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  1. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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    #1

    Proper Use and Spelling of Colloquial Terms

    I was writing a paragraph and found myself headed toward a concept where problems arise. I wanted to say, "when troubles comes a'knocking." I wondered how to best write the term a'knocking.

    Should it be avoided entirely?
    Is it a knocking?
    Or, a-knocking?

    I found many contradictory results in a massive web search with many online dictionaries refusing to post the term at all.

    Any suggestions or authority sources I should seek?

    *********************

    Also, I was recently told it is improper to start a sentence with a qualifying word like...

    Therefore, I was left to wonder...
    However, when I sat down to think about it...

    Instead, I was told to include these types of sentences as an extension of the previous sentence leading into it with a semi-colon for separation.

    ***********************

    Thank you for any help. I am just trying to avoid impropriety and confusion.

    Steve

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    #2

    Re: Proper Use and Spelling of Colloquial Terms

    I am not a teacher.

    The prefix "a-" in that sense makes hyphenated words: a-knocking. The American Heritage Dictionary has a useful note on the subject.

    The AHD also has a note about that. I, personally, hate the semicolon with those. If you don't like it in first position, and neither do I, you can start a new sentence and embed the qualifying adverb where it really belongs: "His horse came in third. He, however, had won the only race that mattered, the race for Belinda's heart." (What do you want for nothing---F. Scott Fitzgerald?)

  2. Newbie
    Interested in Language
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    #3

    Re: Proper Use and Spelling of Colloquial Terms

    Thank you both for the feedback. It helps to have someone else's opinion when I am arguing my grammar usage over a margarita.

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