Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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February 27

Forbidden words in history of literature

The "F" word is not a word that was used in literature during the early 20th century. It was considered outside the pale. Was this kind of prohibition an anomaly in the history of literature? Were there words in e.g. Shakespeare's time that he would not have included in his plays?
posted by storybored at 5:44 PM - 4 answers

February 24

Where do all the great, professonal obituary writers hang out these days

We need to hire one, quick. Where should we be looking? Surely there must be some writers dedicated to work in this industry... or are we totally wrong and just try to go it ourselves? [more inside]
posted by abuckamoon at 7:29 PM - 4 answers

Which sentence is grammatically correct?

English majors, help me out. Which is grammatically correct: 1) Good beer should always be drunk room temperature. 2) Good beer should always be drank room temperature. I’m stumped. Thanks in advance.
posted by ratherbethedevil at 5:29 PM - 15 answers

Daily Secular "Devotional" Books?

I'm reading "A Poem for Every Night of the Year", edited by Allie Esiri with my kids. What are some other similarly-constructed daily devotional readings that I could add to my habit. I'm athe-agnostic, so secular-ish would be preferred.
posted by po822000 at 8:30 AM - 10 answers

February 21

I need historical fiction about hard-to-sympathize-with protagonists.

There's a story rattling around in my head that I really want to write, but I'm having trouble with the protagonist's motivations. [more inside]
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:06 AM - 26 answers

French from The moon and sixpence

Bureau au premier. This is a sign on the poor hotel door. Why isn't there an article before 'Bureau'? And 'au premier 'means 'a le premier etage',right? Isn't 'etage' necessary here?
posted by mizukko at 1:10 AM - 5 answers

February 18

"A term of lack"?

I realize this is very little to go on and thus a long shot, but I remember some kind of personal essay or radio piece that used the phrase "a term of lack" (or possibly "an expression of lack.") That phrase stuck in my head and in context it was referring to/examining the idea that sometimes you can describe (or view) a situation as an absence/lack or as a presence of something else. I don't remember what the writer was describing, but I'm interested in this concept lately and would love to find the essay. [more inside]
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:41 PM - 7 answers

Comment vous appelez-vouff?

At about 17s in this video, the girl seems to pronounce 'comment vous appelez-vous' as 'comment vous appelez-vouphh'. I've noticed this type of thing with other words in French -- Is there a name for this phenomenon and is there anything I can read to learn more about it?
posted by iamsuper at 2:41 AM - 9 answers

February 17

Non fiction audio books on politics, social history or spaaaaaaace!

Please give me your best non-fiction audiobooks on politics, social history or space exploration! [more inside]
posted by knapah at 1:57 PM - 15 answers

February 15

Going to be fired. Should I quit?

In my last Ask, I requested coping strategies to deal with a bully-boss (owner). Well, I now expect to be terminated on Wednesday. Should I resign for resume optics? [more inside]
posted by shocks connery at 8:17 PM - 29 answers

February 13

Grandad Alternative

My sister is having a baby, and it will be my parents first grandchild. My dad isn't sure what he wants to be called, but he isn't keen on Grandad/Grandpa, anything that ages him really. He is Scottish but lives in England. I've looked online but I'm hoping for some better suggestions I can give him (he has requested my input). Thanks in advance!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:35 AM - 63 answers

Videos about food in Spanish

I'm learning basic Spanish and I've also been fascinated by the Handmade series on Eater. This video is ticking all of my boxes. Can you help me find similar videos? [more inside]
posted by charcoals at 9:08 AM - 4 answers

February 12

Please recommend gossip writing!

I'm interested in reading gossip about famous people. It's something I know nothing about and I'd love your guidance. [more inside]
posted by cheapskatebay at 8:15 AM - 19 answers

February 11

How can I speak in paragraphs?

I'd like to learn to speak in clear paragraphs, or at least in sentences that have complete syntax and don't end with just a silence or an "hmmmmm". How can I do this? [more inside]
posted by chappell, ambrose at 10:15 AM - 13 answers

Can you identify this (Chinese?) tea?

Can you help me identify this tea from the packaging? Small, single serving tea in foil pouch, almost no english script. [more inside]
posted by Concordia at 7:28 AM - 8 answers

February 9

Will you be my second opinion to Dr. Google Translate?

I need to make pins that say "I Speak [Language]" in said language, for multilingual staff to wear at events, without any access to the staff who speak the languages. I am wary of relying on Google Translate, so Mefites, I turn to you! Details and languages below the jump. [more inside]
posted by JuliaIglesias at 2:28 PM - 9 answers

Online Japanese OCR is failing with this brief printed text from 1800...

Though it seems orderly enough, all online Japanese OCR resources are coming up short with the brief description that accompanies this lovely illustration of a kinugasatake, the Phallus indusiatus, drawn in 1800 by Kamei Kyodo. Help, please?
posted by progosk at 2:45 AM - 36 answers

February 8

Help me write a sentence in Spanish that is wrong in this precise way

I work with people whose first language is Spanish. They speak English well, but their writing is... not great. Part of my job is to help them with their business writing so that it is in clear and precise English. They go to the thesaurus a lot, which ends up making their writing worse, not better. I want to give them an example sentence in Spanish of what they're doing. [more inside]
posted by tzikeh at 9:40 AM - 10 answers

February 6

Just one sentence, but a very, very long sentence

In the 1990s I read a short story that consisted of a single sentence. It was a very long sentence -- I think it spanned about 1.5 pages -- but it was just one sentence. And it was a real story, as well, with characters, unexpected turns, and a climax. I believe it ended in a driveway. [more inside]
posted by Winnie the Proust at 7:50 PM - 8 answers

What good is a story without any things I can picture and illustrate?

I made a necklace with handmade clay beads in the theme of Alice in Wonderland. I would like to make more themed necklaces but I am really struggling to find stories with representative 'elements' I can depict.. [more inside]
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 2:25 PM - 35 answers

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