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Thread: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

  1. #21
    First Lieutenant Goose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by thekillman View Post
    since this is the Grammar thread, i'll correct.


    Than=comparison
    Then=time-related *not sure how to explain*

    i said "i am smarter than you" and then he ran off.



    as to english:

    i tend to spell honor and colour. and i'm not even from an english country. (i'm from The Netherlands, as it's officially called)
    Well caught!

    Quote Originally Posted by maneth View Post
    American rules make more sense than English ones, which are the ones taught in most European countries even today. I'm Finnish but we lived in the UK when I was a teenager, so it confuses some people when they meet me, I speak British English but write American, even though I sometimes use British expressions. If I write, I'll use faucet and elevator. If I speak, it's tap and lift! Or depending on the person I'm talking to, if they're American I'll use American expressions to avoid confusion.
    I find both sets of rules just as odd and difficult! But it's nowhere as near as difficult as Finnish... I've tried to learn it and it's bloody impossible!

  2. #22
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Being Australian but participating here and on fanfiction.net which have a high proportion of US readers often trips me up. Not just spelling either - word usage (e.g. nappy vs diaper, crib vs cot, trunk vs boot, etc.), units of measurement, and things like the date being mm/dd/yy instead of dd/mm/yy like it is in Aus.

    I've created my own rule here ... if I'm writing a character who is from the US and they are saying or directly thinking something then I'll use Mom, color, etc for that (to the best of my ability because I still have words pointed out to me that I just didn't know were different in the US than in Australia). But if it is part of the descriptive prose - i.e. not something someone is directly saying - then I'll stick with my Aussie-isms.

    What do others think - should we tailor our spelling for who the main audience is or write to the version of English that is native to us?

    I also have a question about the use of contractions in writing. Is there a rule about this? I ask because when I read a fic where there are few contractions used, particularly when it's dialogue, it breaks the flow in my head ... I'll actively notice that Sheppard keeps saying things like 'I am ...', 'did not', or 'It is ...' when watching the show his verbalisation is much more casual than this. If you read something aloud this kind of thing is really obvious. So, are there rules about using contractions, and if so what are they?

  3. #23
    First Lieutenant Goose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaViva View Post
    Being Australian but participating here and on fanfiction.net which have a high proportion of US readers often trips me up. Not just spelling either - word usage (e.g. nappy vs diaper, crib vs cot, trunk vs boot, etc.), units of measurement, and things like the date being mm/dd/yy instead of dd/mm/yy like it is in Aus.

    I've created my own rule here ... if I'm writing a character who is from the US and they are saying or directly thinking something then I'll use Mom, color, etc for that (to the best of my ability because I still have words pointed out to me that I just didn't know were different in the US than in Australia). But if it is part of the descriptive prose - i.e. not something someone is directly saying - then I'll stick with my Aussie-isms.

    What do others think - should we tailor our spelling for who the main audience is or write to the version of English that is native to us?

    I also have a question about the use of contractions in writing. Is there a rule about this? I ask because when I read a fic where there are few contractions used, particularly when it's dialogue, it breaks the flow in my head ... I'll actively notice that Sheppard keeps saying things like 'I am ...', 'did not', or 'It is ...' when watching the show his verbalisation is much more casual than this. If you read something aloud this kind of thing is really obvious. So, are there rules about using contractions, and if so what are they?
    Spelling: Do I change my spelling to American standards when writing? No. When writing dialogue, and someone says colour, I spell it colour. However, if writing an American character, I might spell colour as colour, but I wouldn't have them say lift instead of elevator. I adopt my vocabulary in order to fit characters nationality, but not my spelling.

    Contractions: I absolutely hate it when people don't use contractions in dialogue! Whilst it is proper to say "did not" or "I am" in writing, people do not, for the most part, speak like that, and dialogue is, essentially, a transcript of what people are saying. Therefore, most of the time, people say "didn't" or "I'm". There are, of course, certain times when one would say "did not" or "I am", but people who write it all the time just bug me, and I always try to point it to them. Dialogue is supposed to be natural and flowing, and the use of contractions or slang is totally acceptable within dialogue.

  4. #24
    Bombur thekillman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Contractions:

    depends on the setting. contractions give a casual feeling.

    a mom will say to her kid "i'm proud of you". but a teacher to an older kid will say "i AM proud of you". the "am" packs more of a punch but also makes it less casual.


    a regular person speaking will use contractions, but you can't put an emphasis on a contracted sentence. not properly anyways.

    if someone is attempting to make a point, and/or need emphasis, they won't use contrations. "but that IS what i'm talking about". "i AM sorry". "i would like that."

    but in other cases you contract. *exclaim of happyness* "THAT's what i'm talking about"
    (cliche movie quote).
    "i'd like that" (for example in a store)

  5. #25
    Dori
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    England and the United States: two countries separated by a common language.

    The variations between American, Canadian, Australian and English usage are a vivid demonstration of how un-rigid the rules of English grammar are.

    Seaboe

  6. #26
    Lieutenant Colonel SF_and_Coffee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by maneth View Post
    American rules make more sense than English ones, which are the ones taught in most European countries even today. I'm Finnish but we lived in the UK when I was a teenager, so it confuses some people when they meet me, I speak British English but write American, even though I sometimes use British expressions. If I write, I'll use faucet and elevator. If I speak, it's tap and lift! Or depending on the person I'm talking to, if they're American I'll use American expressions to avoid confusion.
    In some parts of the US, "tap" is the word for faucet. I use it myself sometimes. I also say "lift" sometimes - it's easier and shorter than "elevator" and most Americans know what it means. I'm American, I've lived here all my life, but with the amount of exposure we get to British writing and television, most of us can navigate British English quite well.

    (Yes, I'm female. Okay?)
    Sum, ergo scribo...

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  7. #27
    First Lieutenant Goose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Written British English isn't all that difficult, and it's not that different from American English; certainly not different enough to make it incomprehensible. It's the dialects and accents that are difficult

  8. #28
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    ShaViva, the "rule" you're using for dialogue and inner thought isn't really "your own"; it's universal. It's exactly the way it should be. If the thought is originating in your character's head, whether spoken aloud or not, then you phrase it in dialect that character would normally use. I'll go one step farther and say that you should probably also do that for indirect observations made by the character, for example if Samantha Carter is watching a mother change an infant, she isn't going to watch as the mother puts a fresh nappy on the baby -- she'll watch as the mother puts a fresh diaper on the baby. Make sense? She will overlay her own terms even on observations originating outside her own mind.

    As for spelling, I don't think it matters all that much , at least to an American reader, whether you're writing colour or color, even in dialogue, because we'll pronounce them exactly the same. Again, we get enough exposure to written English from Canada, the UK and even from Oz that most of us are fairly well accustomed to the differences in spelling and hardly even notice. (And some of us do realize that our spellings are in the minority for English on a global level!)

    But here's the one thing with dialect: using it for narrative isn't the best idea. Standard English should always be used for that, unless the narrative is coming from a first-person POV narrator who would be expected to use dialect. That said, if you're writing a Stargate fic and standard usage in your nation is "nappy" and "cot" and "lift" rather than "diaper", "crib" and elevator, or other similarly minor differences to the American/Canadian English originally used in the Stargate franchise, it's no big deal to use the standard for your nation.

    Contractions: That's pretty simple. If your character would use contractions, then have him or her use them in any instance when you think he or she would do so in dialogue. The same holds for his or her internal self-talk, thoughts or even observations. You can also use contractions in narrative, to a reasonable extent. The one place I personally have avoided them in my current piece is when I wrote dialogue between an English-speaking character and one who spoke a language found on the planet he visited, and they were trying to get along in that planet's language while my English speaker was still learning it. Since things like contractions are often among the last things a person learns when they are learning a language, it made sense to leave them out of those early exchanges. I began to introduce them in later ones, as an indication that my English-speaking character was getting better at the planet's language and could now understand and use those more casual parts of speech.

    (Yes, I'm female. Okay?)
    Sum, ergo scribo...

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  9. #29
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Goose View Post
    Written British English isn't all that difficult, and it's not that different from American English; certainly not different enough to make it incomprehensible. It's the dialects and accents that are difficult
    Very true. Then again, we have dialects and accents even within both nations, I think, that can occasionally confound our own countrymen! There are parts of Appalachia where I'd almost need an interpreter to really understand what a person was saying, and I grew up on the fringes of another part of it!

    (Yes, I'm female. Okay?)
    Sum, ergo scribo...

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  10. #30
    Lieutenant Colonel SF_and_Coffee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Okay, more spelling mistakes that make me cringe:

    It's definite, not definate

    It's pregnant, not pregnate

    Seriously, where do people get these?

    (Yes, I'm female. Okay?)
    Sum, ergo scribo...

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  11. #31
    First Lieutenant Feast of the Muse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaViva View Post
    Being Australian but participating here and on fanfiction.net which have a high proportion of US readers often trips me up. Not just spelling either - word usage (e.g. nappy vs diaper, crib vs cot, trunk vs boot, etc.), units of measurement, and things like the date being mm/dd/yy instead of dd/mm/yy like it is in Aus.

    I've created my own rule here ... if I'm writing a character who is from the US and they are saying or directly thinking something then I'll use Mom, color, etc for that (to the best of my ability because I still have words pointed out to me that I just didn't know were different in the US than in Australia). But if it is part of the descriptive prose - i.e. not something someone is directly saying - then I'll stick with my Aussie-isms.

    What do others think - should we tailor our spelling for who the main audience is or write to the version of English that is native to us?
    Despite the fact that I have never lived outside of the USA, I use international dates dd/mm/yy because it always drove me nuts the way they tell us to do it here. It makes no sense... do them in order! Anyway. I'm an oddity here. I also use the centigrade system, metric measurements (we learned them in school, and I was promised the USA would be using them by the time I was an adult) and a 24-hour clock, all of which my dad still thinks is a phase, over a decade later.

    As far as I am concerned, if you voice the character correctly and write in the past tense, I don't care which nationality or dialect of English you use. I'll take well-written in a different 'flavor' any day over some of the pretty awful stuff that purports to share my variety of English. If you listen to the radio, watch TV, or even get your news online, you are going to be exposed to tons of varieties of English. I think it's healthy.

  12. #32
    First Lieutenant Goose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by SF_and_Coffee View Post

    It's pregnant, not pregnate
    Best mistake ever.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Goose View Post
    Best mistake ever.
    Ummm, what?

    Seriously, "pregnant" is the proper word for when a woman is with child.

    (Yes, I'm female. Okay?)
    Sum, ergo scribo...

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  14. #34
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Feast of the Muse View Post
    As far as I am concerned, if you voice the character correctly and write in the past tense, I don't care which nationality or dialect of English you use. I'll take well-written in a different 'flavor' any day over some of the pretty awful stuff that purports to share my variety of English. If you listen to the radio, watch TV, or even get your news online, you are going to be exposed to tons of varieties of English. I think it's healthy.
    That's where we differ. For me, reading a character that I know is from the American Midwest, and I know that's the dialect he speaks (think Jack O'Neill) and seeing that the author has him speaking some other dialect, is an incorrect voicing for that character. Jack would never sound like a Londoner or a Texan or someone from Australia.

    (Yes, I'm female. Okay?)
    Sum, ergo scribo...

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  15. #35
    First Lieutenant Feast of the Muse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by SF_and_Coffee View Post
    That's where we differ. For me, reading a character that I know is from the American Midwest, and I know that's the dialect he speaks (think Jack O'Neill) and seeing that the author has him speaking some other dialect, is an incorrect voicing for that character. Jack would never sound like a Londoner or a Texan or someone from Australia.
    You misunderstand; voicing the character correctly doesn't exclude the character's dialect. But if the descriptions and such are told in say, a kiwi flavor (I like the word flavor, sorry), that's cool as far as I am concerned.

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Oh, okay. Then that's basically what I said, with the caveat that if the description is originating inside the thoughts of a particular person, it still should remain more or less true to that person's actual dialect (since most people think in the same dialect in which they speak).

    (Yes, I'm female. Okay?)
    Sum, ergo scribo...

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  17. #37
    First Lieutenant Feast of the Muse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaViva View Post
    I also have a question about the use of contractions in writing. Is there a rule about this? I ask because when I read a fic where there are few contractions used, particularly when it's dialogue, it breaks the flow in my head ... I'll actively notice that Sheppard keeps saying things like 'I am ...', 'did not', or 'It is ...' when watching the show his verbalisation is much more casual than this. If you read something aloud this kind of thing is really obvious. So, are there rules about using contractions, and if so what are they?
    I wanted to address this too, don't know why I didn't. I've found that when I write, I tend to write things out sans the contractions. I just let it happen and go back later. If the character is very proper, I leave it. If they need a very specific kind of voice, I change it to that. But I need to get it all out of my head first. I tend to go until my brain runs out, go back and correct, then add more new material. I guess the 'rule' is whatever the character dictates. And there is nothing wrong with them anywhere else in the writing, either.

  18. #38
    First Lieutenant Goose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by SF_and_Coffee View Post
    Ummm, what?

    Seriously, "pregnant" is the proper word for when a woman is with child.
    Yes, I know. I just found it funny that would someone would say "pregnate" rather than "pregnant". I wasn't saying that you were wrong

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Oh, okay. Yeah, I see that one all the time, and it makes me *headdesk*. Of course, the more I think about it, the more I realize there may be one possible explanation.

    How do you get someone pregnant? You impregnate them. So maybe, just maybe, people who are familiar with the second word then think that simply removing the prefix "im" results in the proper word for the resulting condition? I don't know...

    (Yes, I'm female. Okay?)
    Sum, ergo scribo...

    My own site ** FF.net * All That We Leave Behind * Symbiotica ** AO3

    now also appearing on DeviantArt
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  20. #40
    First Lieutenant Goose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Grammar / Spelling / Punctuation Discussion and Appreciation (questions welcome!)

    Quote Originally Posted by SF_and_Coffee View Post
    Oh, okay. Yeah, I see that one all the time, and it makes me *headdesk*. Of course, the more I think about it, the more I realize there may be one possible explanation.

    How do you get someone pregnant? You impregnate them. So maybe, just maybe, people who are familiar with the second word then think that simply removing the prefix "im" results in the proper word for the resulting condition? I don't know...
    Makes sense.

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