Tag Archives: grammar

The Evolution of BDSM Grammar

It’s no secret that I love grammar. In my day job, I get regular phone calls and emails asking me to have the last word on a myriad grammar issues.

My first BDSM novel came out almost seven years ago. In that time, I’ve seen an evolution in the accepted grammar of the lingo. At first, editors applied general rules to the language. You saw things like:

  • safe word
  • d/s
  • dom
  • pain slut

Over the years, I’ve had arguments with editors (who had the last word because I wasn’t indie publishing) about each of those things. Those in the lifestyle use capitalization differently and they create new compound nouns. Now that I’m independently publishing, I’m using them the right way—the way those who live that way use them. You have no idea how painful it’s been to have to compromise my principles. So in my independent works, you’ll see safeword, D/s, Dom, and painslut used. This, of course, is one of the many perks of self-publishing.

Dirty Grammar–Participles

Participles

 

Dirty Grammar is an occasional series that explains grammar stuff using X-rated examples. I have a Masters in Literacy from MSU, and I’m certified to teach English and Language Arts. I’ve taught ELA for years, and I’m an editor for Lost Goddess Publishing.

Participles are verbs that act as adjectives. They describe nouns. Present participles end in –ing and past participles end in –ed. (Usually—there are always exceptions. Some end in –en or –t, depending on how the past tense of the verb is formed.)

 

Elena 500Here’s an example of participial phrases from Elena and Those Holland Boys by Nicoline Tiernan:

 

She thought he might ease her into it, but he merely captured her lips in a searing kiss, plunging his tongue into her mouth and taking over her senses.

 

The hero—Justin—is capturing (the verb). Plunging and taking describe the kiss.

 

Here’s one from Tristan’s Lover by Nicoline Tiernan:

 

Eric put his hands on Tristan’s shoulders, shuddering through the final throes of ecstasy.

 

Tristan's Lover 500In this example, shuddering describes Eric’s hands, though readers naturally expand that to include his whole body because what’s an orgasm without a shuddering body?

 

Participles can also be used simply as adjectives.

 

Tristan heard Eric’s panting breaths as he neared orgasm.

 

Panting describes breaths.

 

Participial phrases are set off from the independent clause by a comma when used as an introductory phrase or a parenthetical element. Participles are great for description, but beware of overusing them. You want to have variety in your sentence patterns.

 

Source Citations:

I learned grammar from a variety of sources, mostly textbooks and editors. I don’t know the exact editions of the books, but in my teaching, I’ve used grammar textbooks and workbooks from Glencoe, Prentice Hall, and Houghton Mifflin. I’m also partial to those Sentence Composing for Elementary and Middle School workbooks from Don and Jenny Killgallon, which I use regularly in my classroom. I also love Grammar Garden, which is sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation, as they have great explanations and examples. Oh—and any credits wouldn’t be complete without giving a shout-out to Grammar Girl! I love her podcasts, and I’m working my way through her book during SSR when I’m not reading something else. Note that all of these sources contain G-rated examples. Dirty Grammar sticks to X-rated examples.

Dirty Grammar–Gerunds

Dirty Grammar is an occasional series that explains grammar stuff using X-rated examples. I have a Masters in Literacy from MSU, and I’m certified to teach English and Language Arts. I’ve taught ELA for years, and I’m an editor for Lost Goddess Publishing.

Gerunds

Gerunds are verbs that act as nouns, and they end in -ing. That’s a pretty difficult concept to wrap your head around, so you might consider that they name an action. Gerund phrases are phrases, meaning they are often made up of other sentence parts. You’ll find they’re frequently paired with prepositional phrases. Consider this example from Tristan’s Lover, Nicoline Tiernan’s first MM novel (due out November 24, 2014):

The howling of the wolves sounded closer, so Eric deep-throated Tristan.

The gerund—howling of the wolves—is the subject of this sentence. Gerunds can be used anywhere a noun can go—as a subject, direct object, or object of the preposition.

Elena 500The most common mistake people make with gerunds is using them as participles. Gerunds name while participles describe. Consider this example of a compound sentence from Elena and Those Holland Boys by Nicoline Tiernan:

He bent his head over her chest, and then he took a nipple in his mouth.

Writers often try to use this sentence:

He bent his head over her chest, taking a nipple into his mouth.

This sentence is grammatically incorrect. It can’t use a gerund phrase to name an action because he can’t do both at the same time, he has to do one, and then he can do the other action. In other words, he must bend before he can take.

 

Source Citations:

I learned grammar from a variety of sources, mostly textbooks and editors. I don’t know the exact editions of the books, but in my teaching, I’ve used grammar textbooks and workbooks from Glencoe, Prentice Hall, and Houghton Mifflin. I’m also partial to those Sentence Composing for Elementary and Middle School workbooks from Don and Jenny Killgallon, which I use regularly in my classroom. I also love Grammar Garden, which is sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation, as they have great explanations and examples. Oh—and any credits wouldn’t be complete without giving a shout-out to Grammar Girl! I love her podcasts, and I’m working my way through her book during SSR when I’m not reading something else. Note that all of these sources contain G-rated examples. Dirty Grammar sticks to X-rated examples.