Grammar Guide

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Grammar Guide

Post by Zephyr Uchiha on Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:21 am

This is a direct quote taken from djminkus777 of the Neoseeker online gaming forums. I do not claim ownership, all rights reserved by him, etc etc.

In this post, you can find information on correct usage of periods [.], ellipses […], commas [,], semicolons [;], colons [:], apostrophes [‘], and quotation marks [“ ”]. The following posts will include the correct uses for your/you’re, its/it’s and there/their/they’re, the rules for correct capitalization, and the definitions of some literary terms (not necessarily in that order.) You can reply to the thread if any material in the posts is unclear to you or if you have any questions about grammar, usage, punctuation, etc. Remember, this thread is intended to help the writers in this Lounge improve their past, present, and future works, so don’t be afraid to ask any questions you might have about specific sentences, words, or phrases that you either have or wish to use.


Period [.]

The period is used to end a sentence, after abbreviations (example: etc. instead of etcetera,) and as a decimal point (example: 72.1 as seventy-two point one.)

Notes: When an abbreviation comes at the end of a sentence, only one period should be used. Example: Whenever I pack for a trip, I gather my socks, shorts, shirts, etc.


Ellipsis […]

The ellipsis, commonly known as "dot dot dot," is used to indicate a pause in dialogue. (Example: What… what are you saying?)

Notes: There are other uses for an ellipse, but none that would be likely to occur in this forum.


Comma [,]

The comma is used between items on a list (examples: My friends include you, him, her, and someone else. This list of uses is another example), to separate items in addresses and dates (example: My date of birth is July 7, 1878. I was born at 1605 S. Laramie Street, Boise, Idaho), every three digits in a large number (example: 12,312,560), to initiate a word, phrase, or clause that interrupts the main thought of a sentence (example: I like to eat, but I’m not allowed to do so sometimes. My friend Howard, unfortunately, eats too much), between two independent clauses that are joined by conjunctions like but, or, nor, etc. (example: I wish I had money, but I don’t), to set off dialogue (example: As my mother says, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”), when a character is speaking directly to another character (example: “Johnson, get out of my way!”), to separate adjectives that equally modify the same noun (post coming soon with definition of equally modifying adjectives; example: The intelligent, kind boy smiled and nodded), to set off interjections (example: Dang, that sucks), to set off appositives (again, next post will have definition of terms; example: my father, a large man, works for the government), and finally, to separate a long modifying phrase/clause from the independent clause following it (example: Because I am tired, I will get some rest.)

Notes: I know it seems like there are a lot of uses for commas, but don’t worry; once you understand the uses it’s easy to use commas correctly. As you can see from the number of uses for them, commas are the most commonly used punctuation besides periods.


Semicolon [;]

Used: between independent clauses that are not connected by a conjunction (example: I wish I had a cooler car; if I had one, I could give my friends rides without being embarrassed) and to separate a list of phrases that already have commas (example: I need to buy an amp, a guitar, and a pickup cable; write an essay, a letter, and a poem; and take over the world.)

Notes: When a semicolon is used between two independent clauses, the clauses are generally related to each other in some way.


Colon [:]

Used: to introduce a list (example: I use my bike for the following reasons: to get places fast, to get exercise, and to have fun), after the salutation of a business letter (Dear Mrs. Smith:), between the hours and the numbers in time (example: I went swimming at 2:30 P.M.), and as a formal, emphasizing introduction to a piece of dialogue (example: President George Washington once said: “I cannot tell a lie.”)


Apostrophe [‘]

Used to form plurals, but ONLY of numbers, letters, and signs (example: I have all A’s in school), to form contractions (examples: don’t, I’m, he’s, they’re), in place of numbers or letters (examples: Class of ’06; I’m gettin' ready to do my chores), and in possessives (possessives will be explained in future posts.)


Quotation Marks [“ ”]


Used to enclose the exact words of a speaker (example: “I don’t like chocolate,” Jordan said), to set apart a word that is being discussed (example: The word “inferior” is inappropriate in this case”), and to punctuate titles of newspaper and magazine articles and other short works.

Notes: Punctuating sentences with quotation marks in them can be difficult, but it’s fairly simple if you follow a few rules. If you want to have words preceding the quote, use a comma in between these words and the quotation. (Example: I continued in a calm voice, “I think I need to leave now.”) If the quote is what finishes the sentence, as it did in that example, then the period goes inside the quotation marks. However, if words come after the quote, then a comma should be placed inside the quotation marks and the next word should not be capitalized as if it were the beginning of a new sentence. (Example: “I think I need to leave now,” he finished in a calm voice.) If the quote is a question, the question mark should be placed inside the quotation marks. (Example: “Are you going to tell me to shut up?” I asked.) However, if the sentence itself is a question, the question mark should be placed outside the quotation marks. (Example: Did he say “shut up”?) Italics should be used for book titles on the computer and they should be underlined if handwritten.

Update coming soon.

Source: Writer’s Express: A Handbook for YOUNG WRITERS, THINKERS, AND LEARNERS by Dave Kemper, Ruth Nathan, and Patrick Sebranek.


UPDATE # 1: 5/8/06 - Commonly misused words

At some point, words like "you're/your" and "its/it's" confused us all. However, these words, commonly misused, are fairly easy to understand if you apply one of the rules for the use of an apostrophe: apostrophes are used in place of excluded numbers and/or letters. Therefore, when using "your/you're", just think: could you replace it with "you are"? If so, use "you're". The apostrophe takes the place of the a in "are". As for "its/it's", the same rule applies. If you could replace the "its/it's" with "it is", then you should use "it's". The apostrophe takes the place of the i in "is". Both "its" and "your" are possessive pronouns.

Finally, the big killer--there/their/they're. Each form has a very specific use.

"There" is used to indicate a location of something. For examples:
The book is over there.
Are we there yet?

"Their" is a possessive pronoun, like "your" and "its". Possessive pronouns are used to indicate who owns something. For example:
"Is that your book?"
"Its face was contorted in a mask of hate."
"Their eyes followed me constantly."

"They're", like "it's" and "you're", is a contraction. It replaces "they are", so if you could use "they are" in its place, then it's OK to use it.
Examples:
They're going to be late. (Potentially "They are going to be late."
They're up on the hill smoking pot. (Potentially "They are up on the hill smoking pot.")

Hope my explanations of the commonly misused words will help.


UPDATE # 2: 8/7/07 - Double negatives, basic sentence structure, and "A lot"
(Credit to HavensRaven for suggesting the segment.)

Everyone that's taken high school math knows that when one takes a negative number and multiplies it by another negative number, the product is a positive number. The same concept can be applied to the English language. If a person says, "I don't have no money," it is logical to say that they do have some money, because if they do not have no money, then they must have some. Unfortunately, this concept is hard to adjust to for many people that speak English as their second language, because in some languages, the double negative is the only correct way to express a lack of something. In Spanish, for example, there simply isn't a word for "any." The only way to say that you don't have any money is "No tengo nada dinero." ("No tengo" is "I don't have" and "nada dinero" is "no money.") Thus, the concept can be hard to get used to for newcomers to the language.

Many times, wrote and erased.
Sometimes, I wished I smarter.

I'm sure most of you found the above two sentences strange and, probably, difficult to understand. That's because they are what we call "fragments"; they are not complete sentences. A complete sentence must have a subject that performs the action as well as a verb that is performed by the subject. Let's examine each sentence. In the first one, the author did not specify the subject; we don't know for sure who or what wrote and erased many times. To complete the sentence, we need to insert a subject in between the comma and the "wrote." "Many times, he wrote and erased." In the second example, the subject is clear, but the adjective "smarter" needs a verb in order to make the entire sentence complete. Fix it by putting a "were" in between the second "I" and the word "smarter". "Sometimes, I wished I were smarter." Just remember: every sentence needs at least one subject and at least one verb to be complete.

Finally, a common mistake is the use of the word "alot." Try typing it into a word processor with a spell-check feature. It will be underlined in red, because "alot" is not a real word. Its correct counterpart, the phrase "a lot", is used to denote a large quantity. A good way to remember the right way to use it is to think of a parking lot full of cars. Literally, there are a lot of cars. There are many cars in the lot. One lot full of cars is a lot of cars, not alot of cars.


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My own add-on guide:


Sentences & Sent. Fragments:

lu bu stompd hsi foot in anger & yelled at the officer infront of him GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!!

Lu Bu's anger rose to a boiling point, and he snapped. He spun his halberd around, nearly hitting the soldier in front of him. He then yelled, "Get out of my sight, vermin!"

Notice the difference between those two quotes. The first has either no capitalization or all-caps, no punctuation, and has poor grammar and spelling, but the second has corrected those mistakes while making it more interesting.



Attention to Detail: When and where?

Zhen Xu turned around to see the massive army charging towards him. His eyes widened in fear, and he started to run. Fast.

Xu wiped the sweat from his brow and he turned around to speak to his men. He saw every single one of his soldiers staring at something in the distance. Xu squinted his eyes and noticed a large horde of enemy troops advancing on their position. He yelled at his troops, "Retreat! Call for reinforcements!" as he mounted his horse. The soldiers followed suit and they rode off, attempting to escape the approaching army.

Again, a paragraph of detailed action instead of one-two sentences of basic nothing.

There is not much wrong in the first sentence. But, would you rather read the first or the second? Not only does the second paragraph have more description, it has more length! Some people find making details in their posts very hard, and do posts like the first one, though. The added details spice up your post, and make viewers excited and want to read more. Take care not to add TOO much description, though.



Punctuation, Quotation, Capitalization, Run On sentences

liu bei looked at his two brothers & sighed. "I wish we could do sumthing else for teh people,..' Guan yu looked at him and grined Why dont we start up a new force. from there we can restore the Han. liu smiled at his brother Yes. that is a good idea.

Liu Bei wiped a tear from his cheek. He was not one to cry often, but the unfolding madness saddened him greatly. His two brothers walked alongside him as they traveled to the place where they swore their oath of brotherhood.

"Brothers, I wish we could do more for the Han. We are only treating the symptoms of corruption, not the source." Guan Yu smiled at his younger brother.

"Brother Bei, why don't you start up a force of your own? We can contest the others and restore peace back to the land!" Liu looked up at him.

"Yeah, let's do that! I'll kill anyone in our way!" Zhang Fei was always the rash one of the group.

"Alright, if you two are in agreement.. Let us find a city to start from."

This is just overkill. To be blunt, the first looks like crap. It make me want to never RP with the user again. The second one has two to three paragraphs worth of RP, with the same information. Using the tips listed in the first guide and this one, you can make all of your role-playing posts that much easier to read and understand.

_________________

Zephyr Uchiha

[13:08:29] Shaunic Inuzuka : Zeph and Aiko sitting in the tree
[13:08:53] Shaunic Inuzuka : F-*-*-*-*-*-g
[13:08:57] @ Zephyr Uchiha : LOL

[13:17:50] Aiko Uchiha : SHAUNIC
[13:18:15] @ Zephyr Uchiha : RUN FORREST RUN
[13:19:04] Shaunic Inuzuka has logged off the chat on Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:19 pm : to escape
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Zephyr Uchiha
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