View Poll Results: Did this thread help improve your English?

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  1. #1
    master131's Avatar
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    The English Thread

    Introducton/Info:
    Welcome to the English thread! Here you will find some tips, information and resources about improving your English. I decided to post this here to improve the standard of English here in this forum (I could of put this in the MPGH General section but I didn't want to). I know most of you wouldn't be bothered reading all of this but atleast look at the Table of Contents and then go to the section you need improving on.

    Credits go to: TRL, Sarkoja, Lochinvar, Euphorix, Phant0m13, meesles, xplosiv26, Xero Xenith and glenny.

    Resources:
    Code:
    Dictionaries:
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/
    http://dictionary.reference.com/
    
    Thesaurus:
    http://thesaurus.reference.com/
    http://freethesaurus.net/
    
    Grammar Rules:
    http://www.grammarbook.com/
    
    Pronunciation Websites:
    http://www.howjsay.com/
    
    Misc.
    http://www.savethewords.org/
    Euphorix's Guide to Grammar and Punctuation

    Table of Contents

    1 - FAQ
    2 - The full stop
    3 - The comma
    4 - The apostrophe
    5 - The hyphen
    6 - The dash
    7 - The semicolon
    8 - The colon
    9 - Other punctuation
    9.1 - The exclamation mark
    9.2 - The question mark
    9.3 - Brackets/Parentheses
    9.4 - The ampersand
    9.5 - The pilcrow
    9.6 - The ellipsis

    1 - FAQ

    1.1 - About this Guide

    1.11 - It's just grammar. Who cares?

    You bloody well should. Grammar is the skeleton on which language is placed; without it, everything we say becomes a flurry of confusion. It is what makes communication possible in the first place. Oh, and also, misusing it might kill you, as Roger Casement will testify to.

    1.12 - How does the organization system work?

    This guide is organized by a decimal-number system. Each heading has a number, as seen in the table of contents. Every subheading from thereon has a full stop added, and then another number. If there are 10 or more subheadings, the original number of the subheading does not increase; instead another number is added.

    For example:

    3 - the comma
    3.2 - first subheading of the comma (its uses)
    3.21 - first use of comma
    3.22 - second use of comma
    3.23 - third use of comma
    3.24 - fourth use of comma
    3.25 - fifth use of comma
    3.26 - sixth use of comma
    3.27 - seventh use of comma
    3.28 - eighth use of comma
    3.29 - ninth use of comma
    3.210 - tenth use of comma
    3.211 - eleventh use of comma
    3.3 - next subheading of the comma

    Each counter thus operates separately from the others, and the system does not function as a regular number.

    This system is used because one can very quickly find the precise point in the guide which is needed to answer the question.

    1.13 - How often is this guide updated?

    It is updated whenever an amendment is needed. You can see the date at which the last edit was at the top of the guide.

    1.14 - How trustworthy is this guide?

    It will suffice for the vast majority of people, and for the vast majority of purposes. If you are writing a long essay with a lot of focus on grammar, additional research may be needed.

    1.15 - I've found a mistake. What do I do?

    Let us know! Post in the thread, and if you are right, the guide will be edited.

    1.16 - I'd like more detail than this guide can offer. Where do I go?

    There are numerous guides to style and language. The largest American guide is the Chicago Manual of Style; the largest British is the Oxford Style Manual.

    1.17 - What type of English does this guide use?

    This guide uses British English. Therefore, those using American grammar must take regard only to what is written, ignoring how it is written; whereas those using English grammar can learn from both the content and the written style.

    1.2 - Grammar

    1.21 - What do I capitalize and when?
    1. Capitalize the first word of a quoted sentence.
    2. Capitalize proper nouns.
    3. Capitalize a person's title when it precedes the name. Do not capitalize when the title is acting as a description following the name.
    4. Capitalize the person's title when it follows the name on the address or signature line.
    5. Capitalize the titles of high-ranking government officials when used with or before their names. Do not capitalize the civil title if it is used instead of the name.
    6. Capitalize any title when used as a direct address.
    7. Capitalize points of the compass only when they refer to specific regions.
    8. Always capitalize the first and last words of titles of publications regardless of their parts of speech. Capitalize other words within titles, including the short verb forms Is, Are, and Be.
    9. Capitalize federal or state when used as part of an official agency name or in government documents where these terms represent an official name. If they are being used as general terms, you may use lowercase letters.
    10. You may capitalize words such as department, bureau, and office if you have prepared your text in the following way:
    11. Do not capitalize names of seasons.
    12. Capitalize the first word of a salutation and the first word of a complimentary close.
    13. Capitalize words derived from proper nouns.
    14. Capitalize the names of specific course titles.
    15. After a sentence ending with a colon, do not capitalize the first word if it begins a list.
    16. Do not capitalize when only one sentence follows a sentence ending with a colon.
    17. Capitalize when two or more sentences follow a sentence ending with a colon.
    Source:
    Capitalization | Punctuation Rules

    1.22 - When do I use italics?

    1. The names of ships and aircraft;
    2. The titles of poems;
    3. Foreign words;
    4. The titles of books, newspapers, articles and stories occurring within a sentence without further explanation;
    However titles that appear within larger works are not italicized but are set off in quotation marks; eg: 'An Irishman's Diary' in the Irish Times is sometimes interesting.
    5. Latin phrases used to classify living things;
    6. Where a word is used as an example rather than for its meaning;
    7. For introducing new terms;
    8. For the subjects of definitions;
    9. For mathematical symbols:
    10. For emphasis;
    11. To indicate a character's internal reflections in stories;
    12. Using a letter or number as a noun
    Source:
    ~Deafening Silence~ - Italics - When you should use them

    1.23 - What is the correct way to cite your sources when doing a research paper?

    To be answered.

    1.24 - How do I paragraph?

    An excellent university guide:
    Paragraphs

    1.25 - What is the difference between its and it's?

    It's is a contraction of "it is"; its means "belonging to it".

    For more information, see 4.2.

    1.26 - What is the difference between there and their?

    There is a place; their means "belonging to them".

    1.26 - What is the difference between where and were?

    Where is a place; were is the past-tense of the verb "to be".

    1.27 - What is the difference between can not and cannot?

    Both make sense, but cannot is preferable. However, if the not is needed in another phrase, such as not only, use can not.

    1.28 - Is Q always followed by a U?

    No. Qadi; qanat; qasida; qawwal; qawwali; qibla; qigong; qin; qintar; qwerty; suq; tariqa.

    1.29 - I hear people talking about style when discussing literature. What do they mean?

    The style of a writer is the manner in which the author writes. It is the voice the voice that the author uses to communicate with; it is what gives the text meaning beyond the superficial. The style of a writer manifests itself in things like sentence-structure, word-choice and tone-of-voice.

    Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse 5 wrote an excellent article on writing with style.

    http://literature.sdsu.edu/onWRITING/vonnegutSTYLE.html

    2 - The Full Stop

    2.1 - Introduction

    The full stop (.), called the period in the US, is one of the simplest and easiest forms of punctuation. It denotes the end of a sentence.

    2.2 - Usage

    2.21 - To denote the end of a sentence.

    2.22 - For acronyms and initalisms (mainly in American english): e.g. the U.S.S.R., the U.S.M.C. Note that sentences ending in acronyms only have one full stop, even though they should logically have two.

    2.23 - In titles. "Dr. Birchfield is waiting for you in the reception".

    2.24 - Concerning numbers: the full stop acts as the decimal separator. E.g. "Dr. Birchfield is 10.7 kilometres north of Plymouth".

    2.25 - A full stop is followed by a space, the size of which varies. Traditionally, a full stop has been followed by two spaces, but as typefaces developed, the size space is automatically extended, so that double-spacing is unnecessary.

    2.26 - On the internet, a full stop is used in web-addresses as well as IP-addresses.

    2.3 - Differences Between American and British English

    When dealing with quotations, Americans put the full stop inside the quotes; whereas the English prefer to leave it outside. For example:

    American: the glue stick was "old and murky."
    British: the glue stick was "old and murky".

    3 - The Comma

    3.1 - Introduction

    The comma is an essential punctuation mark, and is found in every piece of writing, and because it is so common, its basic use is relatively well-understood.

    3.2 - Uses

    Commas have an incredible amount of uses, and I will only go through some of the "official" uses; and instead add some of my own "rules" which should clarify things sufficiently.

    3.21 - To separate clauses: "after ironing my shirts, I read a book"; "I ironed all my shirts, which were green"—if this statement did not have a comma, it would imply that all your shirts were green; whereas with the comma, it implies that you only ironed the green shirts.

    3.22 - In lists: "I own an Xbox, a Playstation, a computer and a Wii". Commas are placed between the items to separate them, but not after the last element, where it is not used. However, Americans may use the Oxford (or serial) comma, which would change the phrase to "I own an Xbox, a Playstation, a computer, and a Wii". This is conventional in America, but not in Britain.

    Note that when the list is complex and the items contain a description that is denoted by another comma, you use a semicolon to separate the list elements, not a comma.

    Commas are occasionally used in connection with the words and, or, nor.

    3.23 - Separating adjectives. If you are describing an item using two adjectives—and the sentence makes sense if the two are reversed (important)—you use a comma to separate the two. "The fat, lazy dog"; "the cute little puppy".

    3.24 - To add another piece of information that is not essential into an otherwise complete sentence. This can be used for a variety of effects.

    • Introductory phrase: "Once upon a time, Dr. Birchfield didn't know how to use a comma".
    • Appositive: "Dr. Birchfield, a tall and proud man, disappeared last night."
    • Address: "Dr. Birchfield is missing, John."
    • Interjection: "Dr. Birchfield is missing, damn it!"
    • Aside: "Dr. Birchfield, I hope you don't mind if I tell you, disappeared yesterday".
    • Absolute phrase: "Dr. Birchfield, full of loneliness, reappeared soon afterwards".
    • Resumptive modifier: "Dr. Birchfield disappeared, a disappeareance which no man had ever done before".
    • Summative modifier: "Dr. Birchfield disappeared, a feat which no man had attempted."

    3.25 - To emphasise what you really want to convey and to avoid confusion. "Dr. Birchfield ate the orange with a fork" implies that he hate an orange which was in possession of a fork; whereas "Dr. Birchfield ate the orange, with a fork" shows that he was using a fork to eat the orange.

    3.26 - Before quotes: "Dr. Birchfield said, 'go and buy some milk'". However, if the quote supports the assertion made before it, use a colon instead of a comma.

    3.27 - In geographical places: "Albany, New York"; "London, England". In American, this is to be treated as a phrase described in 2.24, so it should therefore be followed by a comma when in a sentence: "we arrived at London, England, yesterday night".

    3.28- In dates: "April 19, 1955." As with 2.57, this also needs a comma after it when used in a sentence (American): "January 12, 2007, was the deadline".

    3.29 - Before titles in names: "Dr. Birchfield, PhD".

    3.210 - In numbers: "there were 1,000,000 casualties".

    3.211 - To replace an omitted word: "The first man was deaf; the other, blind".

    3.3 - Differences Between American and British English

    3.31 - Americans may use the Oxford comma (2.22).

    3.32 - They may add comma after dates and places (2.27, 2.28).

    3.33 - In relation to quotes, as with 1.3, Americans place the comma inside the quotes; whereas the English leave it outside: "he was a 'beast of a man,' and he didn't back down for anyone" (American); "he was a 'beast of a man', and he didn't back down for anyone" (English).

    4 - The Apostrophe

    4.1 - Introduction

    The apostrophe is one of the most commonly incorrectly-used punctuation marks. Only 5% of the British population can use one correctly.

    4.2 - Uses

    4.21 - To show contractions. A contraction is when two words are made into one by removing part of the words. For example, the word "don't" is a contraction of "do not". The words that are missing are replaced by the apostrophe. "It's" is a contraction of "it is"; see 1.25 for more information.

    4.22 - Similarly, to show omission: "it was the summer of '69"; "tha' ol' man" (that old man).

    4.23 - To show ownership.

    When something belongs to one person whose name does not end in -s, simply add -'s: "Dr. Birchfield's hat".

    • When something belongs to one person whose name does end in -s, things get slightly trickier. In British english, add -;s as normal: "Mr. Warnes's hat"; in • American english, add simply an apostrophe: "Mr. Warnes' hat". Jesus is an exception; always add only an apostrophe when something belongs to jesus.
    • When something belongs to a group of people, add just an apostrophe: "the employees' meeting is tomorrow". If the name of the owner of the object does not end in -s, do not add an apostrophe: "the women's movement".
    • When something belongs to "it", you do not add an apostrophe: "the dog chewed on its bone".
    • When something belongs to "who", add -se: "whose dog is that chewing on the bone?"

    4.24 - For plurals of lower-case letters: "how many s's in Sally sells sea-shells by the sea-shore?"

    4.25 - Note that when dealing with plurals, abbreviations do not need an apostrophe; simply add a lower case -s to the end of them. The abbreviations are to be treated as words: if the abbreviation ends in -S, one must therefore add -es to the end, as is the case with OSes.

    4.26 - To indicate quantity or time: "Dr. Birchfield will be over in a month's time"; "four yards' worth".

    4.3 - Common Mistakes

    The apostrophe is one of the most frequently misused punctuation marks. Here is a brief list of common mistakes

    1980's—should be 1980s
    I have many PC's—should be PCs
    The dog bit it's owner—should be its
    Who's dog bit its owner?—should be whose

    5 - The Hyphen

    5.1 - Introduction

    The hyphen is a relatively straightforward mark. It is not to be confused with the dash, part 6.

    5.2 - Uses

    5.21 - To join words that are related—e.g. "this is a low-wage job"; "cost-benefit analysis"; "anti-Realism".

    5.22 - To clarify otherwise-confusing statements: "there were 50-odd people in the room" (which means that there were roughly 50 people in the room; not that there were 50 weird people in the room, which would be true without the hyphen).

    5.23 - To join two words, where the end of the first sounds like the beginning of the last"co-operation"; "wool-like".

    5.24 - When there is a list of compound-words that all have the same ending: "I had plenty of voice- and e-mail".

    5.25 - When a word reaches the end of the page, it can be separated by a hyphen. This must happen at a syllable.

    6 - The Dash

    6.1 - Introduction

    The dash is one of the most useful punctuation marks. It is applicable almost everywhere—you can't go wrong with it.

    There are two main types of dashes—the em (—) and the en dash (–), thus named because of their lengths. You can make these either by going into charmap (start -> run -> charmap). If you are writing in Word, a space, two hyphens and then another space while in-sentence will make an en dash, and two hyphens without the space will make an em dash.

    6.2 - En Dash Uses

    6.21 - To show range: "it will take 6–7 minutes"; "I guess it costs 10–15 pounds".

    6.22 - For connections: "Barcelona beat Real Madrid 2–0", "Bose-Einstein–condensate".

    6.23 - To show relation between two nouns (and/or to avoid confusion with other words): "re–mark", "a father–son business".

    6.24 - It replaces the hyphen in situations like 5.23, but where one or more of the words are compound adjectives: "the non–San Francisco part of the world", "the post–MS-DOS era",
    "high-priority–high-pressure tasks" (tasks which are both high-priority and high-pressure).

    6.3 - Em Dash Uses

    6.31 - To add more information to a sentence: "Dr. Birchfield is a tall and handsome man—he got it from his father.

    6.32 - To form aposiopesis or to cut off the end of a sentence (an ellipsis can sometimes be used): "Oh my God, this is—", "when I get a hold of you, I'm gonna—".

    6.33 - As an alternative to the semi-colon or colon. If you have a sentence with two clauses, where the second clause is the cause of the first: "It was windy—the house blew down" (instead of semi-colon), "the cat died—its owner shot it.

    6.34 - Note: do not use a double-hyphen (--) to replicate an em dash; instead use a double en dash, which will look just like a real em dash (double–en-dash: ––; em dash: —). If the en dash is not available, use a double-hyphen for an en dash, and a triple-hyphen for an em dash.

    6.4 - Notes

    There is much ambiguity around the dashes, and very much depends on personal taste. While the Chicago Manual of Style advocates the em dash, some major publishers such as Cambridge University Press, Routledge, and the Penguin Group tend to use the spaced en dash.


    Think the font is hard to read? Suggest to me one that would look good.
    Also, I'm not sure what happened to 7, 8 and 9!
    Last edited by master131; 08-25-2010 at 08:59 PM.
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  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to master131 For This Useful Post:

    B4M (08-25-2010),daniliard (08-31-2010),Doc (08-25-2010),ZeroTroubles (08-25-2010)

  3. #2
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    Wow.

    I don't know but I am to lazy to read more than 2-3 lines.

    Good job however.


    Back in '10



    Got a question?PM/VM me!
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    Till : 05.07.2011

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    One fundamental flaw however. If I don't know English how do I understand what each question is asking?

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    master131's Avatar
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    information and resources about improving your English.
    lol?
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  6. #5
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    I know 1 German word. Anything from that point onwards is improving my German.

  7. #6
    ZeroTroubles's Avatar
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    If i could thank a thread more times, I would do it with this one, /thanked

    Damn, great post!

  8. #7
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    Vielen Dank, das half etwas !

  9. #8
    master131's Avatar
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    I'm sure it helped you ALOT not a little! lol
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  10. #9
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    lets move this to the learning section

    /moved

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    I really don't know what to say /


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    Quote Originally Posted by drsynyster View Post
    One fundamental flaw however. If I don't know English how do I understand what each question is asking?
    once again he comes to own you. /

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    Good job, now I'll be able to post a link to this thread every time someone gets on my nerves with all that crappy English /

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    Quoting B4M, im way too lazy to actually read the whole thread after i noticed the Scroll thingy was way too small !

    Anyways, if it isnt Copy Paste, awesome job

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabuuty671 View Post
    I really don't know what to say /
    Bookmark for later?




    Press The Thanks Button If I Helped =D
    Quote Originally Posted by mamakiller13 View Post

    and im aint fag,
    FORMERLY KNOWN AS SloaMoeDaea

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    aww man!! there a lot of text in that post!! O.o
    I bet some of the people that speak english here dont know more than one grammar rule, they should take a look at your thread :P
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