Why Writers Need Friends

Thanks to fellow EWG member for the clarification (again! One of these days, I’ll get it straightened out in my head) on passed versus past. As per Laurie:

Past can be:

An adjective – I was thinking of past times

An adverb – They hurried past (i.e. along)

A noun – I’m not going to reveal my past to anyone

A preposition – I walked past the store without thinking (i.e. in front of) or He’s past retirement age (i.e. beyond)

Passed is the Past Participle of To pass.and is used of passing exams, passing a car, passing legislation, passing the time, passing a location, and similar uses. It cannot be used as – I’ve moved passed it – that s/be ‘past’ being used as a preposition.

Mechanical Monday: Adverb Clauses

Argh, this is when I don’t get grammar, it gets me…so adverbs are words that end in “ly,” like “shortly, quickly, etc.” HOWEVER, adverb time clauses are dependent clauses (read: they don’t make sense on their own, they need another part of the sentence) which have little to no “ly” words from what I can see”:

When I grow up (that’s the dependent adverb clause because it doesn’t stand on its own…“when you grow up…what?”), I will be be a teacher.

It also works in the opposite: “I will be a teacher when I grow up.”

So, I’m still confussalated, however, the saving grace is that the following words may indicate you have an adverb time clause: “after, before, when, while, as, by the time, since, until, ‘till, as soon as, once, as long as, so long as, whenever, every time, the first/last/next time.”

Monday Mechanics: Will vs. Going To

I read that when using a future tense, “will” expresses a willingness, “going to” expresses a prior plan, and either is used for predictions…interesting and a little confusing given how often we interchange the verb…it makes me wonder if the best way to figure out which verb to use is to substitute the word “intention.”

Why did you buy the crate?  I’m going to buy a dog (as in, I’m hoping to buy a dog) versus I will buy a dog (as in  it’s my intention to buy a dog)…

To be honest, this all seems very confusing—especially in predictions: Watch out! You’ll lose an eye versus Watch out! You’re going to lose an eye!

Ditto with expressing a plan versus willingness…if I’m going to shop tomorrow or I’ll shop tomorrow, it seems like the same thing to me…

Anyone have an answer to this conundrum?

Monday Mechanics: Expressing The Simple Future

This one is quick & good (and helpful when you think of character dialog): According to Schrampfer Azar, “The use of shall with I or we to express future time is possible but uncommon in American English.  Shall is used more frequently in British English than in American English.

UK: I shall go to the fair tomorrow.

USA: I will go to the fair tomorrow. (or more exact, I’ll go to the fair tomorrow).

Mechanical Monday: Stative Verbs

Last week, we were talking about these little guys. SVs describe a state, something that remains static.

The wind feels wonderful.

I like it, a lot.

You could say The wind is feeling wonderful and I am liking it a lot, but it just sounds weird.  The nice thing about this type of verb is that, in my mind, it’s related to the telling verbs. I wonder if I looked at the state of the character/subject in my sentence, if I could tighten my writing…worth thinking about…

Mechanical Monday: The Perfect Progressive Tenses

The PPT describes an action just completed or an action that’s occurring right before a second event.

Clear as mud? Yeah, me too. I find this stuff confusing when it’s defined, but a little simpler when I see it.

The PPT form is have + been + present participle (ing)

I have been trying to figure out PPT for years, now.

I had been trying to figure out the PPT but then I decided I’d rather eat chocolate.

By this time tomorrow, I will have eaten seven pounds of chocolate while trying to figure out the PPT.

Mechanical Monday – The Perfect Tenses

You know this little cutie because it’s form is: have + past participle.

Its function is to tell you about something occurring before a second time/event.

“He has already slept.” (the present moment is the second event…he’s slept before now).

“I had already showered before my muddy nephew hugged me.”

“She will already have a new boyfriend by the time the concert is done.”

Mechanical Monday: Progressive/Continuous Tenses

The progressive tenses convey an action that is happening at a particular time—which is a little like the simple tenses, but I think—I think—the difference is the progressive is putting us in that particular moment. So, while the ST says “It will snow tomorrow,” which gives us a general time and event, the PT says, “It will be snowing when we arrive,” which seems a bit more specific…but don’t quote me. I feel like I need a giant bag of chocolate to figure this all out.

But here’s a handy tip: you know you’re in the progressive tense (also known as the continuous tense) because you’ll see a form to the verb “be” along with the present participle of the other verb (“ing”). In other words, if you see “be + ing” you’re in the progressive tense:

I am sleeping (right now, in this moment); I was eating (when the fire alarm went off); I will be painting (in the afternoon).

Not sure if I understand the nuance between the ST & PT, but certainly, I can differentiate them, which is half the battle…right?