Although H. P. Grice’s Cooperative Principle provides lovely guidelines for how to accomplish good communication, for writers, its real value lies in breaking it. We… Read More »Breaking the Cooperative Principal | Liar, Liar
Continuing in our series of literary barrier objects, we delve into the boondoggle of excessive, expressive dialogue tags. The Basics A dialogue tag, as its… Read More »Excessive Expressive Dialogue Tags | Liar, Liar
Next up in our patterns of deception: repetition. In Real Life One very basic tell for deception occurs when someone repeats a question verbatim: Person… Read More »Repetition, Repetition, Repetition | Liar, Liar
We begin our basic patterns of deception with an easy fix: lack of contractions. In Real Life Authentic human speech patterns include slurring words together.… Read More »Contractions or the Lack Thereof | Liar Liar
This post covers two essential constructs most commonly associated with the verb to be.
- Demonstrate understanding of copulas and existentials.
- Eliminate the existential construct in favor of a stronger subject and main verb.
Skill Level: Intermediate
Copulas, AKA Linking Verbs
In English, the term “copula” (or “linking verb”) refers to a verb that links a subject and a subject predicate. (The subject predicate, as indicated by its name, takes a nominative case.) The copula serves as a sort of grammatical placeholder and holds little lexical meaning despite its grammatical and rhetorical purpose.
This post covers the verb features of Tense, Mood, and Aspect. It’s boring, and I’ve put off writing it forever because it’s boring.
- Define the verb features of Tense, Mood, and Aspect.
- Supply the correct form for a set of given verbs and features.
Skill level: intermediate
“The past and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.”
As grammar jokes go, this one is fairly awful. (But I laugh all the same, of course, because my sense of humor apparently sprouted in one of our local corn fields.) Of the verb features, Tense is probably the easiest to understand. Mood, and Aspect were once these nebulous terms to me, conditions that I understood existed but that I couldn’t pinpoint or keep track of. A fourth verb feature, Voice, merits its own post and will be discussed only minimally here.