Boise Novel Orchard is sponsoring a contest! With prizes! For North-West writers and artists!
What do you need to do to win? First, you need to enter. To enter, you’ll need to write something using the theme “bridges.” Fiction and non-fiction should be between 3,000 and 5,000 words, poetry no more than 22 lines. We’re looking for black and white cover art too! There’s a $10 entry fee, with one entry per person.
What are we offering up? Winners will be published in a chapbook, due to be released in May. There’s also a cash prize. Entries are due no later than March 20, 2010.
There are more details here, on the website.
Okay, here’s one of the biggies — even I used to have difficulty with the various forms of the word “who,” but the rules are actually pretty simple when you get right down to the basics.
“Who’s” is a contraction of “who is,” so one only uses it as a contraction for “who is.” If you replace it in a sentence with “who is” and the sentence doesn’t make sense, you’ve used it incorrectly.
“Whose” is a possessive — it indicates ownership of an object (or responsibility, in the case of “Whose fault.”
That brings us to the tricky ones: Who and Whom.
Remember the preposition discussion? Here’s a gentle reminder: A prepositional phrase is a bridge from the verb of a sentence to its object. Well, that’s a clue to who and whom. Who is the subjective form (use it in the subject part of a sentence). Whom is the objective form (use it in the object of a sentence).
So the question, “Who does this belong to?” is grammatically incorrect not because it begins with the word “who,” but because it ends with a preposition, a bridging word. It’s that bridge-to-nowhere thing. Who is actually right, because it’s the subject of the sentence (it’s the rest of the sentence that, well, has issues.) Correctly structured, the question becomes, “To whom [preposition>>objective form] does this belong?”
But who talks like that? [subjective form>>verb, no prepositional phrase.]
Grammar Queen, can you please explain what a prepositional phrase is and why it’s important?
Why, of course I can explain. The root word of preposition is position. Thus, a preposition is a part of speech that helps a verb by explaining some aspect of the positioning of the verb. The “pre” is simply alluding to English syntax; other languages have postpositional phrases. Shrug.
A prepositional phrase is the preposition and the verb’s object (a noun) with any modifiers stuck in there to make the sentence descriptive.
I originally learned about prepositions with the mouse and house analogy. A preposition describes a mouse in relation to a house. It can be in the house, on the house, under the house, around the house, etc. This is a little simplistic, but it certainly works for garden-variety prepositions. Is it possible to come up with exceptions? Please, I think I was seven when my mother used this teaching tool.
Why is it improper grammar to end a sentence with a preposition? Well, a preposition is a transitional word connecting the verb and its object (normally a noun). So a preposition without the rest of its prepositional phrase is a bridge to nowhere. However, transformational grammarians (the quantum physicists of grammar) agree that in modern usage, the prepositional object can be implied. They also don’t have difficulties with split infinitives, so take that with a pinch of salt.
Why are prepositional phrases important? They’re the rest of the sentence after the verb.
Oh, and if you want to understand the title of this post, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4jIC5HLBdM
I do not understand why The Powers That Be ever took Schoolhouse Rock off the air. It, well, rocked.
-Val, sometimes a grammar queen, but usually just a grammar geek
Misspelling a word can alter the meaning of an entire sentence. The advent of spell-checking software has made accurate spelling easier, but it is not a panacea. When a typographical error or spelling error results in another word, spellcheck is useless.
Take the increasingly common misspelling “loose.” Loose is an actual word, of course, but it’s becoming a common misspelling of the word “lose,” with sometimes humorous results (that were meant to be serious).
For example, here’s a sentence from a review of Little Brother by Cory Doctorow on the Boise Speculative Fiction Writers blog (thank you, w0pht, for permission to use it):
This novel preaches the gospel of open encryption and free speech that this country is rapidly loosing to political fear mongering and civil rights trashing.
A single letter has changed the intent of a serious sentence describing a political climate of increased censorship of word, deed and thought. With the error, it reads (to me) as if open encryption and free speech have been unleashed, like Shakespeare’s dogs of war, to prey upon fear mongering and civil rights trashing: quite the opposite of the writer’s intent, though not a bad idea.
If you’re thinking w0pht is grammar challenged, please rest assured this was simply a typographical error in a blogpost. And buy his short story in the new anthology Barren Worlds from Hadley Rille Press, because I can’t use his typo and not plug his new book. I’m getting an autographed copy at his reading, 2 p.m. on July 26 at the Rediscovered Bookshop.
The Coeur du Bois Chapter would like to Congratulate our members, Tatia and Becky, on their Golden Heart Finals.
All she could think of was ‘why me?’.
As a first sentence to an ABC story, it is full of potential.
Here are The Rules
1. The story will be posted to the list, so we must use a distinct subject line so the messages thread correctly. The easiest way to do that is to reply to THIS post for person A (and trim everything but the A sentence), person B will reply to person A’s post (and trim everything but the A and B sentence) So no tag lines or book links, and so on…please TRIM any extraneous material BEFORE sending the reply to create the story post.
2. To keep things moving, each letter should post their sentence within 24 hours of the previous letter (and no more than 48 hours of the letter preceding that one). For example, A posts over her morning coffee, then B posts before lunch, C will have 48 hours from A’s post to get their sentence submitted to the list. After the 48 hour mark, someone else will be given the letter. We will also need volunteers who are willing to jump in on any letter as a substiute poster, if needed.
3. This is a cooperative story, so posters should focus on using elements already in the story. The goal is to draw threads together and create a cohesive story.
4. No altering sentences after the fact. Once you hit “send,” the sentence stands.
5. Digest subscribers who are contributing a sentence may need to follow this thread on the web to make sure they don’t miss their assignment window. Or unsubscribe from digest for the duration of the story.
6. I have the power to edit sentences for grammar, or disallow sentences which are inappropriate, etc.
Let the chaos unfold.