentils Peanuts Any kind of nut I would be very grateful for help with this, especially that last phrase. Thank you so much!
posted by uans at 2:20 AM - 9 answers

October 27

What's the most derivative, cliche novel writing software or ... ?

Asking for a friend who's trying to find "... novel writing software--or, say, a book or a website--that will guide me through structuring the most derivative, cliche, plot-and-character driven kind of novel? I want to mess with it... or maybe not. Based on my research so far, Novel Factory seems like a good option, but I'd like to know what else might be useful."
posted by philip-random at 10:59 AM - 4 answers

October 26

How old is this very old manuscript page?

I want to know how old this is. The information I currently have on it is a small label that says "Breviary / psalter on vellum hand painted circa. 1300 France". I don't think it's that old but I'm not an expert. Anything you could tell me about it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
posted by Joan Rivers of Babylon at 10:35 AM - 4 answers

October 21

Do you have a favorite pen for writing in arabic script?

I love fine writing instruments -- especially fountain pens -- and I also happen to be casually studying the Persian language a.k.a. Farsi. The fountain pen I like to use for Latin alphabet and script doesn't work well for the Arabic script; it seems the nib's too thin. (It's a Monteverde Fine nib.) Using a fudepen actually works better, but I don't imagine that is a normal solution. [more inside]
posted by bertran at 8:26 PM - 13 answers

October 20

YA-SF recs

Please recommend YA Science Fiction novels, comics and/or graphic novels . LGBTQ+ themes are welcome, though not mandatory. [more inside]
posted by signal at 9:12 AM - 14 answers

October 18

Help me find this quote!

It’s about the ocean AND the mountains. [more inside]
posted by sillysally at 9:39 AM - 1 answers

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