A Quick and Dirty Guide
Basic spelling and grammar are very easy to pull off. We're not asking for Shakespeare, and we understand if users make the occasional mistake. However, when a post is littered with obvious errors, these need to be corrected. If we can't understand what you're trying to say, we can't reply. There's nothing more to it than that. We just want to be able to correctly interpret your messages.
Another problem is that poor spelling and grammar, even if ultimately comprehensible, takes longer to process and understand. If a post is written badly enough, people may not take the time to decipher it. Therefore, your post could get completely ignored. This is all the more reason one should exercise good spelling and grammar.
The following is a quick and dirty list of a few basic tips to writing with good spelling and grammar.
- Capitalize the first letter of each sentence and name.
For example, "Hello there!" is right and "hello there!" is wrong.
"John" is right and "john" is wrong.
- Capitalize the pronoun "I" when referring to the self.
For example, "I play video games." is right and "i play video games." is wrong.
- Use proper punctuation where needed, such as commas, apostrophes, periods, question and exclamation marks.
For example, "I like peaches, oranges, and apples." is right and "I like peaches oranges and apples." is wrong.
"I hate Bob's hat." is right and "I hate Bobs hat." is wrong.
"I am a fox." is right and "I am a fox" is wrong. There is no period at the end of the second example sentence, therefore it is an incomplete sentence, and needs a period to complete it.
"Are you okay?" is right and "Are you okay." is wrong. There is a period at the end of the second example sentence instead of a question mark, despite the sentence being a question and not a statement. Therefore, the punctuation in the sentence is incorrect, and needs to be corrected by replacing the period with a question mark.
- Don't use commas in place of periods, question and exclamation marks. Sentences cannot end without a period, question or exclamation mark. A sentence does not end with a comma, and if a comma is used instead, the sentence will incorrectly carry on as if it were a long list of broken messages.
For example, "My name is John. I am a fox." is right and "My name is John, I am a fox." is wrong. Those are two individual sentences, and need to be properly separated. If you want to combine the two different messages, then use "And" to connect them. For example, you could write "My name is John, and I am a fox." and that would be correct.
- Try to use the best spelling and grammar that you're capable of. While a forum is not the place for an English exam, people can't understand you if they can't read your writing. It's as simple and innocent as that. Don't use quick, careless chat-speak that you might use in a very informal chatroom or instant message. Forums are different from chatrooms and instant messages. Forums are areas of much slower and more deliberate communication, where users are given more than enough opportunity to write legibly. It also should be taken into consideration that this is a forum for writers with a focus on storytelling, making it all the more important that proper spelling and grammar are used.
Spell checking can be done by copying the text and pasting it into an online spell checker. A writing program with a spell checker like Microsoft Word is also an alternative.
If you use FireFox as your internet browser, right clicking any text field will allow you to turn on its built-in spell checker. Misspelled words will then be underlined in red, and can be automatically corrected by right-clicking the underlined word. Non-US English speakers, see here for dictionary browser add-ons, in order to customize your Firefox spell checker for your variation of English.
Did I forget something important? Let me know in a reply. Others will be reading your posts, so feel free to add on to what I've done with your own advice.