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 Post subject: Re: Beef's Guide to Grammar
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:44 am 
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Creep

Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 6:46 am
Posts: 7
I wouldn't mind seeing 'lie' versus 'lay.' It's one that's given me a bit of trouble. I Merriam-Webster it when I get confused, but I can never really bring myself to remember it afterward, and I usually make myself look it up if I'm not sure. Any tips?


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 Post subject: Re: Beef's Guide to Grammar
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:41 am 
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Eater of Fresh Oranges
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:11 pm
Posts: 1323
Location: Pullman, Washington
Sorry I've let this go for so long. I will definitely keep doing these, I've just been busy with other things lately.

Today I am going to briefly cover tense shifts in narratives. It's a large topic, so if you want a more detailed explanation, definitely look into it, but here's the bottom line.

Never change tenses mid-paragraph or mid-sentence or mid-story or mid-anything, ever, if the events that occur are in the same perspective time-frame.
For example, if my story takes place in a number of days, I would probably stay in the same tense from beginning to end. This would especially be the case if I told the story in order.

If, however, the story is being told, and then must refer to something that happened before the story began, or at least in the past as compared to the current point in the story,then a temporary tense shift may be needed to clarify that.

For example, last night I received a call from a close friend. I found this odd, especially considering that I had turned off my phone that afternoon.

A good rule of thumb is to tell things in the same tense as they happen in order, and only change tenses when referring to previous or future events. Also, in stories, the generally accepted tenses are past tense for present events, past-perfect (had been) for past events, and future-perfect (would be) for future events. Shifts to either future or past-perfect tenses ought to be brief and temporary.

As a general rule, present tense (is) and present perfect (is being) ought not to be used except in dialogue, when appropriate.

Also, please understand that I am not certain about the verb tense names, but I am fairly sure.

Also also, a word of warning to time-travelling narrators: if the beginning of a story narrates a set of current circumstances for the story in a present tense, that narrator is not allowed to narrate any events that move past the state earlier described as being the present for that narrator, without the narrator showing that they have stopped narrating from that present, time has passed, and they are now narrating from a new present.

It sounds complicated, maybe, but read it a couple times and let me know if you have a question. Mostly it will help your narration and your story be consistent and readable.

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 Post subject: Re: Beef's Guide to Grammar
PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:54 am 
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Ghost of Perdition
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Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 5:13 am
Posts: 182
Location: Tampa, FL
Thanks Beef! This is very helpful!


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 Post subject: Re: Beef's Guide to Grammar
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:45 am 
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Eater of Fresh Oranges
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:11 pm
Posts: 1323
Location: Pullman, Washington
A request came in for discussing the difference between the words "quiet" and "quite."

Honestly, this sounds like an "I was typing to fast and I didn't read my work out loud before submitting it" kind of error-- certainly not a misunderstanding of grammar rules.

If it is a misunderstanding, I am saddened by the state of our education system (Oh wait, I already am... I suppose the proper phrase would be "made more sadder-er by" in this case).

But, just to clarify for anybody that was not taught correctly, I will explain the difference.

Quiet can be used in different forms as an adjective, adverb, verb, or noun. It always means a lack of loud noises.

Quite, on the other hand, is generally an adverb or adjective analogous with very, mostly, or largely.

One way to avoid making a typo like this is to type more slowly-- and then re-read your writing out loud (and I mean out loud, word by word, not just out-loud-in-your-head. Cheating won't help you here) so that you can catch any mistakes you made. Then, when you do catch mistakes, correct them right away so that you don't forget.

Good luck out there, and remember, it's the editing that is the work of writing; just putting ideas on paper is often the easiest part. As always, PM me with questions or suggestions or critiques or any other kind of feedback/request, and I'll try to get back to you promptly.

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