Mific (mific) wrote,

A grammar rant and signal-boost recs

Minor irritations:
  • Tiny ants occasionally wandering over my laptop screen despite there being no food source nearby. Scouts? None live to tell the tale.
  • I'm almost over a bout of flu, other than random dry coughing attacks.
  • a seemingly endless work task that's taken way too long because it's difficult, tedious and was impossible to do with flu-brain.
Grammar-thoughts. There's a risk I'm going to piss off the Americans on my flist or dwircle, but whatever; I was thinking about this. I've had to teach myself to write USA English as my main fandom (SGA) mostly requires that. Writing Sherlock fic's almost a relief but I'm not as cathected to John and Sherlock as I am to John and Rodney. Don't know if it's loyalty or stubbornness.
Anyway, some things I've learned to do, to try and write "American", although I still sometimes miss phrasings or slang that I hadn't realised were local to me and not widespread. One of those cropped up recently, when I realised that I automatically reverse speech tags in a very unamerican way.

e.g. I'll routinely write "Do you want to kill us?" said Rodney. "Don't touch that!"
whereas I gather a USA-denizen would always write "Do you want to kill us?" Rodney said. "Don't touch that!"

Putting the speech tag before the verb is described as "archaic" I see, in the grammar guides, but to me it's only archaic if it involves pronouns. I'd never write (regarding Sheppard's reaction to the above): "Aw, Rodney, I was just fooling around," said he.
But I would write "Aw, Rodney, I was just fooling around," said Sheppard. That sounds perfectly fine to my ear.

Now I've noticed it I have to constantly catch every damn speech tag I write and flip them around the other way. I wonder if my doing that most of the time in past stories made my work read weirdly to US readers? Hope not, as it wasn't commented on by betas.

My lines in the sand:
I'm happy to adjust a UK-English foible like speech tag order as the US-version sounds fine to me, but there are a couple of things I just can't accept. I'll read them in others' work, wince and move on, but I can't make myself write them. I expect it's a kind of language snobbery (what is this new-fangled usage? I am having none of it!) but nope, I'm not budging.

One is the use of "shined" as the past participle of shine. Hate it hate it hate it. The past of shine is shone. Don't care if that's become archaic usage across most of the USA, I'm not doin' it. Grammarist tells me it depends on the verb's meaning, and shine can mean: (1) to emit light, and (2) to cause to gleam by polishing. It's the emitting light meaning that has the "shone" usage, whereas the polishing meaning has shined as a past participle, apparently. I dislike it so much I'd write polished rather than shined, but as for "Rodney thought the sun shined out of his ass" ? Nope. Rodney thought the sun shone out of his ass, for sure.

Then there's eying. It looks ugly. John's going to be eyeing Rodney's ass every time, in my works.

I also have difficulties with people being referred to as "that". They're people, not things:
Rodney watched the spiky-haired man that had saved him from being run over walk away. Nope.
Rodney watched the spiky-haired man who had saved him from being run over walk away. Yep.
With animals, it depends if they're people or not:
Rodney ran like hell from the nasty yapping pig-thing that snapped at his heels. Yep.
Rodney missed his cat, who'd been his best friend, back in Colorado. Yep.
Maybe it's because we're nervous about whether and when to use who or whom? I find I don't care as much about that.

Recs: I've read a few things lately - some recommended by friends - and I want to signal-boost here.
[personal profile] luzula reccd "The Blue Castle" by L. M. Montgomery (of 'Anne of Green Gables' fame). It's old, so free as a pdf from Project Gutenberg and I made it into an e-book, cover and all. Old-fashioned but enormously engaging and charming. As Luzula said, a great comfort-read. It's het, of course.

[personal profile] sholio recommended the Werewolf Marine books by Lia Silver and I read "Prisoner" and really liked it. I'm going to read the other two next. Not sure where else they're available, but Amazon's one place. Het, but even a slash-fiend like me found the main character DJ hugely likeable - also bonus music recs in the story, so that was unexpected fun.

Word about [personal profile] astolat's "Fast and Furious" fics is out, so you probably know about them. I've been enjoying them a lot.

And then a couple of stories I discovered and for some reason hadn't read, back in the day, by [personal profile] liketheriver.
Playing Nice in the Sandbox is an SGA/Sherlock crossover so ideal for me as I'm into both fandoms.
And The Pegasus Device is an SGA WWII detective story, also a lot of fun.

Finally, I read and enjoyed the 8th novel in the SGA spin-off Legacy series, "Third Path" (also on Amazon). I re-read "Unascended", the 7th novel, to get back in the swing, and I think it made this one more enjoyable as these two are a unit, plot-wise. The 7th and 8th books have been entirely gen, with none of the John/Teyla ship that the 6th book veered into. I think I read somewhere that this is the last in the series? Guess we'll see.
Tags: annoyances, grammar-whining, recs

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