Interesting Writing Websites.

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Interesting Writing Websites.

Post by Garmar on Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:40 am

I do a lot of researching and run across excellent websites for writers in the process. I'm going to start posting them here daily, if I have time that is, with an example of its content.

Today's website. Criminal Brief: The Mystery Short Story Web Log Project.

From the front page of Criminal Brief:

Written by John M. Floyd.

Who/whom. If who/whom can be replaced in a sentence by he or she, it’s who. If who/whom can be replaced by him or her, it’s whom. Simple as that.
“I didn’t know who was at the door.” (I didn’t know he was at the door.)
“Whom can we nominate for the position?” (We can nominate her.)
NOTE: I try not to use “whom” in dialogue unless the speaker is an extremely constipated English professor.

Convince/persuade. Convince involves thought; persuade involves action.
“She convinced him he was wrong; she persuaded him to take her to the movies.”

If I was/if I were. Use were if the conditions are contrary to fact. “If I were a rich man” is correct since I’m not a rich man. “If I was awake I probably heard it” is correct since I might or might not have been awake.

A/an. When choosing “a” or “an,” pronunciation—not spelling—is what matters. Forget whether it precedes a vowel or a consonant. Examples: An hour and a half, a European vacation, an honorable person, a historic site, an SASE.

canceled/cancelled. If you’re ending a verb with -ed or -er or -ing, double a single final constant if the stress is on the final syllable. Correct: canceled, traveled, pedaled, permitted, patrolled, excelled. Exceptions: transferred and kidnapped.

Data is/data are. Despite what the purists say, words like data and media are usually singular. (Data is a collective noun, like information.) As an old computer guy, I think it’s hilarious when someone says something like “The data are correct.”

That/which. That is a defining pronoun — it tells the reader what you’re talking about. Which is a descriptive pronoun, used in parenthetical phrases set off by commas. “The Board of Aldermen approved a program that will provide funds for the library extension. The program, which has been long been anticipated, will begin this summer.”

I/me. In phrases like “for you and me,” the rule we learned in school still serves us well: Split it up into “for you” and “for me” to reassure yourself that “me” should be used instead of “I.” (I cheated a bit here — this one was also listed as one of the ten errors in my other column.)

May/might. This one’s a little iffy, because they sometimes mean the same thing. Often, though, may means “allowed to” and might means “maybe.” “Bob may go to the meeting” (his boss gave him permission). “Bob might go to the meeting” (he hasn’t decided yet).

Farther/further. Farther usually indicates distance — its first three letters will remind you of that. Further indicates depth or extent. “We’ll have no further discussion about how much farther we need to travel.”

Principal/principle Remember, in school they told you the principal was your pal. He probably wasn’t, but it’s a good spelling rule.

_________________

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.


A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.  ~Italo Calvino
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