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26

Many competent writers will challenge the assertion that "the perpendicular pronoun" (I) really needs to be avoided. Others seem to believe that only third person is acceptable, or that no person should ever be mentioned unless specifically talking about people. My own take is that this is all a matter of style, and whatever you pick -- as long as it ...


19

Competence precludes finding oneself needing to mean "I" but having to say "this writer" - or, variously: the author your correspondent this ink-stained wretch (please, no!) TBH, the form hardly matters - silk purses and sow's ears, etc.


17

In science, it is quite common to use "we" instead of "I" even if there is only one author.


8

Use of pronouns like "I" and "me" in a narrative will tend to cast the writer as the protagonist. Use of other forms such as "yours truly" or non-reflexive "myself" tends to cast the author into a "supporting character" role. Suppose someone is writing about Mr. Smith's performance in a chess tournament and, after saying "In round one, Mr. Smith played ...


6

It is like writing English. Obviously people in a fantasy world or the far future won't speak English, yet you present their dialogue in English (or whatever language you write in). Does that put readers off? Certainly not. Writing in a fantasy language is what would put readers off! Terms are the same. If you use the current (in your language) general term ...


5

I would not recommend using and/or. There are a number of style guides and English references that severely criticize it. For example: Chicago Manual of Style ("Avoid this Janus-faced term. It can often be replaced by and or or with no loss in meaning.") Strunk and White ("damages a sentence and often leads to confusion or ambiguity") Fowler's English ...


5

I don't generally see anything wrong with using "and/or" in fiction, but you need to make sure that it is used in an appropriate way. You need to look at your writing as two separate sentences and make sure that they each come across the way you intended. He planned to let Fields take the lead and try not to slow him down and get killed. He ...


4

An excellent question, and a permanent source of controversy and disagreement in fantasy and science fiction. Let's try to break this down: Basics of worldbuilding. You cannot construct an entire world out of whole cloth. It's simply not possible, primarily because the world is much larger than most of us tend to notice on a day-to-day basis. If your ...


4

Unlike Steven Drennon, I feel that in general "and/or" is not good writing, both in fiction and non-fiction. While writing is not spoken language, it is generally intended to be read – by a "silent" reader, who, as studies have shown, will nevertheless usually subvocalize and stumble over "unspeakable", purely written constructs; by the author in a public ...


3

When writing in first person limited view you are basically writing in the voice of the character. So you should make what they say authentic. Therefore in the right circumstances this is perfectly acceptable. My advice would be to leave it in and write the story that way. Then when it is done you can get a feel for if it "works" in that context. I have ...


3

Try looking up "British terms of endearment" instead. You should find several links. This one looks good in particular.


2

I see two main contexts: The author of the work is also relevant to the subject under discussion. Then the author should use the third person and a name. "Reports must be submitted in triplicate to both Itsme and Steve Jessop". "Mr. Jessop has responsibility for X, whereas Itsme handles Y". It might matter which of us wrote that text, we might have ...


2

The phrase "to [name]" is perfectly applicable to persons past, present and future, as it does not contain a finite verb form or any other time reference. Also, there is no reason why a book could not be dedicated to someone who is no longer alive. Many books that I own are dedicated to persons that were part of the authors life but are no longer with us. ...


2

I would see the double entendre. As an editor, I would change it to something else. Assemble or install, probably. "Install" to me means "Start with all the pieces, put it together, test to make sure it does what it's supposed to do, and clean up the site afterwards." Installing an exhibition would involve putting it into place, and if that required tools, ...


2

Personally, if it's to be satirical, I'd forfeit all "may, might, could" etc. I'd go with Simple Present, then augment every single claim with "or not." In the year 3000 all religions are recognized as highly infective memetic diseases. Or not. All "infected/believers" are quarantined in closed "holy cities". Or not.


2

For the most part an author should try to conform to grammatical conventions as that makes it easier for people to read. However, this isn't a set in stone rule. You are free to violate "proper" grammatical conventions in both first-person and third-person narratives. It is best if you have a decent grasp of the conventions you violate—that knowledge ...


1

Sure. There's a very famous book: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. e.g. http://www.amazon.com/Bartletts-Familiar-Quotations-Geoffrey-OBrien/dp/0316017590/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430161531&sr=8-1&keywords=bartlets+familiar+quotations I've seen quite a few websites of clever quips and quotes. For example, brainyquote.com, quotationspage.com, etc. ...


1

I see your problem. This is something that I run into all the time. When you can't figure out the right word. just use a free online dictionary and go through the synonym list for the word you decided doesn't sound right.


1

Idiom is defined as: an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as in "kick the bucket";; OR -- a construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in the second language. Not sure if ...


1

In the given context the word "erection" does not have any sexual connotations for me. Outside of your question, I would not have thought of erect penises at all. If you feel you must avoid this word, use verbs: "We deliver and erect stands." Or: "The delivery and erecting of stands." Many sexual slang words have non-sexual base meanings and are commonly ...


1

If you use obscure terms most readers never heard of, you're bound to alienate the readers. For me quipao doesn't elicit any connotations; I don't know this word, so it will be entirely alien to me. If the world has no connection to Earth whatsoever, you'd better have a very good excuse for them developing a copy of Chinese culture. A dimensional gate? A ...


1

I'm interested in this question also, but for sci-fi that is unrelated to Earth or Earth culture. As to your specific example: I am probably better educated about other societies than the average American (which isn't saying much), but I've never heard the term qipao. How about kimono? Not the same thing, but a more familiar word. As to your general ...


1

In the natural sciences, the use of the personal pronouns "I" (for one author) and "we" (for two or more authors) is perfectly fine. In fact, you must use these pronouns, if you refer to yourself! For example the Manual (2009) of the American Psychological Association clearly states (pp. 69-70): Attribution. Inappropriately or illogically attribution ...



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