Writing is like cooking
by Annie Wei-Yu Kan
I am pleased to get the first word on sentence structure, before my disgusting ex-husband says something vile. What I want to say is that writing is like cooking.
Every recipe has main ingredients: a subject and a predicate. You can’t have a recipe that’s – OK, wait, I said that the wrong way. Every recipe has main ingredients, what the recipe is about, the meat or tofu or whatever. And every sentence has its main ingredients, which are a subject and a predicate.
Don’t tell me you don’t know what a predicate is. Oh, for heaven’s sake, they don’t teach anything at all in schools now, do they? A predicate is what the subject is doing, or what’s happening to it, or anyway the “so what” of a sentence.
Let’s try this:
What about them?
These eggs are rotten.
So these eggs are the subject, and their being rotten is the predicate. In this case it’s just giving a quality to the subject. But there can be an action.
I am running.
The subject is I, in case that wasn’t obvious to you.
There can be an action involving an object. The object is part of the predicate in that case.
I am throwing.
That’s not enough. I am throwing what?
I am throwing these eggs.
There. The predicate is the whole action including the eggs.
But recipes with only the main ingredients can be boring. We like to sauce them up, add spices and garnishes, and so on, don’t we?
That’s the rest of the sentence, if there is a rest. Let me take that last sentence and add some sauce and garnish. I’ll bold the saucy, spicy, garnishing words.
I am vigorously throwing these rotten eggs at my disgusting ex-husband, Dirk E. Oldman.
Now, that’s a very pleasing recipe!
I’m sure we’re going to have lots of fun exploring how to cook up good sentences. We’ll look at cooking methods (ways of constructing a sentence), different styles of cuisine, menus (letters, articles, fiction)… I recommend you skip past the nasty ████ spewn onto this site by Dirk, inexplicably still invited to this project notwithstanding his obvious flaws, and we’ll have a very nice time with cooking up some yummy writing.
Writing is like sex
by Dirk E. Oldman
OK, I was going to make this “writing is like auto mechanics,” because it kinda is, as I will explain, but it’s also like sex, and given the ever-so-sweet things that castrating ████ I used to be married to has said so far, I feel a professional obligation to get up her ███.
So. Ahem. Let us begin.
Writing is like ███████.
I mean, it’s like car mechanics too, because your subject is like the car body and your verb is like the engine and the drive train and your object is like the person the car is bearing down on, I mean like the passenger, of course.
But it’s really like sex. Lots of people have talked about good writing being like good sex. You might think it’s like sex for one, since you’re just sitting in a room writing and so on, but someone gets to read it. So it’s like anonymous sex that way, which is really a lot better than risking getting stuck with someone nasty until she rips out your testicles through your wallet. But that’s not my point.
What I’m saying is that the grammar of a sentence is like a sexual act.
Now, every sexual act requires someone to do it. So there’s your subject. You, let’s say.
And every sexual act requres, duh, a sexual act. You screw.
Some sexual acts actually involve more than one person. You screw me.
This is the difference between intransitive and transitive verbs, or, as I like to call them, jerk-off verbs and boink verbs. Because a verb that doesn’t involve anyone other than the subject is just sex for one: You screw. A verb that involves an object – OK, I don’t mean sex with an object, because that’s sex for one too, I mean a grammatical object, someone who’s catching what you’re pitching – is sex for two, a good and proper boink: You screw me.
What I really like are the threesome verbs: there’s a subject, and a direct object, and an indirect object. I gave it [direct object] to her [indirect object]. She took my virginity from me. Roxanne sold her ass to strangers.
You can actually get into a proper orgy with some verbs. She moved her butt from Jack to Fred. You see, her butt is the direct object and Jack and Fred are just the sex objects. I mean the indirect objects. But really that’s just an extension of the threesome kind of verbs.
And while you can use compound subjects and objects to get even more orgy-like, for instance Jack and Jill gave whippings and spankings to Fred and Linda, a compound subject or object, grammatically, still counts as just one subject or object.
Now, of course, most sentences aren’t that straightforward. They have their ins and outs. There’s extra stuff. Sex toys and costumes and so forth. The horny dwarf slowly stripped for the wide-eyed virgin. In that sentence, horny, slowly, and wide-eyed are all sex toys.
And you can add a lot more. Jack has a girlfriend from some little town in Texas where they mostly ████ goats as far as I can tell. In that sentence, the hard core is just Jack has a girlfriend, and all the rest is dangling off it.
But maybe I shouldn’t get ahead. Head yes, ahead no. We’re going to cover prepositions – not to be confused with propositions and sex positions – soon enough and well enough.