Grammar Help

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Kruegera

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It seems that the people on this forum need all the grammatical help they can get, especially in this particular area of the forum: The Writing Forums. Here I will compile small grammatical tips that can really help brighten up fanfics and stories if you use them.

First of all. When composing a fanfic, your story has to have complete sentences. Now, I haven't seen anyone not using complete sentences, but this could still help. First I will explain independent and dependent clauses.


An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb and expresses a complete thought. An independent clause is a sentence.

Example: "Anthony wrote up a help topic for the grammatically-challenged."

That is a complete sentence. It has a subject(Anthony) a verb(wrote) and expresses a complete thought.


A dependent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and verb but does not express a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot be a sentence.

Example: "When Anthony wrote up a help topic for the grammatically-challenged..."

That is a sentence fragment. It has the same subject and a verb as before, but it's not a complete thought. What's missing? Well, it doesn't tell us what happened when he wrote it up.

Now, sentence fragments alone may be bad grammar, but that doesn't mean you can't use them. I use them all the time for dramatic effect in my stories, but not too often. There is a way to use this sentence fragment, and that is to attach it to a Independent Clause like so:

"The n00bs rampaged around the forum when Anthony wrote up a help topic for the grammatically-challenged."

Or, you could just complete the sentence:

"When Anthony wrote up a help topic for the grammatically-challenged, the n00bs rampaged around the forums."


Now, another grammatical error I noticed is that people constantly interchange certain words like there, their, and they're. I'll give you a few examples and tell you how they're(they are) supposed to be used:

Let's begin with the there's/their's/they're's


There: Use when referring to a location, or place.

"Yeah, that's right, I went there." "Don't go in there!"


Their: Used when referring to a person or persons.

“That is their newspaper.” “Their logic sucks.”


They’re: Is essentially a replacement for “they are”.

“They’re going to With the Will forums.” “They’re going to kill you.”


Now, to move onto the to’s/too’s/two’s.

To: Is used for expressing direction or motion or direction toward something.

“I’m going to the moon with God of Chaos.” “Lost in Thought is going to verbally pwn someone.” (Yes, that’s pwn, not own.)


Too: Used in the sense of in addition to, excess, to an extent.

“I want to go too!” “It costs too much.” “I’m too sick to go.”


Two: The number 2. You would be surprised how many people use to and too in the place of this.

“My girlfriend has two lovely coconuts, all in a row.” “Two is a crowd.”


Another one people mix up are which/witch.

Which: Used in the sense of a decision between things.

“Which one is it, the blue or the red wire?” “I don’t know which to choose.”


Witch: Used as a derogatory insult or is a person that uses magic(usually dark).

“Quick, hide before that witch Vande finds us!” “When the good witch sees a full moon, she gets bored and starts randomly slaughtering people.”


Would/Could/Should Of (Thanks to Merry Whore)

Many times, people make the following error:

"I would/could/should of worked faster had my teacher beat me more often."

Really, it's supposed to be:

"I would/could/should have worked faster had my teacher beat me more often."

This is a common mistake developed because people generally say out loud: would've, could've, or should've(although should've isn't even a word) instead of saying would have, could have, or should have. Over time the 've turned into "of", and people have been using it online.


Your and You're (Thanks to Airdra)

Your: A possessive pronoun.
"I am going to kick your door down." "Your opinion sucks."


You're: A contraction of the words "you" and "are."
"You're going to kick the door down." "You're a total waste of sperm."

Affect and Effect (Thanks to Spiffy is glory)

Affect: Used in the sense of acting on something to produce an effect

"Cold weather affected the crops." "My aura of stupidity affects your grades."

Effect: Is produced by an agency or cause; result; consequence

"My poison hand technique has no effect on him!" "Your methods are very effective."

Those are just a few words that are often used incorrectly. There are more, I just can’t think of them right now.


Another thing I see wrong with many stories, is they use the same word to begin a sentence twice.

Example:

Sorry Tailer, but I’m going to use an example from your fanfiction:
The smoke cleared to reveal a teen their age with bright blue hair, and evil, red eyes. He wore a strange outfit, a green zip-up top and grey pants. He wore a strange black necklace; it was almost like a collar. He wore a strange belt, two strings lowered from the belt. There was a strange dark red mark in the center of his forehead. There were marks on each side of his upper arms and wrists. He held a black and grey digivice attached to his belt. His body glowed in a black color. He had a wicked smile planted on his face.
He wore a... He wore a... He wore a...There was... There were... He. His. He.

See how the sentences all begin? That gets repetitive, and doesn’t sound right. Never begin the next sentence the same way you began the last one. Another rule is not to use a word more than once in a sentence.

Now, I’m going to correctly rewrite this extract and show you how you can fix this repetitiveness:

The smoke cleared to reveal a teen their age with bright blue hair, evil red eyes, and a strange choice of outfit. He wore a green, zip-up top and gray pants held up by a strange belt with two strings trailing off. Around his neck was a black necklace that was reminiscent of a collar, and a dark red mark adorned his forehead; other markings could be found on his upper-arms and wrists. A black and gray digivice hung from his belt and a wicked smile split his face,
I’m running out of time, so I’ll just give you a few more tips before I go...

When you’ve completed your fanfiction, READ IT. I know, you just wrote it, and you’re probably sick of looking at it. But READ IT. If you reread what you have written, chances are you will pick out and correct your mistakes. That way, when people see your fanfiction they won’t see an error-ridden mess. I don’t read many fanfics on this forum because there are so many spelling errors that I want to keel over. If there were less errors, that would make it more of a desirable read.

Another thing: DETAIL. Detail will never kill you. Put in detail. Don’t just say:

They pwned the bad guy, then they walked towards the mountain. They crossed the mountain and made it to the village on the other side. Then they rested and were attacked in the middle of the night!

That tells us nothing. Describe HOW they pwned that first enemy. Tell about the walk to and through the mountains; I’m pretty sure they have to be saying something as they’re making that long trip, it’s great for character development. Tell us how exhausted they are when they reach the village and describe their reactions when they find out the only place to sleep is in the old barn. Tell us about how someone wakes up in the middle of the night because they thought they heard something, only to see a bad guy and wake everyone with a shout.

Detail. Detail! DETAIL! Use it, it ain’t going to kill you.

Well, I’m done for now. If anyone has anything to add, tell me and I’ll add it.

I think this should be stickied or something so people can read it...
 

The Golux

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“My girlfriend has two lovely coconuts, all in a row.”
"All in a row" is incorrect for "two;" "all" should only be used with three or more.

“Which one is it; the blue or the red wire?”
That should be a comma, not a semicolon.

“When the good witch see’s a full moon, she get’s bored and starts randomly slaughtering people.”
No apostrophe in "sees." the apostrophe is used only for posession and in some cases contractions with "is."
 

lost in thought

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[quote author=Black Growlmon link=topic=3219.msg50880#msg50880 date=1178717490]
“Lost in Thought is going to verbally pwn someone.” (Yes, that’s pwn, not own.)
[/quote]
I wasn't expect that when I wandered into this thread. It amuses me greatly, good work.
 

Bacab

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Woo! Grammar Thread! *adds to it*

Would/Should/Could Of
I see this far too often on the internet. It's not would of, it's would have, with a contraction of would've. Same for could and should. I'm sorry but it pisses me off every time I see someone say "of" where they should've said " 've" or "have".

Oh, and you should mention the Which/What confusion. People use "what" alot of times when they should have used "which".

*runs away*

*comes back*

[quote author=lost in thought link=topic=3219.msg50893#msg50893 date=1178730340]
I wasn't expect that when I wandered into this thread. It amuses me greatly, good work.
[/quote]
Perhaps just a typo? But you mean expecting. ^o^

*imitates a papaya*
 

Kruegera

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[quote author=The Golux link=topic=3219.msg50886#msg50886 date=1178727063]
"All in a row" is incorrect for "two;" "all" should only be used with three or more.
[/quote]

I know, but I was making a reference to the song "I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts". Don't know why though...(Example of a sentence fragment used for dramatic purposes)

[quote author=lost in thought link=topic=3219.msg50893#msg50893 date=1178730340]
[quote author=Black Growlmon link=topic=3219.msg50880#msg50880 date=1178717490]
“Lost in Thought is going to verbally pwn someone.” (Yes, that’s pwn, not own.)
[/quote]
I wasn't expect that when I wandered into this thread. It amuses me greatly, good work.
[/quote]

How could you not expect it? You're one of the most influential debaters/posters on this forum.


EDIT: Added Merry Whore's suggestion. Also took my own advice and reread what I wrote, correcting all the errors.
 

Airdra

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I feel the need to add my personal grammar pet peeve. ^_^ I see it all over the place, not just online.

Your and You're
Your is a posessive pronoun.
"I am going to kick your door down."


You're is a contraction of the words "you" and "are."
"You're going to kick the door down."
 

lost in thought

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[quote author=Merry Whore link=topic=3219.msg50910#msg50910 date=1178740535]
Perhaps just a typo? But you mean expecting. ^o^

*imitates a papaya*
[/quote]
That is the current case. I messed up big time there, but only because I thought I had typed "I didn't expect that", and as per my usual my hands seem to type completely independent of my mind. Yay for having semi-sentient hands!

Also... a papaya?!
 

Bacab

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More grammar stuff, um . . . don't end sentences in prepositions.^^;
Big No-No. "Where are you from?" *stabs the sentence just written* It may sound a little awkward to say it otherwise, but it's still not correct to end a sentece in a preposition. The spanish "De donde eres" is . . .eh I'm not going to drag spanish into this just to make an example.
I just didn't want to derail this thread too much.

[quote author=lost in thought link=topic=3219.msg50954#msg50954 date=1178763342]That is the current case. I messed up big time there, but only because I thought I had typed "I didn't expect that", and as per my usual my hands seem to type completely independent of my mind. Yay for having semi-sentient hands![/quote]
Eh . . . just a typo then! Sometimes when your mind is on more than one thing and you're typing the weirdest shit comes out. I remember saying "That's just my onion" in a topic instead of "opinion" because someone was talking to me about cooking at the time but for some reason I still hit post. Bleh. I'll stop here. *flies away*
 

The Golux

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The rule about not ending sentences with prepositions is prescriptivist Bullshit. It was invented by a bunch of idiot academics who were too hung up on latin, at about the same time as the Split Infinitives rule, and there is absolutely no rational ground for either of them.
 

SSJ Jup81

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[quote author=The Golux link=topic=3219.msg50886#msg50886 date=1178727063]
“Which one is it; the blue or the red wire?”
That should be a comma, not a semicolon.[/quote]Are you sure about this one? Looking at it, both ways would be correct. It just depends on one's writing style and preference as to which he/she would use. In this case, I'd more than likely use the semicolon as opposed to the comma.
 

Spiffy is Glory

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[quote author=SSJ Jup81 link=topic=3219.msg51327#msg51327 date=1179037999]
[quote author=The Golux link=topic=3219.msg50886#msg50886 date=1178727063]
“Which one is it; the blue or the red wire?”
That should be a comma, not a semicolon.[/quote]Are you sure about this one? Looking at it, both ways would be correct. It just depends on one's writing style and preference as to which he/she would use. In this case, I'd more than likely use the semicolon as opposed to the comma.
[/quote]

It could also be a : (I'm having a brainfart on what it's called, my apologies) in place of a comma or semicolon. As you said, depends on the writing style.

Some of the stuff in there's a bit anal, but that's alright. Most of it is pretty helpful. ;) Keep in mind that many people have different writing styles. I'm not saying they should defy the rules of grammar and spelling just for their particular style, but sometimes, depending on what you're writing, it has a good effect on the readers. People who know the rules and who know how to follow them can, in some situations such as writing stories, break them. It's an unwritten law of storytelling. :-\

Some of my own suggestions:

The difference between affect and effect, definition of Mary Sue/Gary Stu/Scary Sue/Marty Stu (all basically the same thing, except a Scary Sue, instead of being glittery and shit, is supposed to be a rebel without consequences), and the definition of writer's block. =3
 

Kruegera

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[quote author=Spiffy is Glory link=topic=3219.msg51343#msg51343 date=1179046409]
Some of the stuff in there's a bit anal, but that's alright.
[/quote]

Sry, I was trying to make it easier on the average n00b's eyes to read. Most n00bs have an anal kind of humor, and need that kind of thing to read anything. Remember, my target group is the grammatically-challenged n00b, not the average intelligent forum member. Although it still doesn't hurt for you guys to read it.

I'm adding the affect and effect one now.

I have no idea what a Mary Sue/Gary Stu/Scary Sue/Marty Stu is... Is it something like one of those characters that can do anything and is invincible? I really don't like them. >_> Especially Superman because his only weakness is that stupid rock(kryptonite).
 

Anubimon

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It's very hard to define a Mary Sue, since there is no catch-all description. Basically, it's an original character who is introduced into a story, steals the spotlight, and often has abilities that are far beyond what canon characters have or become a love interest for a canon character. They also typically have angsty/impossibly complicated pasts and/or are half-something or some kind of monster. They don't have to interact with canon characters either. For example, an original Digimon story could have Mary Sues if someone has an all-powerful partner Digimon who is far stronger than most anything we've seen in canon.
There are plenty of "litmus tests" that gague how Sue-ish a character is, but those typically suck because they don't take into account specific canon typically. What really, at least to me, makes something a Sue or not a Sue is how it's written. A character can have amazing abilities and not be a Sue, or a character can be average but still written in a way that makes her Sue-ish.
There's also the "Sue-ification" of canon characters themselves, making them far "better" than they originally were (i.e., giving Hermione Granger from Harry Potter a complete makeover to make her fit the author's idealized version of her).
Marty-Stu/Gary Stu are just the terms for a male version of an OC.
 

The Golux

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[quote author=Spiffy is Glory link=topic=3219.msg51343#msg51343 date=1179046409]
[quote author=SSJ Jup81 link=topic=3219.msg51327#msg51327 date=1179037999]
[quote author=The Golux link=topic=3219.msg50886#msg50886 date=1178727063]
“Which one is it; the blue or the red wire?”
That should be a comma, not a semicolon.[/quote]Are you sure about this one? Looking at it, both ways would be correct. It just depends on one's writing style and preference as to which he/she would use. In this case, I'd more than likely use the semicolon as opposed to the comma.
[/quote]

It could also be a : (I'm having a brainfart on what it's called, my apologies) in place of a comma or semicolon. As you said, depends on the writing style.[/quote]

It can be a Comma or a Colon, but not a Semicolon, technically. Semicolons are only used to separated complete sentences on either side, and "The blue or the red wire" is not a sentence (it has no verb). They can also sometimes be used to separate items in a list when the items themselves contain commas.
 

Spiffy is Glory

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Sry, I was trying to make it easier on the average n00b's eyes to read. Most n00bs have an anal kind of humor, and need that kind of thing to read anything. Remember, my target group is the grammatically-challenged n00b, not the average intelligent forum member. Although it still doesn't hurt for you guys to read it.
Ah yes, I know. That's why I said "some" stuff is a bit anal. ;) Even brilliant authors get anal about grammar sometimes. It's always understandable. I'm just glad you've created a board for this, honestly. Hopefully it'll clear up some confusion. (and whoa, ho ho, there was some major choppiness there, but oh well)

I'm adding the affect and effect one now.
Thank you. =)

I have no idea what a Mary Sue/Gary Stu/Scary Sue/Marty Stu is... Is it something like one of those characters that can do anything and is invincible? I really don't like them. >_> Especially Superman because his only weakness is that stupid rock(kryptonite).
Well, I guess, to some people, Superman could be considered a Gary Stu/Marty Stu, but since the whole entire series is focused around him and his super abilities, it's probably not quite like that.

I'll try to explain it shortly and simply:

Mary Sue: usually a perfect character. She often times catches the eye of many male characters (and sometimes even female characters), generally wasn't there in canon (though, it is possible for a Sue to be canon), has extraordinary abilities that may or may not have anything to deal with the canon or fanfiction story, intelligent, witty (or at least the writer tries to make her witty), beautiful, has a severely unique name, and has great curves. She, most of the time, ends up with one of the main heroes after putting bandaids on their booboos and conquering their inner-conflicts single-handedly. This is just the general statistics and what the majority of Sues are. There's many different versions of Sues out there, depending on who's writing them and what not. Honestly, a character can be all of the above and still not be a Sue. It all depends on how she's written.

Example:

Elfwendona, a witch of high calibur, had obsidian black hair that glowed like the moon, white eyes that made Harry Potter's beast go ga-ga, and a D-Cup sized bra. She had a tiny almost anorexic waist and beautiful fair skin that was as soft as the skin from a peach.

Mary Stu/Gary Stu: the male version of a Mary Sue.

Scary Sue: same as a Mary Sue, except, instead of being utterly perfect, she's utterly imperfect. She defies canon so much that the main characters usually have to stop whatever they're doing (even if they're in the middle of fighting the big bad) just to come over and put a bandaid on her booboos, which usually ends up with her screwing the main hero after he magically lets down all his walls right after their first meeting. Again, this is only the majority of what Scary Sues do. Scary Sues do all types of things--all of the above and sometimes even more.

Example:

Ninijano had dark night black hair and eyes that were even blacker. She wore a black halter top and black leather pants, a black cloak connected to her back. Her skin was pale and she had dark black eyeliner running down her cheeks like tears. When she looked up, she gazed into the beautiful eyes of Gimli, who sniffled and embraced her with his tiny arms, kissing her cheeks and telling her how much he loved her, even if he'd hardly known her.

Sue-ification is a pretty good definition to add, as well. =3


Some more suggestions:

The definition of writer's block (I think I already mentioned this o_o; ) and the definition of canon.
 

Kruegera

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This is taken from something my Honors English teacher typed up. I took my free time to type it all up here for you to read. I'm posting this here due to the character-per-post limitations.

This is to help people improve their story-writing capabilities.

Okay, first things first, in order to write a story, you need to know the ELEMENTS OF FICTION.

Theme


The most important element in serious fiction. The author's controlling idea, the truth about life that is conveyed to the reader. It is often implied rather than directly stated. Many stories, sometimes referred to as "escape fiction," do not even have a theme. Serious writers, though, reveal some aspect of life as they see it; what they reveal is the theme. Don't confuse theme with a moral, which is a characteristic of the fable, a piece of literature designed specifically to teach. The theme of a piece of fiction can also teach, but it does so in a less direct and more thought-provoking manner. Theme is often revealed through the increased awareness within a character at the end of the story. Because of what happens to the characters in the story, one character learns something which deepens his or her understanding. Since the character has learned this, the author hopes that the reader has also learned it.

*Note: I know, you all write "escape fiction", so theme isn't something you need. But I included this because it needed to be here. Some people may want to write a serious novel someday and this might help.*


Point of View


The vantage point from which the author looks at the story. A limited point of view may use first person (I) or third person (he/she) but the reader learns only what goes on in the mind of one character. This appeals to readers because this is how we see the world (through our own singular interpretation). The objective point of view goes into no one's mind, so the reader must determine the meaning and signifigance of the actions. The omniscient point of view reveals the thoughts of all the characters.


Character (or Characterization)


-Protagonist-
The leading actor who encounters a conflict. If you love the protagonist and hate the antagonist, the writer has won your interest so that you will follow the plot avidly in the hope that all will go well for the protagonist.

-Antagonist-
The opposing force which is often another person, but it can be other things such as the power of nature, social forces or a social situation, the supernatural, or some inner conflict (the past, psychological, moral, or ethical dilemmas).

-Round Characters-
You can see them from all sides (physical, mental, and emotional). You learn much than mere physical descriptions; you learn about their natures through what they say about themselves and what others say about them. You come to understand what they do or don't do. The protagonist must be one of these.

-Flat Characters-
These are of secondary interest, whose function in the story is to present just one or two traits. Stereotyped characters are flat, and they also lack originality and individuality.


Setting


The time and place of the story. Where and when it takes place.

*Note: Yeah, brief and to the point... That's exactly what the sheet says. Not much else to say. :( *


Plot


Plot involves action, the sequence of events that takes place in a story. Plot also involves motivation, the reason for each action in the sequence. A "classical" plot follows the pattern: Exposition, complication, crisis, denouement, and resolution. Plots must have unity.

-Exposition-
Also called the opening action: it shows the reader the situation (gives the setting, introduces the characters, and starts the action). The exposition in a novel is far more extensive than in a short story, where the exposition is condensed.

-Complication-
Also called the rising action: shows the main character (protagonist) in conflict with some antagonist like the forces of nature, other people, social forces or a social institution, the supernatural, or some inner conflict (psychological, moral, or ethical dilemmas). If there is no conflict or struggle, there is no story. Conflict is the essence of the plot.

-Crisis-
Also called the climax: is the point at which some decision is made or some action is taken that determines the outcome of the story.

-Denouement (Resolution)-
Also called the falling action: is the action following the climactic moment which leads to the logical ending of the story. It normally brings some sort of resolution to the conflict which the story was centered around, whether happy or tragic.

(That's about it. It was a double-sided piece of paper I found laying around after I graduated, so I decided to type it up before I threw it away.)
 

Modulus

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"A preposition is something you should never end a sentence with."
-Winston Churchill (I think).

I've read through the topic, but I've seen nothing on use of quotation marks. It's been seriously bugging me as I read through fanfics, and I know it shouldn't be!

I feel it's necessary to just talk about the basics.

Whenever you use quotation marks for someone to say something and then add "said x" (x being somebody), it has to end in a comma before the quotation. This sentence I just wrote makes little sense, so I'll give an example:

"Hi," said Modulus.

NOT

"Hi." Said Modulus.

"Said" should not be capitalized after the speech, too.

Actually, that's the only thing that's really been bugging me about quotation marks. But also, keep in mind you don't have to tag everything someone says with "said someone." Example:

"Hey, Jack, how are you?" said Jill.
"Oh, I'm doing pretty fine, Jill," replied Jack.
"You sure? You look pretty pale to me."
"No, I'm fine. Positively fine."

It's a great way to have two people speak to each other fluidly. You can have more people speak this way, but be careful--it can get really confusing.

Another thing, when it's just a sentence in quotation marks, you have to end it like a sentence does normally. That means a period. Example:

"There is a rocket in my pocket."

NOT

"There is a rocket in my pocket"

and NOT

"There is a rocket in my pocket".

The period must be before the end quotation mark.

I'm sure many of you know the rules of dialogue, but I'm just showing the basics to others who haven't used dialogue as much. I mean no offense, of course, it's just that I read these beautifully written fanfics and they're filled with all these dialogue errors and it bugs the hell out of me. To me, dialogue can be what makes or break a story (though not always the case). So we've got to use it properly.

"Peace out," says Modulus. "Keep the good writing up."


Also, I'm sorry if I'm necro-posting, but this is a pinned topic, so I felt it would be prudent to post something of this sort here, where it would least disrupt the boards. Cheers.
 

Kruegera

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[quote author=Modulus link=topic=3219.msg64194#msg64194 date=1188533978]Also, I'm sorry if I'm necro-posting, but this is a pinned topic, so I felt it would be prudent to post something of this sort here, where it would least disrupt the boards. Cheers.
[/quote]

"Not at all," Anthony said in a dry, matter-of-factly tone. "It's not necro-posting if you add something useful or contributive."

I think it was very useful. I wasn't sure how to punctuate dialogue myself; I was going on looking at what most authors do.

This was how I thought it was supposed to be:
"Hello," Said Sue, "How are you doing today?"
It should have been:
"Hello," Sue said in a depressed voice as she sawed away at her wrists with a razor. "How are you doing today?"

I know, it stretches on a bit with what Sue was doing. What can I say? It's a writing flaw I have. :-\
 

SSJ Jup81

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[quote author=Kitsune-Niichan link=topic=3219.msg64255#msg64255 date=1188593368]
This was how I thought it was supposed to be:
"Hello," Said Sue, "How are you doing today?"
It should have been:
"Hello," Sue said in a depressed voice as she sawed away at her wrists with a razor. "How are you doing today?"

I know, it stretches on a bit with what Sue was doing. What can I say? It's a writing flaw I have. :-\[/quote]You could also write it, "Hello," Sue said in a depressed voice as she sawed away at her wrists with a razor, "how are you doing today?"
 

Kruegera

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[quote author=SSJ Jup81 link=topic=3219.msg64284#msg64284 date=1188606845]
You could also write it, "Hello," Sue said in a depressed voice as she sawed away at her wrists with a razor, "how are you doing today?"
[/quote]

Nope. The comma after razor doesn't fit because that is the end of the statement. However, the decapitated H might have worked better.
 
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