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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Is this a phrase?

   
Author Topic: Is this a phrase?
Susannaj4
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matter-of-factly

MS Word is arguing with me and for a split second I questioned myself and now I'm not sure. Thanks in advance.


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tchernabyelo
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It's not a phrase. It's an adverbial formation from a compound word. But it's perfectly legitimate (if, arguably, a bit clumsy to read).

MS Word is often incapable of understanding fairly straightforward English. If you don't believe me, take any page from a published book, and run it through the spelling and grammar checker a few times, accepting all its suggested revisions.

You'll almost certainly end up with incomprehensible garbage.


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Elan
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You might simply leave it as: matter of fact. Personally, I prefer it without the hyphens or the "ly" suffix.
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pantros
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would be equivelent to "as a matter of fact" which would read more smoothly.
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tchernabyelo
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Rather depends on context, which we don't have.

"I'm actually an alien", he said matter-of-factly.

"As a matter of fact, I'm actually an alien," he said.

Not, I think, quite the same.


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Susannaj4
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It would be more 'she said, matter-of-factly.'
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pantros
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Could it be,

She said, "As a matter of fact, ...

this would put your cliche onto the character and characters do use cliches.

or

She said, as if it were an obvious fact.


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Survivor
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He stated it as a matter of fact.

I usually use "in fact" and "factually".


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Susannaj4
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I am using it more to describe how she was saying it and she's 4 years old, she wouldn't say "as a matter of fact."
But what she was saying was a fact.

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pantros
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She said, as if it were the only possible truth, "You're blue."

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AstroStewart
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While everything mentioned essentially gets the same meaning across, I personally don't find anything wrong with using
she said, matter-of-factly
It gives a slightly different tone than any of the rewrites, and if that's the way you want to write it, I say go for it. If I came across it while reading a book, I probably wouldn't think twice about it.

And for the record, yes MSWord is horrible at spelling and grammer. Spellcheck is sometimes nice for catching typos, but the grammer check is basically worthless, and does its best to turn any semi-complex sentence into a random assortment of garbled clauses.


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Mig
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I also don't see anything wrong with it, especially if the POV character is a 4 year old girl. If the POV charater were a 50 year old college professor of English, I'd recommend a different word choice.
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tchernabyelo
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quote:
I am using it more to describe how she was saying it and she's 4 years old, she wouldn't say "as a matter of fact."
But what she was saying was a fact.

There's a difference between "what she was saying was a fact" (which would be "she said, truthfully") and saying that she said something "matter-of-factly" (which would normally mean she'd said something that would otherwise have been emotional or outlandish, but was spoken in a level, casual, conveersational tone). If you're using "matter-of-factly", it is strictly an adverb, strictly a modifier of the "said" verb, and does not say anything about the content of her speech.

For example, the sentence:

quote:
"I'm an alien, you know," he lied, matter-of-factly.

is perfectly valid.



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Susannaj4
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That was what I was trying to express, is the tone in which she was speaking.
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pooka
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I don't like it. Adverbs should be used with spare But for real, I only use them when nothing else will do. Inventing new ones seems like a bad idea. But if your story is engrossing, the eye might skip past it. Keep in mind that some sort of editor is going to be the person reading it. And people don't become editors by not caring about whether it's proper to suffix a hyphenated phrase.

That reminds me, I haven't checked Partially Clips in a while.


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pjp
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quote:
I am using it more to describe how she was saying it and she's 4 years old, she wouldn't say "as a matter of fact."
But what she was saying was a fact.

As it is describing how she said something, that she is 4 doesn't seem relevant to the use of matter-of-factly or "as a matter of fact," since she doesn't say that phrase.

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MightyCow
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I'm not seeing how any of those "as a matter of fact" are any benefit. Maybe if used used in dialog to show characterization. Maybe.

If I saw: "You can't be serious!" he said matter of factly.

I would get a pen and scribble out everything after "said" and pretend it never happened.

[This message has been edited by MightyCow (edited May 20, 2006).]


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HSO
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For general reference, the first sentence in the second paragraph of CJ Cherryh's Downbelow Station uses "matter of factly" as follows:

quote:
So quietly, very matter of factly, that first probe went out to the two nearest stars, unmanned, to gather data and return, a task in itself of considerable complexity.

Just thought I'd chime in with that.


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Silver3
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I'm with Tchern on the meanings of "matter-of-factly", and I don't see anything wrong with its use in your context. (if you mean the tone in which she spoke, not the actual thing she said).
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Robert Nowall
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Spell checks only deal with accepted usage and accepted spelling---and these were only accepted after years-if-not-centuries of variations. All sorts of spellings I put in get redlined as misspelled. I'll consider correting things---but I draw the line at changing the spelling of my own name.

So if you want to use "matter-of-factly," go right ahead. Maybe it's just a phrase you're going through.


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trousercuit
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pooka said:

quote:
I don't like it. Adverbs should be used with spare But for real, I only use them when nothing else will do. But if your story is engrossing, the eye might skip past it.

Whose eye?

It's a well-known fact that you can get adverbs right past any unpracticed naïf. It's really only authors that get up in arms about them. Overuse will just cause readers to develop a vague feeling of disquiet about the lack of action in the story, if that. J.K. Rowling has personally murdered the "no adverbs" rule and thrown it in a dumpster, but nobody really minded.

I use adverbs mostly in dialogue, where I often have to micromanage the pace. It's especially important when the characters are saying funny stuff. Nothing kills a humorous line faster than a ponderous phrase tacked on the end.

In this instance, I'm hard-pressed to think of an exact equivalent to "matter-of-factly." "As if stating nothing but facts" comes close, but doesn't quite capture - at least in this case - the innocent surety I imagine in the face of a little girl. I might use it for adults. It's also quite clunky, and it definitely wouldn't belong in the middle of a quick exchange.


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Doc Brown
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"matter-of-factly" is a dreadful turn of phrase. It paints no picture at all.

Think about what you are tying to express and find something better.


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hoptoad
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It's in the dictionary.

As is cold-blooded, down-to-earth and straight-forward.

They are not phrases, they are a type of compound word. As with all words, it is up to you whether you use it based on the question: Does it deliver the intended result?
AND as with all words, should you decide it is not the right word for this application, it can be found in the thesaurus too, and has plenty of synonyms.

[This message has been edited by hoptoad (edited May 25, 2006).]


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