Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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February 21

Help me translate a German doctor's bill from 1962

As the title implies, can you help me read/translate this doctor's bill from 1962. Here is an image of the bill. Thanks in advance. [more inside]
posted by codex99 at 5:12 PM - 10 answers

February 19

Idioms using numbers that do not actually have numerical meanings

What are some English (or, why not, other language) idioms that use numbers but do not rely on the exact numerical figure for their meaning? Examples: one-horse town, six of one/half-a-dozen of the other, four-eyes, the whole nine yards... [more inside]
posted by huimangm at 7:31 PM - 50 answers

How do you find synonyms for expressions?

How do you find synonyms for expressions, or common turns of phrase that embody a concept, rather than synonyms for a single word? For example, if I needed to find a synonym for "ins and outs", "boots on the ground", and similar compound concepts or metaphors - are there magical google search parameters or terms? Or perhaps a dedicated dictionary that does this? Thanks in advance for any tips.
posted by rada at 10:56 AM - 11 answers

February 16

Querying Editors

I am working on a marketing plan to promote an upcoming book. One market in the mix is magazines to whom I'd submit freelance articles as excerpts about subjects in the book. I've read submission guidelines that say freelancers should suggest a story idea to an editor and wait for a response. [more inside]
posted by CollectiveMind at 4:40 PM - 4 answers

By answering this question, it will really help me

I'm a rhetoric/composition instructor at a community college. I see this (to me) very odd and distracting construction frequently in student writing, and I could use some assistance in addressing it. Examples: "By taking this action, it will help drive prices down." "With being an athlete, it makes it hard to study." Is there a name for this? Have you successfully addressed this in a class? [more inside]
posted by deep thought sunstar at 9:20 AM - 26 answers

Why are you a researcher and not a scientist?

Scientists of Metafilter (and those who study them): Why do scientists mostly call themselves researchers instead of calling themselves scientists? Why do you?
posted by clawsoon at 6:54 AM - 29 answers

February 15

How do I find someone to proofread small bit of Spanish?

How do I find someone who can proofread a small amount (~380 words) of Spanish? I wrote a bilingual book for my baby, but my written Spanish just isn't there, so I need someone to check things like spelling and accents. I used Google, so it shouldn't be terrible, but it requires a human eye. How do I find someone who can do this? I'm willing to pay, but professional editors would presumably charge a minimum of hour so I'd be looking at $75+ and I don't need a professional editor. I already tried posting on mefi jobs. [more inside]
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:36 PM - 11 answers

February 14

Fiction About Fatherhood

I'm looking for feel-good fiction books that feature the relationship between father and child. [more inside]
posted by lakemarie at 2:40 PM - 11 answers

February 13

Recreational reference book recommendations!

I'm in the "w" section of the engrossing Home Ground: A Guide to the American Landscape, and am about to run out of book. What are your favorite reference books for casual reading? I mean one that is suited for those moments when you have just the time or inclination to get through an entry or three. [more inside]
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 9:28 AM - 20 answers

help me write disability

Writers of mefi please hope me! I'm applying for disability, and since I have an unusual set of disabilities I'd like to add a letter with a description of what my life/day looks like. I could use writing help (inspirations, tips, prompts, questions, ESPECIALLY slant suggestions)! Specific questions after the jump. [more inside]
posted by mirileh at 7:52 AM - 6 answers

February 12

c. 1523 He toke kyng Dampeter by the legge and turned hym vpsedowne

Why is the cover and spine on one volume of my compact Oxford English Dictionary upside down? [more inside]
posted by not_the_water at 2:50 PM - 5 answers

February 10

Not like in soccer, like in your living room.

My wife is baffled that I call our powered device that uses both a vacuum and a rotating power brush to clean dirt off the floor a "sweeper" and not a "vacuum cleaner". I maintain that sweeper is a valid description of the device and sweeping is the process, even though the device uses motors and a vacuum to assist. She insists that only a broom or purely mechanical device with brushes or bristles can sweep, and vacuum cleaners vacuum and should be described as such. Dictionaries are not helpful. Please help us... clean up this disagreement.
posted by eschatfische at 7:12 AM - 47 answers

February 9

he who is not one up is one down

In discussing the family of phrases "messed up"/"screwed up"/"f-cked up" (but also "clean up", "make up") with an English language learner coworker, he raised the question "Why 'up'?" None of us native English speakers could formulate a good answer, so I turn to you all. Why "up"?
posted by 4rtemis at 2:48 PM - 14 answers

Name that Yiddish name.

I have been told orally about a Yiddish speaking woman, born in the mid-1800s in what is now Rumania, whose first name was something like Sluve. [more inside]
posted by flourpot at 11:05 AM - 7 answers

February 8

Why does this use of the verb "fuck" sound weird?

A minor linguistic puzzle. This friend of mine was chatting to a guy on a gay hookup app. The guy asked if he was a top or a bottom, and my friend said "both". And got back this reply: "let's fuck each other" Why does that sound kind of ... off? It's grammatical, it follows that Gricean maxim of not being superfluous (since it reveals that he is also both top and bottom). Yet it's something (IMHO) a native English speaker wouldn't say. Why?
posted by dontjumplarry at 2:41 AM - 17 answers

February 7

Russian language

I just saw the movie "The Road Movie" which takes place in Russia. At one point someone refers to someone else as a skibby. What is a skibby?
posted by josher71 at 6:14 PM - 4 answers

February 4

Write this joke for me please

For a story, not for real life :) A snarky comment to be aimed at a spiritual guru type with partial hair loss. Like "You need to get in touch with your inner toupee" or "Did you kill a hairdresser in a previous life" but y'know, FUNNY.
posted by KateViolet at 6:47 AM - 24 answers

February 2

spicy chinese memes for english-speaking teens

I'm a Chinese heritage speaker in my 20s. I'm trying to learn Chinese again and I know I learn best by trying to decode pop culture, wordplay, weird Internet culture, and yes, dank memes. I loved Magpie Digest's dispatches from the Weibo deep web, the music videos from Rap of China, and the inimitable Karma's a Bitch. Are there any other Chinese pop culture explainers out there, preferably with a language-learning focus? [more inside]
posted by icosahedron at 8:01 PM - 1 answers

Need a name for a fictional vintage clothing/knitting shop

One of the characters in a story I am writing owns a shop in Balham, South London. It started out as a vintage clothing shop but has expanded in recent years to selling wool and offering classes in knitting and crochet. It's also kind of a hangout place for the craftily-inclined. [more inside]
posted by shibori at 1:06 AM - 25 answers

February 1

Alternative to 1984

Hey folks! I have a book dilemma. We're reading 1984 for my Mass Media class and I'm not in the mood for misogyny this week, so my professor said I could read something else because they're great. However, I have to come up with some sort of alternative. [more inside]
posted by dysh at 3:31 PM - 50 answers

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