From Heretical Apocalypse
GRAMMAR GRAMMAR_INDEX ENGLISH M E D I E V I A Grammar Help Files APOSTROPHE AS BACKGROUND COLLECTIVE COMMAS "DANGLING MODIFIER" GRAMMAR_TERMS HERE HYPHENS IE JUSTIFY "RUNON SENTENCE" SEMICOLONS SPELLING STYLESHEET SUDDENLY SYNONYM TENSES THEY THATWHICH WHOM WORDS YOU Please note that grammar help files are now accessed with HELP *or* WIZHELP, and can be accessed by both gods and mortals. APOSTROPHE APOSTROPHES The apostrophe character ' is used for two purposes in English: first, before the letter S when forming a possessive, and second, to indicate the removal of letters in a contraction. Possessives: Use an apostrophe and an S at the end of a singular noun or proper noun to make it possessive. This applies to ALL singular nouns or proper nouns, even those that end with S, X, Z, etc. Examples: the child's pet the enchantress's chamber Xilaos's office Use the apostrophe *after* the S if the noun or proper noun is plural, unless it is a plural (like "children" or "women") that doesn't end in S. Examples: the children's home the enchantresses' wands the clans' rankings Note that the possessive forms of a PRONOUN will not follow this rule. The words his, her, hers, its, their, theirs, our, ours, my, and mine are possessive pronouns and do not contain apostrophes. The word "it's" is a contraction, not a possessive pronoun; "it's" always means "it is" or "it has." See HELP WORDS for more on that specific issue. Contractions: In a contraction, two words are combined to form one, like "do not" combined to form "don't" or "they will" combined to form "they'll." In a contraction a few letters are removed and replaced with an apostrophe. The apostrophe always goes where the removed letters would be. Examples: Don't go in there! ("Do not" -> remove the second O -> "Don't") She wouldn't do that. ("would not" -> remove the second O -> "wouldn't") They're sure to win. ("They are" -> remove the A -> "They're") It'll be soon. ("It will" -> remove W and I -> "It'll") Please do not use contractions in room descriptions or names, as they are informal and tend to look out of place. It is of course fine to use them in mob gossips, procs that have mobs talking, and other places where you are relating conversation, not formal description. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX STYLESHEET WORDS "PARTS OF SPEECH" AS The word AS is a conjunction (see help "PARTS OF SPEECH") that has two meanings. One of the meanings is "while," where two things happen at once, and the other is "because," where one thing happens *due to* another. When AS means "while," there should be no comma before AS. Examples: She gnawed on her fingernails nervously as she waited. The current got much stronger as we moved downstream. Your footsteps make a sticky, squelching sound as you walk south. When AS means "because," there SHOULD be a comma before AS. Examples: It is difficult to see down the corridor, as it is dark. The dragon hoards his gold jealously, as he knows others are after it. She wanted to leave soon, as she did not want to be late. See Also: "PARTS OF SPEECH" BACKGROUND Care should be taken when mentioning living creatures that could be construed as mobiles in a room description. Players expect to be able to kill living things, so explanations should be made in cases where they cannot do so. Some creatures are okay to mention in room descriptions without explanations on why they cannot be killed. Examples of this type of mob are very small animals or insects. Animals larger than a cat should be explained. Explaining why a creature/person is not available to be killed can be done in many different ways. One of the easiest ways is putting the living thing so far in the distance (the background) that the player is not close enough to kill it. Make sure to use words that indicate the animal or person is far away. Example: In the distance, an old, wrinkled washer-woman trudges along with her basket of clothes. Example: The brown fur of a large bear is visible from across the meadow. Another method is putting obstructions between the player and the living being. Example: The form of an agile deer can be seen between the screen of tall oak trees. Example: A large wall with a window set in its center separates the shoppers from the watchful store owner. He peers from behind the small opening, viewing all that takes place inside the store. Magic can also be used to explain unkillable creatures in a description. Using creatures that have been frozen into statues, or a protected area where no damage can be done are acceptable ways to explain creatures in descriptions. Be cautious if you want other mobs to be killed there that it explains where the protected area is. Example: A giant leopard lounges in the protective branches of an enchanted tree, its posture reflecting how relaxed and secure it feels there. Plural groups of creatures such as crowds on busy streets are another acceptable method. Be sure not to single out creatures when using this method, or they become too close to mobs. Example: The street bustles with the daily routines of sailors, shoppers, horse carts, and children playing. Example: A large herd of cattle fills the field inside the fence, and individual cattle mill around lazily. *Bad* Example: A herd of cattle fills the field inside the fence. A large, red bull with ivory horns snorts angrily and paws the ground. (The red bull is too defined and should be a mob) Other methods may be used as well. These are simply examples of ways to use this kind of detail in descriptions. COLLECTIVE "COLLECTIVE NOUNS" "COLLECTIVE NOUN" COLLECTIVE_NOUN COLLECTIVE_NOUNS A collective noun is a word that defines a group of objects. Other terms used for the same or similar concept are "mass noun" or "group noun." The term "collective noun" is also used for the words that describe groups of animals, like a pride of lions or a murder of crows. Examples of collective nouns that often appear in zone writing on Medievia: group collection herd pair crowd pile set family lot series class team variety line wave The grammatical issue with collective nouns is whether to use a singular or plural verb when a collective noun is the subject of a sentence. The confusion arises because collective nouns are almost always followed by the word "of" and a plural noun. The subject of the verb is the collective noun, not the noun after "of," so sometimes it can seem difficult to figure out why your ZE is making a correction to what you wrote. Medievia's rule is to use a singular verb when the collective noun is preceded by "the" and a plural noun when the collective noun is preceded by "a." Still, there are exceptions (most notably, "series" and "variety"), and your ZE's judgment should be followed. Examples: Wrong: The variety of flowers are impressive. Right: The variety of flowers <is> impressive. (collective noun: the variety) Wrong: The collection of vases and bottles fill the room. Right: The collection of vases and bottles <fills> the room. (collective noun: the collection) Wrong: A pair of soldiers is guarding the gate. Right: A pair of soldiers <are> guarding the gate. (collective noun: a pair) If this doesn't make sense, please ask your ZE to point out examples in your own zone. Also, as with some other common issues (see HELP THEY), it may be best to rephrase the sentence to avoid using the collective noun at all. Read this blog post for the same consensus rule put differently. http://theslot.blogspot.com/2006/07/yeah-what-they-said.html See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX THEY COMMA COMMAS CTB_COMMA CTB_COMMAS Commas are used to separate words, phrases, and clauses. As it applies to writing rooms, mobs, and objects for Medievia, this usually comes up in the following situations: * Use commas to separate items in a list. Right: She bought waybread, cloaks, and rope. Wrong: The walls have paintings sculptures and detailed carvings. The walls have paintings, sculptures and detailed carvings. Please note that there SHOULD be a comma before the conjunction (e.g., and, or, but) in the list. This is called a "serial comma," and this rule is followed in most formal writing, for the sake of consistency and clarity. You will not see this comma in newspapers, which follow different style rules, but you should use it in the game. * Use commas before the conjunction in a compound sentence. Right: I bought a wagon, and I walked to Trellor. Wrong: He killed the vampire but he did not loot it. More examples of this can be found in Help "RUNON SENTENCE". * Use commas to separate two or more adjectives that describe the same subject. Right: intricate, beautiful carvings long, flowing hair thick, soft rug Wrong: intricate beautiful carvings long flowing hair thick soft rug Exception: When the second adjective is the *color* or the *material* of the subject, it reads much more clearly without a comma. Right: the icy blue glacier a thin red carpet my old wool cloak these cold stone walls Wrong: the chilly, white snow a moth-eaten, green overcoat many old, adobe houses her thick, brown hair Please see this blog post from a professional newspaper copy editor for more details on the order of adjectives: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/2009/03/this_is_not_a_rule.html * Use commas to set off descriptive phrases (also called adjective clauses). Right: My cousin, the Duke of Leicester, is coming to visit. This castle, also called the Fort of Despair, has been abandoned. Wrong: The trip to Trellor a major city is long. The desk which is made of wood has several drawers. A comma should be used to set off all dispensable clauses (the ones that start with "which"). See Help THATWHICH. A comma should be used to set off a descriptive clause that has a verb ending in 'ing.' This is a common mistake in rooms. Right: The stairs creak softly, adding to the sound of your footsteps. Our clan kept moving up in rankings, making us all proud. Blood trickles down the wall, its smell causing you to gag. Wrong: The streets wind unpredictably making mapping impossible. The glowing orb hangs in the air providing illumination. A strange tapping sound comes from below echoing in the dark. * Use commas after adverbial clauses at the start of a sentence if the phrase is directly followed by a noun. Right: To the east, the castle looms. After lunch, I went to the catacombs. When she asked for help, the whole clan responded. Wrong: In the mountains goats and big-horned sheep live. Before we looted him he had a full set. If you want help you have to ask for it. Note: Do NOT use a comma if the adverbial clause at the start of the sentence is directly followed by a verb. Right: To the east looms a castle. From far away came the sounds of screaming. On the wall hung many portraits. Wrong: In the desert, scurry many small lizards. Through the cave, blows a cold, stinging wind. * A comma may be used to separate two actions performed by the same subject (a compound predicate) if the two actions are separated by the conjunction 'but.' Do not use a comma if the conjunction is 'and.' Right: He joined her by the water fountain, but will not leave her. They put on their armor and went to find the dragon. Note: This comma is optional, which is why I'm listing it last here. It can add clarity to the sentence, because the tendency when speaking is to pause naturally before the word 'but.' Please feel free to contact your ZE if you'd like an exhaustive, detailed explanation of this or any other grammar issue. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX "DANGLING MODIFIER" "MISPLACED MODIFIER" DANGLING MODIFIER MODIFIERS MISPLACED This is a VERY COMMON error. Please let your ZE know if you need any help identifying, understanding, or correcting misplaced modifiers in your own writing. Once you understand what they are, you'll be surprised how easy they are to fix. The issue of dangling and misplaced modifiers arises when the subject of an adjective phrase (see help "PARTS OF SPEECH") isn't where it's supposed to be in the sentence. A dangling modifier is a phrase whose subject isn't in the sentence anywhere at all. A misplaced modifier is a phrase whose *intended* subject isn't the same as its *actual* subject, based on the structure of the sentence. MISPLACED MODIFIERS Examples of misplaced modifiers appear in <> in the sentences below: <Polished daily>, the servants take good care of the castle stonework. <As blue as the summer sky>, I picked a handful of forget-me-nots. <Condemned to imprisonment>, all hope was lost to the captured men. <Heavy and solid>, the noise the armor made echoed in the corridor. As you can see, these sentences make sense and are grammatically correct, but their modifiers are modifying the wrong words. Their *intended* meanings are not the same as their *actual* meanings. The actual meanings of the modifiers are listed below: The servants are polished daily. I am as blue as the summer sky. Hope was condemned to imprisonment. The noise was heavy and solid. The *intended* meanings, however, were these: The castle stonework is polished daily. The forget-me-nots were as blue as the summer sky. The captured men were condemned to imprisonment. The armor was heavy and solid. Therefore we need to rephrase those sentences to make their meanings clear. There are two ways to do this. You can rephrase the whole sentence in a new way (example #1), or you can keep the modifier but change its subject to the right one (example #2). Which solution is better depends on the sentence and on what sort of sound or effect you're going for. The techniques in example #1 might work better for straightforward description, while example #2's sentences might sound more poetic and rhythmic. Example #1: The servants polish the castle stonework daily. The forget-me-nots I picked were as blue as the summer sky. The men were condemned to imprisonment; all hope was lost. The heavy, solid armor made noise that echoed in the corridor. Example #2: Polished daily by the servants, the castle stonework shines. As blue as the summer sky, the forget-me-nots seemed to smile at me. Condemned to imprisonment, the men knew all hope was lost. Heavy and solid, the noisy armor echoed through the corridor. Here's one last example. This is from an actual newspaper story about poor cleaning practices at a major city zoo. Mice were seen scurrying in the enclosures holding apes and orangutans. As you can see, "holding apes and orangutans" is a misplaced modifier here, too, even though it's at the *end* of the sentence, not the beginning. It's meant to modify "enclosures," but its actual function is to modify "mice." This makes it sound like the mice were holding apes and orangutans. This is just a funny example to show you why misplaced modifiers should be fixed, and how it can actually be fun to learn to recognize them. DANGLING MODIFIERS ARE LESS COMMON. YOU CAN SKIP THIS PART MAYBE. Examples of dangling modifiers appear in <> in the sentences below: <Only three days old>, the puppy's sense of smell was undeveloped. <Wearing a red blazer>, my dad's tie matched his outfit well. As you can see, these sentences *seem* to make sense but don't, not really. "Only three days old" describes the puppy, but the puppy isn't the subject of the sentence. The sense of smell is. "Wearing a red blazer" describes my dad, but he isn't in the sentence either. Only his tie is. The sense of smell and the tie are not the *intended* subjects of these phrases, but they are the *actual* subjects because of where they are in the sentences. To fix this, you simply rephrase the sentence. Example #1 shows the best solution: rewriting the whole thing to be simpler and clearer. Or you can keep the structure of the sentence and rearrange to get the modifier in the right place (example #2). Example #1: The puppy was only three days old, so its sense of smell was undeveloped. My dad was wearing a red blazer and a tie that matched. Example #2: Only three days old, the puppy had an undeveloped sense of smell. Since the puppy was only three days old, its sense of smell was undeveloped. Wearing a red blazer, my dad chose a tie that matched the outfit well. My dad was wearing a red blazer, so his tie matched his outfit well. Please feel free to contact your ZE if you'd like an exhaustive, detailed explanation of this or any other grammar issue. See Also: COMMAS GRAMMAR_INDEX "PARTS OF SPEECH" GRAMMAR_TERMS "PARTS OF SPEECH" NOUN ADJECTIVE ADVERB PRONOUN PREPOSITION This file is intended as a glossary for some of the other grammar files, in case you find terms you're not familiar with. A good dictionary, or a copy of The Elements of Style, is an invaluable resource, but here is a quick rundown. Adjective: An adjective describes (modifies) a noun. They are words like colors, sizes, and other qualities of a person, place, or thing. Examples of adjectives are in <> below: the <blue> sky his <smelly> <old> coat the <colossal> mountain her <overgrown> garden When two or more words are combined to form an adjective, they should be separated with a hyphen, unless the first word is an adverb ending in LY. Examples of this appear in Help HYPHENS. Adverb: An adverb describes (modifies) a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. They are words that describe intensity, duration, or other qualities of an action, or which intensify or add precision to an adjective or another adverb. Examples of adverbs describing verbs are in <> below: he ran <quickly> she shouted <loudly> Examples of adverbs describing adjectives are in <> below: his horse was <extremely> tired the city was <incredibly> far away Examples of adverbs describing other adverbs are in <> below: he ran <very> quickly she shouted <unncessarily> loudly Noun: A noun is, quite simply, a person, a place, or a thing. Nouns that refer to generalities are called 'common nouns', and nouns that refer to specific ideas are 'proper nouns.' Proper nouns are almost always capitalized. Nouns that consist of more than one word are called compound nouns. Compound nouns are sometimes two distinct words (like "Aramingo Avenue" below), sometimes hyphenated (like gold-digger), and sometimes combined into a single word (like broadsword). Examples of common nouns are in <> below: the <dog> ran down the <street> her <clan> removed an inactive <member> their <religion> included strange <rituals> Examples of proper nouns are in <> below: my dog <Spot> ran down <Aramingo Avenue> <Clan 86> removed <Thrasne> the priests of <Riverton> worship the sun Preposition: A preposition is a word that directs the action of a verb. There are a limited number of prepositions in English (between forty and fifty, I can never remember), and they are usually very small words. Examples of prepositions are in <> below: his sword was <in> its sheath the pen rolled <underneath> the desk he lost his hero flag <at> the end <of> February <above> and <beyond> the call <of> duty The dependent clause that begins with and supports a preposition is called a "prepositional phrase." Using the same examples as above, each prepositional phrase is in <> below: his sword was <in its sheath> the pen rolled <underneath the desk> he lost his hero flag <at the end> <of February> <above and beyond the call> <of duty> Usually, if a word can be inserted into the following sentence and still make some kind of sense, it is a preposition: "I sat _______ the chair." All prepositions -- examples: around, at, on, under, underneath, beneath, atop, near, over, across, below, in, into, through, against, behind, toward, inside, throughout, between, etc. -- will fit into this sentence, although they may not make perfect sense. Just imagine a really flexible chair. Pronoun: A pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. You could use a person or thing's full name every time you refer to it, but instead, you use a pronoun to make your speech or writing sound much more natural and eased. The English language has a very small number of pronouns; examples are he, she, it, they, we, us, you, I, me, etc. Pronouns can also be possessive; examples are his, her, hers, its, their, our, your, my, etc. These sentences do not contain pronouns: Kostia says Kostia has had a hard day. Riverton's walls surround Riverton on all sides. The shopkeeper telepathed the player that the shopkeeper would buy the sword. Examples of pronouns are in <> below: Kostia says <she> has had a hard day. Riverton's walls surround <it> on all sides. The dog scratched at <its> fleas. The shopkeeper telepathed <me> that <he> would buy <it>. In order for the sentence to be clear, it must be established what the pronoun refers to. "He said he was there," for example, doesn't make sense unless we know who "he" is and where "there" is. That's why the sentence should make it clear. In the sentence "John said he was at Riverton," for example, it is clear that "he" is John. The word "John" is called the antecedent; it defines what the pronoun refers to. A pronoun always refers back to another noun, its antecedent. Pronouns have two senses, objective and subjective. Objective pronouns are being acted UPON. Verbs or prepositions are "pointed at" them. Subjective pronouns are DOING something. They are what's doing the action of the verb. Objective sense includes HE SHE WE I. The subjective is HIM HER US ME. This means that HIM is used when the word is the object of the verb, the thing being acted upon, or the word a preposition is pointed at. HE is used when the word is acting by itself or acting upon something else. Unfortunately, as always in English, there are exceptions. One huge exception whenever you're dealing with pronouns is that if the verb is a form of "to be," the objective pronoun takes the subjective form. This means that you should answer the phone "This is she," not "This is her." The verbs that are forms of "to be" are AM IS ARE WAS WERE BE BEING BEEN. Verb: A verb is an action word, referring to something that a noun is doing. They can either be transitive or intransitive. Transitive verbs always take an object. You do them TO something. Intransitive verbs do not require an object. You just do them. There are a few verbs in English that can be used either as transitive verbs or intransitive; examples of these are grow, remain, stay, seem, smell, and feel. The tense of a verb determines when the action is occurring. Past tense verbs (like was, were, climbed, saw) tell you that the action has already been completed. Present tense verbs (like is, are, climb, see) tell you that the action is occurring right now. Future tense verbs (like will climb, will see, will be) tell you that the action has not yet occurred, and are often made up of the word "will" followed by another verb. Examples of transitive verbs are in <> below: she <planted> the seed the dog <gnaws> on a bone the brambles <will tear> his robe Examples of intransitive verbs are in <> below: my horse <collapses> the child <grew> in his grave he <will lie> Conjunction: A conjunction is a word that connects clauses or words, either grouping them together or separating them. By far, the most common conjunctions in English are AND, OR, and BUT. Other conjunctions include since, because, while, and some uses of "as" and "for." Examples of conjunctions are in <> below: Baenlyrs <and> xeurns <and> gnoll lords, oh my! We went to Demonforge, <but> she didn't. I haven't felt the same <since> my clan disbanded. I was late, <for> I ran into a mobfaction. Subject and Predicate: Every sentence can be divided into two main parts, the subject and the predicate. At its simplest, a sentence describes a single action taking place. The subject is who or what is acting, and the predicate is the action itself. The following simple sentences have the subject on the left side of the dividing || mark and the predicate on the right. Kostia || appears with a blinding flash of light. That stupid baenylr || bit me! My friend || got removed from his clan. More complex sentences can have "compound" subjects or predicates, meaning more than one entity is acting (compound subject) or more than one action is taking place (compound predicate). Compound subjects: Ozymandias, Vryce, and Nykaul || answer the discipline emails. Isolated zones and uninhabited islands || dot the distant oceans. Covered wagons and packhorses || are some of the options for TRs. Compound predicates: Navigators on the road || tell you where zones are, but aren't mobs. My prompt || showed hitpoints in blue and showed mana in red. One of her clannies || phased her and resurrected her. Compound subject AND compound predicate: Savitar and Rapscallion || are MUD clients and run on a Mac. New players, but not heroes, || can use RECALL and can quit anywhere. Subject and predicate || are complicated words but simple concepts. Sometimes the subject comes AFTER the predicate, producing a poetic or old-fashioned sound for a sentence: Lovely and talented was || the beautiful young pianist. Gave me a good scare, did || that Halloween costume. Clause: A clause is a group of words that function as a unit. Clauses come in two varieties, dependent and independent. An independent clause is just a fancy name for a sentence. It doesn't need any help to become complete; it can stand on its own. A dependent clause cannot stand on its own; it can be a part of a sentence, or a descriptive phrase. It behaves like one word, though it is made up of more than one. Therefore, a dependent clause is referred to by the part of speech it serves as. Examples of ADJECTIVE CLAUSES are in <> below: The <tall, thin, and stealthy> thief picked my pocket. To the east, <far off in the distance,> you see a pillar of smoke. My computer is behaving in <an entirely unacceptable> manner. Examples of ADVERBIAL CLAUSES are in <> below: You see a large house bustling <with activity and the sound of music.> Players fly <even faster> with the DH flag and the Draconian Charm. Dependent clauses can also be referred to as "subject clauses" or "predicate clauses." This is basically the same as saying "subject" or "predicate." Objects: When the action of a verb is directed at or through something or someone, the verb takes an object. There are two kinds of objects, direct and indirect. The direct object is the primary goal, that which receives the immediate action of the verb, just like a spell you cast. The indirect object is the secondary goal or recipient of the action, like the player or mob who is the target of your spell. Example: In the sentence "I read my daughter a story" the verb is "read." The immediate action of the verb "read" is "a story." That's the direct object. The secondary recipient of the action is "my daughter," who is having the story read to her. More examples: Direct objects are in <> and indirect objects are in : Syltheana gives [Ozymandias] <a thick turkey leg>. Did I ever tell [you] <that story>? The command is cast <magic missile> [janitor]. Direct objects can appear in sentences without indirect objects, but not the other way around. You can say "I gave the turkey." but not "I gave you." You need to specify what you gave. Please feel free to contact your ZE if you'd like an exhaustive, detailed explanation of this or any other grammar issue. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX READLIST GRAMMAR_WORDS HYPHENS HERE If you can write your sentence without the word "here," DO IT. Avoid phrases that add nothing to your descriptions, like "can be seen here." Use strong verb phrases like "trembles on the ground" instead of lame redundancies like "is here." See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX STYLESHEET HYPHEN HYPHENS HYPHENATION CTB_HYPHENS The hyphen character ( - ) is used to connect words that are used together in certain circumstances. As it applies to writing rooms, mobs and objects for Medievia, this usually comes up in the following situations: * Use hyphens to connect certain prefixes. Most prefixes do not require a hyphen to connect them to the word they modify. There is no hyphen after prefixes like mis, non, un, dis, over. Other prefixes, such as anti-, self-, ex- and all-, do require a hyphen. Right: disconnect, misuse, uncooperative Wrong: mis-understand, over-throw, un-usual Right: ex-husband, all-knowing, anti-aircraft Wrong: prochoice, expresident, selfassured * Use hyphens to connect hyphenated compounds. When two or more words are combined to form one word, one concept, they are often hyphenated. If you put two words together to create one adjective before a noun, use a hyphen between them. Right: red-veined petals, fast-paced battle, ten-foot-wide door Wrong: softshelled crab, long term commitment, twenty mile road Further explanation: 'fifteen-foot-tall bridge' would be correct, but 'the bridge is fifteen-feet tall' is incorrect. This is because 'fifteen-foot-tall' is combining words into one thought, while the other is using each word as a description on its own. The exception to this is when the first word is an adverb that ends with the letters LY. Since nothing is ever that simple, the exception to the exception is words that end in LY but are adjectives, not adverbs. Examples of some of these adjectives are holy, deadly, ugly, sickly, slovenly, burly, and unearthly. Right: badly decomposed corpse, deadly-looking sword, highly esteemed king Wrong: thickly-coated walls, closely-cropped beard, thinly-veiled threat Since it comes up a LOT on Medievia, I feel I should point out that "leather-bound" and "leatherbound" are both correct. Sometimes it looks nicer without the hyphen. When these hyphenated compound adjectives are used in room names, capitalize both halves of the phrase. "Blood-Stained," not "Blood-stained." * Use hyphens to spell out long numbers. In room, mob and object descriptions, numbers look much better spelled out. Numbers between 21 and 99, inclusive, should be written with hyphens, whether they are part of a larger number or standing alone. Hundreds are not hyphenated. Right: ninety-nine, five hundred forty-seven, sixty-three Wrong: 99, five-hundred forty seven, sixtythree Please feel free to contact your ZE if you'd like an exhaustive, detailed explanation of this or any other grammar issue. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX ROOM NAME IE EG SEIZE SIEZE SEIGE SIEGE WIERD WEIRD There are two parts to HELP IE. 1. The phrase "i.e." Please do not use the Latin abbreviations "i.e." or "e.g." in any writing on Medievia. The abbreviation "i.e." means, literally, "that is," so you can replace it with the words "that is" or the phrase "in other words." The abbreviation "e.g." means "for example," so you can replace it with "for example," "such as," or "like," among other synonyms. 2. Words commonly misspelled with "ie" and "ei" in them Correct: Incorrect: weird wierd siege seige sieve sieve seize sieze These are words that do not obviously follow the tried-and-true rule of "i before e, except after c, or when the sound is an a, as in neighbor and weigh." These words include science, conscience, either, etc. Remember that you have a spellchecker any time you are on the game. Typing SPELL WORD WEIRD will always tell you if you're right. See Also: WORDS STYLESHEET JUSTIFY JUSTIFIED All room descriptions and other text entered into the game (such as CLANTOWN MOBS) should be justified, meaning the lines should be 80 characters or fewer, and there should be no double spaces between words or sentences. You don't have to justify your text by hand. The "J" command in the EDITOR does this for you. Gods can also use the level 32+ command LJUST to do it without entering the editor. It is strongly recommended that you justify not only text in rooms and mobs, but also your POLITICS message if you are a candidate, your posts to "BULLETIN BOARDS", CLANNEWS posts, and MUDMAILS you send, especially those that will be forwarded to gods. It makes long text much easier to read. See Also: CTB_INDEX EDITOR MUDMAIL CLANNEWS POLITICS BOARD (wizhelp) LJUST RUNON "RUNON SENTENCE" "RUN-ON SENTENCE" CTB_RUNON HOWEVER A run-on sentence is a sentence made up of two independent clauses that are joined only by a comma. Every independent clause needs to have a subject and a verb. In the sentence "John went to the store." the subject is "John" and the verb is "went." When you construct a sentence from two or more independent clauses, they need to be separated by a semicolon (;) or a comma AND a conjunction. Examples of conjunctions are and, or, but, since, because, yet and others. The word "however" is NOT a conjunction. Writing run-on sentences is an easy mistake to make, because while they are not grammatically correct, they may sound like natural speech. Here are some examples to demonstrate run-on sentences and how to fix them. Wrong: The desert is covered with a layer of sand, it seems to go on forever. High overhead, the sky is a strange gray color, clouds obscure the sun. You are on a tiny island in the ocean, water surrounds you on all sides. These are all run-on sentences because they are made up of two independent clauses separated only by a comma. There are three simple ways to fix this. 1.) Change the comma to a semicolon. Right: The desert is covered with a layer of sand; it seems to go on forever. 2.) Insert a conjunction after the comma. Right: High overhead, the sky is a strange gray color, and clouds obscure the sun. 3.) Split the sentence into two separate sentences. Right: You are on a tiny island in the ocean. Water surrounds you on all sides. A common cause of run-on sentences is the use of "however" as a conjunction. "However" is an adverb, and cannot be used to separate independent clauses. "However" should never be used at the beginning of a sentence. Wrong: The mountain slope is rocky and steep, however the trail is clear. The mountain slope is rocky and steep. However, the trail is clear. Right: The mountain slope is rocky and steep; however, the trail is clear. The mountain slope is rocky and steep, but the trail is clear. Other adverbs that commonly cause this error include then, also, meanwhile, still, nevertheless and others. Please feel free to contact your ZE if you'd like an exhaustive, detailed explanation of this or any other grammar issue. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX SEMICOLONS SEMICOLONS This grammar help file deals with the correct use of the semicolon. For information on how to type the semicolon character (;) in MudMaster, please see Help SEMICOLON. A semicolon looks like this... ; You can type one without MudMaster assuming it's a command separator by typing a backslash before it. See Help SEMICOLON for more information. Semicolons are mostly used to separate and connect two independent clauses that have been combined into a single sentence. An independent clause is a set of words that could function on its own as a complete sentence (it has a subject and a verb). Semicolons are also used to separate the items in a list that follows a colon when the items in the list contain commas so that separating them with commas causes confusion. As it applies to writing rooms, mobs, and objects for Medievia, the semicolon usually comes up in the following two situations: * Use semicolons to separate two parts of a compound sentence, as an alternative to using a comma and a conjunction. Right: We bought wagons; we walked to Trellor. Wrong: We bought wagons; walked to Trellor. We bought wagons; and walked to Trellor. We bought wagons; and we walked to Trellor. A compound sentence is made up of two independent clauses linked by either a semicolon or a comma and a conjunction. Either clause could stand on its own as a sentence. "We bought wagons. We walked to Trellor." is perfectly correct, but linking these two sentences into one is preferred because of the close relationship between them. Two sentences that are not really related, such as "I poured myself a glass of iced tea. I like cheese." should not be linked together into a compound sentence. There's a very subjective judgment here, deciding whether the appropriate solution is using a semicolon, using a comma and a conjunction, or splitting the sentence into two separate sentences. Your ZE will make suggestions. Often, reading the sentence out loud to yourself can help. If the two parts of the sentence say contradictory things, or if they are explaining two things happening at specific times, or if they are showing cause and effect, the use of a conjunction (like "but," "since," "as," or "while") is probably warranted. If the two parts are saying the same thing in two different ways, a semicolon is probably the way to go. If the two parts are unrelated or particularly complex, it's best to split them into two separate sentences, just to give the reader a place to pause and think. When a reader encounters a period (a full stop), the natural reaction is to pause, and usually to take a full breath. You can see this if you read out loud to yourself. When a reader encounters a semicolon, the natural reaction is to pause, and perhaps to inhale, but not to stop entirely. At a comma, there is only a slight pause, so a conjunction is used to add extra 'time' before the next part of the sentence. This hierarchy among the lengths of the reading pauses correlates directly to the use of the punctuation. If you want your reader to pause for a breath, whether that pause is intended to make the reader think or simply to give him or her a break, use a period and start a new sentence. If you want your reader to pause while the sentence starts in a different direction, use a semicolon. More examples of this can be found in Help "RUNON SENTENCE". * Use semicolons to separate items in a list following a colon, when the items in the list can't be separated with commas without confusion. Right: The mural shows four groups: a knight, his squire, and his horse; a princess and her handmaidens; a king, his bearers, and his man-at-arms; and a queen and her lady-in-waiting. Wrong: The mural shows four groups: a knight, his squire, and his horse, a princess and her handmaidens, a king, his bearers, and his man-at-arms, and a queen and her lady-in-waiting. As you can see, in the "Wrong" example it is impossible to tell where one group ends and the next begins. The use of semicolons makes these distinctions clear, while still allowing the correct use of commas to separate the items within each group. This creates an easy-to- understand hierarchy for dividing the sentence into parts: first, the colon; then the semicolons; then the commas. Please feel free to contact your ZE if you'd like an exhaustive, detailed explanation of this or any other grammar issue. See Also: COMMA "RUNON SENTENCE" GRAMMAR_INDEX SPELLING Checking for misspelled words can be difficult on Medievia, so a good method is to paste your room descriptions and other zone texts into another word program equipped with a spell checker. Proofreaders also help when checking for spelling, but do not always catch everything. Please don't depend 100% on the built-in spellchecker on the game. The dictionary in the in-game spellchecker is by no means complete. If you're unsure about how to correctly use or spell a word, simply ask for help. ZEs and other gods are always available to answer these questions. Medievia uses Americanized spellings of English words. Although some older zones may have British spellings, we don't allow this anymore. The ZE staff is made up of Americans trained in American English, and we simply don't have the ability to give you our best editing services in British English. Examples of British spelling American | British color = colour theater = theatre center = centre story = storey armor = armour practice = practise There are endless other instances of usage and spelling where British and American English differ. If you are not a NATIVE SPEAKER of American English, just write naturally, and your ZE will help you with corrections. The only exception is that British and "archaic" spellings may be used in lookats and objects like old books, handwritten notes from characters in your zone, and so on. There is room for creativity, and your ZE can help you with this as well. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX BRULES2 STYLE STYLESHEET "STYLE SHEET" STT A stylesheet is a list of preferred spellings and usages specific to a publication or organization. For instance, one newspaper or magazine might have a rule that the word "website" should be written as "Website," while another uses "web site" as two words with a space. While it is unrealistic to expect that all publications and organizations will use the same spellings and usages when more than one is acceptable, it is essential that within a publication or organization, the usages be CONSISTENT. To that end, this style sheet lists common words with more than one spelling, and common usage dilemmas, with the preferred one indicated. We'll call this "Medievia style." This is a work in progress, and always will be. Contact Damonius (firstname.lastname@example.org) with ideas for additions, clarifications, and whatever else you can think of. ZEs, especially, are encouraged to submit ideas for inclusion on this list. Remember to look things up in Strunk & White (The Elements of Style) or Edit Yourself by Bruce Ross-Larson, if you have them, whenever necessary. You can download an Elements of Style "cheatsheet" at this URL: http://lesliesrussell.blogsome.com/2004/12/13/the-elements-of-style-cheat-sheet/ If that link stops working (again) the PDF is also available at: http://www.kostia.net/pics/eoscs.pdf Styles are listed in alphabetical order to make it easier to find what you're looking for. Note that most grammar rules go out the window when you're writing mob gossips. Mobs can say whatever they want to, just like people do. ---ABC aging (not ageing) and (in a list, DO use the comma before the conjunction) anyway, any way: one word when it means "regardless," as in "I did it anyway"; two words when it follows a preposition, as in "Did it hurt in any way"; two words when it means "whatever method," as in "Do it any way you can" benefited (not benefitted) blond ("blonde" is feminine. "blonde woman" but "blond hair") blood-red: hyphenate when an adjective, like "blood-red cloth"; do not hyphenate when after a verb, as in "the shield is blood red" [[As always, ZEs have leeway to rule as they see fit on this]] breastplate (one word) burned (not burnt. "burnt" may be used as an adjective only) cast iron (never hyphenate) centimeter: don't use; use inches/feet/etc., not metric measurements chainmail (one word) complement means "go well with," as "the red flowers complement the brick" complement as a noun means "enough to make a whole," as "a full complement" compliment means "praise" or "admiration." (the more common usage of the two) crisscross, crisscrossing (never hyphenate) crystal-clear: hyphenate when an adjective, like "crystal-clear water"; do not hyphenate when after a verb, as in "the fountain runs crystal clear" ---DEF defense (not defence - use American spellings) definite, definitely (commonly misspelled; there is no A in this word!) dialogue (not dialog) directions - do not capitalize! (north, south, northeast, southwest) disc ("disk" is more modern, implying computer disks) draconic - means "of the dragons" - please never use "dragonic"; "draconian" has a separate meaning referring to harsh laws e.g. means "for example" - use "for example" instead to avoid confusion earned (not earnt) east (not East) echoes (not echos) embedded (not imbedded) enroll (not enrol - use American spellings) etc. - do not use in rooms if possible; use a synonym, like "and so on" fae (please NEVER capitalize references to rae and fae) fall (the season - not Fall) ---GHI gods/god (please use lowercase when referring to Medievia staff members and when referring to "the gods" in zone stories) gray/grey (either one is acceptable; up to the builder 100%) griffon (preferred) or gryphon - please never use "griffin" or others hatred (please do not use the verb "hate" as a noun) have been: keep together, treat as an infinitive, don't split. Wrong: may have once been. Right: may once have been. Goes for "has been" too heroes (not heros) hoard means "to greedily save," like "to hoard gold," or that which is greedily saved, like "the dragon's hoard of gold" horde means "large group," like "a horde of trolls" i.e. means "that is" - use "that is" instead to avoid confusion. ---JKL jet-black: hyphenate when an adjective, like "jet-black hair"; do not hyphenate when an object, as in "her hair is jet black" judgment (not judgement) lamppost (not lamp post, not lamp-post) lean-to (not leanto) leaned (not leant) learned (not learnt) leatherbound (leather-bound also acceptable, but prefer one word) ---MNO manmade (not man-made) medium-sized (not medium sized, not medium-size, not medium size) metric system: don't use; use inches/gallons/miles, not metric measurements minuscule (commonly misspelled; remember "minus" not "minis") multicolored, multifaceted: no hyphen after multi unless the next letter is a vowel, as in "multi-use" or "multi-element" non (do not use a hyphen after the prefix in most cases: nonexistent) nonetheless (one word, not "none the less") north (not North) numbers: Spell them out!! Very large numbers should be made imprecise to enable this. One, ten, fifty, seventy-three, six thousand. If precise numbers are absolutely necessary, use numerals for numbers over 100: "7,813" not "seven thousand, eight hundred thirteen." Spelling out numbers is almost always preferred. o'clock (spell out the time; "eleven o'clock" not "11 o'clock" not 11:00) outward (not outwards) ---PQR plantlife (one word, no hyphen, no space, not plant life, not plant-life) platemail (one word) pre-existing (hyphenate after the prefix "pre" when the next letter is a vowel) privilege (commonly misspelled - note there is no D in this word!) quotation marks: Periods and commas go INSIDE the quotation marks. Other punctuation like ? ! : ; -- () goes outside. rae (please NEVER capitalize references to rae and fae) royal blue (never hyphenate) ---STU seasons - do not capitalize "spring," "summer," "winter," and "fall" sizable (not sizeable) skeptic, skeptical (not sceptical) south (not South) spelled (not spelt) spilled (not spilt) spring (the season - not Spring) stained glass window (not stained-glass window) summer (not Summer) that (essential clauses do NOT get commas; see Help THATWHICH) through (never "thru" or other modern slangy words) toward (not towards) transferred/transferring (two Rs not one) traveled (not travelled) traveler (not traveller) traveling (not travelling) un (do not use a hyphen after the prefix in most cases: untouched) unmistakable (not unmistakeable) ---VWXYZ well cared for (never hyphenate; it's impossible to make it clear) well-: hyphenate when an adjective, like "well-kept house"; DO NOT hyphenate when immediately following "is" or "was," as in "the house is well kept"; DO hyphenate when immediately following "has been" or "looks" or similar verbs, as in "the house appears well-kept"; DO hyphenate when modified by an adverb, as in "the house has been painstakingly well-kept" [[As always, ZEs have leeway to rule as they see fit on this]] west (not West) which (dispensable clauses DO get commas; see Help THATWHICH) winter (not Winter) worshipper (usually we would spell this worshiper, but it looks better with PP) wrought iron (never hyphenate) See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX SUDDENLY SUDDEN OBVIOUSLY As help YOU and other files make clear, room descriptions are permanent, and your goal in writing them is to describe what the player can see or sense--no matter what else he or she may be doing. Therefore, sudden events in a room description are just as bad as a room description that tells a player what he or she is thinking or feeling. Some words and phrases should be avoided in descriptions because they indicate a brief and quick action, and room descriptions are permanent and constant. -suddenly -all of a sudden -instantly -without warning -all at once -as soon as you enter Remember that your room description must make sense even if the player has been sitting there for an hour. It must make sense whether the player entered it from the east or the west. It must make sense if the player phased or was summoned into the room. And it must make sense if all the mobs are dead. Use "ZONE ECHOES" and entrance/exit descriptions (see wizhelp EDITROOM_E) for recurring or entry/exit-related events in rooms. Do not put them in the description. It's fine to use words like "obvious" or "sudden" in ways that aren't related to instant events. For example, you could say there is an "obvious" scar on the blade of an axe. You could say a cliff has a "sudden" drop-off at the edge of a waterfall. These are things that would not change or stop being true, no matter how the player got to the room or how long he or she stayed there. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX YOU SYNONYM A synonym is a word or phrase that means the same thing, or nearly the same thing, as another word or phrase. Writing that uses the same word over and over is tedious and needs the use of synonyms. An easy way to find them is through a thesaurus. If you do not have one, use the following website: http://www.m-w.com/ PLEASE do not use dictionary.com. It lists synonyms that are imprecise and outright wrong. It includes words that are archaic or misdefined, and are not appropriate or usable. It is not a good resource, and it's an ugly site to boot. You will never win an argument with your ZE if something on dictionary.com is the source of your reasoning. We hate this site. -Kostia Please note that the thesaurus will usually list the most exact synoynms first, and less precise ones later. Make sure to look up and become familiar with any synonyms you use, so that you can avoid misusing a word. Just because the thesaurus lists it doesn't mean it's necessarily correct for your particular description. In most cases, if you use a word (other than small ones such as "the" or "a") more than 2 times in the same few sentences it is too much. Even words like "a" and "the" can be overused. Avoid beginning all your sentences with "The such and such" or "A such and such". If you have any questions, talk to a proofreader for assistance. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX TENSES TENSE This file is mainly for ZEs, but builders interested in grammar terms may find it useful. You need to be familiar with help GRAMMAR_TERMS and help "PARTS OF SPEECH" before much of this will make sense. Verbs take a tense in order to communicate when the action is taking place. These tenses might also be referred to as "inflections." The most common tenses are past and present, but as you'll see if you read on, there are many others. Those of you who have studied a foreign language -- especially Latin -- will find many of these terms familiar. Learning to apply them to English may seem strange at first, but I've always felt that once you know how to label and refer to something, the thing itself becomes more clear. This is why there is a science of taxonomy and classification. Anyway, moving on. Throughout these definitions, I use a term called "time of reference." The time of reference comes from the context of the sentence. If you're talking in 2003 about things that happened in 2001, 2001 is your time of reference. If you're talking in August about things that will happen in December, December is your time of reference. If you're talking on Monday about things that are happening on Monday, Monday is your time of reference. I hope to clarify this through examples. The "time of speaking" is just what it sounds like. Present Tense Verbs in the present tense describe action that occurs now. The time of reference and the time of speaking are the same. Present tense verbs do not end in "ing" -- those are progressive tenses, found later in this file. Examples of present tense verbs appear in <brackets>: I <give> up! The horse <walks> into the stable. There <is> a pie on your face. Past Tense Verbs in the past tense describe action that is completed. The time of reference is before the time of speaking. Examples of past tense verbs appear in <brackets>: I <gave> up! The horse <walked> into the stable. There <was> a pie on your face. Future Tense Verbs in the future tense describe action that has not happened yet. The time of speaking is before the time of reference. In English, we have to use "will" or "shall" to make a verb future tense. Examples of future tense verbs appear in <brackets>: I <will give> up! The horse <will walk> into the stable. There <will be> a pie on your face very soon. Now it gets more interesting. Present Perfect Tense Verbs in the present perfect tense describe *ongoing* action that is completed. The time of speaking and the time of reference are the same: "now." In English, we need the words "has" or "have" to make a verb into the present perfect tense. Usually this is action that has *just* been completed. Examples of present perfect verbs appear in <brackets>: I <have given> up! The horse <has walked> into the stable. A pie <has appeared> on your face. Past Perfect Tense Verbs in the past perfect tense describe action that was ongoing, but was completed by the time of reference, which is before the time of speaking. In English, we use the word "had" to make a verb past perfect. This tense comes up a lot when telling stories, as you relate one occurrence in the narrative to the next. The phrase "by that time" might follow these phrases. This tense is also known as the "pluperfect," an older Latin term. Examples of past perfect verbs appear in <brackets>: I <had given> up! The horse <had walked> into the stable. A pie <had been> on your face. Future Perfect Tense Verbs in the future perfect tense describe action that will be completed by the time of reference, which is in the future. In English we use "will have" to denote this. Often, the phrase "by that time" or "by the time [something else occurs]" shows up. This would be an upcoming event, like a deadline. Examples of future perfect verbs appear in <brackets>: I <will have given> up! The horse <will have walked> into the stable. A pie <will have been thrown> at your face. In order to understand the progressive tenses, you need to understand the word "participle." A participle is a verb ending in 'ing'. Often they can be used as adjectives as well as nouns, as in "the screaming woman" or "a burning fire." Present Progressive Tense Verbs in the present progressive tense describe action that is ongoing, and is *still* ongoing at the time of reference (which is the same as the time of speaking). As you can see in the sentence you just read, in English we put "is" and "ing" around these verbs. Sometimes "is _____ing" is referred to as a "present participle." Examples of present progressive verbs appear in <brackets>: I <am giving> up! The horse <is walking> into the stable. A pie <is sticking> to your face. Past Progresive Tense Verbs in the past progressive tense describe ongoing action that was still ongoing at the time of reference. The time of reference was before the time of speaking. In English we use "was" and "ing" around these verbs. Sometimes "was ______ing" is referred to as a "past participle." A "perfect participle" (an old term) is the same thing. Examples of past progressive verbs appear in <brackets>: I <was giving> up! The horse <was walking> into the stable. A pie <was flying> towards your face. Future Progressive Verbs in the future progressive tense describe action that hasn't happened yet (or may have started) but will be ongoing (or *still* ongoing) at the time of reference. The time of reference is in the future, after the time of speaking. In English we denote these verbs with "will be" and "ing". Examples of future progressive verbs appear in <brackets>: I <will be giving> up! The horse <will be walking> into the stable. A pie <will be flying> towards your face. I hope this helps. Let me know if you want to learn about crap like subjunctive mood and passive voice. I'm not up for it right now. :) See Also: "PARTS OF SPEECH" GRAMMAR_TERMS GRAMMAR_INDEX THEIR "HE SHE" HESHE THEY THEM The word "they" is plural. It is not a synonym for "he or she." When you use a pronoun, it refers back to a noun. That noun is called the antecedent. The antecedent of they or their must always be plural. Builders: Never use "they" in an exit/entrance message when you mean "he or she," "them" when you mean "him or her," or "their" when you mean "his or her." The variables for these are %e, %m, and %s. They will automatically use the right gender for the person (or mob) passing through the exit. See wizhelp VIEWEXITS. When you put together a sentence like "To each their own" or "Everyone rose to their feet," you are using their (a plural pronoun) to refer back to "each" or "everyone" (a singular pronoun). Another example is something I found in an editing newsletter, of all places: "In my opinion, a good copyeditor is worth their weight in gold." Eek! We'll use the following sentence as an example for fixing this error. ***A zone builder uses medbuild when they upload their rooms.*** As you can see, the plural pronouns "they" and "their" are used to refer back to the singular noun "builder." There are five ways to fix this problem. 1.) Change the subject and the verb to plural to match the pronoun(s). > Zone builders use medbuild when they upload their rooms. 2.) If you know the actual subject, change the whole sentence to be about that specific subject. > Damonius uses medbuild when he uploads his rooms. 3.) Change the sentence to the second person ("you"), so it's in the imperative voice, giving an order to the listener/reader, or to the first person, so the speaker is doing the actions. > Use medbuild to upload your rooms. > I use medbuild when I upload my rooms. 4.) Rephrase the sentence without pronouns. This can mean repeating the subject or removing the pronouns and making sure the sentence is still clear. It can also mean using the passive voice. > A zone builder uses medbuild to upload rooms. > Zone builders' rooms are uploaded using medbuild. 5.) Change the plural pronouns to forms of "he and she." Change the verbs to singular to match. This is awkward, obviously, and it's a last resort. > A zone builder uses medbuild when he or she uploads his or her rooms. See HELP COLLECTIVE for information on plural/singular when using collective nouns like "group," "series," "variety," etc. Please feel free to contact your ZE if you'd like an exhaustive, detailed explanation of this or any other grammar issue. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX COLLECTIVE THATWHICH THAT WHICH When to use 'that' and when to use 'which' is a common dilemma for writers in all walks of life. To know which word to use, you need to understand the difference between two types of clauses: essential and dispensable. Some grammar books refer to these as restrictive and nonrestrictive, or limiting and commenting, or defining and informing, but we'll use 'essential' and 'dispensable' for our purposes, as I believe these terms make it clearer how these clauses function. To review what a clause is, see Help "PARTS OF SPEECH". *** Essential clauses: *** Essential clauses are set off with the word THAT and do NOT have commas around them. This type of adjective clause describes the subject in a way that makes it clear which subject is being referred to. It can be removed from the sentence without affecting its grammatical structure, but removing it DOES affect the sentence's overall meaning. Examples: The dog <that lives next door> barked all night. This essential clause makes it clear which dog you're mad at. The dog barked all night. If the essential clause is removed, there is not enough information left to know what happened. There are thousands of dogs. The book <that I wrote> was a best-seller. This essential clause makes it clear which book sold well. The book was a best-seller. If the essential clause is removed, there is not enough information left to know what happened. There are thousands of best-selling books. *** Dispensable clauses: *** Dispensable clauses are set off with the word WHICH and DO have commas around them. This type of adjective clause describes the subject in a way that gives additional, optional information. It may make it clearer what's going on, but it can usually be removed from the sentence without compromising the overall meaning. Examples: Our dog, <which has brown fur,> barked all night. This dispensable clause gives you extra information about the dog, but doesn't make it any clearer what happened. Our dog barked all night. If the dispensable clause is removed, the sentence is still clear. You know from the word "Our" which dog is being referred to, so no other information is necessary. My book, <which was published in 1999,> was a best-seller. This dispensable clause tells you something about the book, but it isn't necessary in order to understand which book sold well. My book was a best-seller. If the dispensable clause is removed, the sentence is still complete. You don't need to know when the book was published in order to know what's being said. *** Further examples: *** Essential clauses: The house that is down the block is for sale. The cheese that is in the refrigerator is expired. The bicycle that I got for Christmas is blue. Note that often the "that is" part is actually cumbersome and unnecessary, and you can rephrase the sentence, removing the whole comma issue. The house down the block is for sale. The cheese in the refrigerator is expired. The bicycle I got for Christmas is blue. Dispensable clauses: The house down the block, which is the Smiths', is for sale. The cheese in the refrigerator, which is Stilton, is expired. The bicycle I got for Christmas, which is a Huffy, is blue. Note that these dispensable clauses have been added to the above sentences to provide extra information above and beyond the identifying information. Removing these clauses does not make the sentences any less clear. Just as with the essential clauses above, the "which is" part can be removed, but since this is still a dispensable clause, the commas have to remain. The house down the block, the Smiths', is for sale. The cheese in the refrigerator, Stilton, is expired. The bicycle I got for Christmas, a Huffy, is blue. Please feel free to contact your ZE if you'd like an exhaustive, detailed explanation of this or any other grammar issue. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX COMMAS "PARTS OF SPEECH" WHOMWHO WHOM The words "whom" and "who" are pronouns like "us" and "we." A pronoun always refers back to another noun, its antecedent. Pronouns have two senses, objective and subjective. Objective pronouns are being acted UPON. Verbs or prepositions are "pointed at" them. Subjective pronouns are DOING something. They are what's doing the action of the verb. The objective sense is WHOM. The subjective is WHO. This means that WHOM is used when the word is the object of the verb, the thing being acted upon, or the word a preposition is pointed at. WHO is used when the word is acting by itself or acting upon something else. The same is true of WHOMEVER and WHOEVER, for when the antecedent is unknown or multiple. Examples: Kostia is the one who wrote the zone. - WHO is the subject of the verb WROTE. Who will freeze that player? - WHO is the subject of the verb WILL FREEZE. Whoever asks first gets it. - WHOEVER is the subject of the verb ASKS. Whom did you give it to? - WHOM is the object of the preposition TO and the verb GIVE. I gave it to whomever. - WHOMEVER is the object of the preposition TO. Unfortunately, as always in English, there are exceptions. One huge exception whenever you're dealing with pronouns is that if the verb is a form of "to be," the objective pronoun takes the subjective form. This means that while "love whom you want to love" is correct, the right follow-up is "be who you want to be." This is also discussed in help PREPOSITION. Obviously the usage of WHOM usually sounds pretentious and overscholarly (pedantic). In modern writing, casual writing, and especially writing for a young and short-attention-spanned audience like Medievia's, it's best to avoid it entirely. These examples and rules are here to help show you when it is formally correct. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX GRAMMAR_WORDS GRAMMAR_WORD WORDS CTB_WORDS Lots of words that sound the same and mean similar things are easily confused. I hope some of these reminders will help builders avoid common mistakes and cut down on those tfixes! An *awesome* website with lots of explanations of commonly confused and misused words: http://www.cjr.org/tools/lc/index.asp#archives The second half of the book "Edit Yourself" also has a lot of these. It's available at Amazon at this link: http://tinyurl.com/53ulq AFFECT/EFFECT "Affect" means to have an influence on or to act on. The card affected him in a way that I would not have guessed. "Effects" occur as a result of something, brought on by something else. The potion had an immediate effect on the player. "Affect" is a verb, or action. Both "Action" and "Affect" start with A. "Effect" is a noun, the end product. Both "End Product" and "Effect" start with E. Another mnemonic is the word VANE. Verb: Affect, Noun: Effect. There are exceptions; you can effect change, or effect a revolution, as in cause them to occur. This is very rarely used in writing for Medievia. In the social sciences and medicine, a subject's state of health can be referred to as an "affect," which is a use that makes it a noun. We use this meaning when we have spell and equipment affects. But 99% of the time in writing descriptions, "affect" is the verb and "effect" is the noun. If you're clear on the difference between a verb and a noun, which is in help "PARTS OF SPEECH" and basic elementary English education, you'll be fine with this one. EMIT/EMANATE/EXUDE See Help EMIT. FURTHER/FARTHER "Farther" should be used when you mean actual, physical distance. The smell of blood lessens the farther you get from the butcher shop. "Further" is for more abstract things, not real-world objects. We won't know the answer to that until we do further research. IT'S/ITS "It's" is a contraction of "it is" and always means "it is" or "it has." I can't use this dagger, it's (it is) anti-good. "Its" is the possessive form of "it" for when something owns something else. The elephant waved its trunk around. When in doubt, try replacing IT'S with IT IS. If that doesn't work, you should be using ITS. RISE/RAISE "Rise" means to get up, to increase one's altitude, to go up. The stench rises from the dungeon. I rise from bed. The sun rises. "Raise" means to BRING something ELSE up, often as a metaphor. She was raised by her mother. I raise sunflowers. Pull the rope to raise the dumbwaiter to this floor. Raise your hand to answer. This difference (also key to lie vs. lay) is in the distinction between a transitive verb (one that can take a direct object; a verb like raise or lay) and an intransitive verb (one that acts on its own; a verb like rise or lie). Some verbs (like remain, stay, grow, feel, smell, and seem) can be either transitive or intransitive. See Help "PARTS OF SPEECH". LIE/LAY "Lie" means to lie down, or for something that's lying someplace. A small note lies on the table. I'm going to lie down for a nap. "Lay" means to PUT something ELSE on a surface. I'm going to lay the sword on the table. I know this one is a real mind-twister. One way to think about it: use LIE when the thing or person is lying down. Use LAY when the thing that's BEING laid down is something ELSE, like an object you're holding. Please see Help "PARTS OF SPEECH" and read about transitive and intransitive verbs for more information on this. Lay is transitive, and lie is intransitive. THEN/THAN "Then" is used when you're talking about time or sequence. I killed the vampire, then I did a little dance. "Than" is for comparing one thing to another. Mount Vryce is taller than Castle Medievia. THERE/THEY'RE/THEIR "There" is used to refer to a particular place or location. Was that you I saw in link yesterday? Why were you there? "They're" is a contraction of "they are" and always means "they are." They're (they are) going to run Bloodstone today. "Their" is the possessive form of "they" for when more than one person owns something. The guards were angry and drew their swords. The word THEY'RE can always be replaced with THEY ARE. TO/TOO/TWO "Too" means exactly the same thing as "also" or "additionally." We were running a ruby lair, so we asked if she'd like to come too. "To" is a preposition, directing action towards something. We're going to the war room, then we're going to go combing. "Two" is the spelling of the number 2. There are two guards at the entrance to the Cathedral. WHOSE/WHO'S "Who's" is only used as a contraction of "who is" or "who has." I need a summon to Medievia. Who's near there? Who's been near there lately? "Whose" is the possessive form of "who." Whose satyr's flute is this? The word WHO'S can always be replaced with WHO IS or WHO HAS. It is never correct to use WHO'S when referring to ownership. YOU'RE/YOUR "You're" is a contraction of "you are" and always means "you are." You're a great backstabber! Your damroll must be about a hundred! "Your" is the possessive form of "you" for when you own something. Your dagger of fire sure is pretty. Can I use it when you're not? The word YOU'RE can always be replaced with YOU ARE. PEAK/PEEK "Peak" is always a noun. It refers to the highest point of something, usually the top of a mountain. "Peek" can be a verb or a noun. As a verb, it means to take a quick look, often without the knowledge of the person you're looking at. As a noun, it refers to the look you're taking. Before reaching the peak, he took a peek down and got vertigo. After he climbed to the peak of the mountain, he peeked into the cave. COMPRISE/COMPOSE "Comprise" means "make up" or "be made up of." "Compose" means "make up." "Compose" can NEVER mean "is made up of." Only "comprise" can do that. Short Version of Rule: For most intents and purposes, "comprise" and "compose" mean the same thing. Please take care to be consistent and clear in your writing when you choose to use them. It is always your priority to be clear! When in doubt, simply use the phrases "make up" or "is made up of," which are always clearer to your reader. Or, better, be DESCRIPTIVE. Don't say "The table is composed of oak" when you could say "An intricately carved oak table dominates the room." Long Version of Rule: Traditionally "comprise" has been considered subtly different from "compose," in that it was considered incorrect to use "comprise" to mean "make up." It was considered correct to say: The team comprises nine players. The team is comprised of nine players. Nine players compose the team. The team is composed of nine players. The team is made up of nine players. Nine players make up the team. --but incorrect to say "Nine players comprise the team." I (Kostia) have enforced this in years past, but I have just decided that it is bullshit. I'm backed up by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which says sense 3 ("compose") of the word "comprise" is in common use for over 100 years and should be fine. Good enough for me. STILL, PLEASE NOTE: It is always better to be clear! When in doubt, simply use the phrases "make up" or "is made up of," which are always clearer to your reader, or use details and exciting words to avoid "crutch" words like these completely. See Also: GRAMMAR_INDEX EMIT "PARTS OF SPEECH" YOU YOUR YOURSELF "YOU RULES" CTB_YOU The rule about "you" is this: Do not tell players how they think, how they act, how they feel, or what they say. Do not assume a player's actions or reactions or opinions. The main exception, and one way to see if your use of "you" is okay, is to see if it's one of the five senses. "You see a wide bridge upstream" is fine (sight). "You hear birds fluttering in the high trees" is fine (hearing). "You smell fresh roses throughout the mansion" is fine (scent). "You feel a soft breeze through the open door" is fine (touch). Metaphorical uses of the senses are also okay. So "You can taste death on the air, as though some essence of the damned fills the field" is great. If these sensory events are at all extreme they should be created as procs. Rocks crushing a player's foot or wind blowing players off a path are examples. These go beyond sensory observations to things that actually move or hurt the player. *Incorrect* usages of "you" -You puke at the sight of the bloody corpse on the ground. -The sight of the bloody corpse on the ground makes you want to puke. -You think to yourself how sad it is there is a bloody corpse of a girl on the ground. -You say to yourself, "who killed this girl, this is terrible!". -You see the bloody corpse on the ground and want to run away in terror. -You smile joyously at the antics of the frolicking horses. -The antics of the frolicking horses makes you smile to yourself. -You feel excited at the prospect of opening the mysterious, ancient tomb. -The intense heat of the chamber burns all of your hair into an ashy crisp. -A huge rock falls on your foot and flattens it. -The smell of the dragons breath burns your eyes out of their sockets. So what are examples of "you" that are okay for room descriptions? Here are some correct uses: -Loose rocks tumble off the cliff near your feet. -The acrid smell of the swamp gas burns your eyes. -You see steep, towering mountains to the west and a peaceful stream to the east. -The tunnel is so cramped that the walls squeeze your chest, making it difficult for you to breathe. (if it is actually suffocating it should be a proc) -You cannot see past your body which is completely blocking the tunnel's passage. -The intense heat of the chamber chars the tips of your hair, filling the room with an offensive odor.