Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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November 23

ReaderFilter - Bring me your tropes of lust

I feel the need to sublimate some of my spicier urges via fiction. I’m happily married, & I’ve had my share of whirlwind romances and flings and casual sex. I am finding myself a bit nostalgic about this, but not enough to jeopardize my reality. Time to live vicariously through the lens of fantasy as a healthy coping mechanism! Can you point me towards any fictional works - especially novels - featuring these specific concepts or tropes? [more inside]
posted by nukacherry at 1:45 AM - 8 answers

November 21

Non-fiction & memoir recs about social/human subjects

I recently read Abraham Verghese's My Own Country and Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking back to back. Both scratched a particular itch for me and I'm looking for other similar books that will hit me in the same place; specifics & caveats inside. [more inside]
posted by terretu at 9:48 AM - 18 answers

November 20

Recommendations for a dystopian novel by a Black or Hispanic author

I'm looking to replace 1984 in an 8th grade curriculum with a novel by a Black or Hispanic author. I'd like to stay in the dystopia genre or adjacent to that genre. Looking for recommendations to research.
posted by archimago at 6:59 AM - 19 answers

November 19

Looking for a word to describe that crunchy rice crust

I'm looking for a word to describe that crunchy rice crust in the bottom of a pan, in any language. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 at 11:38 AM - 19 answers

November 17

Reading Foucault's Pendulum

Hi, AskMe. I've started reading through Foucault's Pendulum, largely on a lark, as I have little exposure to the subject matter outside of the horror stories of Dan Brown. I was wondering if anyone had tips or advice to offer as I dive in. [more inside]
posted by Alensin at 12:21 PM - 20 answers

Help me translate into Latin?

I want to translate the phrase "Bend, Don't Break" into Latin for a ring I'm designing. [more inside]
posted by ceramicblue at 12:06 PM - 6 answers

November 16

Hamilton: The Revolution

I listened to the audiobook version of "Hamilton: The Revolution" recently, borrowed from my local library using Libby. The epilogue includes Lin-Manuel Miranda's notes on the musical, but without the landmarks his remarks are referring to, some of them don't make sense. Is there an upload somewhere of just that part of the book?
posted by cozenedindigo at 3:43 PM - 2 answers

What are some common document formatting debates and/or mistakes?

In the spirit of the unique hell that is final exams in 2020... I'm curious about grammar/document formatting, and best practices. For instance, today I learned about the indentation debate (ie., indenting the first line of a new paragraph OR putting line break between two paragraphs, but never both. Source [more inside]
posted by Anonymouse1618 at 7:00 AM - 12 answers

Short stories to read to COVID grandma

I want to read my grandma short stories for bedtime over the phone. [more inside]
posted by notsnot at 6:13 AM - 9 answers

November 15

One Man's Feat: How to Build a Complete E.B. White Collection

Reading E.B. White's children's book to my kids inspired me to seek out his other work, and I've loved everything I've read so far: One Man's Meat, Here is New York, and Points of My Compass. I want to continue adding his books to my bookshelves, but there are so many collections... [more inside]
posted by Text TK at 6:34 AM - 4 answers

November 13

How to be successful Kickstarting a novel?

I've got some fantasy short stories that I'd like to publish. I'm inclined to make a Kickstarter and sell advanced copies to recoup publishing costs. This crowd-funding has been successful for other projects I've done. Does you have any good publishing blogs or books you recommend? [more inside]
posted by jibberish at 5:51 AM - 3 answers

November 11

French translation of a mathematics joke

"A topologist is a person who cannot tell the difference between a coffee mug and a doughnut" is a popular mathematics joke. It relies on the mug and the doughnut having a single hole, making them topologically equivalent. If you translated this to French, the words for doughnut and mug would need to imply the existence of the hole. It looks like beignets are usually rectangular. Is the loan word donut understood to mean the torus shape? Is there a term for coffee mug that implies a handle? How would you best translate this? Thanks!
posted by Behemoth, in no. 302-bis, with the Browning at 7:29 PM - 25 answers

November 8

WordFilter: Word for an attorney speaking in the voice of her client?

What would the term be for the nature of an attorney's role in speaking to the court in place of her client? To pick something at random, in this SCOTUS dissent it says stuff like, “petitioner conceded at oral argument...” and “petitioner asserted an as-applied proportionality challenge to his sentence...” and “petitioner abandoned his as-applied claim...” but obviously it's not the non-lawyer petitioner himself saying these things, it's the petitioner's legal counsel. [more inside]
posted by Charles Bronson Pinchot at 4:58 AM - 7 answers

November 6

Seeking a new metaphor for the phrase “shoot the hostage”

I am looking for a new (and nonviolent!) metaphor to describe the circumstance when someone directly confronts a thing that had been previously avoided. Because the avoidance was preventing the person from performing a valued action, it is often helpful to find ways to face up to the unpleasant task or avoided thing. [more inside]
posted by dreamphone at 6:19 PM - 26 answers

Sanskrit or Yiddish? What should I learn?

I love learning languages in order to be able to read literature in the original. My local university offers language classes via Zoom at the moment and I’m torn between Yiddish and Sanskrit (these are the only two languages I can actually fit into my schedule). Plus we’ve just gone into lockdown #2 in Europe so I thought might be fun to learn something new. [more inside]
posted by bigyellowtaxi at 4:58 PM - 4 answers

A Whole Bunch of Vote

When did the word ‘vote’ represent both the singular and the plural? Legit English usage or wonk-ese? [more inside]
posted by thejrt at 2:03 PM - 6 answers

November 4

What is the name of this logical fallacy

"If a system is working in my favor, then the system works. If the same system (under the same conditions as the original) is not working in my favor, then the system must be flawed.
posted by FireStyle at 11:00 AM - 22 answers

Help Translating Chinese Character from Movie

In the movie TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA, at about 50:18 in, there's a garage door that has a Chinese character on it. (Or at least I assume it's a Chinese character, because a character refers to it as one a few seconds earlier.) What does the character mean?
posted by UncleBoomee at 10:58 AM - 9 answers

November 3

Spanish vs Italian

I want to learn either Spanish or Italian, but am undecided on which one. [more inside]
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 8:23 AM - 16 answers

November 2

Professional blog writing & how not to vomit out borrowed ideas?

How can I write blog posts about a business topic (leadership) using popular business publications without just recycling their ideas? I just picked up some contract work to do leadership research and write up blog posts for a coaching and leadership development company. I've never done this before and want to be creative and original but will be relying on things already written. I'm to: write summary of content based on research findings – referencing original content – for our website, blog and social media postings? [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! at 2:29 PM - 6 answers

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