grammar is life

My photo op with Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, and my friend (I’m on the left)! I’m an English teacher, and I’ve always wanted to do a stupid pose for a photo op. This year, I finally got the guts to do it. I had everyone pose with grammar books. I told them to act like the books were amazing. This is what I got instead.

After the photo, Mark handed the book to me. Misha then handed his but wouldn’t let go. He gave me pretty much the exact face he’s making here. I thanked him and grabbed the book, but he still didn’t let go and continued to stare at me. Finally, he let go and I thanked him again.

Later at Misha’s panel, he talked about how some English teacher made him pose with grammar books and how he felt like it was some kind of slight against him. You’re welcome, Misha! I’m glad I could make such an impression on you.

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Haikyuu!! + @ao3tagoftheday

To all artists/bloggers on tumblr;

Do not be sad because of losting some followers or don’t taking much likes, remember, the blog is for yourself and for those that really appreciate it.
The number isn’t important.

I love all my followers for being with me from the start and still are with me❤

Spelling Hacks

Because even though spelling/grammar is pretty much arbitrary and made-up, sometimes getting a word right can be a big confidence boost!

-ice/-ise

Words like practise/practice, device/devise can be tricky not only bcos they sound similar but because they are often the verb/noun versions of each other.

Advice = noun - “here’s some advice”

Advise = verb - “I can advise you”

Hack: “Ice”, the cold, hard thing, is a NOUN, so the noun version of these words end in -ice

Necessary

one C and two Ss

Hack: one Collar and two Sleeves, OR one Condom = Safe Sex

Effect/Affect

Effect = noun - “the effects of the Ice Age”

Affect = verb - “the Ice Age affected geology”

Hack: ‘Special Effects’, a noun (you can put ‘the’ in front) is abbreviated to SFX so ‘ef’ for ‘F’ 

Quiet/Quite/Quit

Sound it out. Qui-et, Quiiiiite (magic e!), Quit

Hack: “Keep quIET about my dIET”, or, “quITE polITE” or “quIT IT’ 

Allowed/Aloud

“he spoke aloud” and “he was allowed to speak” - these words are not related

Hack: aLOUD is out LOUD

Except/Accept

“I like all the friends, except Ross”, “I accept that Ross is a dick”

Hack: ‘Accept’ can mean the same as ‘agree’*, so if you can replace it in the sentence, “I agree that Ross is a dick”, use A. 

*or ‘agree to take’, as in “I accept the blame/your hand in marriage”

“Except” is the same as ‘excluding’, if you can replace it with “excluding Ross”, then use E. 

There/Their/They’re

There = a place, over there

Their = possessive pronoun, their hat

They’re = contraction of ‘they are’, they’re lovely

Hack: ‘HERE’ is a place, so is ‘tHERE

Can you replace it with ‘they are’? If so use ‘they’re’

The ‘HEIR’ of a person gets the house. The house is ‘tHEIRs’

lvtvr’s writing tutorials, pt 1: battling my nemesis (or, how to punctuate dialogue)

Sup, fellow kids. I’m Charlie. I write.

I’ve also translated and proofread four full-length novels, so I now suffer from the work-related condition of never being able to turn my editing glasses off. This can make reading fanfic a bitch for me. Because, let’s be real: unbeta’d amateur work easily lets a lot of mistakes slip through.

It is, however, possible to minimize those mistakes.

Is the world going to end if there are errors in your fanfic? Of course not. If you want to focus on the content of your writing more than adhering to rules of language, by all means, do that. There’s time to learn this stuff later.

But you know what? Formatting matters. If you truly want to get better at writing, then eventually you are going to have to deal with this aspect of it. And yes, it’s hard work – but I hope to help you along the way.

THE POINT OF THIS ESSAY: PUNCTUATING DIALOGUE

This seems to be the #1 formatting problem that amateur writers struggle with. However, there are boatloads of experienced fanfic writers who still seem to struggle with it, or are just so used to making mistakes that they’ve made it “their style.” And at the risk of sounding like a total bitch, it doesn’t matter how amazing or well-loved their work is otherwise: wrong is still wrong. Just because someone is consistent about always writing “your” instead of “you’re” doesn’t make it correct, and dialogue is no different.

If these kinds of persistent mistakes don’t bother you, then good for you. Your life is probably a lot more fun than mine.

But if you want to learn to do it right – if you want the great look and perfect flow that immaculate punctuation will bring your writing – then you have to rise above this.

Time for some rules.

COMMA VS. PERIOD – THE ULTIMATE SHOWDOWN

Let’s start with something simple.

“Hey,” he said.

This is a good sentence. This sentence is an upstanding member of our society. You can’t go wrong with this sentence. Got me? Okay.

Now let’s have a look at another one.

“Hello.” She said.

This sentence is a delinquent. In fact, it’s not even a sentence – it’s two sentences. And it is always, always, always wrong. Rule of thumb: never do this. Ever.

This isn’t just some elitist, snooty gatekeeping crap, either. There’s a purely functional reason why it’s incorrect.

By putting a period after your dialogue, you are cutting it off from whatever comes next. Whatever follows dialogue that ends with a period has to be an independent sentence. This distinction is used to regulate the rhythm and flow of the writing.

Now, “said” is a transitive verb, meaning it needs to take an object. While you can sigh, yawn, or laugh independently of anything else, “saying” isn’t possible unless you are saying SOMETHING. (I.e., “She laughed” is a complete sentence on its own; “He said” isn’t.) Same goes for synonyms of “say,” such as whisper, repeat, and exclaim. They almost always get lonely without some dialogue attached to them with a comma.

Let’s look at some examples.

“I’m fine.” He said.
“I’m fine,” he said.

The first example IS NEVER CORRECT. NOT EVER. It should ALWAYS be the latter. ALWAYS.

However:

“I’m fine,” he laughed.
“I’m fine.” He laughed.

These examples are BOTH CORRECT, but convey different nuances. In the first example, he laughs the words. In the second, he says the words first, and laughs afterward. These are separate things, not two different ways to express the same idea. No matter how much fic you’ve read where they’re treated as synonymous, they are not. They are not. They are not.

GETTING FUNKY WITH “?” AND “!”

When a sentence in dialogue ends with a question mark or exclamation point, you always keep that punctuation – you never replace it with a comma. This is where we use the above rule to make sure things don’t get ambiguous.

“What’s up?” they yawned.
“What’s up?” They yawned.

Again, these examples are BOTH CORRECT. In the first, they are yawning the words. In the second, they yawn after speaking. By capitalizing “they,” you are indicating that the question mark is behaving like a period. You are thereby orphaning the sentence that follows the dialogue. In this case, since the sentence can stand alone, that’s perfectly fine.

Next example:

“I’m okay!” the boy repeated.
“I’m okay!” The boy repeated.

Here, the first example is CORRECT. The second is ALWAYS WRONG. Remember, capitalizing “the” means you are drawing a line between the dialogue and the following sentence. “Repeated” needs an object, but now, because the exclamation point is behaving like a period, “The boy repeated” stands alone. That’s an ungrammatical sentence, and without the implied attachment to the preceding dialogue, it drifts alone in the void.

And, well, that’s not good.

BONUS LEVEL

Special section to address this other weird shit I’ve seen:

“I’m fine.” He murmured, pouring himself another cup of coffee, “I promise.”

This is a big WTF that has basically just reversed the correct order of things. It should be:

“I’m fine,” he murmured, pouring himself another cup of coffee. “I promise.”

Another example:

“That’s pretty cool.” The doctor laughed, turning to her girlfriend, “You should try it.”

We have two options to fix this, depending on if we want her to laugh the words or not.

“That’s pretty cool,” the doctor laughed, turning to her girlfriend. “You should try it.” (laughing as she speaks)

“That’s pretty cool.” The doctor laughed, turning to her girlfriend. “You should try it.” (laughing after speaking)

Sometimes, especially when you start working with more complex sentences, things can get confusing, and your options can increase. Feel free to shoot me a message if you’re not sure. However, the rules above are the basic ones to keep in mind.

Okay, you made it to the end! If it feels like a lot, that’s because it is. Yes, it’s plenty to remember, because writing is hard. Try to think about these rules when you’re reading published books (not fanfic, you can’t trust fanfic), and eventually you’ll get the hang of it.

Believe in the me that believes in you.

Good luck!

Thank you, Bianca Del Rio

Last night, while I was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, I shared a special moment with my dad. First of all, let me start off by saying that my father has always absolutely hated anything to do with Drag Race. I wouldn’t label my father completely as homophobic, but I believe that watching an hour of feminine men with wild personas makes him somewhat uncomfortable. In the past, he has been extremely embarrassed to even be in the same room as me while I would indulge in my favorite television show, but yesterday was different. During the live comedy segment of the episode, my dad happened to be in the room searching for his missing cellphone. As he finally, and slowly, made his way towards the couch, still in search for his phone, Bianca Del Rio appeared on the stage and began her routine. After Bianca made a joke comparing the audience members to the cast of Cocoon, my dad sat down next to me and began laughing loudly at the rest of Bianca’s jokes. At first I was taken completely off guard, but my eyes glanced back on Bianca and I began to laugh at the jokes with him. “You know, he reminds me a lot of Mel Brooks, or Mickey Rooney. He is a really talented performer,” my father said. I have honestly never been more proud in my life. Because of Bianca, I was able to watch the rest of the episode with my dad, and we truly bonded for the first time in years. I have more respect and love for my father, all thanks to this absolutely fabulous and hilarious queen.

stop saying “his or her”

use their

piss off prescriptivists
acknowledge nonbinary identities
make your sentences less clunky
advocate for common usage which is what leads to grammatical acceptance 

The thing about fictional worlds is, that once you begin to know them, you don’t just seal them into your heart. You leave a piece of your heart with them. One piece of your heart becomes them. And after one by one, you are rather living in those worlds, than  in reality. This is the reason why they mean so much to you - not just a place to escape, but family and a home that gives you a reason to live. And that’s why only the idea of saying goodbye to them, breaks your heart. Because you can’t just rip out your heart, can you?