Congratulations! This thread has now become an Announcement, on this section of the forum, it will be seen by any member. Thank you for your hard work in making RPC and it's community better! - RebeccaLast updated: July 28, 2011Recommended Books: Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English
by Patricia T. O'ConnerIntroduction
Well, hey there. This is Mad MOAI speaking, and... I'm not really here for any particular reason, except to explain things. Do you ever get frustrated when people tell you to "use better grammar" or criticize you because you spelled a word wrong and you had no idea? Here's your cure: Mad MOAI's Grammar and Spelling Book. With maximized proofreading for maximized results, this book will keep you from ever being yelled at for spelling and grammar mistakes again, without sounding like it's yelling at you itself! That is, if you choose to pay attention. I'm not forcing you to follow this guide. The management is not responsible for lost or stolen items, or other events that may occur as a result of reading this, including heightened awareness and confidence and lessened irritation, and any tornadoes or stampedes of wallaby elephants that may attack your house. But, to lower the chance of the latter two happening, I will be using my wolf character Kokoro to make this way easier to understand.GrammarContents
1. "Its" and "It's:" Contractions and Possessives
2. Short Words of This Type are Not Things with Which to End Sentences
3. "Your" and "You're"
4. "Their," "There" and "They're"
5. "Subject and I," "Subject and Me"
6. "I.e." and "E.g:" A Short Lesson on the Two-Letter Words1. "Its" and "It's:" Contractions and Possessives
- using brackets as quotation marks with these words for ease of reading.
[Its] and [it's] can be confusing words and are probably the most confused in the backstory of roleplaying. They often get mixed up in possessive, when an object belongs to someone, and the contraction (short version) for [it is.] In most sentences, the correct writing without [its] or [it's] would be "Kokoro's tail wagged contentedly" when using the possessive form in which something belongs to Kokoro, in this case her tail. For multiple wolves, though, it would be "The wolves' tails
wagged contentedly." Notice the word "tail" was changed into the plural "tails," since I'm writing about more than one wolf, and it wouldn't make sense for several individual wolves to share a tail. Thus, "The wolves' tail wagged contentedly" doesn't make any sense.
However, this is not the case for [its] and [it's], providing that [it] represents Kokoro. For the first sentence I wrote, the one about Kokoro as an individual, which we will call "Sentence A," using the [it] word would turn Sentence A into "Its tail wagged contentedly." The hardest part about this is that normally there would be an apostrophe between the second to last letter of the object we're talking about (in this case, Kokoro) and "s" when using words other than [it;] as in "Kokoro's tail" rather than "Kokoros tail." Like mentioned before, this is not the case with [it] because the possessive-looking [it's] is actually a contraction for [it is.] Now, it wouldn't make sense to say "It is tail wagged contentedly..." right?
So by now you've probably guessed the use for [it's.] Like mentioned several times, it's short for the two words [it is] and thus is not
possessive - in other words, it shouldn't usually be used in a sentence where something belongs to someone. We can't really use the sentence about Kokoro wagging her tail to show the right use for this word, so I'll improvise a new one: "It's (it is) a very nice way to learn how to howl." Here, using "Its a very nice way to learn how to howl" would make just about as much sense as a wallaby elephant, since the word [its] would describe nothing, and nothing would belong to it.2. Short Words of This Type are Not Things with Which to End Sentences
You may or may not have noticed, but I intentionally did not write this sentence:"Short words of this type are not something to end sentences with." Bleah!
Bad grammar tastes gross, even if it is really hard to notice! This is because the correct sentence is the one displayed in the underlined (like this
) title of this paragraph. I don't know why you're not supposed to end sentences with them, but for future reference I'll give you a list of words with which you should not end sentences. To avoid ending sentences with these words, all you have to do is change the order of the words and add "which" to the end.
3. "Your" and "You're"
- On - "Wolves are not things to spy on" can be changed to "wolves are not things on which to spy." Because if you spy on them, they'll notice you and then bite you.
- With - Just in case you didn't read the first paragraph.
- At - "A wolf isn't something to shake a bone at" can be changed to "A wolf isn't something at which to shake a bone."
- To - "The wolf doesn't know what place to go to" can be changed to "The wolf doesn't know to which place to go." Unless that's too confusing for you, in which case you can just use the first sentence. It's so common anyway that it's not really considered that bad of a serving of grammar.
- again, using brackets
[Your] and [you're] are in exactly the same perplexing situation as [its] and [it's.] One looks like a possessive noun, where something belongs to someone, but is a contraction and vice versa (the other way around). [You're] is short for [you are,] so it's not to be used in a sentence replacing [your.] "You're fur needs grooming" doesn't make as much sense as a purple banana. Instead, try "You're foolish-looking because your fur needs grooming." This is a good example because it uses both words correctly. Replacing [you're] with [you are] gets us "You are foolish-looking because your fur needs grooming," which is easy to understand. However, replacing [your] with [you are] gets us "You're foolish looking because you are fur needs grooming," which brings us back to the purple banana paradox. [You're] means this wolf is being described as foolish by another, while [your] means this wolf has fur that needs grooming.4. "Their," "There" and "They're
- gaaaaah brackets
Another situation where possessives and non-possessives get mixed up. The only difference is that this one is three-halves as confusing, because now there are three words to ponder over! Unless you think about it really hard, that's rather overwhelming (and who wants to think really hard?). But considering how often they're misused, it's not something at which to shake a bone.
We'll start with [their.] This word has no apostrophe in it, but yet again it's a possessive like [its] and [your.] It represents the fact that multiple subjects, in this case wolves, own or have something. The correct usage, which you can probably guess by now, is "Their paws are churning as they run." It means that multiple wolves have paws, which are moving fast (churning) because they're running hard. Makes sense, doesn't it?
Next we'll look at [there.] You probably know the definition of this word, but since it's a homophone (which means that it sounds the same) for [their] and [they're,] it can be easily misplaced if you're not paying attention, and even when you are. The word [there] signals that Kokoro is locating an object, another wolf, or possibly prey that's not exactly where she is. For example, the sentences "Let's run over there, to that tree" and "The tree is over there" are both correct, since they use [there] to describe that an object is ...somewhere. At a place.
Finally, we're on to [they're.] This is a contraction for the phrase [they are,] and thus has an apostrophe replacing the missing letter and is not
a possessive noun. Instead, it can be used in a completely legitimate way in phrases such as "They're hunting the sick elk in that herd" in which case the sentence "They're paws are churning as they run" is not. This is because when you replace [they're] in the second sentence with the long version of the word you get "They are paws are churning as they run." Again, the purple banana paradox.5. "Subject and I," "Subject and Me"
This isn't a frequently mixed-up section of grammar, but it's a good thing to know anyway just in case the roleplay in which you're participating involves a lot of dialogue.
Kids are usually taught to always use "you and I" in a sentence with more than one subject, one of which is the speaker. This makes it so common that it's actually overused half the time. It's kind of obvious that "Kokoro and I went hunting" is correct. But what makes it different from "Kokoro and me went hunting?" Why is it considered correct? It's because when you take out "Kokoro and" from the first sentence, you get "I went hunting." That makes sense, right? But when you take out "Kokoro and" from the second sentence, you're left with "Me went hunting." That's moose language. You don't say that in normal conversation.
Well, if that's not right, then what is
the right time to use "you and me?" Despite the sound of what I just said, "you and me" is considered correct in a variety of sentences, such as "The alpha growled at Kokoro and me menacingly." Now you're probably wondering why that's not incorrect, since it looks about the same as the first sentence. The reason it's right is because, like with the first sentence about Kokoro and me going hunting, you simply take out "Kokoro and" and should come up with "The alpha growled at me menacingly." If you're ever confused about whether to use "me" or "I," simply remove the other person from the equation for a minute and collect your thoughts. Then make sure it's not moose language, and add it back in! Congratulations, you and I have mastered this section.6. "I.e." and "E.g:" A Short Lesson on the Two-Letter Words
These are more used in OOC and not as much in roleplaying, but "i.e." and "e.g." are easily mixed-up abbreviations. "I.e" means "that is" - but not the way Kokoro means when she says "that is a good elk to kill" when she spots a tasty morsel in a herd. "I.e." can be used in sentences such as "We're going on a hunting trip soon, i.e. don't eat anything or you won't be hungry." "E.g." means "for example" as in "We could hunt several different types of prey, e.g. deer or possibly bison."