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Old 12-09-2012, 09:52 PM   #76
sr71plt
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Troubles in the N section:

naked/nude (they both mean "unclothed," but "naked" is considered better for use in a sensuous or scandalous connotation)

nauseous/nauseated ("nauseous" is "causing sickness"; "nauseated" is "feeling the sickness")

naval/navel ("naval" concerns ships at sea; "navel" is a belly button)

near/nearly ("near" is used as an adverb ("come near me"), an adjective ("the near side of Mars"), a preposition ("near" the water"), or a verb ("the car nears the road"); "nearly" is only used as an adverb ("nearly sick with fear")

negligent/negliglible ("negligent" means "indifferent," "careless"; "negligible" refers to something or someone so trifling and unimportant as to be neglected or disregarded)

nom de plume/pseudonym/pen name (all mean "a name used instead of a real name." "Nom de plume" and "pen name," however, are usually restricted to writers, whereas "pseudonym" can be used for anybody)

notable/noted ("notable" means "noteworthy," "worthy of notice"; "noted" means "celebrated" or "famous." You can be notable without quite making noted)

not only . . . but also (This is a set pair. Where you've used "not only," you should be following up with a "but also"--or at least an "as well." The set is know as correlative conjunctions. Another often-used [and misused] set is "on the one hand . . . "on the other hand")

nowhere near (this is dialect and not recommend for anything but dialogue or narrative that is giving slight ungrammatical tendencies to a character)
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:35 AM   #77
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who's; whose

The first is a contraction [Who's on first?], the second a possessive [Whose life is it, anyway?]. Unlike who and whom, whose may refer to things as well as people [the Commerce Department, whose bailiwick includes intellectual property].
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:20 PM   #78
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Troubles in the O section:

observance/observation ("observance" means performance of rites; "observation" means the act of watching (and not just watching--but also absorbing what you see)

obsolete/obsolescent ("obsolete" is already out of date; "obsolescent" is on its way to becoming out of date)

official/officious ("official" pertains to holding an office or position of authority and to acts taken in that position; "officious" means "meddlesome," "offering unwanted advice")

OK/okay (these are your choices. Ok, O.K., Okay (the latter, with the exception of opening a sentence) aren't OK)

operator/operative (an "operator" is someone who works/handles a machine; an "operative" is usually applied to someone engaged in a more killed or subtle task than an operator is.)

oral/verbal ("oral" means by mouth; "verbal" means by word)

ordnance/ordinance ("ordnance" is artillery; "ordinance" is a law, regulation, or statute.

overlook/oversee ("overlook" is to fail to notice, to rise above, or to excuse; "oversee" is to supervise)

owing to (although going out of style in writing, this is grammatically correct for "because of" or "attributable to")
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:46 AM   #79
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It doesn't seem like a word as short as OK/okay would be that difficult to get right. But I think back to my first stories and cringe because I didn't know this stuff either.
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Old 12-11-2012, 01:59 AM   #80
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Troubles in the P section:


paid/payed ("paid" is the past tense and past participle of the verb "pay"; "payed" is used only in the sense of paying out a cable or line.)

passed/past/pass ("passed" is the past tense of the verb "pass"; "past" is the past participle. "The car passed us at 60 miles an hour"; "Your troubles are not past."

percent/percentage ("percent" should always be accompained by a number; "percentage" usually needs a qualifying adjective such as "large.")

perpetrate/perpetuate ("perpetrate" means "to commit or perform or carry out," and usually refers to a crime or hoax; "perpetuate means "to preserve")

persecute/prosecute ("persecute" is to "harass," or "torment"; "prosecute" means "to seek, force, or obtain by a legal process")

perspective/prospective ("perspective" is primarily a noun referring to various techniques for representing three-dimensional objects and depth relationships; "prospective" is an adjective meaning "expected")

plum/plumb ("plum" is a type of fruit; "plumb" means "completely" or "entirely" or "to weigh the depth of")

population/populace/populous ("population" is the total number of persons inhabiting a place; "populace" can be used to refer to all the inhabitants of a place but is usually employed to designate the common people of a community; "populous" is an adjecting meaning "full of residents" or "heavily populated")

practical/practicable ("practical" means "useful"; "practicable" means "feasible" or "possible".)

precede/proceed ("precede" means "to come before" or "go in the advance of"; "proceed" means "to go forward" or "to carry on")

principal/principle ("principal" can mean "main or primary, the leading participant, a head of a school, or a capital sum"; "principle" means "basic truth, belief, rule, or standard")

proposal/proposition (a "proposal" is that which is brought forward for consideration; a "proposition" is an offer of terms)
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:05 AM   #81
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Fit and fitted. There appears to be a difference between US and UK usage. Some American writers might say a dress fit wheras the Brits are more likely to say it fitted. Any comments?
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:54 AM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ishtat View Post
Fit and fitted. There appears to be a difference between US and UK usage. Some American writers might say a dress fit wheras the Brits are more likely to say it fitted. Any comments?
In the US we use both but they mean different things. Clothes that "fit" are just clothes that are the proper size (well, one hopes). But you can have your clothes "fitted," i.e., tailored to fit you.

Ex 1: The dress fit perfectly.
Ex 2: The dress was fitted to her figure.

Another word would be "altered;" e.g., women usually have their bridal gowns altered. I don't know that "fitted" is used often, but I've heard it from time to time.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:13 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by PennLady View Post
In the US we use both but they mean different things. Clothes that "fit" are just clothes that are the proper size (well, one hopes). But you can have your clothes "fitted," i.e., tailored to fit you.

Ex 1: The dress fit perfectly.
Ex 2: The dress was fitted to her figure.

Another word would be "altered;" e.g., women usually have their bridal gowns altered. I don't know that "fitted" is used often, but I've heard it from time to time.
Thanks. The British translation of Ex 1: above might be, either, the dress was a perfect fit, or, the dress fitted perfectly.

The likely British translation of Ex 2: would be, the dress was tailored to her figure.

However, the person who did the tailoring would be a dressmaker, not a tailor, and in order for the tailoring to be carried out the client would attend a fitting.

A tailor in UK normally works on men's clothes unless the article being made for a lady client is a uniform or a business suit.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:47 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ishtat View Post
Thanks. The British translation of Ex 1: above might be, either, the dress was a perfect fit, or, the dress fitted perfectly.

The likely British translation of Ex 2: would be, the dress was tailored to her figure.

However, the person who did the tailoring would be a dressmaker, not a tailor, and in order for the tailoring to be carried out the client would attend a fitting.

A tailor in UK normally works on men's clothes unless the article being made for a lady client is a uniform or a business suit.
LOL We could probably go back and forth on this for a while.

When I got my bridal gown, I had it altered. The alterations were done by a seamstress. She would take measurements, etc., when I came for a fitting.

A man would have a tux altered but a suit tailored (at least in my experience), and those changes in both cases would be done by a tailor. A woman would have a business suit, or other non-casual attire, tailored. I'm not sure -- never having had it done myself -- whether that person would be a tailor or a seamstress.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:21 PM   #85
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Trouble in the Q section:

qualitatively/quantitative (pretty simple but gets mixed up more than it should: "qualitatively" refers to how good it is and "quantitative" with numbers)

query/question/inquiry (a "query" is a "question" but it's not an "inquiry," which is a series of queries or questions, an extended investigation)

quite (means "completely" or "positively," therefore "quite complete" would be redundant)
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:32 AM   #86
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unlawful; illegal; illicit; criminal

This list is in ascending order of negative connotation. An unlawful act may even be morally innocent (for example, letting a parking meter expire). But an illegal act is something that society formally condemns, and an illicit act calls to mind moral degeneracy (illicit drug use). Unlike criminal, the first three terms can apply to civil wrongs.

utilize; Try the verb use instead. And instead of utilization, try the noun use.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:50 PM   #87
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Trouble in the R section:

racket/raquet (there once was a difference in these words in American English and may still be in British English, but in American English, "racket" is used for tennis equipment as well as "noise" and "raquet" has bitten the dust as a spelling for the tennis equipment)

rack/wrack ("rack" means "to strain," "to torture"; "wrack" means to "wreck." If you wrack your brains, you're in a lot more trouble than if you rack them.

raise/raze ("raise" is to lift up; "raze" is "to tear down")

rational/rationale ("rational" is an adjective meaning "of sound mind"; "rationale" is a noun meaning "the reason to do/think something")

reaction ("reaction" is loosely used to cover various responses, including opinions, attitudes, and feelings. A more precise word would be "attitude," "response," "reply," "opinion," etc.

reason is because (substitute "reason is that")

recur/reoccur (these words mean the same thing: "to occur again." Although a stranger spelling, "recur" is used more than "reoccur"--to the extent that many think "reoccur" is improper. But it isn't.)

refute/rebuff ("refute" means to prove wrong convincingly; "rebuff" just means to deny that something is right. "Refute" is often misused to mean "rebuff")

regretful/regrettable ("regretful" means "sorrowful"; "regrettable" means "deserving sorrow or regret")

repel/repulse (Because each of these words can mean "to drive back," they are often misused in situations where their meanings should be distinct. One can "repel" or "repulse" someone who attempts to mug him, but only "repel" conveys the idea of disgust, aversion, and loathing.)

reputed/reported ("reputed" means "held to be such," "supposed," "so considered"; "reported" means "communicated," "made known")

respectfully/respectively/respectably ("respectfully" means "with high regard"; "respectively" means "each in the order named"; "respectably" means "in a manner worthy of esteem.")
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Old 12-14-2012, 04:26 PM   #88
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Trouble in the S section:

Sabbath/Sunday (the "Sabbath" is the seventh day, the day of rest. Contrary to what most Christian church people seem to think, the Sabbath is Saturday, not Sunday)

sacred/sacrosanct (both can mean "dedicated to the worship of a diety" or "declared holy," but "sacrosanct" can go beyond the church and also mean "dedicated to a single purpose" or "worthy of respect" in secular terms)

salon/saloon (a "salon" is a hall where guests are entertained and exhibits are housed; a "saloon" is a bar where paying patrons get drunk)

schmier/schmeer/smear (all are slang for "everything." Whichever you use, be consistent)

scot-free (this phrase does come from Scottish origins. But it isn't capitalized and there's only one "t" and it's hyphenated)

script/scrip (a "script" is either "handwriting as distinct from printing" or "the text of a play or film"; "scrip" is temporarily or specially issued paper money)

sensual/sensuous (both mean "satisfaction of the senses," but "sensual" is for the phyiscal senses only and "sensuous" goes on to appreciation of art, music, literature, nature, and so forth)

serve/service (in general writing, as a verb, "service" is greatly overused, when "serve" would serve better. At least that's the general rule. In writing erotica, though, I think "service" serves in conveying a distinct meaning.)

set/sit ("set" is predominantly a transitive verb meaning "to put/place"; "sit" is predominantly an intransitive verb meaning "to place oneself.")

shit (happens)

shop/store ("shop" usually describes a small, specialty establishment, while "store" is used for a larger one, with a greater variety of products on offer)

simple reason (this phrase is considered condescending, suggesting the receiver is a numbskull. Best used in dialogue when you want the character to be conveying that sense)

site/sight (often misrendered on Literotica. "Site" is a place; "sight" involves what you can see.)

slack/slake ("slack" means "to shirk"; "slake" means "to allay thirst")

sludge/slush (both refer to mud, mire, or ooze. "Sludge" is used for heavier, bulkier stuff, though, and "slush" comes in at the ooze end of the definition)

smell/scent/stink/stench (It's all relative. All are related to "smell," but "scent" is usually pleasant or neutral, "stink" is unpleasant, a "stench" will clear the room)

so-called (this expression is used in writing, particularly dialogue, where you want to convey "called by this term" or "so designated," usually in a questioning or sarcastic manner, when it isn't grammatically correct just to put your term in quote marks)

split infinitives (go ahead and do it; only the anal retentive never do. It once was a hard rule not to separate "to" and its verb. It's still not go to go out of your way to do it, but so many established writers have ignored the rule now that it's OK--and sometimes looks very awkward when you don't)

stationary/stationery ("stationary" means not moving; "stationery" means writing paper)

straight/strait ("straight" is an adjective meaning "uncurved" or "direct"; a "strait" is a narrow passage or something that is "restricted" or "confined"--as in "straitjacket")

suit/suite ("suit" is one form of "set"--"a suit of clothes" or is a case at law--law suit--or a set in cards "spades are a suit"; "suite" means a company of follows" and is used, in the set sense, for matching furniture.

supposedly/presumably ("supposedly" is used for "assumed, but maybe not"; "presumably" is used more for "assumed and probably so")
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Old 12-15-2012, 02:33 PM   #89
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Troubles in the T section:

tasteful/tasty ("tasteful" is "having a good sense of style"; "tasty" is "having a good flavor")

temporize/extemporize ("temporize" means "to compromise"; "extemporize" means "to speak with little preparation")

terrible/terribly/terrifying ("terrible" once primarily meant "causes fear or terror," but it has come more to be used for "bad" ["I feel terrible."]; "terribly" is now an informal synonym for "very"; "terrifying" is still used in the sence of causing terror)

than/then (A frequent Literotica miscue: "than" is a conjunction in clauses of comparison; "then" is an adverb of time. They shouldn't even be pronounced the same.)

that/which (in U.S. publishing, "that" is strictly kept for dependent clauses and does not get set off with commas and "which" is strictly kept for "independent" clauses and does get set off with commas)

their/theirs ("their" is the possessive form of the pronoun "they"; "theirs" is found after the verb and also is possessive, meaning "belonging to them." There should be no apostrophe in "theirs.")

their/there/they're/there's (A frequent Literotica miscue: "their" is a possessive pronoun; "there" is "not here"; "they're" is a contraction for "they are": "there's" is a contraction for "there is")

transpire (the main meaning for "transpire" is "to give off vapor through animal or plant pores." There's not much opportunity to use this definition in writing erotica, so the meaning usually encountered is "to become known." The definition "to make happen" is also creeping into the language, but purists don't accept that as proper usage--while some authors just ignore them and use it this way)

thrash/thresh (both mean "flailing," coming from the separation of seeds or grain from straw, but "thrash" usually is used to mean "whip" or "flog" and "thresh" usually is used to mean "to discuss thoroughly." So your BDSM story is much more likely to thrash than to thresh.)

'til (with the single quote turned backward)/till/until (all of these mean "up to the time of." They all can be used, although "'til" is best used in dialogue to show clipped speech. "'till" (with the reversed single quote in front of it) is nonstandard--so, not really to be used.)

to/two/too (Frequently miscued on Literotica: "to" is a preposition; "two" is a number; "too" means "also" or "an excessive amount")

toward/towards (U.S. publishers use "toward" and consider "towards" the British equivalent--and don't use it)

treachery/treason (both imply a willful, deliberate betrayal of trust or confidence, but "treachery" can be applied to any such act and "treason" is limited to betrayal of one's country)
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:51 AM   #90
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Backing up to the B's:

bought v brought

This is something that messes me up when I speak, though not usually when I write. But it's an easy mistake either way.

"Bought" is the past tense of "buy" -- you purchased something. "Brought" is the past tense of "bring" -- you took something somewhere else, or took it along with you.
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:03 PM   #91
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Troubles in the U section:

unaware/unawares ("unaware" is an adjective meaning "not aware of" or "unconscious of"; "unawares" is an adverb meaning "unexpectedly" or "by surprise")

under way/underway (Only ships get underway. Most every time the comibination is used in stories, it should be rendered "under way")

unique ("unique" doesn't mean just "unusual"; it means one of a kind. And you can't be "very unique" any more than a woman can be "sort of pregnant")

university/college (these aren't synonyms. A "university" embraces more than one college)

urban/urbane ("urban" is "of the city"; "urbane" is "sophisticated")

use/utilize (When most people write "utilize," they should be writing "use." "Utilize" is the puffed of version that makes the writer feel more educated than he/she needs to be to connect with the reader)
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:28 PM   #92
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Quote:
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Troubles in the U section:
university/college (these aren't synonyms. A "university" embraces more than one college)
I believe that that is more of an American interpretation of the differences. Although I can't speak with absolute certainty for the UK and Europe, I can definitely verify that the Canadian variation of college and university is not "universities embrace more than one college".

In a Canadian definition the difference between university and college more closely resembles the difference between trade school (college) and an academic institution (university). Although colleges do provide some academic tutelage, the emphasis is mostly on specialized job training in a particular field, offering certification and/or diplomas upon graduation. Universities, alternatively, are more focused on 'higher learning' in the traditional sense of offering a bachelor's degree, and more advanced graduate degrees.

I believe that it is similar in the UK, but again I am not completely certain.
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:08 PM   #93
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Yes, all of my entries are for the American system. Another thread here shows that there are significant differences between the American and British system. Of course, this is an American-based Web site and its language style is set up on the American system too.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:46 PM   #94
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Colleges and Universities

The US system seems to be more like the British, in that the universities are groups of colleges. According to Wiki, Oxford is made uo of more than 40 colleges; Cambridge 31.
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Old 12-17-2012, 12:59 PM   #95
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Troubles in the V section:

valuable/valued ("valuable" means it is of great merit or worth money; "valued" just means that someone believes it is)

varied/various ("varied" means "altered," "changed," "made different"; "various" means "distinct," "diverse," "of different kinds")

venal/venial ("venal" means corruptible or purchaseable; "venial" means forgivable or pardonable--so very different in meaning on the strength of one "i")

vocation/avocation ("vocation" means profession or calling; "avocation" means a hobby or secondary interest)

vogue words (Vogue words are words and phrases that suddenly appear in writings and the public expressions of a particularly period of time. They, by definition, are locked in a certain time frame. The danger in using them in writing is that they may either date your story or may be out of whack with the time frame in which your story is set. Either way, this will be disconcerting for the reader and will cause your story to be undervalued.)

void/devoid ("void" means "empty," "unfilled"; "devoid" means "completely lacking," "destitute." "Void" can stand alone, but "devoid" always has to be followed by a "of" prepositional phrase further defining what is meant)
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Old 12-18-2012, 02:10 PM   #96
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Troubles in the W section:

we/us ("us" is often used incorrectly, e.g., "Us peashooters went to the championship." "We" is in the nominative (or subjective) case; "us" is in the objective (accusative) case ["Don't piss on us!"]. To tell which you need to write, put it in front of the verb. Most often you should be able to figure out that "We went" is correct and "Us went" isn't. Of course anything goes in dialogue if you want to show a less-educated character.)

which/that ("which" is a conjunction for independent clauses and, in U.S. publishing, always is in a clause set off by commas; "that" is a conjunction for dependent clauses and, in U.S. publishing, is never in a clause set off with commas.)

which/whose (To avoid awkwardness in writing, you don't need to keep "whose" for people and "which" for objects. From the U.S. national anthem: "banner, whose bright stripes and . . ." Still, you might just try to write around it so that purists don't stop and raise their eyebrows)

whiskey/whisky (Although they'll all happily drink it, "whiskey" is the preferred spelling in the United States and Ireland and "whisky" is the preferred spelling in Great Britain and Canada. Just try to be internally consistent.)

who/whom (Current usage studies indicate that the distinction between these forms is breaking down, partly because keeping them straight is difficult and party because many speakers begin a sentence or a clause with who, not knowing how they are going to end the statement. Because most peope consider whom less natural than who, they sometimes disregard grammatical requirements and use who even when whom is clearly indicated. The grammatical rule is: use who (or whoever) as a subject of a verb or as a predicate pronoun. Use whom (or whomever) as the object of a verb or preposition.)

who's/whose ("Who's" is a shortened form of "who is"; "whose" is the possessive case of the pronoun "who")

-wise (Try to resist putting "wise" on the back of a noun. If it's not in the dictionary, it's probably too jargony. If you have a character who speaks this way, you can, of course, employ it in dialogue)

would of (Nope. It should be "would have" except in dialogue showing a less-educated character)

wrack/rack ("wrack" is "to ruin," "wreck"; "rack" means "to strain," "to torture," "to torment")
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:51 PM   #97
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Troubles in the X section:

Xerox (this is a form of copying, not the term for copying. It's a brand name, is trademarked, and you can use it in writing, but you need to render the word as trademarked)

Xmas (this is a shortcut for headlines and advertising (and for secular references only). In text, you should render it "Christmas." There could, of course, be an instance in which a character would actually pronounce it as "Xmas," and then it could be spelled that way)

X-ray/x-ray (the noun is capitalized (and hyphenated). The story is that they started using the process before giving a name to it and the temporary name stuck. The verb form can be lowercased (but also hyphenated). If you have both the noun and the verb in the same area of the text, though, it's best to use the capitalization for the verb--which is also permitted by Webster's--so that your reader doesn't stop to wonder about the different treatment)
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:00 PM   #98
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Troubles in the Y section:

you all (Yes, I know that most of the time where it fits you can't think of an elegant substitute. (It means "all of you," which is the proper use.) So, go ahead and use it in dialogue--it's embedded in the American language. It's just best to be used in dialogue only and avoided in narrative [unless the narrator is a character you're giving flavor to also].)

you know (This is a "I'm stalling to think of what I want to say" expression to be used only in dialogue for someone stalling to think of what to say.)

your/you're ("your" is a possessive pronominal adjective meaning "belonging to you"; "you're" is a contraction of "you are." This is a fairly commonly misused word in Literotica.)

your/yours ("Your" is still a possessive pronominal adjective meaning "belonging to you"; "yours" is the same thing, but to be used where "your" doesn't work, usually in the predicate, after the verb: "The hat on the table is yours" or the letter signoff "yours truly." It's never used with an apostrophe.)

youth/youths (Despite custom, "youth" isn't plural. Its plural is "youths")
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:13 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Troubles in the Y section:

you all (Yes, I know that most of the time where it fits you can't think of an elegant substitute. (It means "all of you," which is the proper use.) So, go ahead and use it in dialogue--it's embedded in the American language. It's just best to be used in dialogue only and avoided in narrative [unless the narrator is a character you're giving flavor to also].)

you know (This is a "I'm stalling to think of what I want to say" expression to be used only in dialogue for someone stalling to think of what to say.)

your/you're ("your" is a possessive pronominal adjective meaning "belonging to you"; "you're" is a contraction of "you are." This is a fairly commonly misused word in Literotica.)

your/yours ("Your" is still a possessive pronominal adjective meaning "belonging to you"; "yours" is the same thing, but to be used where "your" doesn't work, usually in the predicate, after the verb: "The hat on the table is yours" or the letter signoff "yours truly." It's never used with an apostrophe.)

youth/youths (Despite custom, "youth" isn't plural. Its plural is "youths")
The Editorís Forum is for authors and editors to discuss issues related to editing stories. People are forgetting this. It's not a place for personal arguments, attacks, or discussions not related to editing stories.

Last edited by MistressLynn : 12-21-2012 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 12-22-2012, 09:24 AM   #100
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Troubles in the Z section:

zero hour (originally meant "the time to attack" and came out of World War I. It came to mean "any critical moment." Although an anachronism, which some writers unsuccessfully tried to replace in the missile age, first with "H-hour" and then with "N-hour," "zero hour" has stuck, is clear, is in the dictionary, and can be used in writing)

zoom (In aeronautics, "zoom" applies only to upward movement; in writing it has come to be used in movement over a level course as well. Downward movement is for "swoop," however)

Zzz (just means we've come to an end--with a term that's not a word, but is easily understood and is legitimately used in writing)
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