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Old August 4 2013, 11:13 PM   #16
scotpens
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

Sgt_G wrote: View Post
. . . The problem? This character's name was Dennis Masterson. I picked the name by randomly opening the phone book and randomly sticking my finger to the page. This guy refused to believe that, because of course he just knew that I had to know the history of that name. Everyone knows that "Masterson" was the name given to the illegitimate child born to a slave woman, being "the Master's son", and given that I had to know that, I must be intentionally perpetuating the stereotype. I was so disheartened by the whole mess that I stopped writing that story and three others I was working on at the time. The only thing I've written since was TIMELINES.
You should have told the guy to look up the history of the name Masterson. And that he was an idiot.
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Old August 5 2013, 07:29 PM   #17
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

I have a standard response to all the grammar cops out there.

Pay me for my stories and i'll make whatever changes you feel necessary. Otherwise, sit on it and rotate...
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Old August 5 2013, 07:54 PM   #18
Timewalker
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

Sgt_G wrote: View Post
Just toss in a few simple words with the accent and leave the rest spelled correctly, please. We'll get the gist that Scotty has a broage accent.
The word is "brogue."

scotpens wrote: View Post
Sgt_G wrote: View Post
The worst thing about dialogue is when the author attempts to convey a thick accent. Too often it ends up with whole sentences made up of words spelled "wrong" or clipped with apostrophes all over the place.
Deliberate misspelling to convey dialect pronunciation or to suggest the speech of people who are illiterate or poorly educated is called "eye dialect." It's been used by many notable authors but is considered rather un-P.C. nowadays.
Personally, I don't see anything wrong with that. Unless it renders everything completely unpronounceable, it's meant to convey how the characters' speech would sound if the story were read aloud.

It's quite an effective technique when used thoughtfully. Mark Twain is the example most people would think of, but C.J. Cherryh also used it quite well in her Merovingen Nights books.



Sgt_G wrote: View Post
As I said, some people look for things to be offended by. Years ago, I was working on a story, and I sent what I had to a friend to read over. He allowed a friend of his to read it (against my wishes that he keep it to himself). This other guy started writing me with comments, mostly saying how good the story was but also had a few minor points. All of a sudden, my e-mail box blew up, this guy was flaming me so bad. He was on a tear about how "racist" I must be. Why? Because of one character I brought in for a cameo. Here's how I described him:

The man walked the front of the room and stepped up on the stage. He towered over Commander Sahani. His skin was as dark as night; his hair might have been in years long past but was now a distinguishing silver. Upon his Police uniform, which he filled out with a bodybuilder’s physique, he wore the rank insignia of Commodore.

The problem? This character's name was Dennis Masterson. I picked the name by randomly opening the phone book and randomly sticking my finger to the page. This guy refused to believe that, because of course he just knew that I had to know the history of that name. Everyone knows that "Masterson" was the name given to the illegitimate child born to a slave woman, being "the Master's son", and given that I had to know that, I must be intentionally perpetuating the stereotype. I was so disheartened by the whole mess that I stopped writing that story and three others I was working on at the time. The only thing I've written since was TIMELINES.
So change the character's last name and finish the story.

Admiral2 wrote: View Post
I have a standard response to all the grammar cops out there.

Pay me for my stories and i'll make whatever changes you feel necessary. Otherwise, sit on it and rotate...
With an attitude like that, I'll make sure to avoid your stories, no matter what kind of grammar you use.
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Old August 5 2013, 10:09 PM   #19
Sgt_G
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

Timewalker wrote: View Post
Sgt_G wrote: View Post
Just toss in a few simple words with the accent and leave the rest spelled correctly, please. We'll get the gist that Scotty has a broage accent.
The word is "brogue."
Sigh. The spell-checker demon strikes again.

So change the character's last name and finish the story.
I've been thinking about doing just that.

Right now, I need to be working on something that will, in all likelihood, be published later this year or early next year. I created deck plans for a ship from Star Fleet Battles, and ADB intends on using it in the upcoming Prime Directive: Traveller RPG rulebook (co-venture with Mongoose Publishing) and/or in a supplement book for the game. I have the deck plans done, and now I need to write the descriptive text to go along with the imagery.


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Old August 5 2013, 10:58 PM   #20
LilyThompson
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

My two credits:

1. I'm from a small town in Tennesse. My dad occasionally sounds like a character from Deliverance. That doesn't mean he's constantly using poor grammar or saying "y'all" every two words. I don't mind when people "write in" a southern accent, as long as it's done respectfully.
2. Sgt._G: TIMELINES was incredible. If someone wants to think you were being "racist" or "perpetuating" a "stereotype", let 'em. From the description of the character you gave us, The only "perpetuated stereotype" was of physically large Commanders. I'm very sad now that I know that we're all missing out on more of your work. As for the rear end who sent you the e-mails: He can go eat an unripe persimmon. We all know that you weren't trying to be racist. Besides, isn't the point of Star Trek diversity and unity in spite of differences anyway? That's why I always liked it.
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Old August 6 2013, 08:43 PM   #21
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

Getting back to the subject of grammar, even the great Rod Serling could be guilty of a grammatical error. In one of the Twilight Zone intros, Serling intones, "A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination."

The correct phrase, of course, is "A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are those of imagination." "Boundaries" is a plural noun, therefore a pronoun that refers to it must also be plural.
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Old August 6 2013, 10:25 PM   #22
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

Yes, true. And I don't know how many times I've heard people say it should be "To go boldly where no man has gone before." What was it called? A split infinitive?

"To boldly go" is improper English, but it just sounds better. I don't mind breaking the rules where there's a reason to do so. I'm just appalled by how often I see poor punctuation and lazy grammar all over the 'Web. Usually, I try to ignore it, even though it makes me fear what our school system is doing to kids.

However, is this topic not for WRITERS?

Should not people who want to write be held to a slightly higher standard? We're not professional writers, for the most part, and we don't have a professional editor looking it over before we post. A few missed commas will sneak thru, of course. We're not perfect, no one is, but shouldn't we try our best?


On a side note: I have decided to dig out that old story and start posting it.
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Old August 7 2013, 05:46 AM   #23
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

Sgt_G wrote: View Post
"To boldly go" is improper English, but it just sounds better. I don't mind breaking the rules where there's a reason to do so.
You're not breaking any rules. The notion that it's somehow "wrong" to split an infinitive was the creation of pedants who wanted to model English grammar after Latin grammar -- completely forgetting that modern English (with its Germanic roots, lack of grammatical gender, and noun function determined by word order rather than case endings) is totally different from Latin.

So go ahead and split those infinitives!
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Old August 18 2013, 04:34 AM   #24
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

I'm giving this one a bump because of something very odd I've seen. Just today, I noticed posts in two threads by two different members in which they used the word "vice" when they clearly meant "versus" (or its abbreviation "vs."). This isn't even a question of grammar; it's using a word with a completely different meaning. Is this some new internet fad?

EDIT: Well, I Googled all the meanings of "vice." Apparently it can be a preposition meaning "in place of" or "rather than," although until now I had never heard it used that way.

My bad.
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Last edited by scotpens; August 18 2013 at 04:51 AM.
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Old August 18 2013, 06:16 AM   #25
Melakon
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

Methinks Sgt G was an English teacher in a previous life.
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Old August 18 2013, 07:04 AM   #26
Sgt_G
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

Melakon wrote: View Post
Methinks Sgt G was an English teacher in a previous life.
Nope, not even close. Math teacher, perhaps.

All I remember doing in high school English class was parsing sentence structure. This is the subject, this is the verb, this is the object. That sort of crap. We never learned how to actually write a story.

Years later, I took a college writing class. I probably learned more from that one class then I did in six years of high school.
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Old August 25 2013, 01:34 AM   #27
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Re: OT: Grammar Cops Unite!

I had to laugh at a co-worker of mine. A few nights ago, wrote up a background paper to our leadership about a recurring technical issue. He asked me to read it over to see if it made sense. I said it looked okay but asked if he meant to write it entirely in passive-voice. About half an hour later, he sent the message out. I read it again and found he simply changed all the "was" and "were" to "is" and "are".
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