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Ticklipple posted this thread...
Jul. 26, 2004 at 5:13 am

REALLY BASIC RULES OF GRAMMAR

This really ought to apply to all fora, but I should think that it's most important in this forum.

1. Capital letters begin sentences, full stops or 'periods' (.) end them. This is something learned at a very primary level of learning, there's no real excuse to ignore this rule. Some punctuation can perform the same task as a full stop: exclamation marks (!) and question marks (?) being two of the most common. Other punctuation serves to help the sentence flow and to prevent confusion as to the meaning of the sentence: commas (,) and semi-colons (;) are examples of this type of punctuation.

Colons (:) are often put into both categories: as you can see in this sentence, it is serving the role of dividing up the sentence (into statement and explanation). However, it can also be used to end a sentence. An example:

This is the example. Note, however, how I started a new paragraph. This is generally accepted etiquette.

After ANY mark of punctuation (excluding apostrophes, hyphens (-) and brackets) you MUST put a space. This helps to make it more legible, and makes the writing seem less run-together. There is, however, not a gap (usually) between a punctuation mark and the word immediately preceding it.

2. Paragraphing is virtually essentially in any writing longer than approximately 3 sentences. It helps to divide writing up into sections for a reader to embrace, rather than be bogged down by enormous chunks of writing.

3. While the ellipsis (...) could have been placed in rule 1, there is so much abuse of it that it merits its own rule. An ellipsis can be used to divide up a sentence. HOWEVER, it should not be used as a complete substitute for full stops and proper sentence structure. There is some degree of flexibility with regards to an author's intent - sometimes it is essential that the writing be altered in such a fashion. On these boards, though, it tends to suggest incompetence rather than artistic license. My suggestion: stick to decent, normal structure. By all means splash out on an ellipsis every so often, and by all means use it for its alter-ego as a quote binder, but don't fill your work with it.

4. The apostrophe (') is an abused mark, and doesn't deserve it, considering its valiant work.


In most cases, the apostrophe is designed to show possession. Refer to my easy-to-use guide to learn how!

a) Look at the ending. Does the noun end in an 's'? If so, go to b). If not, is it a pronoun (i.e. me, you, he, she, it, us, they)? If so, go to c). If not, place an apostrophe followed by an 's' after the noun.

Examples:
Cat -> cat's

translation: 'of the cat'


Children -> children's
translation: 'of the children'

b) Here ground becomes slightly tricky. Grammar obviously changes with time, and the 'correct' way is often the commonly accepted rule. Usually, you'll be safe with placing an apostrophe after the 's'.

Examples:
Kiss -> kiss'

translation: 'of the kiss'


Kisses -> kisses'
translation: 'of the kisses'

However, it's my understanding that the current rule is to place an 's' afterwards as well, just as you would normally. At the moment, then, I'd say that either use is acceptable, though my personal preference is for the former.

c) The mistake concerning the use of the apostrophe with 'it' is extremely common. The word 'it' does not apply to the usual rules, because of the extremely common contraction of 'it is' to 'it's'. To prevent confusion, when you wish to convey possession of an 'it', you do not use an apostrophe, and leave it in its virgin form of 'its'.

Examples:
If I read any more bad grammar it's going to kill me.


The bear is up to its neck in stolen picnics.

That wasn't so hard, was it?

The rest of the pronouns are somewhat similar. The difference is that in order to avoid confusion with the contraction, they have changed the root word rather than removed the apostrophe.




Normal





Possessive form




Me --->







My*
You --->






Your*
He ---->






His
She ---->






Her*
It ----->






Its
Us ----->






Our*
They --->






Their*


* This is only the case for these if they are describing a noun. If it is a main noun then it becomes:

Me --->






Mine
Your --->






Yours
She --->






Hers
Us --->






Ours
They --->






Theirs

Examples:

This is my stapler. The stapler is mine.
That is your baby. The baby is yours.
That was his DNA. The DNA was his.
It is her decision. The decision is hers.
**The Chihuahua washed its fur. Its fur was washed.
I cannot find our son. The son is ours.
I am dancing on their roof. The roof is theirs.

** You never finish a sentence with 'its' or 'it's'. It just sounds horrible, don't do it.



Feel free to print that out and stick it above your computer.


Apostrophes also serve as contractions, hence the above problems. A contraction is simply where you miss out a letter or letters and replace them with an apostrophe.

Common examples:











Do not -> Don't



Will not -> Won't



Shall not -> Shan't



Would not -> Wouldn't



Can not -> Can't



Could not -> Couldn't



I am
-> I'm



He is
-> He's



She is
-> She's



You are -> You're



They are -> They're



5. 'They're', 'their' and 'there' are commonly confused. While I have detailed the difference between 'their' and 'they're', I'll go through the three again.

There: A place which is not here. Also used in narration to mean 'in existence'. E.g. 'There once was a frog.'

Their: Describing possession of something belonging to 'them'.

They're: A contraction of 'they are'.

Now there's really no excuse to confuse them.

6. As the old rhyme goes, 'I before E except after C'. This isn't a perfect rule by any means, but the number of times that 'receive' or 'grief' are spelled incorrectly warrants this.

7. Capitalise the first letter of the word of every sentence, and of ALL PROPER NOUNS. It is also important to capitalise 'I'. Proper nouns are place names (e.g. Transylvania), or names of people (e.g. Flash Gordon). After this, capitalise only for emphasis. Don't overdo it, for the reader's sake.

Is everybody quite clear now? There are several other things that this could include, but I felt that only the very basic grammar rules ought to be detailed, for the moment at least.

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Miranda_Bluth replied...
Jul. 26, 2004 at 11:51 pm

How do you correctly use a semicolon? I never use them because half the time I'm sure I'm misusing them. heh.

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space_oddity replied...
Jul. 27, 2004 at 12:31 am

Tom, you are wonderful.

A semicolon is used to separate two ideas in a sentence.

Ex: I didn't approve of her decision; she was acting out of impulse.

Notice that the two ideas are independent clauses and can stand alone. Using the semicolon instead of a period, however, gives the sentence more of a sense of unity and shows that the two ideas are linked.

Here are a few more examples:

The soldier licked his lips; he relished seeing the bombs drop.
He finished the cup of iced coffee; it was refreshing and energizing.
I browsed the boards; no one had posted and they seemed to be dead.

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Zorganite replied...
Jul. 27, 2004 at 12:33 am

Quote:
Originally posted by Miranda Bluth
How do you correctly use a semicolon? I never use them because half the time I'm sure I'm misusing them. heh.



Same here. And I'm not completely sure how to use a colon, either.

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space_oddity replied...
Jul. 27, 2004 at 12:59 am

You can see above my semicolon explanation.

As for colons, they signify that something important is about to be said and to listen up. For example:

"They all said the same thing: he took no notice of you if you left him alone, but he might charge if you went too close to him."

They can also be used to introduce a quote.

"And I'm reminded, too, of the song that goes:

'My name is Yon Yonson,
I work in Wisconsin,
I work in a lumbermill there.
The people I meet when I walk down the street,
They say, "What's your name?"
And I say,
"My name is Yon Yonson, I work in Wisconsin..."

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IAmTheWalrus replied...
Jul. 27, 2004 at 2:11 am

This desperately needed to be created. Thank you, Tom.
Though of course a good majority just don't know how to write in proper English, many others don't because they think it's cool to " type tha way thats representativitive of miself ya no?"

God i hate it. Of course the only problem is that many people can't comprehend what you said. They see something that reminds them of school and that's the end of that.

Though some will read it. Thank you for doing this. Now if only we had one of these in every forum...

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Ticklipple replied...
Jul. 27, 2004 at 6:51 am

No problem.

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Miranda_Bluth replied...
Jul. 27, 2004 at 11:43 pm

Hey, well, I had about four hours to kill today and ended up in a bookstore where I looked up semicolon usage. Thanks though. The book pretty much says the same things you say, so yea. Thanks!:) :D ;)

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Karen replied...
Jul. 28, 2004 at 12:45 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Great post, I'm gonna make it sticky. Wish I could make it a MUST READ! for some people!

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Ticklipple replied...
Jul. 28, 2004 at 2:13 pm

Hey, thanks!

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Monkeygrl4523 replied...
Jul. 30, 2004 at 7:05 am

are you an english teacher???? whats the deal......it is good though

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The_Governator replied...
Jul. 30, 2004 at 11:41 am

He's not an English teacher, he's just not an absolute idiot like many, many other people on the internet.

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drake replied...
Jul. 30, 2004 at 5:50 pm

:o even if you have a high level of gramar for your age you dont have good grammar whithout studing
\ i have a high reading and spelling level and i get B and C

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Zorganite replied...
Jul. 30, 2004 at 10:40 pm

*studying

*grammar


Not to mention capitalizations..

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Super•Grover replied...
Aug. 5, 2004 at 2:38 pm

Quote:
Originally posted by Tophat 23
The entire Strunk and White's 'The Elements of Style' should be posted and kept as a sticky. But, that would be copyright infringement, no?
ELEMENTS OF STYLEEEEEEEEEEEEE <33333


And, as always, Tom is my hero of heroes.

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Some_Soul replied...
Aug. 15, 2004 at 12:08 pm

cool thanks

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Jeopardyfan replied...
Aug. 17, 2004 at 1:30 pm

7. Capitalise the first letter of the word of every sentence, and of ALL PROPER NOUNS. It is also important to capitalise 'I'. Proper nouns are place names (e.g. Transylvania), or names of people (e.g. Flash Gordon). After this, capitalise only for emphasis. Don't overdo it, for the reader's sake.

Is everybody quite clear now? There are several other things that this could include, but I felt that only the very basic grammar rules ought to be detailed, for the moment at least.





Hmm...you're giving us tips on grammar but yet you can't spell. It should be "capitalize" not "capitalise."

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Ticklipple replied...
Aug. 17, 2004 at 1:31 pm

If you're an American, which I'm not. When I give help in the English language, I do it in the ENGLISH language.

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Jeopardyfan replied...
Aug. 17, 2004 at 1:36 pm

Quote:
Originally posted by Ticklipple
If you're an American, which I'm not. When I give help in the English language, I do it in the ENGLISH language.


I don't feel too comfortable taking tips from someone who can't spell capitalize correctly.

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Ticklipple replied...
Aug. 17, 2004 at 1:37 pm

Then go and take tips from an American, moron. I'm damned if I'm going to Americanise my language for you.

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