Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by glorybee » Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:21 pm

Cinnamon Bear wrote:Hi, Diane and Jan! :)

"The boy had neither candy nor gum, yet his mouth was full and I could only suppose it was dirt, as a brown substance leaked from the corners of his lips."

Should there be a comma after "full"?

Cinnamon Bear
I wouldn't put one there, but I'm hardly a comma expert. Commas were almost the death of this forum. For what it's worth, Grammarly doesn't flag it, either.
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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:49 pm

Thanks, Jan. Neither Grammarly nor Microsoft Word is flagging it, with or without the comma, so if no comma is needed--no comma! :)

Cinnamon Bear.

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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by swfdoc1 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 8:15 pm

My opinion: Yes, a comma after "full." Remove the comma before "as."
Explanation: "Yet" before "his" and "and" before "I" are both standard (so-called FANBOYS) coordinating conjunctions. Combined with their commas, they are connecting independent clauses. "As" before "a" is a subordinating conjunction, which does not take a comma.
Other options: Make it two sentences. Remove "and" after "full" and use a semicolon instead.
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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by oursilverstrands » Wed Jun 10, 2015 7:12 pm

Jan, I should have posted my latest here. If you have time, please check out my current post in the Open Forum. I welcome your comments.

Thanks,

Lillian
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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:07 pm

Steve, thanks for your reply to my question.

So as I understand it, the sentence: "The boy had neither candy nor gum, yet his mouth was full and I could only suppose it was dirt, as a brown substance leaked from the corners of his lips."

Should have the punctuation changed to: "The boy had neither candy nor gum, yet his mouth was full, and I could only suppose it was dirt as a brown substance leaked from the corners of his lips."

I googled the definition of "fanboy" and was consequently confused. :oops: So I googled "fanboys coordinating conjunctions" which made sense:

FANBOYS: For-And-Nor-But-Or-Yet-So.

An excellent mnemonic device! :D

Then I googled "cordinating conjunctions" and "subordinating conjunctions"... :?

Trying to master grammar and punctuation is so hard! :(

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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by swfdoc1 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:23 pm

You are right about the punctuation; but it looks so odd, I would re-write it according one of my suggestions or some other way. Even then, removing the comma before “as” will look and feel odd to many people. If I were editing this in someone else’s writing, I would probably leave it, unless I were expected to strictly adhere to a style guide that was a stickler on this point. (However, even the rule of thumb that says that one can add a comma to avoid ambiguity cannot really justify keeping the comma there. That’s why I said I would remove it—the question seemed to be about how to punctuate according to the rules.)

Yes, FANBOYS is pretty standard, which is why I used it, although I actually think it is wrong/problematic on 1-3 counts. First, some "authorities" act as if (if not actually state) that FANBOY is an exhaustive list. Fortunately, other authorities are more careful to state that these are the MOST COMMON coordinating conjunctions. Second, I think it is a pretty rare sentence (if they exist at all) in which “for” is actually coordinating. Third, I think “so” is actually coordinating only (mostly?) in a subset of circumstances not generally explained by FANBOYS invokers . But there are too few experts willing to fight these last two fights. Therefore, I just used FANBOYS as a known, or (per your googling) easily knowable, acronym.

There’s no doubt that grammar and punctuation vex people. My personal opinion is that people resist learning the jargon because they think they don’t need to and/or can’t and/or have a mental block or an unwillingness to pump in the initial effort. However, I am firmly convinced that if they would just learn the jargon, they would have a much easier time with grammar and punctuation. The reason I believe this is because 1) the jargon—unlike other jargon that I have encountered in other fields of study—makes sense (probably because so much of it is descriptive and accurately so), i.e., learning the jargon does not involve cold memorization of words and definitions as one would do when learning a foreign language; and 2) the jargon/the concepts behind the jargon recur(s) in multiple areas.
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
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“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:36 pm

"The boy had neither candy nor gum, yet his mouth was full; I could only suppose it was dirt as a brown substance leaked from the corners of his lips."

Looks better. :)

Regarding jargon, I think precise terminology constitutes more than jargon. Knowing the correct terms makes it much easier to google aspects of grammar and punctuation. Also, it is much easier to discuss grammar and punctuation when there are generally agreed upon terms.

Between Jan's lessons and Steve's posts, I have become convinced that English is every bit as challenging as biology. Both fields include many precise terms; both have many fundamental concepts that take time and effort to grasp; both have many exceptions to the rules. Both fields contain many common misconceptions. Things change in biology as a result of new research, but things also change in literature--for example, a mid-twentieth century novel would probably be written in a different style today.


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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by swfdoc1 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:36 pm

Cinnamon Bear wrote:Regarding jargon, I think precise terminology constitutes more than jargon. Knowing the correct terms makes it much easier to google aspects of grammar and punctuation. Also, it is much easier to discuss grammar and punctuation when there are generally agreed upon terms.
I think "jargon" fits the language of grammarians. But you are right that it is "precise." Furthermore, as I posted previously, I think it is "descriptive." That's a good combination.

Cinnamon Bear wrote:Between Jan's lessons and Steve's posts, I have become convinced that English is every bit as challenging as biology.
I assume you take this as a good thing. (You seem like a person that likes a challenge.) Or at least as a neutral thing. Or as a light bulb coming on moment. If so, all of the credit goes to Jan. She is the one who puts forth the effort to write the lessons. And she is the one who writes them at the level that helps the most people. AND she is the one who puts up with my different-level comments. I do think there are some people--and you are probably one--for whom Jan's lessons plus my comments exemplify the old adage "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts." If so, I'm glad for it.

Yet Jan's lessons alone would convince one that English is challenging. After all, why spend much time on lessons that just proved 1 + 1 = 2? Jan takes on tough topics but explains things so well and gives different enough homework options that many people benefit. And, importantly, her lessons encourage, rather than discourage.

(I hope no one is now picturing me with a short pleated skirt, saddle shoes, and pom-poms. But if the saddle shoes fit . . . .)
Steve
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"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow Galahad or Mordred; middle
things are gone." C.S. Lewis
“The chief purpose of life … is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. To do as we say in the Gloria in Excelsis ... We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendor.” J.R.R. Tolkien

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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by Cinnamon Bear » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:41 am

swfdoc1 wrote:
Cinnamon Bear wrote:Between Jan's lessons and Steve's posts, I have become convinced that English is every bit as challenging as biology.
I assume you take this as a good thing.
Absolutely, I think it is a good thing!

And I do agree that Jan is tops!

I don't see the cheerleader with the pom-poms smiley, so I'll use this:
:party

Cinnamon Bear

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Re: I Wish I Could Say I Know I'm Right, But I Can't

Post by CatLin » Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:06 pm

lish1936 wrote:..."but the theme of the story focuses on risk taking and how each of us, toddlers and adults, deals with risk in our own way.

*snip*

Is "each of us" plural or singular?

Lillian (trying not to grow rusty during my writing hiatus :-)).
I know, I know! Each is the subject, and is singular thus requiring a singular verb. Each deals - like you have it written. If you substitute the pronoun "one" for "of us, toddlers and adults" it will flow more like you would expect. "Each one of us deals with risk....."

Here is back up. (Yes, I had to check myself and make sure. I'm getting older and a little muddle headed.)

"Some indefinite pronouns are particularly troublesome Everyone and everybody (listed above, also) certainly feel like more than one person and, therefore, students are sometimes tempted to use a plural verb with them. They are always singular, though. Each is often followed by a prepositional phrase ending in a plural word (Each of the cars), thus confusing the verb choice. Each, too, is always singular and requires a singular verb.

Everyone has finished his or her homework.

You would always say, "Everybody is here." This means that the word is singular and nothing will change that.

Each of the students is responsible for doing his or her work in the library.

Don't let the word "students" confuse you; the subject is each and each is always singular — Each is responsible."

http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/sv_agr.htm
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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by lthomas » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:37 pm

Hi Jan - been away for a while (years probably) and just read your post - I miss the challenge and writing in so many ways - thinking about jumping back in and giving it another try! God's speed on your vacation and time with your family - Loren
"And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." From "As You Like It." Wm. Shakespeare.

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Re: Be A Better Writer -- FREE FOR ALL

Post by oursilverstrands » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:28 pm

Catlin wrote: I know, I know! Each is the subject, and is singular thus requiring a singular verb. Each deals - like you have it written. If you substitute the pronoun "one" for "of us, toddlers and adults" it will flow more like you would expect. "Each one of us deals with risk.....
I thought I had sent a "thank you" your way, Catlin. I know I typed it out, but it's not posted; now it is. :D

Lillian
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I write even when I think I can't, because I must. :-)

I love to write. Nothing escapes the crush I have on the written word. I'm hooked on words!!

"Let words bewitch you. Scrutinze them, mull them, savor them, and in combination, until you see their subtle differences and the ways they tint each other." Francis Flaherty

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