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Thread: Grammar, Capitalisation, Canon issues, etc

  1. #61
    Inverarity
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshdevondragon
    When you have action interrupting speech, but it is not a dialogue tag, is it capitalised or not?

    e.g "I'm going to read," He looked at the shelf and picked a book out, "this novel."

    I always thought the "He" was capitalised, but some people say it isn't. So yes, which does MNFF prefer/ which one is grammatically accurate? This may be a British/ American thing but I'm not sure.

    obsessed_with_jo is correct; you never capitalize the pronoun following a comma in a situation like that. I would write it pretty much as she did, except that technically you should use an em-dash to indicate an interrupted thought or statement, while ellipses are used to indicate a trailing off or incomplete thought. E.g.,

    "I'm going to read --" He looked at the shelf and picked a book out. "-- this novel."

    You could also write:

    "I'm going to read --" he looked at the shelf and picked a book out. "-- this novel."

    There's a very subtle difference in the two sentences above, denoted by the capitalized or non-capitalized pronoun. In the first case, "He looked at the shelf" starts a new sentence, while in the second, it's a continuation of the sentence in which he's speaking, but the em-dash clearly indicates that it's also a break in that sentence. Both are grammatically correct, though in publication, some editors might consider one correct and the other not, depending on their "house style." I've also seen people use semi-colons at the end of the non-speech portion, e.g.,

    "I'm going to read --" he looked at the shelf and picked a book out; "-- this novel."

    I'm pretty sure this is also grammatically correct.

    So the moral is, there isn't always one correct way to write something. That's why there are things like style guides, and vicious debates over the serial comma.

  2. #62
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    This has been bothering me for a while, and I think I'm horribly inconsistent about it but I'm the only one who seems to have noticed....

    When someone's name ends in 's' and you want to indicate possession do you write (for example) Lucius' or Lucius's?

    I am sure my RS teacher told me that you spell possession with Jesus as Jesus' so that's what I've always thought, but I'm not sure whether she was right or not.

    Also- when a surname is an actual thing and you're talking about several members of the family would you use the plural for the actual word or just treat it like any other name and add an 's'.

    Like I've got two examples- would you say (talking about the whole family) the Greengrasses or the Greengrass'. But then that confuses the pluralising of the name with the possession.

    I don't think I've made much sense but if anyone knows what I'm talking about and knows the right answer then it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshdevondragon
    This has been bothering me for a while, and I think I'm horribly inconsistent about it but I'm the only one who seems to have noticed....

    When someone's name ends in 's' and you want to indicate possession do you write (for example) Lucius' or Lucius's?

    I am sure my RS teacher told me that you spell possession with Jesus as Jesus' so that's what I've always thought, but I'm not sure whether she was right or not.

    Also- when a surname is an actual thing and you're talking about several members of the family would you use the plural for the actual word or just treat it like any other name and add an 's'.

    Like I've got two examples- would you say (talking about the whole family) the Greengrasses or the Greengrass'. But then that confuses the pluralising of the name with the possession.

    I don't think I've made much sense but if anyone knows what I'm talking about and knows the right answer then it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    This is another one of those rules that is not universal. Nowadays, it's generally the rule to add an apostrophe s to names ending in s for possessives, e.g., "Lucius's wand." However, there are some styleguides (and thus publications) that prefer "Lucius' wand." So you will see it both ways. In general, I'd recommend the former usage.

    A common exception, though, is well-known names from antiquity. For some reason, the rule is generally not to add apostrophes to them, so it's "Jesus' followers" and not "Jesus's followers" and "Moses' children" and not "Moses's children." Though people using modern style, again, might add an apostrophe s.

    Plurals of last names follow normal spelling rules. So "Keeping up with the Joneses" and "the Greengrasses' two daughters."

  4. #64
    Amelia_Bones
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    Is there a difference between a spell and a curse?

    Forgive me if it's already been covered. I've only skimmed over several pages.

  5. #65
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    Is there a difference between a spell and a curse?
    Absolutely. A spell is a general term for all speak-an-incantation-and-point-a-wand actions. Charms, hexes, jinxes, and curses are all spells. A curse is, very specifically, a spell designed and intended to do more harm than a hex or a jinx. For example, "Expecto Patronum" is a charm, "Furnunculus" is a hex/jinx, and "Crucio" is a curse. Furnunculus causes boils, Crucio is a torture spell. It's a bit toad vs. frog, but there you go.

    Generally speaking, different types of spells are used in different types of classes. Charms is where charms are taught, obviously, DADA generally consists of duelling or protective magic such as hexes and jinxes, and Transfiguration basically just uses spells - there isn't a specific name given to these types of spells.

    Hope that helps!


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  6. #66
    Amelia_Bones
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    Yes, it does. Spell is basically an umbrella term.

    Thanks!

  7. #67
    hermione_granger4life
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    I have a question about a more British term. Would the word 'Grandma' still work, or would something along the lines of 'Grandmother' be more proper on the Brit side of things? Sorry if this is a stupid question but I'm American so I wasn't sure which of the terms (or both) would be more acceptable. Thanks!

    **Emma

  8. #68
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    I think this is probably best asked in the Being British thread, but as a Brit I'll say that Grandma, Gran, Granny, Nan or Nanny are perfectly acceptable in UK.

    Grandmother is formal. I would suggest that someone like Scorpius Malfoy would call Narcissa 'Grandma' but would probably refer to her as his 'grandmother'. Albus Potter, on the other hand, would probably call Molly, 'Gran' or 'Nan' (depends on family preference.)

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  9. #69
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    Anyone who has had the misfortune to have to beta for me will know I don't understand commas. I am trying. However there seem to be two ways of explaining them- one whereby commas define separate clauses e.g in the sentence (this will make no sense) "Abraxas Malfoy turned from the window, and by chance, saw the pot plant exploding" the "and by chance" is a separate clause and therefore is separated from the rest by commas.

    Which makes sense. Most of the time. But sometimes- like this is from the back of a book I'm rereading:

    "It deserves many prizes and, better than that, the affection of generations of readers"

    Now, I'm pretty sure if I sent this sentence to my betas, they'd put the comma before the 'and'. However surely the commas just separate the part which is unnecessary to the sentence. i.e without the "better than that" the sentence still makes sense so the comma should go before the 'and'.

    Does that make any sense at all? Any help/ answers would be greatly appreciated

    Alex
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    Quote Originally Posted by welshdevondragon View Post
    Anyone who has had the misfortune to have to beta for me will know I don't understand commas. I am trying. However there seem to be two ways of explaining them- one whereby commas define separate clauses e.g in the sentence (this will make no sense) "Abraxas Malfoy turned from the window, and by chance, saw the pot plant exploding" the "and by chance" is a separate clause and therefore is separated from the rest by commas.

    Which makes sense. Most of the time. But sometimes- like this is from the back of a book I'm rereading:

    "It deserves many prizes and, better than that, the affection of generations of readers"

    Now, I'm pretty sure if I sent this sentence to my betas, they'd put the comma before the 'and'. However surely the commas just separate the part which is unnecessary to the sentence. i.e without the "better than that" the sentence still makes sense so the comma should go before the 'and'.

    Does that make any sense at all? Any help/ answers would be greatly appreciated

    Alex
    Alex, in the latter scenario, the 'better than that' is more of an appositive than anything. Generally, anything that is supplementary information and is used more for clarification/enhancement purposes is encapsulated with commas. I'm sure it has a different name, but this concept and that of appositives, at least in my experience, is along the same lines.

    The thing to remember is that most betas have comma issues to some extent, as well, but have a good sense of when something looks right. Commas in the proximity of coordinating conjunctions throw me here and there, but how I work through it is trying out different ways of punctuating the sentence in question and picking the one that looks the most correct. More often than not, this yields the best results when you're not certain of the rules governing the structure you're going for.

    Hope this helps!
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