Modernize Your Grammar

The Write Nook

One of the scariest aspects of self-publishing is the editing process. You don’t have a built in editor waiting for your next draft. If you don’t possess a doctorate degree in the English language, you feel prone to have a ‘professional’ edit your work which often comes with hefty fees. You worry about following every grammatical ‘rule’ because you fear that any poor grammar will cast your work in a negative light or will be judged by readers and/or critics, just because you are not following the ‘conventional rules’ despite how well you write. We all have heard and seen authors get slammed for poor grammar and the last thing we want is to be the next victim. Go ahead and breathe because I don’t want you to spend another second worrying about it. I recently came across a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal, called “There Is…

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How do I use the word “to” in different occasions correctly?

Michael's-Eye View

Question details:

I mean, for example, as to the phrase “I want to do sth”, there is an infinitive following the verb “want”; while in another sentence:”….have an approach to doing…” here a preposition of to is. In what occasions “to” should be regarded as a preposition while in other cases as a part of infinitive?

Answer by Mike Mendis:

When “to” is used as a preposition, it suggests direction, either facing in some direction or moving in some direction. This could be either physically or conceptually (mentally).

When “to” is part of an infinitive it has no meaning. It is simply part of the infinitive (just as “-ing” is simply part of a gerund).

In your example, the word “approach” suggests a direction (even though it is used metaphorically). When you approach something, you walk in the direction of that thing. This physical idea is also…

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How to focus while writing

English Grammar

If you ever lost track of the story, and even abandoned a project after writing about 20,000 words because you weren’t satisfied with the current state of the story, I have some suggestions to avoid that waste of time and effort.

Usually, there are three types of premises, like the three beds in that popular fairy tale:

  1. Too soft

Guy meets girl. Things keep them apart, but they eventually end up together.

This is a really vague idea. Certainly, you can write a great novel based on this kind of premise, but the premise in itself is not much help. You might feel lost, distracted, and bored with the story, halfway down the road.

  1. Too hard

Guy meets girl. Guy’s adoptive parents are black. Girl’s parents belong to the KKK.

This is a more defined idea, which is fine to begin with. The problem is that it’s so clearly defined…

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Proofreading, grammar and spelling

Writing Grammar

This simply means polishing the language till it flows easily like a good conversation. Or like Hemingway put it: “Finding the right words and placing them in the adequate order”.

The best advice is to simply trust your ears. It was the love for language that led you to write the novel in the first place, so this is the time to trust your instincts.

If a sentence sounds too sophisticated or overly exaggerated then you must lower the tone or just remove it. If it sounds floppy, then it still needs work. But if a sentence flows without effort and transmits the exact meaning of an idea to us, of what we are looking for, then do not touch it.

In terms of style, in my opinion, the simpler the better, so it doesn’t attract attention (in comparison to the pompous prose of inexperienced writers). And the paradox is:…

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Be a better writer in 15 minutes: 4 TED-Ed lessons on grammar and word choice

DaeMyeong Middle School English

Here’s a great TED blog I have stumbled across. How can we make learning to write in English more fun and interesting? How can we understand it better? Well check out this link to the TED-Ed Blog for more info. There are four videos here which are really interesting.

http://blog.ed.ted.com/2014/05/29/be-a-better-writer-in-15-minutes-4-ted-ed-lessons-on-grammar-and-word-choice/

Here’s a pretty interesting video about writing some dialogues and getting ideas. How can you develop your ideas? Check out this video for an great perspective on how to develop your writing and story ideas… Three anti-social skills to improve your writing by Nadia Kalman.

You could also check out the writer’s workshop playlist which brings back some of the videos already seen and adds even more for you to amp up your skills. See what I mean by checking out these 15 videos from TED-Ed.

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Oxford commas, Nelson Mandela, and Stephen King

Sentence first

The Oxford comma (the one right before and in the title of this post) has been in the news again. It never really goes away, but now and then it intrudes more noticeably into general and specialist discussion. I’ve a couple of brief points to make about it, but anyone unsure of the terrain should first read my earlier post on the Oxford, Harvard, or serial comma, as it is variously known.

The Oxford comma is one of those in-group niceties that some wordsmiths use to mark their editorial or writerly identities. It has become a sort of tribal badge of style, reinforced by whether your preferred authority prescribes it – for example, the Chicago Manual of Style strongly recommends it, while the AP Stylebook says leave it out.

It’s remarkably divisive…

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Grammar never goes out of style

Writers: Working with Louise Cusack

grammarWriters need grammar, not so we can be pedantic about semi-colons, but to ensure that what we’re trying to convey to readers has some chance of translating intact from our brains to theirs.

My motto with writing is “Clarity above all”, so I’m mindful of the fact that the way we put words together can either help or hinder our readers when they engage with our stories (or our blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets). Grammar and style are vital elements of writing, yet many creative, talented writers need help in this area.

Because of that, I’m excited to recommend a user-friendly FREE course on Grammar and Style through the University of Queensland (Australia). Here’s some detail:

WRITE101xwill introduce you to some marvelous and quirky resources that we have annotated for your guidance, show you video clips of interviews that we conducted with distinguished grammarians, challenge you with quizzes and writing…

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