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.
Category: Soup To Nuts
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.
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.”
Creative writing is rife with symbols. Symbols such as the sun as truth and owls as wisdom permeate every type of writing from novels to video games.
Twenty-some years ago, during the first wave of dot-com hysteria, I worked as content director at an audio-and-music startup called Audiocafe.com, on Mission Street in San Francisco.
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.
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...
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.”
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.
Here’s a snippet of an October 21 CNN news report about the debunked theory that COVID-19 originated in a Chinese laboratory, intended as a potent biological weapon: