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Things authors do that bother you...

evilynnthales
Updated:

Please post something authors get wrong. Things that bug you and/or throw you out of the story.

Something you wish more authors realized.

I'll go first...

======================

10 seconds isn't short.

I read a story the other day, a fairly mainstream fantasy, and they did something that bugs me. It's something that I see often in stories.

"Players are forced to immediately throw the ball because it's enchanted to shock anyone that holds it for longer than TEN SECONDS!" (I'm paraphrasing here)

The author wants to show that players don't have time to pick out a target to throw the ball to. They need to immediately throw it. I'm sure the author and proofreaders thought "A second is fast, so 10 seconds would force them to throw right away!"

But they are wrong.

"Mississippi one, Mississippi two, Mississippi three, Mississippi four, Mississippi five, Mississippi six, Mississippi seven, Mississippi eight, Mississippi nine, Mississippi ten."

The actual timer the author is looking for is one second. Perhaps even less than a second.

"He charged into the room, paused in the doorway for a few seconds, then attacked!" That's not a surprise attack. A dangerous opponent had plenty of time to look at the door and see who is there, draw a weapon, and attack first.

"I ran to the other side of the room, and was out the door in less than ten seconds!" That's a slow walk across even a huge room. Unless your in a warehouse running definitely wasn't involved.

Ten seconds is an eternity

sunkuwan

@evilynnthales

- characters constantly "chuckling"
- filtering out profanities in a sex story is bad enough (seriously?) but then to use a fantasy word constantly for every character who don't even know each other ("goddongit")
- stupidity for plots sake
- not caring for health issues like ass to pussy sex and/or not implementing or mentioning STD dangers.

tendertouch

@evilynnthales

Adverb overload. I've recently been rereading a well known and well thought of story here and gritting my teeth because sometimes it seems that every other verb gets a 'very' prepended. Adverbs can be useful but they have more punch if they're used sparingly.

Wheezer

Starting every other damned sentence in the story with a participle or gerund! Doing that annoys the hell out of me!!!
(see what I did there?)

Replies:   Ross at Play
seanski1969

Too many stories of the extremely sensitive and wimpy teenage male who gets the girl. Do teenage males exist with that much drama? Hell when I was young everyone so messed up with hormone changes that testosterone was beyond rampant.

Replies:   tendertouch
Wheezer

...and let's not even get started on homonym/homophone abuse and misuse. Few things ruin a story quicker for me than some writer who cannot tell the difference between their, there & they're (along with numerous other examples) and doesn't know or care to try & fix it.

tendertouch

@seanski1969

Do teenage males exist with that much drama?

Yes.

As for the extremely sensitive and wimpy teenage male getting the girl, didn't happen for me but all else being equal I appreciate it when I see it in a story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
tendertouch

Stories that apparently were never proofread by anyone but the author. 'Loose' in place of 'lose', verb/subject mismatch, repeated words - just the simple things.

Ross at Play

@Wheezer

Starting every other damned sentence in the story with a participle or gerund! Doing that ...

... can result in sentences with no verb. :-)

REP

Words left in a sentence that don't belong - probably overlooked when rewriting a sentence. Necessary words left out of the sentence. I'm with Wheezer on homonyms.

Safe_Bet

When Grok the Caveman uses a Bic lighter without explaining where he got it!

Switch Blayde

@sunkuwan

ass to pussy sex


I was trying to figure out how that kind of sex was done — and then I realized what you meant. Sheesh.

or mentioning STD dangers.


IMO, that should only be mentioned if it's part of the story. Alfred Hitchcock once said: "Drama is life without the boring bits." You can't fill a story with a lot of boring bits.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sunseeker
Updated:

using the word cooed when describing a female talking and "little one" as a term of endearment.

Letting characters that try to kill the mc go so they can write more drama when said characters come and try to kill the mc again

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
seanski1969

"He waggled his eyebrows at her"

I'm looking for my Grandpa's Grandpa with that old stylistic line.

Centaur

swapping he/she or forgetting the T in the.
changing POV mid-paragraph or past/present tense

robberhands

Things authors do that bother you...

Blatant narrative falsehoods. Two examples:

The narrator describes the male MC as 'very mature for his young age', but then all I get is a hormonal challenged teenager, drooling over every pair of tits in sight and losing consciousness when he watches two women kissing each other.

I read chapter over chapter dedicated to the star-fated love of the MC and the woman of his dreams and suddenly the author hits the reset button. The MC and his former loveinterst decide the last twenty chapters have been just a joke, brake up for some surprising reason and pick someone new to become the greatest love of their lives.

Michael Loucks

@sunkuwan

- characters constantly "chuckling"


Or giggling. :-)

(My two main failings, which I have to watch carefully).:-)

Michael Loucks

@sunkuwan

- not caring for health issues like...not implementing or mentioning STD dangers.


Some authors explicitly state their stories occur in universes where STDs do not exist. For some readers (and author's I'm sure) those concerns mess up the erotic nature of the story. Not a big deal to me, either way.

Replies:   sunkuwan
sunkuwan

@Michael Loucks

yeah, OSL states that STD's don't exist in his universe.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  PotomacBob
Not_a_ID

@sunkuwan

yeah, OSL states that STD's don't exist in his universe.


It also is part of the premise of the vast majority of Naked in School stories. STDs have been cured, and birth control is a shot you take every so many months.

There are, of course, authors who decided to use settings where that is not the case, but they're exceptions, not the rule.

For the purposes of most erotic fiction, I operate on the assumption STDs have been removed from that world by some means unless or until the author says otherwise in the story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@tendertouch

As for the extremely sensitive and wimpy teenage male getting the girl, didn't happen for me but all else being equal I appreciate it when I see it in a story.

It's a common literary motif that those who suffer eventually win, it's the whole 'underdog' meme. It's not that they're 'wimpy', it's that they've suffered, refocused their efforts and have rose above their earlier positions.

Put it another way, consider all those 'wimpy nerds' who now own software company worth billions? Being the top of the heap in high school isn't a clear path to success in life, and teenage girls can rarely judge worth in suitors as they lack the necessary experience in dealing with people

However, the key word here is 'wimpy'. You don't want your main character to be a punching bag, instead, they've got to have an under core of steel resolve, and be willing to suffer in order to win the day. Just because someone gets picked on doesn't make anyone 'great'.

Replies:   tendertouch
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

IMO, that should only be mentioned if it's part of the story. Alfred Hitchcock once said: "Drama is life without the boring bits." You can't fill a story with a lot of boring bits.

That makes sense, but it's such a major concern for so many, that it's worth at least a single sentence's mention in a story. Otherwise, the story seems to be complete fantasy, rather than representing the 'common man' who often wrestles with these issues and ends up being bitten on the dick by them too.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@sunseeker

Letting characters that try to kill the mc go so they can write more drama when said characters come and try to kill the mc again

Does that fit under the previously mentioned 'pansy' objection. There's being betrayed after trusting someone, but then there's doing something that common sense tells you is simply a stupid, stupid move.

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

- characters constantly "chuckling"

Or giggling. :-)

(My two main failings, which I have to watch carefully).:-)

Showing mirth or humor in a given situation can help define a character (it demonstrates a tendency to not take oneself overly seriously), but one major problem is just how to achieve it. For those unable to think of clever comebacks, a chuckle is the easiest solution, but is often overly simplistic. But you also have to watch how someone can talk incessantly while laughing at the same time.

Replies:   sunkuwan
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

For the purposes of most erotic fiction, I operate on the assumption STDs have been removed from that world by some means unless or until the author says otherwise in the story.

Gonorrhea or syphilis is a real mood-killer in a story arc.

Replies:   Centaur
oyster50

@Michael Loucks

Well, poo!

I like using both, because I like writing happy conversations and find that a chuckle or a giggle verbalizes those feelings.

As I read through other peeves on this thread, I agree with the homophone list and the spelling errors, though.
'
I mean, come on, dude... You're writing porn and you haven't figured out 'tounge'?

Replies:   robberhands
sunkuwan

@Crumbly Writer

I am currently reading "Magician" by QM and every character is chuckling, every time. It feels like every conversation contains at minimum 1 chuckle.

Crumbly Writer

@sunkuwan

I am currently reading "Magician" by QM and every character is chuckling, every time. It feels like every conversation contains at minimum 1 chuckle.

Like every tool in an artist's quiver, each is only valuable when used appropriately. Using any one all the time robs it of it's power, making it's use merely obsessive. The key is picking the right time and place, and then largely underselling it, so it stands on its own rather than the author forcing it on readers.

But I agree, it can and does get overused. I was merely referring to how authors frequently have to struggle with finding ways of utilizing it.

robberhands

@oyster50

I mean, come on, dude... You're writing porn and you haven't figured out 'tounge'?

No, dude, I don't want my porn to be that dirty.

tendertouch

@Crumbly Writer

However, the key word here is 'wimpy'.


Which means different things to different people. Yes, it can mean spineless, but it also can mean too damned weak to do anything about it. I don't mind a character who is a punching bag, but one that grovels so he won't be used as a punching bag is another thing altogether.

I don't know that I've seen many stories with the cowardly version of the wimp getting the girl. In some he finally gets the girl when he decides to stand up for himself or, more likely, someone else even though he gets thoroughly thrashed in the process.

Replies:   sunkuwan
sunkuwan

@tendertouch

Personally, I like the physically weak type of MC who uses his wits and friends to overcome situations.
I get frustrated when he is also a woman-whisperer

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@sunkuwan

Personally, I like the physically weak type of MC who uses his wits and friends to overcome situations.

That's part of the 'physical limitations' meme, where the main character is seen as flawed, yet he manages to overcome his inherent flaws to prove himself despite his natural inclinations. Thus the character from "House M.D." qualifies under this particular meme, even though he's simply an ass, his limp notwithstanding.

What bothers me with those situations isn't that a particularly weak character wins the girl, but he wins girl after girl after girl, with not a single one questioning him or turning their backs to him. Even one or two cold shoulders would feel like a splash of refreshing cold water after so much of the same.

Switch Blayde

@sunkuwan

I am currently reading "Magician" by QM and every character is chuckling, every time. It feels like every conversation contains at minimum 1 chuckle.


I once read a series (can't remember it's name or the author's name) that I liked a great deal. Something like "The House at the End of the Street."

One day in his blog, he said he was going to "show" more. I don't think he understood what that meant. Every character kept sighing.

Replies:   madnige
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Otherwise, the story seems to be complete fantasy, rather than representing the 'common man' who often wrestles with these issues and ends up being bitten on the dick by them too.


I doubt that there are very many people among the 'common man' who actually want to read a story about someone else living the same boring, dreary life that they are living. Fantasy and escapism are 98% of the point of recreational reading.

samuelmichaels

@Dominions Son

I doubt that there are very many people among the 'common man' who actually want to read a story about someone else living the same boring, dreary life that they are living. Fantasy and escapism are 98% of the point of recreational reading.

And the other 2% is chuckling and sighing over the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the story.

Not_a_ID

@sunkuwan

I am currently reading "Magician" by QM and every character is chuckling, every time. It feels like every conversation contains at minimum 1 chuckle.


I think the better way to express this particular complaint isn't to complain about chucking or laughter.

The real issue in play here is when most of nearly all characters demonstrate the same behavioural patterns and most of the same quirks.

So having a character who is always smirking or smiling about something is ok. But only so long as they're the only ones always doing so. That isn't to say the others can't smirk or smile, just that you better justify why they're doing so, and possibly differentiate on the specific descriptors used(unless character is intending to mimic/imitate on some level).

Centaur

@Crumbly Writer

Gonorrhea or syphilis is a real mood-killer in a story arc.

Unless it's part of a sub-plot. I have read a few where it's been used as for making a point or some such. Stupid boy had a STD in one of the books.

Centaur

@sunkuwan

Don't forget to read the sequel Magic.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I doubt that there are very many people among the 'common man' who actually want to read a story about someone else living the same boring, dreary life that they are living. Fantasy and escapism are 98% of the point of recreational reading.

The whole 'common man' approach was never about writing about boring people, instead it's a way of humanizing a story's main characters and giving a way for readers to relate to someone who's ever wish comes true with no effort on his part.

You'll find the same 'common man' approach is stories as varied as thrillers, post-apocalyptic tales, space sagas, historical epics. It's not about Walter Mitty stories.

Instead, readers need a reason to care about what happens to a character. If the character isn't particularly pleasant, or his situation doesn't seem 'real' (where many stories with people riding space ships are considered 'realistic portrayals'), then you'll lose many readers.

Replies:   Dominions Son
madnige
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I once read a series (can't remember it's name or the author's name) that I liked a great deal. Something like "The House at the End of the Street."


That's the Town of Haven series by A Strange Geek. Story named is the second in the series.

One day in his blog, he said he was going to "show" more.


Must have been before 2013, as there's nothing in his blog about that now.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

or his situation doesn't seem 'real' (where many stories with people riding space ships are considered 'realistic portrayals'), then you'll lose many readers.


As I said before, fantasy and escapism are a big part of recreational reading for many readers. You can lose just as many readers if the situation seems too real.

Uther_Pendragon

@evilynnthales

One thing that bugs me in books -- published books, so most of the proofreading issues have been eliminated,
is when the author thinks he's writing about the real world, but he isn't. I read one romance until a character said [paraphrased] "I thought only we scientists believed in magic."
Gal, you want to bring in magic, I'll read it. You want to bring in physicists believing in magic, I'll bail.

imnotwrong
Updated:

There are two things that writers do that are annoying me right now, because I've recently been encountering them heavily. Both are ways writers get too cute with surprises. I'll post them separately for easier replying, and because the second one is rather long.

First one is a writer who deliberately withholds story codes they KNOW ARE COMING until the moment they arrive in the story. There is a reason sites like this have stories code requirements and story code filters. It's because not everyone likes the same things. You might not like some of my fetishes, and I might not like some of yours. That's fine. But trying to sucker me into reading something I don't like is HIGHLY disrespectful. I am an adult, not some five-year-old who won't eat a mushroom because it looks weird.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@imnotwrong


First one is a writer who deliberately withholds story codes they KNOW ARE COMING until the moment they arrive in the story.


In my mind that's about the only thing that really justifies a 1 vote. It ensures the author is placed on my blacklist of authors to avoid at all costs.

It's so easy to put the code in and include a note as part of the story description to state a code belongs to one particular scene in one chapter if it's very minor.

imnotwrong

There are two things that writers do that are annoying me right now, because I've recently been encountering them heavily. Both are ways writers get too cute with surprises. I'll post them separately for easier replying, and because the second one is rather long.

The second one is when a writer is so devoted to drama and swerves for their own sake, they willfully ignore all previous characterization and force one or more characters to act EXTREMELY out of character just to get that little bit of extra drama.

And when I say extremely, I mean the kind of thing that would have made Vince McMahon tell Vince Russo "NO CHANCE IN HELL!"

I'm not going to name names, but I'll give an example of one that looks like it is about to happen:

Main character is a young teen who is only just recovering from moths of a sever depression after his girlfriend committed suicide while fighting cancer, a fight he didn't know about until her funeral. His family has been supportive, but he has also had his best friend since diapers. His female best friend. She has been his emotional rock. Ferociously loyal, comforts him, supports him, worries about him. And yet, in the most recent chapter, this same person takes the main character the her favorite spot, talks about her feelings for him, looks at him in a way she would know damned well he could only read one way, has sex with him . . . and then dumps him? Knowing everything he's been through the past year?

I'm sorry, but no. It breaks all characterization to have the girl from every chapter before that point to treat him with that level of thoughtless, callus, emotional BRUTALITY. It would destroy all credibility for her character, the story, and the author.

I'm not saying betrayal doesn't happen. I'm not even saying that betrayal is bad for storytelling. Hell, as the earlier reference suggests, I'm an old-school pro wrestling fan. But even THEY knew enough about characterization to know that there were some thing you just don't do without a damned good set-up. There was a good reason why NOBODY ever tried the make Ricky Steamboat turn heel. Because nobody would believe it!

Drama in a story is fun and exciting. But sometimes a writer needs to take a good look at the characters and characterization in front of them and realize that they just shouldn't go there.

tendertouch

@imnotwrong

First one is a writer who deliberately withholds story codes they KNOW ARE COMING until the moment they arrive in the story.


Of course some writers don't know what's coming up because they're making it up as they go along but I agree with your point. It's one of the reasons I almost never start stories these days until they're complete. By then the author should have an idea what's going on and have coded for it.

Not fully coding a story is definitely one of my peeves. I'm OK if the author says in the synopsis that they are withholding codes (though I won't read the story) but if they just leave off codes that I find objectionable then they get a 1 vote and they land on my exclusion list. The codes aren't only there to let us know what stories we'll be interested in but also the ones that we'll want to avoid.

Replies:   REP
REP
Updated:

@tendertouch

Most authors tend to write the same or very similar types of stories and they develop habits in the way they present their stories.

I agree that the practice of withholding a story code that you know will be added as a surprise is not appropriate. The readers of authors who use this practice should be aware of the author's habit of adding uncoded content to a story. If you haven't read their stories, then you can always review the codes they assigned to completed stories, and hopefully they added missing codes when they included potentially objectionable material in a story. Of course that assumes the author has multiple stories posted and that you read or attempted to read the stories. If true, then you should have a general idea of the types of content to expect of that author.

A new author or an author you haven't read is a different situation, and there is no way to predict what you will encounter. :( However, a new author is an experienced reader. They should know that including uncoded scenes that may be objectionable is a bad practice based on how they felt when they encountered objectionable content. On the other hand, maybe as a reader, the new author liked having uncoded, objectionable material being included as a surprise.

They should also have read Lazeez guides to good writing practices including the sections addressing proper coding for a story. If they implement inappropriate practices, they deserve to lose their readers. But they should be aware that others don't share their opinion.Unfortunately, new authors will not read the guides or they think they can get away with practices they objected to other writers using. :(

minor edits

Safe_Bet

LOL... ANOTHER thing that I find annoying is when the writer has several characters that have the same and/or very similar names. I just reviewed one like that where there was an "Uncle Lee (called Lee) and a niece named Lee. The writer used a lot of dialog that went, "and Lee said" when both character were present. Even taking context into account it could be confusing.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer  Grant
REP

@Safe_Bet

Even taking context into account it could be confusing.


I agree. I'm having that problem with Part 2 of my current story. Part 1 of the story had a Sam Thomas and a Samantha (Sam) Reppa and they have major postions in the story.

I fixed that problem for future stories. I found several lists of first and last names and merged the respective lists. I then deleted duplicates of first names and last names, but missed a few duplicates and need to go through the listing again. I now have a list of about 800 first-last character names. I just have to avoid names where a nickname duplicates another characters name, like Sam/Samantha.

shinerdrinker
Updated:

Thinking about the 'chuckling' conundrum, I'll share this.

Found it on a graphic I stumbled upon one night while perusing various MILF video vignettes.

Smirk: Slight, often fleeting upturning of the corners of the mouth, completely voluntary and controllable

Smile: Silent, voluntary and controllable, more perceptible than a smirk; begins to release endorphins

Grin: Silent, controllable but uses more facial muscles

Snicker: First emergence of sound with facial muscles, but still controllable

Giggle: Has a 50% chance of reversal to avoid a full laugh; sound of giggling is amusing; efforts to suppress it tend to increase its strength

Chuckle: Involves chest muscles with deeper pitch

Chortle: Originates even deeper in the chest and involves muscles of torso; usually provokes laughter in others

Laugh: Involves facial and thoracic muscles as well as abdomen and extremities; sound of barking or snorting

Cackle: First involuntary stage; pitch is higher and body begins to rock, spine extends and flexes, with an upturning of head

Guffaw: Full body response; feet stomp, arms wave, thighs slapped, torso rocks, sound is deep and loud; may result in free flowing of tears, increased heart rate and breathlessness; strongest solitary laughter experience

Howl: Volume and pitch rise higher and higher and body becomes more animated

Shriek: Greater intensity than howl; sense of helplessness and vulnerability

Roar: Lose individuality; i.e., the audience roars!

Hope this can help!

Crumbly Writer

@Safe_Bet

LOL... ANOTHER thing that I find annoying is when the writer has several characters that have the same and/or very similar names. I just reviewed one like that where there was an "Uncle Lee (called Lee) and a niece named Lee. The writer used a lot of dialog that went, "and Lee said" when both character were present. Even taking context into account it could be confusing.

I had one story, with well over 100 characters, where I had some fun with this. Finding another character with the same name, the MC dubs him "Alex 2". I had fun playing around with this (ex: "which Alex is that?"/"Oh, Alex 1").

Even in my newest story, dealing with aliens whose names are so strange they'd never repeat, the humans assign human names to anyone who's name they can't pronounce, and if one happens to act like a previous character, they simply say, "OK, we'll just call you Gary 2 until we finally master your name."

But, at least I make it clear who's saying what, and my editors are very good at telling me when my speakers aren't clearly identified.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Crumbly Writer

@shinerdrinker

Found it on a graphic I stumbled upon one night while perusing various MILF video vignettes.

Smirk: Slight, often fleeting upturning of the corners of the mouth, completely voluntary and controllable

I like your list, because not only does it tell you how a character displays the action, but it ties the character's actions to the responses of other characters, so authors using the list are less likely to abuse the attributions.

Grant

@Safe_Bet

LOL... ANOTHER thing that I find annoying is when the writer has several characters that have the same and/or very similar names.

Similar issue- the character has a name, then they have a nick name, then they have another nick name used by another character.
5 characters aren't a lot, but if there ends up being 15 names used for those 5 it's somewhat ridiculous (and difficult to follow).

imnotwrong

@Grant

Similar issue- the character has a name, then they have a nick name, then they have another nick name used by another character.
5 characters aren't a lot, but if there ends up being 15 names used for those 5 it's somewhat ridiculous (and difficult to follow).


Thing is, that can happen in real life. My father's first name was Charles. His family took to calling him by his middle name, and when he joined the Army, the called him Red for his hair color. One man, three names.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Ernest Bywater

@Grant

the character has a name, then they have a nick name, then they have another nick name used by another character.


Common in real life. Some people know a person by one nickname, and others know them by another nickname - depending on where they first met. Most people call people by the name they were first introduced to some one by, so you get that.

Related to that is the use of short name forms. My family always called me Ernest, those who knew me from school always called me Ernie, those who knew me from work called me Ern, and I also picked up the nickname of 'Deadly Ernest' which also got shortened to 'Deadly' along the way.

I know someone named Gary James who gets Gary, Gazza, GJ, Rev, Skipper, and Skip from different people due to where they first met him - there's 6 to play with.

Ernest Bywater

@Grant

Similar issue- the character has a name, then they have a nick name, then they have another nick name used by another character.


In one of my works in progress I have a character whose name and nickname are based on someone I know. The character is named after his grandfather and the legal name is Randolph Leyland Taylor - Leyland is pronounced lay-land by some people and lee-land by others. Mother not wanting him called Randy for short starts him out with the nickname of Lee as the short form of his middle name. Due to activities as a youth he also picks up the nickname of Tinker thus he gets called Lee or Tinker by people and the official records call him Randolph.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Which all goes to show, you really can't make it a rule that no author can ever use more than one name to refer to someone, but just like using first and last names in informal and formal settings, you've got to work extra hard to remind readers of each name, who knows him by those names, and when it's appropriate to use them. The sheer workload in keeping all of that straight, and keeping the reader appraised as the story progresses, should discourage most authors from even attempting it.

It's not that it can't be done, but the more complicated you make an otherwise simple thing, the more difficult it gets to implement. And it's yet another reason why many authors keep active character lists, so they can keep their character names straight, and hopefully notice when one character uses another character's first name as their middle name, and yet another uses it as their last.

sunkuwan

@Grant

I have a dozen different nicknames on my workplace alone.
At work: From best friends, friends, normal colleagues, supervisors and even the big boss lady. All different.
In my hometown, when I was a kid, the adults just called me my fathers nickname with the addition of "junior"
I had a different nickname in the army.
Strangely enough, no nickname in school.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Michael Loucks

@Crumbly Writer

I had one story, with well over 100 characters, where I had some fun with this. Finding another character with the same name, the MC dubs him "Alex 2". I had fun playing around with this (ex: "which Alex is that?"/"Oh, Alex 1").


I have this in real life! One of my friends shares a name with one of my sons. They became 'Josh 1' and 'Josh 2'. And that's how we refer to them.

Replies:   sunkuwan  Crumbly Writer
sunkuwan

@Michael Loucks

My niece has 2 uncles with the same name (her only uncles). Me, and the brother of my brother-in-law.
Fortunately, he is called by his nickname by everyone else, even his parents. So she calls him Uncle [nickname].

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
richardshagrin

@shinerdrinker

Grin: Silent, controllable but uses more facial muscles


And then there is the shagrin.

Crumbly Writer

@Michael Loucks

I have this in real life! One of my friends shares a name with one of my sons. They became 'Josh 1' and 'Josh 2'. And that's how we refer to them.

In one sci-fi novel, I used 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2' from Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat. It's a quick lighthearted way to dance around having to name creatures who are hard enough to describe in English.

My family always uses themes in selecting family names (first names for family members). One family named everyone for nature (ex: Brook, Dale), another for flowers (ex: Rose, Heather, Iris), and so on. My parents with "V"s. Us kids were Vincent, Victor, Valerie and Copy (my grandmother's nickname for Vernon III). My parents were Vernon Jr. and Vera, and my grandparents were Vernon I and Gook (short, sorta, for Gladys). We also lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia, drove a Volkswagen bus and had a dog named VIP (for Very Important Puppy). Although they've always denied consciously choosing all V names, they conceded they were forced to stop having kids when faced with naming the next boy either Vaughn or Virgil.

To top it off, My sister met someone she who attended her high school at their 30th reunion with the name of Vincent Vita, and as you can imagine, they ended up marrying, so now I'm Vincent and her husband is simply Vince.

Try working that into a story without it sounding absurd!

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Try working that into a story without it sounding absurd!


As they say, the difference between fiction and real life is that fiction has to make sense. :)

Ernest Bywater

@sunkuwan

My niece has 2 uncles with the same name (her only uncles).


I'm sure most of you have heard of the author cmsix, well, he uses that nickname because when he was born there were already 5 others in his close family with the exact same first, second, and family name - thus he was the sixth with the same first and second name with the initials of cm.

I do some genealogy research and have found many cases where the first born son of every son in a family is given the same name. Thus you can get John B has four sons and they have four sons who then have four sons. so if he lives long enough to see his great grandsons you have in those 4 generations from John B a one John B in the 2 nd generation, but 4 John Bs in the 3rd Generation and 16 John Bs in the 4th generation giving 22 with the same name at the family Christmas party.

Not_a_ID

@imnotwrong

Thing is, that can happen in real life. My father's first name was Charles. His family took to calling him by his middle name, and when he joined the Army, the called him Red for his hair color. One man, three names.


My grandfather picked up the name "Sam" during WW1 due to being the local postal worker(and only federal employee) in town. It stuck with him for the next 70 years, and still persisted after his death), even though it never appeared on any government records.

He had friends and co-workers who never knew that his legal name wasn't actually Sam.

Not_a_ID

@sunkuwan

I have a dozen different nicknames on my workplace alone.

So many places someone could take that....

But I guess so long as you're not sharing any of those names with others, you might be safe enough. 😎

evilynnthales

@Crumbly Writer

Try working that into a story without it sounding absurd!


Know someone whose wife has a younger brother and sister that are married to each other.

Yes, brother and sister are married. Legally. They even have kids.

It sounds so strange, but it's not their fault...

Girl (A) and Boy (B) fall in love and get married. At the wedding they make the mistake(?) of introducing her widowed father to his single mother. A year later the happy couple become step-siblings when their parents get married to each other. I assume much yelling was involved, but I've never actually met any of them.

Replies:   AmigaClone  Not_a_ID
AmigaClone

One of my best friends growing up in Brazil had the same first name as his father and two younger brothers. Depending on the situation they were either called by the first and middle names, just the middle name, or in the case of the father what would translate as "big ...".

AmigaClone

@evilynnthales

Just think of the confusion if the parents in question had another child (C) :). Girl (A) and Boy (B) would both be half siblings to Child (C).

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
oyster50

"Dan" is easy to type. When I started writing, I did three stories with 'Dan' as the main character, then something popped in my brain and I brought stories together into my Smart Girls universe. Everybody calls the Dan 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 in the stories.

It seems to work, and it's a quirk that occasionally gets discussed in the stories.

Replies:   richardshagrin
StarFleet Carl

@AmigaClone

Girl (A) and Boy (B) fall in love and get married. At the wedding they make the mistake(?) of introducing her widowed father to his single mother. A year later the happy couple become step-siblings when their parents get married to each other. I assume much yelling was involved, but I've never actually met any of them.


Just think of the confusion if the parents in question had another child (C) :). Girl (A) and Boy (B) would both be half siblings to Child (C).


Actually, I know someone who's had that happen. The two children were both in their early 20's, parents had both married young (or at least had kids early), so the mom was only in her late 30's. The first generations kid was in my grade at school, the parents kid was two years behind me. It was funny because Vic (in my grade) would call Jeff (two years younger) his uncle - which was correct. Jeff would get a kick out of saying, this is my brother and my sister, his wife.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Switch Blayde

George Foreman named all five sons George.

George Jr.
George III ("Monk")
George IV ("Big Wheel")
George V ("Red")
George VI ("Little Joey").

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

George Foreman named all five sons George.


And one of his daughters is named Georgetta.

Michael Loucks

@Crumbly Writer

In one sci-fi novel, I used 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2' from Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat. It's a quick lighthearted way to dance around having to name creatures who are hard enough to describe in English.


In AWLL, Jesse calls Jennifer and Josie 'Mom One' and 'Mom Two' :-)

richardshagrin

@oyster50

"Dan" is easy to type.

It would be just as easy to type And and Nad as Dan. And DNA also uses the same letters.

Reluctant_Sir

@Crumbly Writer

I think the V theme would be fun to write into a story.

"But...Vernon, doesn't that get confusing?"
"Very!"

My family was more George Forman-esque. The father is Charles, the sons were Charles M., Charles B., Karl (Charles in German) and Charlene.

Then there was me, I came in between Charles M. and Charles B. in age, but I was the result of an affair and was named David. Gee... that helped me fit in.

As far as the name thing goes, I am actually using that as a low-key, ongoing joke in my current story.

Jack is the MC. He meets Jake, a grand-father type figure who has a security chief, Dave. Dave finds Jack a security chief named Dean. When Jack gets a girl, Dean finds the girl a bodyguard named Deb.

Jack is the only one that things it is at all strange.

Not_a_ID

@evilynnthales

Know someone whose wife has a younger brother and sister that are married to each other


One diverging branch off of my family tree in the late 19th Century had a Father, son, and daughter all married into the same group of siblings. The opposite side of the family tree also has (19th Century) examples of a parent's second marriage happening to coincide with a sibling of the 2nd spouse marrying a child of the remaining parent. (It also doesn't help in one case, where 1st wife and 2nd wife(after the first died) both had the same first name)

Can't even claim it's a local anomaly either, as they lived over 1,000 miles away from each other and I am the closest known relation to both groups.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


Just think of the confusion if the parents in question had another child (C) :). Girl (A) and Boy (B) would both be half siblings to Child (C).

Actually, I know someone who's had that happen.


It happened with the group I found in my family tree as well. But at least for me, they're (distant) cousins, not aunts/uncles.

Edit: Also not uncommon was Brothers A and B marrying Sisters(from another family) C and D.

Or Brother and Sister E and F marrying Sister and Brother(from another family) G and H.

Both versions of that seems to have happened multiple times on my own "direct line." Sometimes in back to back generations

Replies:   PotomacBob
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

George Foreman named all five sons George.

George Jr.
George III ("Monk")
George IV ("Big Wheel")
George V ("Red")
George VI ("Little Joey").

Technically, the positional titles (Jr., IIIrd, IVth) aren't to relate sequential order, but generational order. Thus if you have five children all named George, the first would be George Jr, but the rest would all simply be "George", with no distinctions. George Jr's son would be George III, but that name couldn't be applied to any other of the many George Children. Thus if "Monk" had a child named "George", he'd only be George Jr, not George IV or George VII.

But then, George simply named his kids whatever he wanted, with little regard for how they'd deal with the name, the implications or the appropriateness of the titles.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

George simply named his kids whatever he wanted, with little regard for how they'd deal with the name, the implications or the appropriateness of the titles.


On his website, Foreman explains, "I named all my sons George Edward Foreman so they would always have something in common. I say to them, 'If one of us goes up, then we all go up together, and if one goes down, we all go down together!'"

Switch Blayde
Updated:

The name should be consistent when using a dialogue tag.

In my first novel, I have a character named Rocco. Most people called him Rock while some Sarge, etc. Those were nicknames/titles people called him in dialogue. But when Rocco spoke and needed a dialogue tag, it was always "Rocco said."

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

The name should be consistent when using a dialogue tag.

In my first novel, I have a character named Rocco. Most people called him Rock while some Sarge, etc. Those were nicknames/titles people called him in dialogue. But when Rocco spoke and needed a dialogue tag, it was always "Rocco said."

If everyone has their own name for the character, then clearly, the narrator does too.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

The name should be consistent when using a dialogue tag.


However in Redsliver's 'Magic is Gross' stories the characters have dialogue tags reflecting their personas at the time they utter the dialogue. In the circumstances I think it's the right choice.

AJ

PotomacBob

@Not_a_ID

Also not uncommon was Brothers A and B marrying Sisters(from another family) C and D.


Describes two of my aunts and their husbands. The resulting offspring (2 each) were Double First Cousins. When one of the husbands died after two children, and aunt remarried and had more children, the children of the second marriage were half-siblings to children of the first marriage. Under the law in that state, the double first cousins were more closely related than were the half siblings.

Replies:   AmigaClone
AmigaClone

@PotomacBob

Under the law in that state, the double first cousins were more closely related than were the half siblings.


There is a special situation where double first cousins are genetically siblings. For this to happen, the parents of the double first cousins would need to consist of two pairs of identical twins.

PotomacBob

@Michael Loucks

So what are the alternate words to use instead of "chuckling" or "giggling"? "Laughing" doesn't quite have the same connotation.

PotomacBob

@sunkuwan

OSL states


Who?

Replies:   sunkuwan
robberhands
Updated:

@PotomacBob

Tittering and snickering.

BlacKnight

@PotomacBob

So what are the alternate words to use instead of "chuckling" or "giggling"? "Laughing" doesn't quite have the same connotation.


It's not that "giggled" or "chuckled" (or, for that matter, "laughed") are intrinsically bad words to use. It's that they need to be used sparingly. It's far too easy to overuse them and have your characters come off as ditzy airheads. (Especially if the stuff you have them giggling is not as funny as you think it is.) Most of the time, dialogue tags should just be "said". Or nothing at all.

Switch Blayde

@BlacKnight

Most of the time, dialogue tags should just be "said"


Not "ask" if it's a question?

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Not "ask" if it's a question?

There are a number of well-known authors, Stephen King for one, who are adamant that 'said' is the only dialogue tag authors should use.
I'd be like you (if I agreed with that principle) and ask why 'asked' and 'replied/answered', at least, should not used be too.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

who are adamant that 'said' is the only dialogue tag authors should use.


I used to only use "said." And then one day I changed the dialogue tags for questions to "asked." Now "said" for a question looks funny to me.

Some would argue he's saying the question. I also ran into problems when the dialogue is worded as a question, but the character isn't really asking a question.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

I also ran into problems when the dialogue is worded as a question, but the character isn't really asking a question.

"What's the problem!" I say, "A rhetorical question without a question mark is a statement the speaker says."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
evilynnthales

@PotomacBob

On a related note...

Something else that drives me crazy in a story is when the author goes:

I already used the words "dick", "penis", "pole", "rod", "cock", and "shaft", so this time I'll use "member". After all, I don't want to seem unimaginative!

I get it, you don't want to use the same word over and over in your story... but wording is naturally consistent. The MC isn't going to think a different word every time she looks at a penis. He/She will use at most two or three.

On the same note, use the appropriate words for the character. If he/she doesn't use cuss words in their thoughts/speech normally, then he/she should think "penis" not "dick". Obviously this isn't a hard rule, but it's something to remember. Ignoring it should be a choice, not an accident.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@BlacKnight

It's not that "giggled" or "chuckled" (or, for that matter, "laughed") are intrinsically bad words to use. It's that they need to be used sparingly. It's far too easy to overuse them and have your characters come off as ditzy airheads. (Especially if the stuff you have them giggling is not as funny as you think it is.) Most of the time, dialogue tags should just be "said". Or nothing at all.

It's especially important to be realistic with your choice of attributions. It's virtually impossible to 'laugh' while speaking. You can giggle, lightly, but it extends the time needed to convey simple concepts. Chuckling works, short of, because like giggles, they tend to be short, lasting only as long a few short words. But again, if two people are constantly laughing, you've gotta question whether they're high on something, or just insecure simpletons.

Certain authors always jump all over me with both feet whether I assert this, but evidence (largely anecdotal, but based on a large number of successful authors) demonstrates that while readers recognize "said" attributions, it doesn't stop them in their tracks the way that other attributions do (mainly because the reader has to parse what the hell the action has to do with the dialogue). Thus 'said' is largely invisible to readers. Thus it's fine to use other attributions, but limit how often you use them, and think before blindly throwing them into dialogue.

For what it's worth, many of us prefer 'action attributions', where you stop the dialogue to show the speaker doing something, rather than using 'he said'. This not only helps pace the dialogue, and gives readers a sense of what's happening amongst the speakers, but it's also a nice change of pace from the constant barrage of 'he said'/'she said'/'he guffawed'/'she giggled'.

Replies:   PotomacBob
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Not "ask" if it's a question?

There are a number of well-known authors, Stephen King for one, who are adamant that 'said' is the only dialogue tag authors should use.
I'd be like you (if I agreed with that principle) and ask why 'asked' and 'replied/answered', at least, should not used be too.

I'll qualify that. I personally have no problem with "he asked", but I do when it's used repeatedly (say during an interview, or an interrogation). While 'said' is largely ignored, the same isn't true for 'asked', so you've got to watch how often you use it. Like most things, it's enough to only use it every now and then, instead of each time someone asks a question, as you're only reminding readers that a specific person is asking the question. However, interspersing the occasional 'he asked' with plenty of 'he said's will make your story much easier to read.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

"What's the problem!" I say, "A rhetorical question without a question mark is a statement the speaker says."

Then again, there's always the ol' interobang, if you can manage to find it anywhere to include in your text. 'D

robberhands

@Ross at Play

There are a number of well-known authors, Stephen King for one, who are adamant that 'said' is the only dialogue tag authors should use.

Like so many things, it's purely a matter of personal preferences. If I read "he said" more than three times within the same dialogue, I'm more than just a little annoyed, and if it's a story heavy on dialogues, I'll probably drop it.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

However, interspersing the occasional 'he asked' with plenty of 'he said's will make your story much easier to read.

I presume your main point here is that perhaps no more than one-third of paragraphs in a two-person exchange of dialogue need attributions at all, just enough to remind readers which side of the ping-pong table the ball is on. I agree with that and that a smattering of 'asked' in amongst mostly 'said' should not then burden readers.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
BlacKnight
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Not "ask" if it's a question?


I didn't say "always". I'm not taking Steven King's position here. I didn't even say you shouldn't use "giggled", just that you should use it sparingly, and with awareness of what it does to the tone of the dialogue.

Think of dialogue tags like spices. They flavor the entire conversation, adding a little bit can go a long way, and you want to be especially careful about how much of the really strongly-flavored ones you put in. "Said" is a very bland one. "Asked" and "replied" are a little more strongly flavored. "Giggled" is a pretty intense one. You can put in a lot of "said" before people start going, "Hey, this conversation tastes like 'said'," but you need be more cautious with "giggled".

And even "said" can be overused. If you've got a back-and-forth between two characters, you don't need to tag every line, and it does start to get obtrusive when you do. An occasional action-attribution to remind people whose turn it is is plenty. If you're good at character voice, you may not need to tag it at all, though I prefer not to rely on that.

And in particular, tags like "giggled", "chuckled", "laughed", and so on are like the laugh track on a sitcom. If it's actually funny, you don't need it; your audience will fill in the laughter themselves. If it isn't, all it does is point up that you think you're being funny when you're not.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  Not_a_ID
Switch Blayde

@BlacKnight

And in particular, tags like "giggled", "chucked", "laughed"


I thought the post about giggling wasn't using it as a dialogue tag, but having characters giggling all the time. As to using "giggled" as a dialogue tag, I'm against it. This is from Writer's Digest:

First, dialogue cannot be smiled, laughed, giggled, or sighed. Therefore, this example is incorrect:

"Don't tickle me!" she giggled.

You can't giggle spoken words. You can't laugh them or sigh them or smile them, either.


The article also says:

If you need an attribution, use said. If you must use something different for the occasional question, you could throw in "asked" for variety, but not too often.


So this person believes if the dialogue is a question and you need a dialogue tag, "said" is preferable to "asked."

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

While 'said' is largely ignored, the same isn't true for 'asked'

I can see the principle that 'said' should usually be preferred because it's "invisible" to readers, but I'm not so sure that seeking invisibility is always best. Does it depend on the story and/or the situation within a story?

My gut feeling is that it is usually best when the intention is to drive the plot of the story, and that's probably most authors most of the time. But ... I cannot get my head around any blanket prohibitions on using alternatives. I wonder whether for some authors some of the time those would be desirable to help develop characters.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sunkuwan

@PotomacBob

Ordinary sex life.

Replies:   PotomacBob
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


Not "ask" if it's a question?


Logic and sense has nothing to do with habits from early training. I try to write as i would talk and if I'm recounting and event to another I'd say something like '... then George asked Fred ...' and not use the word 'said' in that situation.

I also find when you have a group together and one asks a question by using 'replied' you make it clear they're answering the question, while following with another speaker using 'said' could mean they're saying something different and it isn't a reply to the question.

Mind you, when you write in the present tense the use of the word 'said' isn't at all common, but 'say' is.

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

'... the George asked Fred ...'

The "the" before a name, is that a typical American way of speaking? I learned UK English and whenever I read such an expression it always seems wrong to me or at least strange.

robberhands

@Keet

The "the" before a name, is that a typical American way of speaking?

You should ask the Donald.

Replies:   Keet
Ernest Bywater

@Keet

typo, sue me - corrected

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@robberhands

You should ask the Donald.

Duck? /s

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ross at Play

@Keet

The "the" before a name, is that a typical American way of speaking?

It's not typical of Australians, which EB is. I suspect a typo for what was intended to be 'then'.

Keet

@Ernest Bywater

typo, sue me - corrected

Still, I see the same regularly. I don't believe they are all typos.

Ernest Bywater

@Keet

Still, I see the same regularly. I don't believe they are all typos.


I very rarely edit my forum posts or check them after typing them - thus I often have typos, the most common being teh for the, sue for use, nad for and, ti for to, and often have letters missing due to not hitting the keys hard enough.

Replies:   Keet
Keet
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I very rarely edit my forum posts


Oh, I didn't mean in forum posts, I see it in stories to. That was why I was wondering if it was a typical American thing or maybe just street language. Typos in forum posts don't bother me much.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Keet

Oh, I didn't mean in forum posts, I see it in stories to.


If you see that sort of bad grammar or typos in any of my stories please let me know - exception being UK spelling as against USA spelling.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

If you see that sort of bad grammar or typos in any of my stories please let me know - exception being UK spelling as against USA spelling.

Thank you for confirming that it is bad grammar. If I spot it in one of your stories I will let you know.

sunkuwan

@Keet

I made a threat some months ago, because I couldn't figure out if it was correct english in a weird way. Especially because I found it in stories with otherwise very good grammar

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Dominions Son

@Keet

@robberhands

You should ask the Donald.

Duck? /s


Trump/ POTUS

Replies:   Keet
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

First, dialogue cannot be smiled, laughed, giggled, or sighed. Therefore, this example is incorrect:

"Don't tickle me!" she giggled.


And yet it is perfectly understood by all readers as being shorthand for "Don't tickle me! she said, giggling.

I think the article is giving poor advice.

AJ

Keet

@Dominions Son

Duck? /s

Trump/ POTUS

I got that, I was just being sarcastic (/s == /sarcasm)

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

"Don't tickle me!" she giggled.

And yet it is perfectly understood by all readers as being shorthand for "Don't tickle me! she said, giggling.


Do you really want to assume a reader understands the "shorthand" intended?

You're changing what a dialogue tag is. All the dialogue tag is is to identify who is speaking.

PotomacBob

@Crumbly Writer

For what it's worth, many of us prefer 'action attributions', where you stop the dialogue to show the speaker doing something, rather than using 'he said'.


Could you please provide an example?

Switch Blayde

@Keet

The "the" before a name, is that a typical American way of speaking?


Funny you should ask that. The first line of my new novel (as of now) is:

The boy sat on the ground behind Cactus Point High School, leaning against the dumpster with knees raised.

I had to remove the "the" I had before "Cactus Point High School." When I first wrote the sentence is was simply "the high school." When I named the school I forgot to remove the "the" until reading it.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  REP
Switch Blayde

@PotomacBob

For what it's worth, many of us prefer 'action attributions', where you stop the dialogue to show the speaker doing something, rather than using 'he said'.

Could you please provide an example?


Joe slammed his hand on the table. "Get out of here!"

Instead of:

"Get out of here!" Joe said.

Replies:   Reluctant_Sir
PotomacBob

@sunkuwan

Thank you. I mistakenly thought it was a person.

Reluctant_Sir

@Switch Blayde

"Get out of here!" Joe yelled angrily, slamming his hand on the table.

Just because. :)

Replies:   Switch Blayde  REP
Switch Blayde

@Reluctant_Sir

"Get out of here!" Joe yelled angrily, slamming his hand on the table.


Do you really think those extra words adds anything?

Also, by putting the action BEFORE the dialogue, you hear the anger in his voice. When you put it after the dialogue, you find out he's angry after you read the words.

Replies:   Reluctant_Sir
PotomacBob

@awnlee jawking

Can dialogue be "snarled"?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

Do you really want to assume a reader understands the "shorthand" intended?


No 'want' involved. It doesn't exactly require the intellectual processes of Sherlock Holmes to work it out.

You're changing what a dialogue tag is. All the dialogue tag is is to identify who is speaking.


No change, IMO - 'she' is clearly identified as the speaker. There's no law against including more in the text before/between/following dialogue than just the attribution.

eg "Time for tea," said Mrs Blakely, putting the kettle on.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I presume your main point here is that perhaps no more than one-third of paragraphs in a two-person exchange of dialogue need attributions at all, just enough to remind readers which side of the ping-pong table the ball is on. I agree with that and that a smattering of 'asked' in amongst mostly 'said' should not then burden readers.

That is what I intended, but more specifically, I'd probably go with a 30%/70% "asked"/"said" attribution for questions, just enough so readers understand that they're looking for answers, but not so much that the 'asked' becomes repetitious. Of course, if they only ask one questions, then ask away, but in most cases, "said" is a more reliable choice than the alternatives.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I can see the principle that 'said' should usually be preferred because it's "invisible" to readers, but I'm not so sure that seeking invisibility is always best. Does it depend on the story and/or the situation within a story?

These guidelines are often stated as definitive rules, but they're not. The key is, don't get lazy and watch how often you do things by rote. Although "said", like vanilla, is pretty mild, it will become obnoxious if used repeatedly. However "chortled" becomes wearisome after only the second use, and "giggled" after the third in a LONG chapter.

But for all that I preach about using "said", I actually use quite a variety of attributions (I should look up the percentages of each in a typical dialogue just for giggles (but not during discussions)).

If you have a two person point/counterpoint dialogue, then you don't need many attributions, just an occasional one to remind readers who's speaking at the given time. If you have more than two, the same applies as long as its point/counterpoint by two, but whenever you introduce a third, identify who it is. But even then, there's such a thing as using too many attributions, especially for a extensive dialogues, which is why the action attribution comes in handy, as it breaks up the monotony, but more importantly, it slows the reader down, giving them a chance to absorb what's been said before they start arguing once again.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Mind you, when you write in the present tense the use of the word 'said' isn't at all common, but 'say' is.

"You don't said?" he queried, while his obnoxious girlfriend giggled hysterically.

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

Still, I see the same regularly. I don't believe they are all typos.

Muscle memory often damns us all. Ernest has a history of type "hte" for "the" and "sue" for "use", but most of us have gotten used to it, and it's easily enough cleaned up during editing. Here on the Forum, we're not quite as formal about the proper spelling as we are in print.

Ernest: "If I was used every time I mistype "sue", then nothing much would change."

Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

For what it's worth, many of us prefer 'action attributions', where you stop the dialogue to show the speaker doing something, rather than using 'he said'.

Could you please provide an example?

I wanted to get a real-world example, rather than making one up on the fly and then having people attack it. Here's one from my next story:

"That's why I'm glad to be starting fresh."

"There were just too many bad memories there." Al leaned over, taking Myi's hand and lifting it to his lips and kissing it. "Though they were mixed with happy adventures, trusted friendships and decent people I'll never let go, as long as we live."

This segment follows a long discussion between various people, but here, after Myi points out how stressful events have been, Al pauses (the benefits of using actions instead of speech) and comforts his wife. That's an 'action attribution', since the attribution consists of an action in a separate sentence, rather than merely a noun and a verb standard attribution.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I had to remove the "the" I had before "Cactus Point High School." When I first wrote the sentence is was simply "the high school." When I named the school I forgot to remove the "the" until reading it.

Another thing that authors do that annoys me (including myself) is authors who use "the the".

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

Can dialogue be "snarled"?

Not often, or the reader will suspect your character just had a tooth extraction. Once a chapter may be too much, but as an added emphasis, most readers will understand the usage.

Reluctant_Sir

@Switch Blayde

By itself, no. But we are playing and picking at nits here.

I can see myself using any of the three versions depending on the scene, the flow at that point in the story.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Reluctant_Sir

But we are playing and picking at nits here.


Isn't that what always happens to long threads on this forum? The train of thought gets completely derailed and we delve in the minutia? Especially considering that with this being a global forum, we're never going to agree on anything?

(Other than Ross is annoying, as CW mentions?)

These guidelines are often stated as definitive rules, but they're not

Ross at Play
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl

Especially considering that with this being a global forum, we're never going to agree on anything?

(Other than Ross is annoying, as CW mentions?)

Wrong! I don't agree with that one: I'm annoyed.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


No change, IMO -

eg "Time for tea," said Mrs Blakely, putting the kettle on.


Yes, a change. In your example, "said" is the dialogue tag. The other stuff is what she's doing while talking.

What you believe is you can merge "she said, giggling" into "she giggled." You've replaced the tag "said" with the tag "giggled" assuming the reader converts it to "said, giggling." I actually believe the reader would do that (speaking while giggling), but why do it that way?

helmut_meukel

@Keet

The "the" before a name, is that a typical American way of speaking? I learned UK English and whenever I read such an expression it always seems wrong to me or at least strange.


It's UK English, as used in the names of many pubs:
The George & Dragon; The George and Dragon.

I read a book with "the George" in its title (can't remember the full title).
In this book "The George" is used as a synonym for "dragonfighter".

HM.

Replies:   Keet
helmut_meukel

@Switch Blayde

You're changing what a dialogue tag is. All the dialogue tag is is to identify who is speaking.


This assumes it's meant as a dialogue tag.
In this situation – he is tickling her – there is no dialogue tag necessary to identify who said "Don't tickle me!"; 'she giggled' may be just a description of her reaction to his tickling.

HM.

Replies:   madnige  Switch Blayde
Keet

@helmut_meukel

It's UK English, as used in the names of many pubs:
The George & Dragon; The George and Dragon.

I read a book with "the George" in its title (can't remember the full title).
In this book "The George" is used as a synonym for "dragonfighter".

Your example has an implied "Pub" or "Inn" after the name (i.e. The George Pub") which is obvious through the context. What I was referring to was simply "the" before a name without an implied addition after the name. I learned UK English and from that I think the prefix is wrong or at least it sounds wrong. Ernest confirmed that. I am referring to the occurrence in stories, not in forum posts where typos are trivial.

Ernest Bywater

@Keet

I learned UK English and from that I think the prefix is wrong or at least it sounds wrong. Ernest confirmed that. I am referring to the occurrence in stories, not in forum posts where typos are trivial.


I was taught that the use of the word 'the' in a name is for titles of some sort as in The President of the USA, or the name of something like The USS Enterprise, and it's not part of a person's name. However, there are the odd times when what is a person's name is actually a title.

Many people call a low level runner a 'Gopher' as in 'go for this or go for that'. In some organizations the lowest level runner of errands is called George and referred to as The George - in this context it is not a name but it's a title. However, this is a very rare type of situation and I doubt it's what Keet is listing as a problem.

In a related way I've noted a number of US authors who use the word that when they should use than and the same ones often use than when they should be using that. The times I've seen it done it's obviously intended as the misuse is consistent through the story. I do wonder if it's a result of a specific education program in one part of the USA, but I don't have enough of a sample to make any clear judgement on it.

Replies:   Keet
Keet
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


I was taught that the use of the word 'the' in a name is for titles of some sort as in The President of the USA, or the name of something like The USS Enterprise, and it's not part of a person's name. However, there are the odd times when what is a person's name is actually a title.


Thank you for that explanation. That's how I learned it. I also noticed the than-then-that errors in several stories (not yours as far as I remember) but those are to me obvious misspellings where the "the name" puzzled me.

Replies:   Dominions Son
madnige

@helmut_meukel

The dialogue tag argument has been grumbling along for decades, I remember it from the 1970's and it was not new then. It's even been named, after a (possibly apocryphal) book of alternatives to 'said': said-bookism. There are lots of articles about it on the 'net.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

These guidelines are often stated as definitive rules, but they're not.

Perhaps those who state 'only use said' as a definitive rule consider that part of "showing"? Do they actually mean they prefer to show an action in circumstances where others would tell with an alternative to said?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

I actually believe the reader would do that (speaking while giggling), but why do it that way?


If you believe that the reader will in fact understand it the way it was intended, why not?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominions Son

@Keet

but those are to me obvious misspellings where the "the name" puzzled me.


I don't think it's all that puzzling, at least not in stories recent enough to have been written using a word processor.

The most likely explanation is that the story was originally written using a title or description "the man in blue", but the author gave the character a name (I'll use Fred) late in the story then did a global search and replace of "man in blue" with Fred. Then the author forgot to go back and look for cases of "the Fred".

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

I admit I'm in a minority here so I can't criticise suthors who write 'said, giggling', but I think 'giggled' is more evocative. IMO, although not of the same ilk as a fight scene, 'giggling' is an action and by default benefits from succinctness of verbiage ;)

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Keet

Just to confuse you, there are a few instances where native English speakers would use 'the'. For example, the Ukraine, the Congo. I recently read an article by a 'writing expert' expressing the opinion that usage is wrong and should be dropped.

AJ

Keet

@awnlee jawking

For example, the Ukraine, the Congo. I recently read an article by a 'writing expert' expressing the opinion that usage is wrong and should be dropped.

Thank you, this once more confirms that what I thought was wrong or sounded wrong actually is wrong.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Keet

@Dominions Son

then did a global search and replace


I can see that happening and it is a very plausible explanation.

awnlee jawking

@Keet

I vaguely recall this subject being discussed in a previous topic. I suggest you don't try writing 'Bronx' without the definite article preceding it ;)

AJ

Not_a_ID

@Ross at Play

I'd be like you (if I agreed with that principle) and ask why 'asked' and 'replied/answered', at least, should not used be too.


Quipped, queried, retorted and the list goes on, as well as other modifiers such as "innocently," "jokingly," "mirthfully" and so on.

That being said, the "bog standard" of "said" should be the one normally getting used even if it gets a bit repetitive, in this case, reaching for the thesaurus can be a bad thing.

Not_a_ID

@BlacKnight

And in particular, tags like "giggled", "chuckled", "laughed", and so on are like the laugh track on a sitcom. If it's actually funny, you don't need it; your audience will fill in the laughter themselves. If it isn't, all it does is point up that you think you're being funny when you're not.


....Or the character thinks they're being funny at the least.

Not_a_ID

@sunkuwan

I made a threat some months ago, because I couldn't figure out if it was correct english in a weird way. Especially because I found it in stories with otherwise very good grammar


There is a minor precedent for "the/The" before a name, but that is reserved for when the name itself is being used as though it were a title in its own right.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Not_a_ID

@awnlee jawking

And yet it is perfectly understood by all readers as being shorthand for "Don't tickle me! she said, giggling.

I think the article is giving poor advice.


I think I would probably render it as:

"Don't tickle me!" she exclaimed between giggles.


Sure the other way is a short cut, and achieves brevity, but that brevity comes at a cost all the same.

Replies:   REP
Not_a_ID

@Switch Blayde

What you believe is you can merge "she said, giggling" into "she giggled." You've replaced the tag "said" with the tag "giggled" assuming the reader converts it to "said, giggling." I actually believe the reader would do that (speaking while giggling), but why do it that way?


The thing about this example in particular is it also provides a chance for character exposition. Some people will loudly bellow and potentially become violent even. (Even the women) Others will quietly protest what is going on.

While another might be so under the thrall of the involuntary laughter/squirm response to be unable to gather enough air to achieve much, so their protest may be more of a gasping type response "between giggles."

Ross at Play

@Not_a_ID

That being said, the "bog standard" of "said" should be the one normally getting used even if it gets a bit repetitive, in this case, reaching for the thesaurus can be a bad thing.

I agree that the "bog standard" 'said' is usually best.

My point was that I'm inclined to distinguish between statements, questions, and replies to questions. For me, the bog-standard attribution for questions is 'asked' and for answers is 'replied'.

I wouldn't use them with every question and reply. Firstly, readers don't need the speaker named in every paragraph with dialogue to keep track of who is currently speaking, and secondly, some paragraphs can name the speaker as performing an action instead in an attribution.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

... and by default benefits from succinctness of verbiage ;)

I always suspected you were a closet minimalist. :-)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Not_a_ID

@awnlee jawking

Just to confuse you, there are a few instances where native English speakers would use 'the'. For example, the Ukraine, the Congo. I recently read an article by a 'writing expert' expressing the opinion that usage is wrong and should be dropped.


It is an informal use, so good luck killing it. And to build on its use as a title, this illustrates one such form of it. "The Congo" is called such because there is only one. In that sense it is a variant of somebody talking about "The President" where the speaker assumes it is understood by others present as to which President the speaker is talking about.

Ditto for "the house," "the school," "the city," "the church" and "the(/that) bastard" among others.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

For example, the Ukraine, the Congo. I recently read an article by a 'writing expert' expressing the opinion that usage is wrong and should be dropped.

Doesn't that technically depend on the literal meaning in the original language? How many readers would know that for 'Ukraine' and 'Congo'? I wouldn't be bothered if the 'the' was dropped for those two.

I looked up 'Ukraine' at dictionary.com. Interestingly, every 'contemporary example' they provided did not have 'the' while every 'historical example' did.

Did this "expert" express an opinion on The Hague and the Netherlands? I'd always use 'The/the' with both of those.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  awnlee jawking  Keet
Not_a_ID

@Ross at Play

I would regard that kind of use of 'the' as technically correct when the naming word is actually an adjective. But then, how many readers would know that 'Ukraine' and 'Congo' are adjectives in their original language.


In some of those cases, it probably is more that the writer was aware of it, and took steps accordingly. At least at some point in the chain, others probably just did "monkey see, monkey do" for whatever their respective reasons were. Although that would explain why only certain specific locations also tend to be associated with "the" while others are not. For example someone talking about "the France" would get funny looks all around while "the Congo" wouldn't phase more than a few.

Replies:   Ross at Play
awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I always suspected you were a closet minimalist. :-)


Aw, a smiley. You DO care!

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

I looked up 'Ukraine' at dictionary.com. Interestingly, every 'contemporary example' they provided did not have 'the' while every 'historical example' did.


The Ukraine used to refer to a vast area, transcending current national boundaries and encompassing much of what nowadays is Russia. That a small piece of it has been formalised into a country, called Ukraine, adds to the confusion.

Did this "expert" express an opinion on The Hague and the Netherlands? I'd always use 'The/the' with both of those.


No, they didn't.

AJ

Ross at Play

@Not_a_ID

For example someone talking about "the France" would get funny looks all around while "the Congo" wouldn't phase more than a few.

Note. I was revising the words you quoted as you were writing your reply.

I agree it is a matter of common usage rather than any fixed principle. Neither 'the Congo' or 'Congo' would phase me but not writing 'The Hague' or 'the Netherlands' would.

REP

@evilynnthales

but wording is naturally consistent


Word choice is usually affected by the setting. The word you would use when out drinking in a bar would probably be considered inappropriate in a church setting.

Word usage is also part of character development. Using inappropriate language in a given situation can be used to show the character is insensitive or just doesn't give a damn.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Switch Blayde

Yeah! That is how a lot of grammatical errors find their way into well-written stories.

REP

@Reluctant_Sir

Which works best:

1) defining the emotions related to the scene before presenting the dialog. The reader can visualize the character's mood before reading the dialog.

2) defining the emotions relate to the words after the dialog. The reader reassesses the dialog after the words are read to put the words into context.

Personally, I favor 1.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

I see that a lot. Context usually indicates the author meant 'then the' or 'that the'. It's that muscle memory striking again complicated by seeing what you expect to see when editing.

REP

@Switch Blayde

but why do it that way


To me said implies a clearly stated sentence. Giggled, chuckled, and other words imply the sentence is broken up by the giggling, chuckling, etc.

REP

@Not_a_ID

Sure the other way is a short cut, and achieves brevity


In an earlier thread, the general consensus was to eliminate unnecessary words. That discussion would support using 'she giggled' instead of 'she exclaimed between giggles'

Ross at Play

@REP

In an earlier thread, the general consensus was to eliminate unnecessary words. That discussion would support using 'she giggled' instead of 'she exclaimed between giggles'

I suggest the aim of eliminating unnecessary words is equally applicable for formal and informal writing.

I'm comfortable with 'she giggled' instead of 'she exclaimed between giggles' for informal writing but not formal writing.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@REP


In an earlier thread, the general consensus was to eliminate unnecessary words. That discussion would support using 'she giggled' instead of 'she exclaimed between giggles'


If the words are needed in order to communicate information not otherwise present, then those words cease to be "unnecessary" in nature. Unless of course the extra details themselves are not desired. So it then becomes an author discretion call on if the information is relevant in some way.

Replies:   Ross at Play  REP
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

(Other than Ross is annoying, as CW mentions?)

Hey! Don't go putting words insulting others into my mouth. Instead, do like everyone else, and quote them directly from my multiple posts so there's no question that I said them. 'D

For the record, though, Ross is incredibly helpful in many instances, but he does tend to get caught up in meaningless minitia (like his endless ngrams) just like the rest of us.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Yes, a change. In your example, "said" is the dialogue tag. The other stuff is what she's doing while talking.

What you believe is you can merge "she said, giggling" into "she giggled." You've replaced the tag "said" with the tag "giggled" assuming the reader converts it to "said, giggling." I actually believe the reader would do that (speaking while giggling), but why do it that way?

The main difference between dialogue tags (attributions) and action attributions is the element of time. In your example, the added commas help, since they add a small time lag between Mrs. Blakely saying "it's time for tea" and her putting the kettle on (or between saying something then then giggling about it).

However, you have a more significant time delay by posting the action in a separate sentence, thus the action stops, and narrator describes what the characters are doing, which allows the reader to pause, absorb what's been said, before the back-and-forth rapid fire discussions resume. That's why the action attributions are often a welcome relief from the constant dialogue tags, because they provide a break from unending dialogue. As such, I'd even suggest authors specifically use them after each significant point, so readers have the proper time to consider the points raised, rather then rushing on and potentially losing them in the other unimportant details being discussed.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Perhaps those who state 'only use said' as a definitive rule consider that part of "showing"? Do they actually mean they prefer to show an action in circumstances where others would tell with an alternative to said?

Having the narrator say "said" is in no way showing by anyone's accounting. You show by letting someone's actions or display of emotions what's not explicitly stated. In my earlier example, the 'action attribute' (where Al comforts his spouse) is showing their close affection for one another in a way that "Al said, comforting his spouse" wouldn't.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Then the author forgot to go back and look for cases of "the Fred".

"The Fred in Blue". I like it. I can picture an entire series of children's stories all about the continuing adventures of "The Fred in Blue". Now when it gets reduced to "The the in blue" is when you completely lose it!

Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

There is a minor precedent for "the/The" before a name, but that is reserved for when the name itself is being used as though it were a title in its own right.

I had an extensive discussion with my editors of an AI who only identifies itself as "The One". Does that mean, subsequently, that its official name is "The One", "the One" or merely "One"? We still haven't successfully resolved the issue, even many years after the first book's release.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Not_a_ID

If the words are needed in order to communicate information not otherwise present, then those words cease to be "unnecessary" in nature.

That is the implied meaning of "unnecessary" for those who adhere to that style, i.e. there is no loss of information or nuance.

For example, this is how I would probably write the sentence I just quoted:

If the words are needed to communicate information not otherwise present they cease being "unnecessary".

Contrast that with your next sentence:

Unless of course the extra details themselves are not desired.

The word 'themselves' could be removed from that sentence without a loss of meaning, but I'd still consider it "necessary" because it's adding emphasis to 'the extra details'.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Word choice is usually affected by the setting. The word you would use when out drinking in a bar would probably be considered inappropriate in a church setting.

You're right. In a bar, you'd typically say "the ... the bitch!" whereas in a church setting, your drop the unnecessary "the"s, leaving it merely as "that bitch". 'D That accounts for the many recitations of the basic 'that demon rum' sermon by ministers and pastors.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

In an earlier thread, the general consensus was to eliminate unnecessary words. That discussion would support using 'she giggled' instead of 'she exclaimed between giggles'

Sorry, but the earlier discussion was about dropping specific unnecessary words (either passive, repetitive or words like "that" which don't add anything to a given sentence), but reducing an entire description of a woman giggling between sentences is just ... criminal for an author to commit.

In the first, the passages become easier to read, as the 'passive phrases' have been removed (which only weaken the sentence), while in the second, the entire context of the giggling is lost.

Replies:   REP
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

Having the narrator say "said" is in no way showing by anyone's accounting. You show by letting someone's actions or display of emotions what's not explicitly stated. In my earlier example, the 'action attribute' (where Al comforts his spouse) is showing their close affection for one another in a way that "Al said, comforting his spouse" wouldn't.

Would you answer my point again, please? Either my intended point was unclear or you missed its meaning.

I was not suggesting 'said' is showing. I was more asking if alternatives to it are telling. If so, an author would avoid telling by using 'said' when they have nothing to show, and an action verb when they do have something to show.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
helmut_meukel

@awnlee jawking

Just to confuse you, there are a few instances where native English speakers would use 'the'. For example, the Ukraine, the Congo. I recently read an article by a 'writing expert' expressing the opinion that usage is wrong and should be dropped.


This corresponds for some but not all countries with the usage in German except German has der (m), die (f), das (n):
It's die Ukraine, der Kongo, die Niederlande, die Schweiz, die Türkei, der Jemen, der Oman, der Irak, der Tschad.
However Frankreich, England, Schottland, Großbritannien, Holland, Italien, Spanien, Portugal, Griechenland, Russland, Finnland, Schweden, Norwegen, Dänemark, Polen,...

Persien, but der Iran.
It was die Tchechoslowakei, but die Tschechei is regarded derogative, the new PC name is Tschechien, die Slowakei however is PC.

HM.

Replies:   oyster50
richardshagrin

@Not_a_ID

other modifiers

"This knife is sharp" Tom Swift said cuttingly.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I had an extensive discussion with my editors of an AI who only identifies itself as "The One". Does that mean, subsequently, that its official name is "The One", "the One" or merely "One"?

'The' is usually lower case but it depends on the who/whatever coined the name, or the literal meaning of what became a name a by common usage.

For example, both the Ukraine and the Netherlands both meant roughly the outer edges. That's not specific enough for a capitalised 'The' to become part of the name. But The Hague was originally a very specific area enclosed by a hedge.

I suggest your AI sounds egotistical enough that they'd definitely have chosen to name themselves 'The One'.

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Keet

@Ross at Play

Did this "expert" express an opinion on The Hague and the Netherlands? I'd always use 'The/the' with both of those.

"The Hague" is the English form of "Den Haag" which is a name in itself (including the "The"). The same for (Kingdom of) the Netherlands which is the English form of (Koninkrijk) der Nederlanden. Without the prefix "Kingdom of" it should be a capitalized "The". I'm from The Netherlands and there is no Dutch form of "The Netherlands" except the single form of "Nederland", which would translate to "The Netherlands".
In short, for these two examples "The" is an inextricable part of the name, not an incorrect used prefix which I was referring to in my initial question.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

"This knife is sharp" Tom Swift said cuttingly.

"Wow, a Tom Swift Tom Swifty," he noted Tom Swiftishly.

Keet

@Ross at Play

That's not specific enough for a capitalised 'The' to become part of the name. But The Hague was originally a very specific area enclosed by a hedge.

You are partially right. In a sentence it can be "the Netherlands" but if listed as a name it should be "The Netherlands" or simply "Netherlands". It's a bit of a historical "problem" since it started with the country being a collection of areas: "the netherlands". That changed a lot over the years. Once formalized it became the country "Nederland". So all 3 forms can be correct. I think the never used but probably most correct form should be "Netherland" (no s) since in Dutch is also the single form "Nederland", but that's just my opinion.

Replies:   Ross at Play
oyster50

@helmut_meukel

Helmut-

One entertaining (to me) finding of my years in Germany was finding out that it was die Fraulein, neuter, when sitting on a park bench in the summer observing passers-by clearly indicated that such was NOT the case.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Ross at Play

@Keet

In short, for these two examples "The" is an inextricable part of the name

Do you have any references to support that.

I checked both dictionary.com and Wikipedia. Both were specific that the correct forms in English are 'The Hague' but 'the Netherlands'.

Replies:   Keet
Ross at Play

@Keet

In a sentence it can be "the Netherlands"

I assumed it was understood I meant how it is written in the middle of a sentence - with nothing else influencing your choice of format.

Switch Blayde

@helmut_meukel

"Don't tickle me!"; 'she giggled' may be just a description of her reaction to his tickling.


Only if "she" is capitalized.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

If you believe that the reader will in fact understand it the way it was intended, why not?


Because it takes them out of the dialogue. They have to interpret the tag, whereas "said" is invisible and all they hear is the words.

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

Just to confuse you, there are a few instances where native English speakers would use 'the'. For example, the Ukraine, the Congo.


The Bronx. It's Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, but the 5th borough is "the Bronx."

Keet
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Do you have any references to support that.

I checked both dictionary.com and Wikipedia. Both were specific that the correct forms in English are 'The Hague' but 'the Netherlands'.


I meant that the "the" prefix is part of the name, not necessarily the capitalized "The". Although personally I think it would be better without a prefix.

awnlee jawking

@Keet

I meant that the "the" prefix is part of the name, not necessarily the capitalized "The".


I've noticed more and more the 'the' being dropped, with journos writing only 'Netherlands'.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play  Keet
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

with journos writing only 'Netherlands'.

IMO, the standard of grammar in online articles by British newspapers is pretty bad. The BBC is not much better. :(

Ross at Play

@Keet

Although personally I think it would be better without a prefix.

I'm resigned to the fact that history is a capricious bitch. I don't use 'the Netherlands' because it's logical, but because it just is.

Replies:   Keet
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I was not suggesting 'said' is showing. I was more asking if alternatives to it are telling. If so, an author would avoid telling by using 'said' when they have nothing to show, and an action verb when they do have something to show.

Oops! Sorry. Yeah, I'd agree with that then. "Said" is pretty much the ultimate in telling, as you're TELLING the reader who is speaking. In most instances, the reader can figure out who's speaking easily enough, only only needs a simple reminder (in a two-person dialogue) every now and then.

Keet

@awnlee jawking

I've noticed more and more the 'the' being dropped, with journos writing only 'Netherlands'.

I don't usually read foreign journos so I wouldn't know, but it's a start. Now if they would also drop the last s too it would be perfect. After all it's "Nederland" in Dutch so "Netherland" in English is fine.

Funny thing: A literal translation would be Lowlands because the "neder" part means low. We do have a very big yearly open-air music festival called Lowlands though.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Keet

@Ross at Play

I'm resigned to the fact that history is a capricious bitch. I don't use 'the Netherlands' because it's logical, but because it just is.

And of course you should, it was just my personal opinion on what would be better.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


I admit I'm in a minority here so I can't criticise suthors who write 'said, giggling', but I think 'giggled' is more evocative. IMO, although not of the same ilk as a fight scene, 'giggling' is an action and by default benefits from succinctness of verbiage ;)


I agree with what you say here. However, some words inherently exhibit vocal aspects of speech and some don't. Thus I now tend to have things like 'Fred shouted - Fred whispered - Fred replied' and others where the word clearly indicates an understandable spoken response. I also use other words like giggling etc. as an additional description, thus I'll write something like 'Mary giggled, and said, ...' or 'Mary giggled while saying ...' because some words don't immediately indicate clearly understandable spoken words but they're needed to paint a better picture of the scene or person's actions.

edit to add: I will also sometimes have a reply / response that is physical and not verbal such as - George responded by giving Harry 'the bird.' - Mary giggled in reply, and walked away. - George chuckled in response as he turned and walked away. and similar type actions.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

"This knife is sharp" Tom Swift said cuttingly.

or "This knife damn near sliced my finger off!" Tom said sharply.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I suggest your AI sounds egotistical enough that they'd definitely have chosen to name themselves 'The One'.

The AI wasn't that egotistical. When asked who he was, it simply replied "I am the one who brought you all here", so the humans simply accepted that his 'name' was "the One", and have referring to him as such ever since. But back when I first started on book 2, I had to reread the passage multiple times figure out whether to use an upper or lower case "the".

Further complicating matters, the crew at large refers to the AI as "the One", while the Captain of the ship treats him as just a member of the crew, calling him "One" (showing they have a more personal relationship than the other crew members).

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Keet

After all it's "Nederland" in Dutch so "Netherland" in English is fine.

You are assuming that the name 'Netherlands' in English is a translation of the Dutch name 'Nederlands'.

I suggest it's the result of applying English grammar and usage when forming a name from two very-old words in the English language, 'nether' and 'land'.

It may be different in Dutch, but in English the singular 'land' suggests one, well-defined border, while the plural 'lands' would be used if the border is undefined, as in low lands.

Replies:   Keet
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

The AI wasn't that egotistical

I can see your dilemma and, FWIW, I agree with your choices.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I can see your dilemma and, FWIW, I agree with your choices.

The bigger problem is, in book 3, more of the crew follow their captain's lead in dropping the "The", but with so many characters, it's hard to recall who's using the formal name ("the") and who's using the informal (just plain "One").

Oh, the many travails we lay before our feet and then decry the insurmountable obstructions! 'D

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

From https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-18233844

"The Ukraine" is incorrect both grammatically and politically, says Oksana Kyzyma of the Embassy of Ukraine in London.

"Ukraine is both the conventional short and long name of the country," she says. "This name is stated in the Ukrainian Declaration of Independence and Constitution."

The use of the article relates to the time before independence in 1991, when Ukraine was a republic of the Soviet Union known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, she says. Since then, it should be merely Ukraine.

There is no definite article in the Ukrainian or Russian languages and there is another theory why it crept into the English language.

Those who called it "the Ukraine" in English must have known that the word meant "borderland", says Anatoly Liberman, a professor at the University of Minnesota with a specialism in etymology. So they referred to it as "the borderland".

"After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukrainians probably decided that the article denigrated their country [by identifying it as a part of Russia] and abolished 'the' while speaking English, so now it is simply Ukraine.

"That's why the Ukraine suddenly lost its article in the last 20 years, it's a sort of linguistic independence in Europe, it's hugely symbolic."

The Germans still use it but the English-speaking world has largely stopped using it.

There are many other country names that are habitually referred to with "the", such as Congo, Gambia, Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan, Netherlands, Philippines and Bahamas.

But according to several authoritative sources, such as the CIA World Factbook, the Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World and the US Department of State, only two countries, The Bahamas and The Gambia, should officially be referred to with the article.

The two Congos are officially Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo. And the longer, official name for Netherlands is Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Ernest Bywater

One thing that I find not only annoying, but sometimes leads to confusion with the reading is when an author places an adverb after the verb. The sad thing is I've seen this done in a few different stories by different authors, so I'm not sure if there's a deeper root cause for it or only lazy writing by adding the adverb as an after thought.

helmut_meukel

@oyster50

Fraulein, neuter


For men of any age the German words are always masculine: der Knabe, der Bub(e), der Junge, der Mann, der Herr, der Vater.
For women it's mostly neuter: das Mädchen, das Fräulein, das Weib, but die Frau, die Dame, die Mutter.

HM.

Ernest Bywater

Part of the discussion on using the word the in relation to places like Ukraine runs into the differences between a name of a country and the name of a region. Some names are both and the only way to differentiate between the country and the region is to use the before it, but not everyone gets the usage right.

I live in an area known as the Riverina as it's a region designation. Within the region is a city called Wagga Wagga and another called Albury, yet there is an expanded area around both known, respectively, as the Wagga Wagga area and the Albury area which includes a few smaller townships near them. The same applies to many other places in the world.

Keet

@Ross at Play

You are assuming that the name 'Netherlands' in English is a translation of the Dutch name 'Nederlands'.

Isn't it? It seems to me all countries name themselves and other civilized countries use that name, a close translation or a previous historical name (Germany anyone?). You don't make up a name for another country.

It may be different in Dutch, but in English the singular 'land' suggests one, well-defined border, while the plural 'lands' would be used if the border is undefined, as in low lands.


Thus since the Netherlands has a very well defined border it should be Netherland. Thank you for another argument in favor of my personal, although unofficial, favorite name Netherland.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

should officially be referred to

Thanks, but I've no interest in official names for informal writing. I would want a widely accepted common usage instead.

robberhands

@Ernest Bywater

One thing that I find not only annoying, but sometimes leads to confusion with the reading is when an author places an adverb after the verb.

What's confusing about it? Are you still hung up on your personal grammar rule that an adverb must come before the verb it modifies?

Ross at Play

@Keet

I know I won't change your opinion, but I'll clarify my point.

The words 'nether' and 'land' have existed in English since the tenth century with their current meaning. If describing an area of low land it is natural to say 'the nether lands' rather than 'nether land'. When English grammar for creating names is applied to the translation of your country's name the result is 'the Netherlands'.

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play

@robberhands

What's confusing about it? Are you still hung up on your personal grammar rule that an adverb must come before the verb it modifies?

I was about to write a post beginning with, 'You've made this claim before and it's just not true. There's no reason adverbs cannot be placed after the verbs they modify'.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Thanks, Switch, for that informative post. Though, I've never referred to Gambia with a definitive article, and I can't recall ever hearing it referred that way either in print articles or on the news, so that last tidbit is completely new to me. I'm wondering whether it (the definitive use for Gambia) is a dated reference in those individual documents, or everyone in America has been using it incorrectly my entire life (or at least as long as Gambia has been a country)?

Keet

@Ross at Play

Thank you for that clarification, makes sense.

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

Thus since the Netherlands has a very well defined border it should be Netherland. Thank you for another argument in favor of my personal, although unofficial, favorite name Netherland.

You've convinced me too. Goodbye "the Netherlands", you were good to me, but our time is past. Hello "Netherland", it looks like we'll have a much friendlier time of it. (Now if I can only convince my readers of my unorthodox usage.) My spellcheck program hates it!

Replies:   Keet  Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

The words 'nether' and 'land' have existed in English since the tenth century with their current meaning. If describing an area of low land it is natural to say 'the nether lands' rather than 'nether land'. When English grammar for creating names is applied to the translation of your country's name the result is 'the Netherlands'.

So you decide we (all English speaking countries) should always translate the name, and then individually reconstruct the name based upon their English equivalents, rather than simply accepting a foreign countries own word for their country? (Frankly, I've never understood why we continue to refer to Deutschland as "Germany". It's use seems pointlessly archaic.)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

So you decide we (all English speaking countries) should always ...

I suspect the Netherlands ended up as a bit of an anomaly because 'nether' and 'land' were pre-existing words in English.

And British imperialists were incredibly insensitive to names of places used by those in other countries. How the heck did they come up with names such as Peking, Bombay, Madras, Munich, Germany, ...? They were a world power - then - so what others thought was irrelevant.

Maybe after Brexit the Deutschlanders should exact some revenge and start calling the capital of Little Britain 'Long Gone'.

Ernest Bywater

@robberhands

What's confusing about it? Are you still hung up on your personal grammar rule that an adverb must come before the verb it modifies?


While I recognize that the process of putting adjectives and adverbs after what they modify is common in some European languages it's not done that way in English - why that came about is not something I've been able to find out. Nor is it a personal grammar rule.

In some languages it's correct to say the house blue and the car fast in English the correct way is to say either the blue house or the house is blue and the fast car or the car is fast.

Take the Swift type comment earlier:

"This knife damn near sliced my finger off!" Tom said sharply.

That makes good English. However, in the examples I see and am complaining about they would have:

Tom said, "This knife damn near sliced my finger off!" sharply.

which is bad English and it causes you to stop a moment to make sense of it.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

One thing that I find not only annoying, but sometimes leads to confusion with the reading is when an author places an adverb after the verb.


He ran fast.
He spoke slowly.

What's wrong with them?

Replies:   REP
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

You've convinced me too. Goodbye "the Netherlands", you were good to me, but our time is past. Hello "Netherland", it looks like we'll have a much friendlier time of it. (Now if I can only convince my readers of my unorthodox usage.) My spellcheck program hates it!

I never said any one else should use Netherland. But I've changed my mind. From now on I just call it... home.

robberhands
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

... in English the correct way is to say either the blue house or the house is blue and the fast car or the car is fast.

You complained about adverbs placed after the modified verb but these are adjectives.

Take the Swift type comment earlier:

"This knife damn near sliced my finger off!" Tom said sharply.

That makes good English.

Agreed, and the adverb is placed after the verb.

Tom said, "This knife damn near sliced my finger off!" sharply.

which is bad English and it causes you to stop a moment to make sense of it.

Again I agree. An adverb without a verb is a grammatical mistake and I'm pretty sure no one will object.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

the house blue


"Waiter, a bottle of the house white please."

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
awnlee jawking

@Keet

There are lots of prostitutes in Amsterdam's red light district. Let's name the country 'land of the hos', or Holland for short ;)

(Sorry, couldn't resist)

AJ

Replies:   Keet
awnlee jawking
Updated:

@robberhands

An adverb without a verb is a grammatical mistake and I'm pretty sure no one will object.


Is that true?

The google featured site (dictionary.com?) claims an adverb is "a word or phrase that modifies the meaning of an adjective, verb, or other adverb, expressing manner, place, time, or degree (e.g. gently, here, now, very ). Some adverbs, for example sentence adverbs, can also be used to modify whole sentences."

AJ

robberhands
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

"Waiter, a bottle of the house white please."

In your example, 'white' is part of a compound noun, "the house white'. Of course, you could argue 'white' is an adjective and the modified noun 'wine' was omitted. Either way, you merely provided a distraction to argue about something totally unrelated.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

"This knife damn near sliced my finger off!" Tom said sharply.

That makes good English.

Agreed.

Tom said, "This knife damn near sliced my finger off!" sharply.

which is bad English

I would assess that more harshly. It's not merely 'bad English'; it's flat-out wrong!

So ... the disagreement which robberhands and I have with you is not about what constitutes bad writing; it's with your description of what you consider a problem.

You defined above the problem you sometimes see with this:

One thing that I find not only annoying ... is when an author places an adverb after the verb.

That's precisely what the first example above has: the adverb 'sharply' is placed after the verb 'said'.

The mistake I would identify in the horrid second example above is that the connection between the adverb 'sharply' and the verb it modifies 'said' has been severed by the intervening dialogue.

The problem of severed connections is not limited to verbs being separated from adverbs which modify them. Misplaced commas (and other separators) can also separate nouns from adjectives which modify them, and verbs from their objects. The root cause of such errors often comes from a failure to understand what constitutes the "main clause" in a sentence and what are detours from the main clause (called "parenthetic phrases" and various other names). A common mistake is placing a comma after a verb which indicates the sentence is heading off on a detour but not using the matching comma needed to indicate the end of the detour and the resumption of the main clause.

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Correct, but that wasn't the point of EB's example, nor my reply.

Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

[dictionary.com] claims an adverb is ...

You have a point.

For complete accuracy, I think robberhands should have said:

An adverb without, or with no connection to, an object it modifies is a grammatical mistake and I'm pretty sure no one will object.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

Of course, you could argue 'white' is an adjective and the modified noun 'wine' was omitted.

Please forgive this distraction to argue about something totally unrelated. :-)

I don't agree with that. However, I think there is a reasonable argument that 'white' is functioning as the noun and 'house' as an adjective.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Please forgive this distraction to argue about something totally unrelated. :-)

If you can find someone to argue about it, feel free to do so.

awnlee jawking
Updated:

@robberhands

Either way, you merely provided a distraction to argue about something totally unrelated.


Bugger, I missed off the smiley. ;)

BTW, is Ernest confusing adverbs and adjectives? An easy mistake - I've always wondered whether the distinction is artificial.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

Bugger, I missed off the smiley.

A smiley wouldn't have saved you. I regard smileys as evil incarnate (that's an example for an adjective following a noun) and just ignore them. Something is funny or it isn't; a smiley doesn't change that.

ETA:

BTW, is Ernest confusing adverbs and adjectives?

AFAIK, Ernest never makes a mistake.

Replies:   Ross at Play  Not_a_ID
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

While I recognize that the process of putting adjectives and adverbs after what they modify is common in some European languages it's not done that way in English - why that came about is not something I've been able to find out. Nor is it a personal grammar rule.

The only semi-authoritative reference I know is the one we discussed in the past, about the 'natural order of adjectives', but again, that reference doesn't precisely state why those words sound more natural, it only states that they do.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

Some adverbs, for example sentence adverbs, can also be used to modify whole sentences.

Now that I'd like to see. Did they provide any examples? Otherwise, I can't imagine how you'd modify an entire sentence.

Ex: Fastly the fireman run into the burning house, hoping to save to family's one-year-old puppy, Snappy Doodle!

Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

"The President" where the speaker assumes it is understood by others present as to which President the speaker is talking about.


As a standard usage in the US "The President" always refers to the current occupant of the White House.

Any reference to a former US president will be in the form of President .

Of course in an international context, you run into the issue of the president of which country.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Ross at Play

@robberhands

evil incarnate (that's an example for an adjective following a noun)

They do exist but are so rare that my Oxford Dictionary has a note "(usually after a noun)" for the adjective 'incarnate'.

Some other examples are 'attorney general' and 'sister-in-law'.

REP

@Not_a_ID

If the words are needed in order to communicate information not otherwise present


The point of the thread was to omit words like 'that' which added nothing to the scene.

Example: He saw that I had added unnecessary words.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

@AJ
... for example sentence adverbs, can also be used to modify whole sentences.


I can't imagine how you'd modify an entire sentence.

Easily, I imagine.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

My spellcheck program hates it!


Most spellcheckers will let you manually add words to the spellcherer's dictionary. Useful for authors writing science-fiction or high fantasy where they may have to make up a lot of words.

Not_a_ID

@Keet

Isn't it? It seems to me all countries name themselves and other civilized countries use that name, a close translation or a previous historical name (Germany anyone?). You don't make up a name for another country.


Persia was only called Persia because the Greeks called it such. Iran is closer to what "the natives" called it, but still not quite there.

Not_a_ID

@robberhands

A smiley wouldn't have saved you. I regard smileys as evil incarnate (that's an example for an adjective following a noun) and just ignore them. Something is funny or it isn't; a smiley doesn't change that.

If you say so. 😈

REP

@Crumbly Writer

about dropping specific unnecessary words


That is true, but it also addressed minimizing the number of words used to say the same thing.

Personally, I don't care for 'she giggled'. However, I can visualize a difference between 'she exclaimed between giggles' and 'she giggled'. In the first, there would be short sections of understandable passages separated by giggles. In the second, the words and giggles would be so intermixed that it would be difficult to understand the speaker.

richardshagrin

"The" issue: I live in the United States of America. If "the" is wrong, why does "I live in United States of America" sound strange? Using USA doesn't help, I would say I live in the USA. Maybe if I lived in Union of South Africa my choice would be different, but it still sounds better to me to use the before the name of the nation.

Replies:   REP
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Dominions Son


As a standard usage in the US "The President" always refers to the current occupant of the White House.


Well, then you have the Mormons who have a President as head of their faith. So a Mormon talking about "The/the President" could either be talking about their version of The Pope, or they could be speaking about POTUS. ;)

Further complications come in the form of Educational Institutions as well as Corporations where their organizational head also has the title of "President" and may be referred to by title rather than name. Which isn't to mention all those corporate VP's running around where I am sure protocol would have you "promote" them to President when you're not calling them "Vice President" instead. So some of them can be getting referenced as such in the right context as well. So I guess Mormon's get a real ambiguity prize depending on how they discuss a particular President, they could be discussing any one of 4 or more entirely different people.

Edit: forgot Mormons have Stake Presidents as well(they preside over the bishops who preside over individual congregations), and then each "Mission Area" has a "Mission President" of its own, and I think there are a couple other positions they have which are Presidencies as well(As the Presiding Authority for that matter--so they're literally Presidents). So the count goes even higher for them.

Replies:   Dominions Son
REP

@Ernest Bywater

why that came about is not something I've been able to find out


I suspect the reason is separating the adverb from the verb it modifies could lead to confusion if the sentence were to have two or more verbs and the adverb could modify either.

I have a habit of putting the adverb at the end, but lately I've placed it where the position seems to give the best emphasis to the sentence.

REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


He spoke slowly.


Nothing, wrong about either. I think EB is talking about having words between the verb and adverb.

For instance: He spoke about running down the hill slowly.

What is being done slowly, speaking or running.

REP

@richardshagrin

That is due to English using articles to introduce nouns, titles, etc. Other languages may not use articles in that manner, so "I live in United States of America" might sound natural to them.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Now that I'd like to see. Did they provide any examples? Otherwise, I can't imagine how you'd modify an entire sentence.


Finally, the balloon landed.

"Finally" is the adverb.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Not much different from 'The balloon finally landed.

ETA - I have a sentence in my story that I think would be a good example of what you mean

Afterward, they snuggle.

robberhands
Updated:

@REP

For instance: He spoke about running down the hill slowly.

What is being done slowly, speaking or running.

Do you seriously think it's doubtful which verb 'slowly' modifies in this sentence?

ETA: Actually, there is only one verb in this sentence. That's 'spoke. 'Slowly' is part of a noun phrase, which is 'running down the hill slowly', the object of your sentence.

Replies:   REP
Dominions Son

@Not_a_ID

Further complications come in the form of Educational Institutions as well as Corporations where their organizational head also has the title of "President" and may be referred to by title rather than name.


Again convention in the US in such cases is that unless you are speaking within the organization on matters of the organizations work, you would use "the President of...".

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Keet

@awnlee jawking

There are lots of prostitutes in Amsterdam's red light district. Let's name the country 'land of the hos', or Holland for short ;)

(Sorry, couldn't resist)

Good one! Although Amsterdam and the red light district has lost most of it's glory due to immigration and politics.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Dominions Son



Further complications come in the form of Educational Institutions as well as Corporations where their organizational head also has the title of "President" and may be referred to by title rather than name.



Again convention in the US in such cases is that unless you are speaking within the organization on matters of the organizations work, you would use "the President of..."


Formal writing and informal speech are different things. In informal speech, it is more typical (at least "in the Mormon cultural footprint") to get "President (Name)" with no "the" prefacing the title when a name is used, but you CAN still occasionally encounter "the President"(case indeterminate in this case, as we're talking informal speech) in conversation, normally after context has been given, but not always(although for various flavors of president the Mormons have the more extended title such as "the Stake President" or "the Mission President" is slightly more common when referencing by title alone). Ie. They'll name which one they're speaking about at the start and drop to title or name only from there, depending on personal preferences/relationship to said person.

Which leaves openings for others to eavesdrop or join in later without that context being immediately available to them, although subject matter at hand should help more than a little. ;)

Crumbly Writer

@REP

What is being done slowly, speaking or running.

Neither. What's being done slowly is discussing what's being done slowly.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Finally, the balloon landed.

"Finally" is the adverb.

Technically, the adverb doesn't modify the sentence, it only modifies the phrase, which just happens to be the only content of the sentence, but it has nothing to do with modifying entire sentences other than a random length of the sentence.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Keet

Good one! Although Amsterdam and the red light district has lost most of it's glory due to immigration and politics.

Not to mention the abundance of both online porn and online dating (cough, cough, hookup) sites.

Replies:   Keet
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

it has nothing to do with modifying entire sentences other than a random length of the sentence.

It's more accurate to say that adverbs can modify entire clauses, rather than sentences, but that is not limited by the length of the clause. For example:

Surprisingly, a large proportion of America's population refuses to believe the fact obvious to all others that the president of their country is a compulsive liar.

That is a sentence with an adverb, 'Surprisingly', modifying a clause consisting of a subject, 'a large proportion of America's population'; a verb, 'refuses'; and a direct object, 'to believe the fact obvious to all others that the president of their country is a compulsive liar'.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Ross at Play


Surprisingly, a large proportion of America's population refuses to believe the fact obvious to all others that the president of their country is a compulsive liar.



That is a sentence with an adverb, 'Surprisingly', modifying a clause consisting of a subject, 'a large proportion of America's population'; a verb, 'refuses'; and a direct object, 'to believe the fact obvious to all others that the president of their country is a compulsive liar'.


Unsurprisingly, a plurality of Americans have concluded that the last several Presidents have all been compulsive liars. Some just happen to be more blatant than others.

Keet

@Crumbly Writer

Not to mention the abundance of both online porn and online dating (cough, cough, hookup) sites.

Nah, that had nothing to do with the deterioration of Amsterdam and specifically the red light district. When I was young it was an adventure just strolling down the streets in the RLD, standing to the back wall in the Banana Bar having no money to participate in the fun. That whole leisurely ambiance is gone now.

PrincelyGuy

And here I thought that being a liar was a requirement for politicians and statisticians. It is just that some are better at making the lies sound like truths than others.

Replies:   Keet
richardshagrin

@Not_a_ID

compulsive liars

Its a choice, not a compulsion.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Keet

@PrincelyGuy

And here I thought that being a liar was a requirement for politicians and statisticians. It is just that some are better at making the lies sound like truths than others.

For politicians you also have to have very low ethics and integrity but know to hide that very well.

Ross at Play

@Not_a_ID

Unsurprisingly, a plurality of Americans have concluded that the last several Presidents have all been compulsive liars. Some just happen to be more blatant than others.

I find it terrifying that so many Americans cannot see how different this president's dishonesty is to all those before him.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Its a choice, not a compulsion.

Exactly, most politicians choose to lie when it's convenient. However, a certain current nationwide office holder seems incapable of uttering the truth, preferring to invent entire facts on the fly, while decrying the validity of 'truth' as a general concept. Now that's compulsive, when you lie just because you can't resist lying.

All politicians lie, but some are better at it than others. If you can't believe anything someone says, then nothing they say is any more important than "kerfuffle" statements.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Ross at Play


I find it terrifying that so many Americans cannot see how different this president's dishonesty is to all those before him.


I think part of it is that his lies are so blatant in most cases that it isn't that they believe them. It's that they don't take him seriously. As such, while they're agreed that "it is a problem" they don't think it is end-of-the-world scale significant either.

In some respects, they probably prefer the blatantly transparent liar over the one that it takes an army of dedicated investigators to catch.

Ie. He's "a villain" you expect to find in a B or C list quality comedy production. So seeing people running around like he's Bram Stoker's Dracula personified is laughable.

Replies:   REP
Switch Blayde

@Keet

Although Amsterdam and the red light district has lost most of it's glory due to immigration


Why would immigration affect it?

Replies:   Keet
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I find it terrifying that so many Americans cannot see how different this president's dishonesty is to all those before him.


Trump is just an obvious liar. The others were better at it. LBJ lying about the Vietnam war? Tricky Dick (Nixon)? Obama lying through his teeth about his promises for Obamacare?

They all lie. Trump just sucks at it.

REP

@robberhands

Actually, there is only one verb in this sentence.


You are mistaken. The speaker is talking about his act of 'running down the hill', so the example has 2 verbs.

The point of the example is if a writer places the adverb after the verb the writer wants the adverb to modify, then if text is placed between the adverb and its verb there can be an ambiguity. In this particular case, the reader can interpret 'slowly' to be 'slowly spoke' or 'slowly running'.

Replies:   Ross at Play
REP
Updated:

@Not_a_ID


I think part of it is that his lies are so blatant in most cases that it isn't that they believe them.


During the 2016 campaign, a TV interviewer asked a man in the parking lot of a Trump convention about whether he believed Trump was a liar. The man's response was, Yes I believe Trump lies, but he wouldn't lie to us his supporters. I think most of Trump's supporters know he lied to them to get elected, but their pride will not allow them to admit it.

Many of Trump's current supporters believe he is doing the proper thing in areas that interest them. They don't care if he is doing improper things in areas that are of little or no interest to them. They don't realize the impact his actions will have on them in the future.

A good example of that is Trump's tariff war. I doubt that most of his supporters understand the negative impact his war will have on their lives is an increase in the cost of the merchandise they will buy.

Trump's tax bill is also a good example of the negative impact his actions have on the general population. It has been presented as being a good thing for big business and the average person will see lower taxes. I think my family falls into the average category. I asked my tax man how Trump's bill will affect my 2018 taxes. He told me that if they were applied to my 2017 taxes, I would have had to pay an additional $800 in taxes. Those of us living in the US need to be prepared for their 2018 taxes being higher than expected.

Replies:   PotomacBob
Ross at Play
Updated:

@REP

In this particular case, the reader can interpret 'slowly' to be 'slowly spoke' or 'slowly running'.

No! There's no ambiguity in your example. 'Slowly' modifies the closest object it can potentially modify, which is 'running'.

Robberhands is correct in stating that 'running down the hill slowly' is a 'noun phrase ... the object of your sentence'.

He's also (technically) correct in stating:

there is only one verb in this sentence. That's 'spoke'.

I'll just state this; I've explained this point often enough here already. Within the sentence, 'running' is functioning as the head of a noun phrase. Within that noun phrase, it is functioning as a verb which may be modified by an adverb.

evilynnthales
Updated:

@Ross at Play

I would really prefer to avoid politics except in threads about politics.

EDIT: this should be a general thread reply, not Ross specific :)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@evilynnthales

EDIT: this should be a general thread reply, not Ross specific :)

Thanks for making that correction.

Good luck on your request, BTW. Methinks it's a much-traveled road to nowhere. :(

Keet

@Switch Blayde

Why would immigration affect it?

There is an overabundance of a certain religion that takes a dim view at places like the RLD. Amsterdam has become extremely leftist int the last 10-15 years, even this week a new very leftist mayor was selected, straight against the wishes of the majority of the citizens. Well we all know how the left supports uncontrolled immigration, even if a large part is criminal which is a real problem in Amsterdam.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Keet

new very leftist mayor


London's got one of those.

Blimp representing baby Trump wearing a nappy? No problem.

Epidemic of violent crime? Dum de dum de dum.

AJ

PotomacBob

@REP

Many of Trump's current supporters believe he is doing the proper thing in areas that interest them. They don't care if he is doing improper things in areas that are of little or no interest to them.


How does that differ from avid supporters of any politician? I remember a quote about a U.S. Senator from Georgia (I think 1940s or 1950s) in which one person said - "He's a crook." ANd the other said, "Yeah, but he's our crook."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@PotomacBob

How does that differ from avid supporters of any politician? I remember a quote about a U.S. Senator from Georgia (I think 1940s or 1950s) in which one person said - "He's a crook." ANd the other said, "Yeah, but he's our crook."

That reminds me of the longstanding Daley administration in Chicago. Everyone knew he was as crooked as a three-dollar bill, but his patronage system actually accomplished things for great numbers of people (as opposed to the current patronage system, which promises the sun and moon, but only delivers for the rich and powerful funding campaigns, while betraying the voters at every turn). That was back in the days when individual votes actually counted, and politicians could be counted on to pay the working stiff for those votes!

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