Language Arts

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Choosing When to Use Who and Whom

The whole topic of pronouns is enough to give you a headache, but the time has come to put to rest one of the peskiest pronoun problems once and for all. [more…]

Meeting the Most Often Used Suffixes

Some suffixes are used so frequently in the English language that you may not even think of them — much less recognize them — as suffixes. These include [more…]

Using Apostrophes to Show Possession

Apostrophes are those little curved marks you see hanging from certain letters. They look harmless enough, so why do even well educated people throw them where they don't belong and leave them out where [more…]

Forming a Thesis Statement

You've got a subject ("human-bear interactions") and a topic ("the relationship between Goldilocks and the three bears"). Now it's time to come up with a thesis statement — the point that you want to make [more…]

Exploring the Different Types of Fiction

Fiction is a general term used to describe an imaginative work of prose, either a novel, short story, or novella. Recently, this definition has been modified to include both nonfiction works that contain [more…]

Tending to Word Roots

A root is the basic element of a word, and it is the foundation on which the meaning of a word is built. Many roots are real words in their own right: [more…]

Setting Down the Spelling Rules

Some rules make life hard for your child. She wants to feel the soft grass under her toes, but the sign says to keep out, or she wants to bomb into the blue water, but the lifeguard warns her against any [more…]

Finding Ideas for Your Writing

So you know you want to write a book — you just don't know what you want to write about. For many people, it's not uncommon to think that you need to write about something exotic or different or strange [more…]

Preparing to Pitch Your Screenplay to a Studio

Pitching a script is an art form, and although it can be stressful, it's something every writer has to perfect before approaching executives or agents. So what is pitching exactly? [more…]

Writing Act I of Your Screenplay

Every act in the three-act structure has a set of tasks to accomplish. The first act serves as your audience's introduction to the entire world of the script — people, places, time frame, and all. Remember [more…]

Decoding Medical Lingo

If you're watching a TV drama about doctors, it doesn't matter whether you understand exactly what's being said. But when you're sitting in a doctor's office and he or she is talking about your child, [more…]

Living Better with Better Grammar

Stuck in English class, you probably thought that grammar was invented just to give teachers something to test. But in fact grammar — or to be more precise, formal grammar instruction — exists to help [more…]

Discovering the Key to Every Romance Novel: The Heroine

Most romance readers are women, and naturally, they want to see themselves reflected in their choice of reading. That desire for reflection doesn't mean that every heroine has to be straight from everyday [more…]

Improve the Odds of Getting Your Fiction Story Published

Getting your work of fiction published is different from getting nonfiction published. A fiction submission (short story or novel) must be a complete manuscript when you submit it to a publisher. Create [more…]

Notetaking on the Computer

As far back as stone slabs and as recently as handheld computers, human beings have found ways to take note of information that they do not want to forget. And now that we're officially in the Information [more…]

Creating Common Manga Characters

When you know how to draw a manga figure, you're ready to turn your attention to creating your own characters. A number of common archetypes appear often in manga. In this case, [more…]

Trying to Make Sense of the English Language

For many reasons (most of them too ugly to go into here), English is a pretty tough language to learn. If you're a native speaker of English, you're probably familiar with the idiosyncrasies that make [more…]

Using Em Dashes and En Dashes Properly

Although they are each a simple horizontal line, hyphens and the various dashes have their own appearances and specific uses. The shortest and most common is the hyphen, which is used for clarifying open [more…]

Crafting Your Character's Dialogue in Your Screenplay

A well-crafted verbal exchange is like a catchy song. Diction provides the lyrics; music provides the tune. Dialogue relies on the sounds of words as well as their definitions, on the rhythm of a conversation [more…]

Snuggling Up to the Language of Poetry

At times, language seems spiritual, as insubstantial as breath on a winter's day. Everything seems slathered and permeated with language — it's how we think and how we see. Yet language is also a physical [more…]

Avoiding Self-Publishing Mistakes

If you're about to self-publish your first book, you can make a handful of mistakes that can mean the difference between a successful publishing venture and a total bomb. Careful planning and implementing [more…]

Creating Emotional Conflict and Tension in a Romance Novel

The conflict, or tension, between your hero and heroine should always drive your plot. Your novel should also have a certain story-related momentum, but the key factor that keeps your reader turning pages [more…]

Proofreading for Common Errors

Proofreaders don't see things the way other people do. They scrutinize. When something is awry, their warning buzzers go off and they swoop down for a better look. They are charged with catching the errors [more…]

Developing an Artistic Sensibility for Screenwriting

You've probably heard the saying "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." Now, that doesn't mean that you should copy the stories or even the style of other writers, but you may want to try moving [more…]

Boosting Your Vocabulary for Standardized Tests

During the years of your formal education, you face numerous standardized tests — at least in the U.S. school system. The following suggestions can help you get your skills up to speed for the reading [more…]

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