The Grammar and Writing Tools Cheat Sheet

Discussion in 'Writing Tutorials' started by Punkae, May 3, 2016.

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  1. Punkae Artist, Writer, and Professional Tea Addict ♥ [__________________________] Author [Varied-Genre] aesthetic

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    [ THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. ]
    [ DO NOT REPLY TO THE THREAD! ]

    Writing can be a tricky task. That's why it's handy to have a copy of the rules around to keep you on track when working. This is a collection of technical rules and writing tips that have been organized to offer assistance to writers. If you would like to make a addition or edit suggestion for this, please create a thread in the Suggestions forum or contact @Punkae directly.



    INDEX
    Sentences
    Capitalization
    Punctuation
    Monologue and Dialogue
    Tensing
    Narration Perspective
    Etc., i.e., and e.g.
    Creative Writing Tips
    MLA vs. APA Formatting
    [​IMG]
    Note: This is based off of information pertaining to American English grammar and writing styles. Please be aware that there may be some slight differences in British English grammar and writing styles. If examples of these differences are brought to my attention, I will append them to the guide with explanations, so people may choose what they prefer to use. It is generally a good idea to work with either American English or British English format, as meshing them could be perceived as somewhat sloppy writing.

    <List of Sources>​
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
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    SENTENCES
    Sentences are defined as an independent clause, dependent clause(s) attached to an independent clause, or two independent clauses joined by a conjunction.

    Sentence Structure
    Sentences contain a subject and a verb, except when the subject is implied. For example:

    Vera jogs early each morning.
    The subject "Vera" does the verb (action) "jogs".

    Go.
    Yes, this is a whole sentence. It's an imperative sentence (a command). The subject (you) is implied when the command is given.

    Other examples of imperative sentences:
    Pick up the papers.
    Please grab milk at the store.
    Hold on!


    Sometimes sentences contain a subject and an object. An object is a noun other than the main noun the sentence is addressing. The subject is the noun that is paired with the verb. The object is the noun that is acted upon by the subject.

    The girl tied her shoe.
    "The girl" is the subject of the sentence, and she tied her shoe, which is the object upon which she acts.

    Pick up the papers.
    In this example, the subject is you (implied). "The papers" are the object that you are supposed to affect.

    Sentence Components

    Noun - a person, place, thing, or idea. Ex: She is my friend. I love her eyes.
    "She" is a person. "Friend" is a concept (idea). "I" am a person, and "eyes" are a physical component, a 'thing'.

    Subject - The "main" noun, to which the verb applies.

    Object - a noun other than the subject included in the sentence.

    Verb - an action. Ex: The dog runs down the road.
    "Runs" is the action the dog takes.

    Adverb - a word that describe a verb. Ex: The lion lounged lazily on the sunny rock.
    "Lazily" is describing the verb, "lounged".

    Adjective - a word that describes a noun. Ex: The girl twirled her soft, blonde hair between her fingers.
    "Soft" and "blonde" are both used to describe the girl's hair.

    Conjunction - a word that connects two independent clauses. Examples include "for", "and", "as", "nor", "but", "or", "yet", and "so".
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    CAPITALIZATION
    Always capitalize the first letter of the first word at the beginning of a sentence. Proper nouns also get capitalized. Examples of proper nouns are names (Julie, Stephen, Corrie), words used in place of names (Mom, Dad, except when "my", "his", or "her" precedes the word), the word President, and scientific theories (Big Bang Theory). Book titles use capitalization that follows the actual book title. Normal book, article, or story title capitalization involves capitalizing main words and lower casing small or 'connecting' words, though the first word is always capitalized (The Catcher in the Rye).
    Last edited: May 3, 2016
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    PUNCTUATION
    Punctuation refers to the spacing and special characters used to correctly format text. It serves the purpose of keeping writing in a standard format that can be read and understood clearly.

    Spacing
    When writing digitally (on a computer, mobile device, etc.), only use one space following commas, periods, colons, semicolons, quotation marks, exclamation points, and question marks. The extra space to punctuate, if needed, is usually added automatically.

    Do not use spaces on either side of a hyphen.
    Example: There is an on-site nurse available.

    Periods
    A period is used to close a complete sentence if it is a statement. Exclamation points and question marks replace the period at the end of a sentence. Periods are also used in abbreviations, like M.D., which is short for "medical doctor". If an abbreviation ending in a period is at the end of a sentence, do not add a second period.

    Example: I would like to speak with Dr. Wallace Jr. I heard he is the best orthopedic surgeon around.

    Commas

    Colons and Semicolons

    Quotation Marks

    Parentheses and Brackets

    Apostrophes

    Hyphens

    Dashes

    Ellipses

    There are a few ways to use an ellipsis correctly.

    Ellipsis are ALWAYS three dots, never two, never four, etc. The correct way to display it is as a set of three evenly spaced dots. If you're quoting something with a period in the first part of the quote, put the period, then a space, followed by the ellipsis. If you use a sentence with a question mark, put the question mark, a space, then the ellipsis. Ellipses is regarded as a single unit and should not be broken over a line, so use the ellipsis button if the text editor you use has one, or copy the ellipsis symbol (…) and paste it in your text where desired.

    The first is for quoting. This includes quoting part of an originally longer quote or mashing two or more quotes together, while only using the relevant parts. If you do this, it's usually for academic writing or a type of writing where you reference a fiction or non-fiction source (Examples include summary, review, essay, etc.). When quoting a source, and you are not allowed to use ellipses to change the meaning or intention of the original quotes. If you are quoting something that omits words at the beginning, use the ellipsis in front of the quote.

    "… Anaya brushed her hair in long, delicate strokes."
    Full quote: "Every morning and evening, Anaya brushed her hair in long, delicate strokes."

    The second is the one you're generally looking to use within creative writing itself. This usage of the ellipsis is to indicate a pause or break in a train of thought or speech with dialogue. This is something that should only should be used sparingly. There are ways to convey the same effect better using words and better writing skills, and in higher level writing communities, the ellipsis used this way is considered bad or cheap writing. It is often referred to as lazy or annoying, so keep that in mind when using it.

    Correct usage of ellipsis in dialogue:
    "I suppose I can help you …" the girl said.

    An example of how to do this with better writing technique:
    "I suppose I can help you," the girl's words trailed off, as she lowered the book from her face.

    Question Marks

    Exclamation Points

    Slashes
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    MONOLOGUE AND DIALOGUE
    Monologue occurs when one character or narrator is speaking or thinking for a long period of time. Dialogue is when speech occurs in shorter sets and is commonly known as the verbal "back and forth" between people.

    External Dialogue (Speech)
    External dialogue occurs when a person is being directly quoted or when characters are speaking aloud or to other people. Dialogue is separated from speech using double quotes ("blah blah") and proper punctuation and dialogue tags. Dialogue tags are the words or phrases that denote the dialogue taking place and include "said", "replied", "muttered", "snickered", etc. If you are using a dialogue tag to close the sentence, use a comma inside the double quotes. The first word of the dialogue tag should not be capitalized unless it is a proper noun or you are indicating previous dialogue at the beginning of a new sentence. If a question mark or exclamation point are used along with a dialogue tag in the same sentence, do not add a comma after the question mark or exclamation point within the quotes.

    Examples of properly formatted dialogue:
    "Wow, your watch is waterproof," Cindy mused.
    "I can't believe we have a snow day!" exclaimed Paul.
    "When is our project due?" Anna inquired.
    "Ugh, this food sucks." The words were spoken with clear distaste, and Cindy pointedly tossed her lunch in the trash.


    Inner Dialogue (Thoughts)
    Inner dialogue can be separated via italics, or it can be handled without any type of formatting.

    If you have multiple character view points or the current narrator perspective is unclear, use thought tags and italics. Thought tags are the punctuation and phrasing that preface or follow dialogue.

    Example:
    What a bunch of garbage, Sarah thought to herself. I know I should have got better marks on the test, but this teacher really hates me. Sarah crushed the paper in her hand and threw it in the bin beside her.

    If it is clear whose perspective the narration is from, you can use italics without dialogue tags.

    Example:
    What a bunch of garbage. I know I should have got better marks on the test, but this teacher really hates me. Sarah crushed the paper in her hand and threw it in the bin beside her.
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    TENSING
    Tensing tells the reader if the narrative occurs in the past, present, or future. Dialogue is always present tense unless the person speaking is talking about a past or future event.

    Past Tense

    Present Tense

    Future Tense
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    Narration Perspective
    Perspective lets the reader know who is telling the story. Sometime a story is told first hand, from a single narrator. A story can be told from more than one perspective and can even be done from an omniscient (all-knowing) perspective. Omniscient is third person only, unless the omniscient narrator is able to read minds and control others' actions.

    First Person

    Third Person
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    Etc. (et cetera)
    "Etc.", is a commonly used abbreviation for "et cetera" and is used at the end of a list to indicate that there is more that is not being listed.

    One reason for the use of "etc." at the end of the list is when the unmentioned part of the list is comprised of things that logically follow suit, and the beginning of the list was presented to give the reader an idea of what the full list might contain.
    Example: Kittens, puppies, bunnies, etc. are usually considered cute.

    The other for of its use is to imply that the rest of the list is boring or cliche, and is therefore not written out in its entirety. This is an informal but still acceptable use of "etc." or "et cetera". It is not used in academic writing.
    Example: I've got to wash dishes, fold laundry, scrub the kitchen floor, et cetera, et cetera.

    Etc. With Punctuation
    If the etc. occurs at the end of a clause that is followed by more words or phrases before the end of the sentence, you may use a comma or other punctuation, like so:
    I love apples, bananas, oranges, etc., but pineapples are my favorite.

    If the "etc." occurs at the end of the sentence, do not add a second period.
    Example: I love to read fantasy because of elves, wizards, dragons, etc.

    i.e. (id est — that is)
    The abbreviation i.e. is used to introduce an explanation for something.

    e.g. (exempli gratia — for example)
    The abbreviation e.g. is used to introduce an example or a list of examples.

    et al. (et alii — and others)
    Et al. should really only be used in formal citing for research.

    Do not underline or italicize the etc., i.e., e.g., or et al. abbreviations. If you use the original Latin versions, those may be italicized. It is also generally preferable to use the English abbreviations, rather than the Latin. Exceptions are considered okay for citations and reference lists.

    According to the Chicago Manual of Style, writers are recommended to use commas after ie. or e.g. to set off the abbreviated phrases as you would if they were written out. This is somewhat flexible, though it makes sense to use the comma.
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
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