Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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October 22

Techniques journalists use to find unique angles on stories?

What are some of the techniques which journalists use to find unique angles on stories? [more inside]
posted by jacobean at 6:49 AM - 8 answers

October 21

What blatantly ridiculous titles can I give myself?

I'm so tired of being asked my title when I'm dealing with sales people. Returning a faulty memory card adaptor the other day and giving my details I was asked "Miss or Mrs?" Basically "Oh you want to return this? Are you married?" How is that fucking relevant? My usual response is to hiss "Ms" but sometimes they mishear that and I see them click "Mrs" anyway, or they look slightly blank. I've decided instead to anoint myself with a different, stupid title each time they ask. Help me make a list? [more inside]
posted by billiebee at 8:55 AM - 88 answers

October 19

The instant regret of indulgence

Is there a term for the subtle and nagging regret that you feel after having a couple too many bites of something delectable? Made-up terms are acceptable.
posted by zennie at 7:25 PM - 14 answers

October 18

Appointment Book Terminology, Or: What Is Today

In American English, if I call my dentist today and schedule an appointment for November 1st, I would call November 1st my "Appointment Date." What is the corollary term for the first of these date pairs? [more inside]
posted by baseballpajamas at 11:32 AM - 14 answers

¿Do you sound out what you type?

If you're a coder, writer or journalist, somebody whose main occupation is typing words onto a screen, do you sound out everything you type, either in your head or subvocally? [more inside]
posted by signal at 7:23 AM - 40 answers

October 17

Good Bad Guys in literature

I've been in the mood for the "bad guy who becomes good," trope today, and wondered if AskMe might have some nice recommendations along those lines. I've been re-reading some Star Wars favorites from childhood which feature the trope pretty heavily, and would love more examples. Specific details below :) [more inside]
posted by Alensin at 7:39 PM - 21 answers

"Fresh Dad Jokes" is kind of an oxymoron, I know, but...

I'm planning my "Dad's Chili" booth for a cookoff in a couple of weeks. I give a free (alright, obligatory) dad joke with each bowl. This is my second year doing this, so my adoring public already knows where the general keeps his armies*, what's all brown and sticky**, and whats brown and rhymes with "snoop."*** I need some new material. [more inside]
posted by cross_impact at 9:05 AM - 34 answers

October 16

Swedish people: knowledge of an American poem?

If a native Swede, college-educated and around middle age, read (in English) the phrase "I sing the body," would they be likely to think of the phrase "I sing the body electric" from the Walt Whitman poem? If not, what (if anything) would be a more likely association?
posted by kalapierson at 10:01 PM - 13 answers

I want to write a book! How do I make sure I write it?

I have an idea for a non-fiction book. I think it's a good one. Tell me authors: What do I do now? [more inside]
posted by dry white toast at 5:51 PM - 11 answers

October 15

Can someone read these two early modern Greek words for me?

Hiya! I cannot read Greek. I would really (reallyreally) like to know what the two Greek words in this passage from a 1576 English book say, both as an English translation, and as a transliteration into an easily typable (so Latin, I guess?) script. Context and more pics within! [more inside]
posted by Dorinda at 8:09 AM - 9 answers

October 14

How to encourage children to use a minority language?

Does anyone have any tips, tools, or strategies for changing a child’s attitude to a minority language? [more inside]
posted by Grinder at 7:56 AM - 17 answers

October 13

Help me remember a quote about evil in America

I have a line or quote I once read bouncing around in my head, it was something along the lines of there being a pre-existing and long lived evil in America (or the Americas?) which was there before people (possibly it refers specifically to European settlers / “pioneers”) waiting to be discovered. I have a vague feeling this might have been from William S Burroughs. Perhaps I’ve made this all up - but it has been driving me crazy so if you can help me remember where I got this from and how exactly it was worded that would be great!
posted by nfg at 3:24 PM - 2 answers

October 11

Like the Room of Requirement, but without the copyright

I need some names/synonyms/ideas for, or examples of, a small, hidden space, such as you might find below the stairs or in the back of a closet. [more inside]
posted by lollymccatburglar at 9:33 AM - 26 answers

October 10

In the beginning ...

What is the most clear and concise way to convey the earliest days of a group, when it was just starting to be planned, well before it was official? [more inside]
posted by maurreen at 10:21 PM - 8 answers

October 8

How do I remove index formatting from Open Office/Libre Office?

I've used Libre Office/Open Office to create an index. Index words were located within a manuscript, and were highlighted as they were put in the index. [more inside]
posted by CollectiveMind at 8:37 AM - 3 answers

October 7

What's the name of a 60s TV Spanish course in Los Angeles?

This question itself is useless but if I can't figure out I'll never stop thinking about it. In the mid-60s, there used to be a TV Spanish learning show on weekday mid-mornings in Los Angeles. All I remember of the program is that it featured a woman who would introduce some words or a phrase, say it once, and then whisper it one or two times. Any idea of the show's name or the instructor's name? Thanks.
posted by holdenjordahl at 11:38 AM - 3 answers

What are some good senior jokes where the elderly come out on top?

There are a lot of jokes making fun of seniors. What are some jokes where the seniors come out winners? Where they aren't the butt of the joke?
posted by storybored at 9:17 AM - 16 answers

October 6

I am looking for a quote...

I read a quote 4-5 years ago. I believe it was written by a man in the early 1940's. The quote was about atheists and heroes. The quote was along the lines of some atheists, in the fervency of their belief that there is no God, should be careful that they do destroy other peoples belief in secular heroes. Help!
posted by goalyeehah at 9:28 PM - 0 answers

Resources for learning transliterated Urdu or Hindi?

I am interested in learning Urdu/Hindi in order to better communicate and socialize with my in-laws, including by text message. However, most of the resources and courses I find are either in Arabic or Devanagari script, which doesn't suit our situation. [more inside]
posted by thelastpolarbear at 7:51 AM - 6 answers

October 5

what accent is this?

The hosts of the How Ridiculous youtube channel have an Australian accent that's quite different from the fairly consistent accent I've been exposed to over here in the US. What kind of accent do these folks have?
posted by moonmilk at 8:43 PM - 13 answers

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