Category: Soup To Nuts

Technologies Assisting the Blind to Read
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Technologies Assisting the Blind to Read

Back in the 20th century, I used to record myself reading chapters of a fellow college student’s textbooks, as he was blind. At the time, unless someone was sitting with him reading the textbook out loud, his only option to hear the text was to listen to a tape. Sure, Braille was also an option, though I’m guessing most of his textbooks may not have been available in Braille.

Time’s on Your Side
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Time’s on Your Side

Each genre of writing has a timeframe, its temporal setting—for news, product reviews, press releases, and nearly all corporate writing; the timeframe is the present. Anything else—celebrity profiles, short stories, screenplays and stage plays, novels—can have any sort of timeframe you wish. A story about a Civil War soldier can be told in the present tense, as if it’s a thriller...

The Vagaries of Double Negatives
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The Vagaries of Double Negatives

As all high school graduates know—or are supposed to know—in modern English, double negatives are considered at best improper and at worst, indicative of semi-literacy. “I don’t have none” is an ungrammatical response to a question such as “Do you have any money?” Even more ungrammatical are “stacked” negative elements, such as “I don’t have none never.”

The Perspective of POV or Point of View
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The Perspective of POV or Point of View

Every piece of writing is founded on a point of view, or “POV” in screenwriters’ parlance. A story’s point of view may be objective or subjective, from inside or outside depicted events—sometimes called “interiority” and “exteriority” by writing teachers—and may have a singular perspective or multiple perspectives. 

Awkward Construction Versus Narrative Flow
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Awkward Construction Versus Narrative Flow

Awkward sentence construction interferes with narrative flow in every kind of prose, from news reporting to fiction. Sometimes it’s unintentional on the part of harried or wooden-eared writers, and sometimes it’s a conscious attempt to adhere to a publication’s “house style.”

Fear of “To Boldly Go” and Other False Phobias
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Fear of “To Boldly Go” and Other False Phobias

The Star Trek mission statement—“to boldly go where no one has gone before”—has been criticized many times by grammarians who insist that it’s wrong because inserting the adverb “boldly” between “to” and “go” yields a so-called “split infinitive.”