Archive for Grammar

Grammar… Why Did it Have to be Grammar – Dialogue Tags

tools of the tradeIt’s been awhile since I’ve done a grammar article. This is a good article as it is a lesson I recently learned. This was a problem my own writing suffered and I was unaware of the mistake. Like many grammar issues, not everyone knows all the rules and often teaches give only half answers. Those who told me of this problem in the past could only tell me partial rules, so I generally ignored it.

I wanted this to be part of my comma series that I will have in the coming months, but this deals with much more than just commas and really does need to be its own article.

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Grammar…Why Did it Have to be Grammar — The Truth of Sentience vs Sapience

Thanks to a good majority of Science Fiction, the term Sentience has been grossly misused. Many people apply the term to mean anything that is intelligent on a human level. Even Star Trek has done this, which I’ve always wondered if they were aware they were using the word incorrectly. Below is an example

Capt. Picard: Now, tell me, Commander, what is Data?

Commander Bruce Maddox: I don’t understand.

Capt. Picard: What is he?

Commander Bruce Maddox: A machine!

Capt. Picard: Is he? Are you sure?

Commander Bruce Maddox: Yes!

Capt. Picard: You see, he’s met two of your three criteria for sentience, so what if he meets the third, consciousness, in even the smallest degree? What is he then? I don’t know. Do you?

–Star Trek: Next Generation (Measure of a Man)

Now I will tell you right now, that the term of sentience is misused here. The word Picard is looking for is Sapience. Now a good question to ask here is, if most people think the correct word is Sentience, why should I change it? Why not use the word people expect versus using the correct word?

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Grammar…Why Did it Have to be Grammar — The Truth of Further vs Farther

So I spend quite a bit of time on Twitter, my blog, and NaNoWriMo forums.  I am always looking for ways to improve my craft and to offer my insight to others on how they can improve.

One conversation has come up recently that I commented on and was surprised what I saw in this discussion.  Further vs Farther.  Which do you use?  Now, I am guilty that often times I use further when I mean farther because to me it sounds better.  To say farther, I have to move my jaw a bit but for further, I only move my tongue.

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Grammar Slam — Wrestlers Teach Grammar

5-episodes-cm-punk-grammar-slam-header

Once again, I hate grammar, but it is necessary to be successful.  It is one of those things you must always study for so you don’t forget.  And in my study, I found something odd.  A Professional Wrestler, CM Punk, teaching grammar.  Now when you think of Wrestlers, you think of big muscular dudes in tights hitting each other (except Rey Mysterio, he’s short).  The truth is, that while they do beat each other up, many are quite intelligent and do have something to say.

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Grammar…Why Did it Have to be Grammar — Active vs Passive Voice

I hate grammar.  When it comes to grammar, I suck at it, though I would argue that I am better than most.  The biggest problem I have with it is English teachers.  The rules they teach us are not always rules but are actually stylized choices.  Such as starting a sentence with a conjunction, ending a sentence with a preposition, using a passive voice sentence.  All of these are not grammar mistakes, but a style choice for your writing.  Let us explore Active vs Passive voice.

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Grammar…Why Did it Have to be Grammar — Affect vs Effect

This is one of my most favorites, and by favorites, I mean one I hate a lot. While I am not a scholar of the English language (I wish I were, you know how much I could make editing other people’s writing?), I do consider myself better that most people in the world. To that effect (see what I did there), this issue throws me for quite the loop. You can memorize the definitions all you want, most people will trip over this one and land head first in the land of bad grammar.

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