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When to use such and such word

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by Sidewinder, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    Hello all.

    I've been writing a fic for the last few months and when I get reviews, one of the things that usually pop is my missuse of words. I try really hard when proofing to correct these mistakes, but one or two always slip by me.

    The words I'm referring to are,

    Were, we're, there, their, they're, your, you're, etc.

    I always seem to use them in inappropriate ways. I really want to improve my writing and stop these silly mistakes. Does anyone know of a website I could go to, or book I could read dealing with the right way and place to use these words? It would be greatly appreciated.
  2. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    I do not know of a specific site off the top of my head but there are a lot that are a google search away. As in whenever I want to check something like that, I type it in and usually the first hits are sites based on grammar. And allow me to c+p from a guide on pokecommunity I know has a bunch of links...I imagine the third fits the bill quite well but others there should be also good:
    As for the ones you mentioned:
    Were, we're - were is like was but for more than one thing (he was fast/they were fast, they being more than one) and we're is an abbreviation of we are ('we're fast')
    There, their, they're - there is for places (I went there), their is referring to a group owning *something* (It was their ball, It was their idea to go there), and they're is an abbreviation of they are (akin to we're = we are, e.g. They're coming)
    Your, you're - your is possessive (your ball) and you're is also an abbreviation of you are (You're sure that is yours?)

    Hope those links help!
  3. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    Actually, that's exactl what I wanted. And you're right, the third link is exactly what I was looking for. I tried google but I kept getting redirected to solely spell checkers and sites that wanted to offer me cheap SAT prep books

    That really helped out. Thanks!
  4. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    Remember that anything that has an apostrophe in it is a contraction of two words - thus, if you're not sure whether you should be using "we're", "they're", "you're", "it's", etc., see in your head if the sentence still makes sense if you replace it with "we are", "they are", "you are", or "it is". If it does, you use the contraction; if not, the contraction is never the appropriate word. It's a very easy-to-apply rule and it always works.

    As for distinguishing between "there" and "their", if you could replace it with "my" and get a sentence that still makes sense, then you should use "their", while under any other circumstances you probably want "there". If you're referencing Young Frankenstein with "There wolf, there castle", you could technically replace it with "my" and get "My wolf, my castle", but since that would make the joke completely stop making sense, "there" is still the appropriate word. And outside of grammatically incorrect quotations, the "my" thing should always work.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  5. Crystal

    Crystal The Pokemon Observer

    Wow, these are like the grammatic questions from the English class in Form/Grade 3 or 4. They are actually the basic of the basics.

    They are all pronouns of different categories. You just need to know and be able to distinguish the differences between different pronouns:
    1. Personal pronouns - Subjective form: I, you, we, they, he, she, it. Objective form: me, you, us, them, him, her, it.
    2. Possessive pronouns 1 - my, your, our, their, his, her, its.
    3. Possessive pronouns 2 - mine, yours, ours, theirs, his, hers, its.
    4. Demonstrative pronouns - this, that, there
    5. Interrogative pronouns - who, what, where, when, how.

    The abbreviations with the modal auxiliary verb(only list out some common ones):
    I am = I'm
    he is/has = he's
    we are = we're
    they have = they've
    I will = I'll
    I had/would/should = I'd
    I have = I've
    is not = isn't
    are not = aren't
    have not = haven't
    has not = hasn't
    will not = won't
    would not = wouldn't
    shall not = shan't
    should not = shouldn't
    cannot = can't
    could not = couldn't
  6. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    Yes, this is something people learn when they're young. Yet you see people misuse these all time, and NOT just the people on Facebook who also type "u" and "ur" and things like that. And why is that?

    I don't remember learning grammar in school. At all. A lot of people have told me they only properly learned it once, and a lot of people learn by hearing/seeing the same concepts over and over again so that it makes it hard to forget it. It makes sense that a lot of people don't know these things when they're writing themselves, because they learned it when they were... eight? Nine? Memory deteriorates over time, and teachers never bring grammar up unless it becomes a nuisance when grading papers. It just makes less sense that, when people are told they're doing it wrong, they don't bother to correct it. On that note, I don't think Sidewinder should be compared to an eight-year-old for asking for help when almost everyone else finds any excuse in the world to avoid learning correct grammar.
  7. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine Ever-Discordant

    This so much. That and we don't even know if Sidewinder's first language is English. I mean, maybe Sidewinder isn't ESL, and I certainly don't mean to put down people who are. I'm just saying that, it's okay to be confused if you are because English is a complex language, homophones aren't always easy to keep straight, and the internet doesn't always make things easy to learn. It's good that Sidewinder asked (and I'm personally delighted he did to the point that I'll now keep an eye on his work) because it shows he wants to learn. Much better than someone who doesn't know and messes things up constantly because they can't be arsed to ask for tips to keep things straight.
  8. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    @ Crystal

    Well, I'm glad these things come so easy to you, and I'm glad you found the time to share with me. I was born in the USA, but was moved to a foreign country before I was a year old. I wasn't put through correct english grammar and composition schooling until almost 19 when I moved back home. I see how asking questions like this may seem somewhat trivial, but I want to improve my fic, and just have not had the proper schooling that would most people my age do.

    On another note, I appreciate the list you posted. I copy/pasted that into a word document to look at while I write. Until I get all the rules and such down really well, it will serve as a very useful tool. Thanks

    @ Dragonfree

    I tried that out and it helped quite a bit. I started sounding the sentences out loud and found that to be useful as well. I appreciate the advice, thanks

    @ JX Valentine

    That's pretty much the point of this thread. English is rather difficult, especially when it's not your first language. I suppose I should have mentioned that in my first post lol. Couldn't have put it any better than you did, I appreciate it.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  9. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    Yeah, a lot of people, including native English speakers, get it wrong. I didn't know how to do punctuation in dialogue correctly until someone (elyvorg) pointed it out in a review, and I can say that I've learnt a heck fo a lot about writing from the internet as opposed to school (which taught other things to me such as bad habits. >_<).
  10. Crystal

    Crystal The Pokemon Observer

    My first language is not English neither, and I admit I'm still learning the "correct" grammatic way for all sorts of writing works, and I utilize lot of dictionaries.

    Speaking of dictionary, I don't use any online dictionaries nor any translating tools. The one I always use is Lingoes, which is a off-line dictionary tool that can search more than one dictionary at a time from all the dictionaries you had installed in your computer (Yes you need to install it, but it is completely free!). I found it very useful, especially the Oxford English Dictionary it has.
    You can go try google "Lingoes" for its official website, and you can go download all the dictionaries they are available in their website once you had installed the basic Lingoes interface.
    I suggest you this dictionary tool because all the dictionaries it has are well-known "official" dictionaries, they will provides you the correct usage of all sorts of words in all sorts of languages.

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