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Project Punctuate

Interactive Grammar

April 23rd, 2008

(no subject) @ 06:13 am

When writing 2nd person POV, should you use present progressive and the -ingform trough out or can you use present simple as well?

"I can hear you think, that can't be good." Sam's voice in your ear makes you jump.
"For fuck's sake!"
Sam chuckles and buries his face against your neck again. "Good morning to you too," he says and licks your ear.


"I can hear you think, that can't be good." Sam's voice in your ear is making you jump.
"For fuck's sake!"
Sam is chuckling and buring his face against your neck again. "Good morning to you too," he is saying and licking your ear.

I prefer the top one, but which is correct?


November 26th, 2007

April 12th, 2007

Syntactic query. @ 11:50 am


Sheer curiosity:

"Fewer than 10% of children eat bugs."


"Less than 10% of children eat bugs."

Which is correct?

EDIT: To be specific, the question is structural: does the adjective apply to the percentage (which would require "less than", being continuous) or the number of children (which would require "fewer than", being discrete)?

EDIT 2: Ooh, I've thought of a possible analog: "The bower of roses is fragrant," as opposed to "The bower of roses are fragrant."

In this case, I know that standard English syntax places "roses" as subordinate to "bower", requiring the singular form of the verb. The essence of the sentence is, "The bower is fragrant."

If the same approach is used in the previous case, then "Less than 10% eat bugs" is correct.

Can anyone spot a methodological flaw in this, or does anyone know of any eccentricity in English syntax that contravenes this logic? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

February 8th, 2007

(no subject) @ 02:11 pm



Can anyone tell me whether someone would be:

"setting an example for students"


"setting an example to students"?

Thanks for you help!

July 5th, 2006

Admin: Tagging @ 01:40 pm

I've added some tags to the community to make finding answers easier. There are two categories of tags:

Type of Post
  • Discussion

  • Essays and Tips

  • Quick-Fix Question (help for a specific sentence)

  • Resources

Subject of Post
  • Punctuation

  • Structure

  • Style (topics that are more opinion than hard rule)

  • Confusables (who vs. whom, then vs. than, you and I vs. you and me, etc.)

Ideally each post should use a tag from each category, but I understand that might not be possible if you don't know what the problem is. Just make sure to tag with a type (discussion, essay, quick-fix, or resource) when you post, and if you want, go back and edit once you understand what the subject is. General questions go under discussion.

Please leave a comment if you see a need for another tag.

July 1st, 2006

Attribute or Subject? @ 12:59 am

Current Mood: stressed stressed

This is the sentence I'm working with:

This is a very bad idea, flashed quickly through her head.

Because it's a thought, should this be treated like a dialogue attribution, and take the comma? Or is the clause in a sense the sentence's subject--in which case it shouldn't be seperated from its predicate by a comma right? So, to comma or not to comma?


June 5th, 2006

Omit Comma? @ 11:42 pm


It was hard to tell whether it was nerves or sickness, although both were an option.

Generally, I know the rule is that when the dependant clause follows the main clause, the comma is usually omitted, but I read there's an exception when "the clause is plainly nonrestrictive, that is, adds a reason or concession introduced by because, since, as, though." Could this qualify? Or must the comma be omitted?

February 14th, 2006

Repetition: quick-fix question @ 08:11 pm

I feel that this sentence: "It could be so calming it could cause one to do anything for them." Is incorrect.

What would work better: "It could be so calming as to cause one to do anything for them." Or something else entirely?

January 27th, 2006

Quick-fix question @ 06:50 pm

Should this sentence Well, except maybe Dudley of course. have any other punctuation, and if so, where and why?

Is it a proper sentence?

October 22nd, 2005

than I/me @ 05:56 pm

Current Mood: confused confused

Do you use than I or than me?

I know that if you finish the sentence, it is than I.
You are taller than I am.

But if you leave the am, is it than I or than me?
You are taller than I or You are taller than me?

June 10th, 2005

Bound! @ 10:40 pm

Current Mood: working working

Is the past tense of bound "bound" or "bounded"?

As in "he bound/ed after the frog."


January 9th, 2005

Comma or semi-colon? @ 09:07 pm

Should it be:

Harry fancies that if he keeps really, really quiet, he can hear the wind outside, [...].


Harry fancies that if he keeps really, really quiet; he can hear the wind outside, [...].

I always thought you should use a comma when faced with an if-clause, but I'm not sure whether to use a semi-colon anyway because of the "really, really quiet" bit.

Help, please?

December 23rd, 2004

You and I/You and me @ 08:00 am

I have a question. I use very boring examples, but I hope some one will help me out here.

In the subject of a sentence you get: You and I are walking, and not You and me are walking. This is correct, because it is I am walking, and not Me am walking.

But in fanfiction I also often read something like: You are walking with your brother and I. Now, my intuition says it should be You are walking with your brother and me, because correct is You are walking with me, and not You are walking with I. (Same with he/him, she/her, they/them).

Is You are walking with your brother and I a hypercorrection, or is my intuition wrong?

November 11th, 2004

(no subject) @ 10:51 pm

Pearls of wisdom from Terry Pratchett at a talk I attended tonight. On the subject of writing:

"Use adjectives like they cost you a finger. Use exclamation marks like they cost you an eye."

Ah, the humble exclamation mark!

Does anyone use them?

Apart from in direct speech where they function more like a stage direction than a punctuation mark and convey tone of voice ("Not with Malfoy. Ron, tell me you didn't!") ... apart from that, does anyone use exclamation marks in third person narrative? Have you ever? In what context? Care to quote the paragraph? With the emotional distance of a third person narrator, I just can imagine a situation carrying sufficient drama ever to require one.

Am I wrong? Or are we, perhaps, not using them *enough*?

Just curious.

August 30th, 2004

I guess this is a question about formatting @ 10:53 am

Current Mood: stuck
Current Music: my own monkey-mind

When writing past tense, first person - or third person for that matter - how do you handle thoughts?  Do you put them in past or present tense?  Do you use italics or other marks (// **) or do you use "" and write "I thought" or "s/he thought"?

Here's an example:

Glaring at the image in the mirror, I pulled my hair back, holding the bulk of it behind my neck. Well, that suits the piano jaw a bit better.

The shift in tense bothers me but I'm not sure it's incorrect.

July 26th, 2004

(no subject) @ 08:53 am

"Sensual" vs. "Sensuous" -- what's the difference between those two words?

I know that one has a more carnal connotation while the other simply means indulging the senses, but I can never remember which is which.

June 22nd, 2004

(no subject) @ 04:00 pm

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

I'm wondering about certain words that can be spelt with either a S or a Z, for example, recognise/recognize, customise/customize etc. I spell them with an S and I had previously thought that it was a British thing and that it was Americans who used the Z spelling, but then recently I've noticed a lot of British books using the Z spelling but still the British forms of words like 'colour' and 'rumour'. I've never seen an American text use the S spelling however.

So, are both the S and Z versions acceptable in both countries? Are there any rules regarding their use?

June 7th, 2004

Wrong punctuations? @ 12:28 am

Current Mood: confused confused

"He watched them and wondered if everyone had the same reaction to the curse, the same arch of the body as pain streaked through, the same contorted expression on one’s face, the same high-pitched scream turning scratchy and dry as one continued to scream even when one’s voice is gone."

I think the punctuations are horrendously wrong. There's too many commas. Perhaps a semi-colon or something somewhere would right this sentence? Thanks in advance.

April 21st, 2004

Updated Index @ 08:51 am

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

After many months of procrastination, I have finally gone through the entries and sorted them into categories for easy reference. You can find them in the memories.

April 15th, 2004

Commas. @ 11:00 pm

Current Mood: curious curious

I have often read the rule that just because one may pause while saying a sentence aloud, it doesn't necessarily mean there would be a comma where that pause is when the sentence is in written form. I am having trouble judging the sentence below, and wondered whether anyone might help. My beta thinks there should be a comma after "Hogwarts," but I am still unsure.

When Professor Dumbledore invited me to Hogwarts I was excited to feel the familiar bumpy ride of the carriage taking me to the front steps, the towers, the squid, the trees, and the corridors which echoed my steps.

Luckily enough, I have another question that can apply to the same sentence. I read a post in this community a while back about when it is appropriate to use "which" and when it is appropriate to use "that". I agree that if I were saying "The corridors, which echoed my steps, were quite spacious," then I would use a comma before "which." But what about the last part of the sentence above--is a comma before "which" required, or should I simply use "that," or is some other element needed?

I do hope this is clear! Thank you in advance.