Category: Soup To Nuts

The Importance of Word Order
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The Importance of Word Order

Almost all music fans have heard the classic love song "I Only Have Eyes For You." Its title and refrain both leverage "only" the way it's typically used in conversational English, even though its placement in the sentence renders a meaning that is probably not what the songwriter intended.

Using Liminality to Add Depth to Your Writing
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Using Liminality to Add Depth to Your Writing

Liminality is the state between what was and what has not yet come to pass. It gets its name from the Latin word “limen,” meaning “threshold.” Although it was a prominent trope in medieval literature, world literature describes a similar power in this state of transition.

Try, and Avoid “Try and”
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Try, and Avoid “Try and”

Like rodents getting into seemingly impenetrable buildings, colloquialisms have a way of sneaking into many pieces of otherwise respectable writing. Among the most common is the phrase “try and . . .” as in “Try and start the car” or “Try and win the game.”

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.