Tag Archives: grammar

Insults and Aspersions


This is from Daily Tips about the  proper use of insults and Aspersions.  Have a blessed day!     Shirley


Insults and Aspersions

Like the rabbit Thumper in Bambi, I was brought up on the admonition, “if you can’t say nuthin’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”


How times have changed! Not only has insult come to pervade public discourse, the Web abounds with insult generators to assist the invective-challenged.


For instance, creative types who want to add a little class to their abuse can consult a Shakespearean insult generator.


The word insult derives from Latin insultare, “to attack”; literally, “to jump on.” In medicine, an insult is anything that attacks or causes injury to the body. The verb insult means to display a scornful attitude towards someone by speech or behavior.


As I have always understood the word, an insult is a deliberate attack on someone’s feelings, but there’s some evidence that for some folks, even a remark devoid of hurtful intention may be construed as an insult if it disagrees with one’s own views.


This is from an article offering advice about how to respond to insults:


It can be hard to know what to do when someone makes a thoughtful remark that is insulting to your convictions, values or beliefs

I can see how one person’s “thoughtful remark” might be offensive to someone of differing beliefs, but I don’t see how it’s insulting.


Here are some synonyms for the noun insult:
abuse [uh-BYUS]
aspersion (usually in the plural)
slap in the face
kick in the teeth
cheap shot
low blow


Here are synonyms for the verb to insult:
abuse [uh-BYUZE]
be rude to
cast aspersions on
call someone names
put someone down


Note on aspersions:
A reader asked me if one can do anything with aspersions other than cast them. The answer seems to be, “No.” The word aspersions comes from the verb asperse, “to besprinkle or bespatter.”

Let’s Talk Adverbs and Is It Really Being Lazy


Image via Wikipedia

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.  They show us the manner and degree of an action.  You can spot adverbs by looking for words that explain the action in a sentence.

It seems the biggest crime for us writers is using (ly) adverbs.  I have read they should all be removed from our writing.  It is termed as lazy writing.  You want to know why it’s lazy, it’s because they are easy to use.  We will use adverbs instead of looking for the verb that will add the punch.

Ly adverbs almost always show the author explaining dialogue–smuggling emotions into speaker attributions that belong in the dialogue itself.  If the dialogue doesn’t need props, putting the props in will make it seem weak.

Bottom line is take the time to go through your writing and decide if you can replace the adverbs with stronger verbs.  It will make your writing stronger and tighter.

If you are using adverbs of time or frequency then they are an exception.  ie.  (Bad)I receive the paper every day. (Better) I receive the paper on a daily basis.

If an adverb has the same meaning as the verb being used then remove it.  If the verb is weak, you might replace it with a stronger verb.

The three most common adverbs are : not, very, and too.  It is recommended to avoid their use, but as with every other “rule” sometimes you have to use them.  No other words will do.

http://youtu.be/PIuN8aY51Xk  I hope you enjoy the video on adverbs.

Get Realistic


I’m going to discuss dialogue a little further.  I believe a lot of people believe dialogue is easy to write.  I for one don’t think it is.  You are supposed to keep it realistic, but not make it exactly how we talk.  We can’t use all the um’s, that’s, you know, ect.

Writing use to have a formal more formal dialogue.  Now we tend to try to write closer to a natural conversation.  The best way to get a feel for realistic dialogue is listening to someone’s conversation with another person.  Yes, you will have to ease drop, but it could be fun.  The dialogue we write for fiction has to have more umph, focus and relevance to it than a normal conversation, so it is not boring to the reading.  Use contractions whenever possible. We have to get to the point of the conversation much quicker.  Your dialogue needs to show your characters and what emotion

  • Do not use dialogue simply to convey information. Dialogue should set the scene, advance action, give insight into characterization, remind the reader, and foreshadow. Dialogue should always be doing many things at once.
  • Dialogue can have grammatical errors, but you do have to keep the characters voice in mind and keep it readable.  You do not want it to sound as if you are giving a speech, unless that’s what your character is doing.

    Word choice tells a reader a lot about a person: appearance, ethnicity, sexuality, background, and morality. Pick your words carefully because you are conveying lots of information about your character.

  • Todays video is on writing dialogue for plays, but it gives some good advice which can be applied to any genre.  Enjoy
  • http://youtu.be/TZXcQemh8n8


    What’s The Word!

    a detail of a page from William Morgan's 1588 ...

    Image via Wikipedia

    Do you know what the word is?  I certainly don’t know myself all the time.  The word is one little part of a whole that we writers put down on paper or screen to say what we want said.  Do we always use the right words?  I don’t because I don’t know them all.

    We all search for the right words to use in our writing.  That one word that will add strength to what we are saying.  I was told that the dictionary or thesaurus, could be my best friend.  The English language as drawn words from other languages such as Latin, French, Spanish and Asian and more.  We do have quite an assortment of words to choose from.

    We use words to describe what we want to say.  So how do we pick the right one? You and I as the writer determine that word or string of words.  I was told to beware of adjectives, and adverbs because it can lead to weak writing.

    She skipped lightly into the large room, swiftly looking about to spot the one thing she wanted from the large ornate desk sitting amidst the shiny mahogany furniture.

    The sentence above is just a bit heavy with adjectives that is not needed.  It can be written so simply by leaving out what is not needed.  She skipped into the large room, looking on the desk for the one thing she wanted.

    We didn’t need all of the words in the first sentence to make a sentence which had a clearer read.  I had more than I needed.

    Nouns and verbs can make a sentence very vibrant without all of the adjectives.  Focus on the best nouns and verbs  the find the modifiers that add to these words.

    “Adjectives and adverbs are helper words, what the grammarians call “Modifiers.”  They help refine the impression cast by your true building blocks, nouns and verbs.  At a writers’ conference a few years ago, a supposedly clever expression was circulating:  Are your verbs working hard enough?  Granted, the expression isn’t all that clever, but it points to a truth.  The stronger your nouns and vers are, the better they can support your carefully chosen modifiers.”

    This is a video by Adora Svidak which pertains to word choices.  Enjoy


    I Am A Writer, Are You?


    Being the person I am and now being a writer, I have to strive to improve myself everyday. I want to so the best job I can at what ever I am attempting to do. As far as writing goes, I have found myself learning from my writing friends and continuing to read. The daily learning keeps me going and also keeps writing for me very interesting.

    I also know the longer you do something, the better it becomes because you have the experience it takes to do the job. I know in a year I will be in a different spot than I am today, as far as my writing abilities and understanding of the process.

    Perseverance seems to be the name of the game. You can accomplish what ever you strive for if you don’t give up. I can see where giving up would be very easy. Writing is work, and you certainly don’t get quick results. I’ll just keep plugging along and eventually I will get to where I want to be. That’s life isn’t it?

    I have been doing a lot of reading about other writers and how they struggle to put words on paper, or how to start the book they want to write. I compare them to myself and I wonder why…..I decided I wanted to write one day and I started writing. I did not make an outline, I did not struggle with what should be there.  My struggle was, and is with grammar.  All of those wonderful grammar rules.   It has been a long time since I was in school and there is a lot I do not remember.

    Am I less a writer than they are? I don’t think so. I have come to believe that each of us have our stories inside and how we put them on paper doesn’t really matter. It may matter to the people who publish my work, but bottom line to me is you have the words on the paper. Everything else can be adjusted or rearranged to my liking. I have never thought of myself as a writer before, but I guess I am. I put words on paper and it’s been published. That makes me a writer….yeah me….

    If you write a short story, you are a writer. That college papers I worked  so hard on, long ago and printed out for the instructor, I was a writer. I may not have been a well-known writer but I still qualified.

    A lot has changed over the years, just not the fact that I am unknown to most of the world. For me I think that is just fine. I am having fun just doing what I am doing, and that is writing.

    A Cry For Help or an Opinion


    I am working on my second book called the Dobyns Chronicles.  It is being narrated by my great-grandfather.  My question is:  Do I write as he spoke or do I keep him using correct grammar?  I have gotten opinions both ways.  I would like to see  what the general consensus here is.  Please just drop me a line and tell me your thoughts on the subject.