Duxy's How-to-Write-Like-You-Graduated-Highschool Lessons! (29)

1 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-07-24 02:43 ID:jkOdvB47

Or, alternatively: Duxy's How-to-Write-Like-Someone-with-a-Basic-Grasp-of-English Lessons—and don't ever call me 'Duxy'. (Unless you're Ellipses, because I know you will even if I tell you not to.)

Okay, lissen up, fellas! This is the thread where I will teach you all to write in a way that will not make my eyes bleed. I will do this in the form of easy to understand explanations, covering one thing at a time. This one thing will take the form of whatever the heck I feel like teaching. Feel free to express your undying gratitude at any time.


Can you see the difference up there? Yes, there it is: the apostrophe. I'll make a full list of (most of) the functions of the apostrophe at some other time, but for now it'd be enough if everyone reading this could never ever mix up it's and its ever again.

1. "It's" is short for "it is", or "it has". Nothing more. (Certainly not "it was", so stop doing that.) We have to put an apostrophe there to indicate that we have nixed (i.e. left out) the space and the 'i/ha'. That is all "it's" is used for. Get that?

"It's" can only ever stand for "it is" or "it has".

2. "Its" indicates possession. As in: "The dog wagged its tail." The dog wagged the tail belonging to it, so we use the one that indicates possession: "its".

"Its" can only ever stand for possession.

—So, whenever you have to use it's/its and are unsure about which one precisely, here's an easy trick! Try putting in "it's"—remember that this means "it is/it has"—and read the sentence out in its full form.

In the case of the sentence above: "The dog wagged it is tail?" "The dog wagged it has tail?" No, those aren't right—so if that makes no sense, then of course it must be "its".

Of course there's another way to do it if you're a more advanced writer, which is to just bloody remember when you mean "it is/has" and when you want to indicate possession, but if you can't do that then the first method is a failsafe.

If you can't do it with the first method then I'm afraid there is no hope for you, and you should never go near a pen and paper or a keyboard ever again. My condolences.

This has been DuxAtrum, with your regularly scheduled (read: whenever I damn feel like it) dose of LEARNIN'.

2 Name: fan-to-fiction : 2010-07-24 03:38 ID:93LarPWd

Thanks! Now at least I know when to use it.


3 Name: ... : 2010-07-24 04:30 ID:s43hN/SP

Duxy McDux-Dux,
You make my heart soar;
Your delicious writing
Is never a bore.
This poem is crappy
(I'm sure you can tell)
But know that your sharp wit
Doth make my heart swell.
Now I'm not in the habit
Of proposing like this
And you may well think
I'm just taking the... mick.

Mais non! I wish for us to be internet-married, and I wish for it to be done post-haste! In the absence of a cake, I shall eat a packet of chocolate raisins, followed by a dip dab. And I vaguely know the WSS wedding scene script...

4 Name: Lupa Dracolis : 2010-07-24 14:21 ID:N1nHue8+

Thank you so much! Now maybe people on here won't burn my eyes with their writing!

5 Name: LASER : 2010-07-27 15:46 ID:71UanAvz

I'm not gonna lie... I learnt something here

6 Name: Bola : 2010-07-31 02:59 ID:Om9XJZc3

May I please add something here that bothers me without limits?

The issue of to/too:

When you can exchange your to/too by 'extremely' or 'as well' = TOO.

7 Name: MorbidDramaQueen10 : 2010-07-31 11:48 ID:eEyYH4Yi

Oh, and the "There/Their/They're" issue. So many people just don't know the difference.
There: A place. Like "Hey, go check out that purple cow over there!"
Their: "Look, it's their car! And it's on fire!"
Something somebody owns.
They're: They + Are = They're
"They're going to move to Switzerland because eggplants are cheaper in Europe."

8 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-07-31 18:13 ID:jkOdvB47



In other words, kiddies, it's time for another lesson!


Oh boy oh boy oh boy. This is a big 'un. I'll leave the full list of uses for the apostrophe for later (it's a long list), so let's just stick to how to pluralize without looking like you failed grade school. OKAY.

1. Plurals. We all know what plurals are, right? It's when there's more than one of something. Most of the time plurals are made by tacking an "s" on the end.

So, when should you use an apostrophe to make a plural of a noun? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

NEVER! (Haha, see, trick question.) You should never use an apostrophe to form a plural. So it's:

• "Kittens", not "kitten's"
• "Tomatoes", not "tomatoe's" or "tomato's"
• "Books", not "book's"

Simple, huh? A plural form of a word never needs an apostrophe. (I stress the 'form' because the plurals of words themselves—e.g. "do's and don't's" require an apostrophe. Or at least it's not wrong to put an apostrophe there. Hey, nobody said the English language wasn't crazy.)

(By the way, apostrophes can be used to pluralize abbreviations—e.g. "MP's"—but it's fine to leave them out as well. More consistent, too.)

2. Possessives! This is when you want to indicate that something belongs to something/someone. Possessives do require apostrophes when they indicate possessive in a noun. Let's take these in two categories.

2.1. Possessive in singular nouns, and plural nouns not ending in s.

To show possession in these two cases, we simply put an apostrophe and an s ('s) onto the end of the word. Instant possessive!

• "The dog's tail." The tail belonging to the dog. 'Dog' is a singular noun, we want to indicate possession, so we use an apostrophe-"s" combo. Voilà!
• "The girl's book." One girl. It's her book.

• "The children's playground." There are many children, and to indicate it's their playground we add " 's" onto the end. Not too hard.

It works the same for names—e.g. "Jim's car." Just add the " 's" onto the end. No trouble so far, right?

2.2 Possessive in a plural noun ending in an s.

Here's where shit gets weird. If you have a plural noun that ends in s—"dogs", "girls", etc.—when we want to indicate possession, we put the apostrophe on the outside of the noun. For example:

• "The girls' classroom." There are many girls here, and it's their classroom, so we tack an apostrophe onto the end
• "The sons' bedroom." At least two sons, and it's their bedroom. Ta-dah!

See, it's easy to apostrophize when you know how. But watch out! Because:

3. Possessive pronouns.

These are words such as "my", "mine", "her/hers", "his", etc. As in:

• "It's her book. The book is hers."
• "No it's not, it's mine!"

Point is these words already indicate possession, so they don't need an apostrophe on top of that, that would just be silly. Well, duh.

—There we are; plurals versus possessives, sorted. So if I see any o' youse writing about "carrot's" or "books" or "my dads car"—I will find you and tattoo this lesson onto your back so you don't forget it.

So, uh, don't forget it. So there.

9 Name: ... : 2010-07-31 19:42 ID:s43hN/SP

Dearest Dux,

You forgot to put a wrongly-used apostrophe in the word 'books' in your antepenultimate sentence.

Kind Regards,


10 Name: ... : 2010-07-31 20:22 ID:s43hN/SP

(PS: What is the sound of one hand clapping? If a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Do we even exist?

That should get me enough to buy myself a house.

Bitter? 'Not I,' said the amorphous blob! And on that note, goodnight and pay me well.)

11 Name: DuxAtrum : 2010-08-01 03:15 ID:jkOdvB47

>>9 Gorram 2AM, making me forget to wrongly punctuate my examples. D<

You heard the lady, people. That last "books" is incorrectly... correct.

(Also, I've never understood that phrase but probably something like fwip-fwip-fwip; a tree falling in a forest with nobody to hear it does make a sound, and if you can question whether you exist at all it's a pretty safe bet you do.

Philosophy still doesn't pay very well in general, though. =P)

12 Name: ... : 2010-08-01 04:55 ID:s43hN/SP

I contest that one hand cannot clap, so it's a trick question. I also contest that we have no true way of knowing about the tree, but all available evidence points to the conclusion that it does indeed make a sound. I believe that the problem with 'I think, therefore I am', is that one can never be certain that the person one thinks is thinking is thinking. Perhaps it's all an elaborate trick and we're all part of one consciousness (that likes tricking itself).

Payyy meee...

13 Name: Lupa Dracolis : 2010-08-08 15:29 ID:5DPNS+vB

One hand could clap, although not against another hand. There are many cnvernient things to clap one's single hand against, however. My personal favourite is my brother's head...
A tree is not a sub-atomic particle, so it behaves the same whether being observed or not. Therefore, yes, it makes a sound.
I will, however, pay you for the last one. Alas, I can only pay you in internet biscuits.

14 Name: Marth : 2010-08-09 21:29 ID:xB0AiZoK

It makes a "cl" sound. Duh.

15 Name: ... : 2010-08-24 13:11 ID:s43hN/SP

@Lupa- How can you be certain that any kind of particle exists? (Well done for the point on clapping, though. Also, I demand cold, hard cash.)

@Marth- In a pair, then, which hand makes the 'cl' sound, and which the 'ap'? How can we be certain that one hand does not make a 'ca', 'cp', 'la' or 'lp' sound? Could one hand contain more of a clap than another, so that one hand clapping might make a 'cla' sound, while another might be stuck with a feeble 'p'?

16 Name: Lupa Dracolis : 2010-08-25 07:35 ID:xz0NlVS0

Alas, I have no cold, hard cash. Not even for me. As to certainty of the existance of particles: I have none. However if nothing is real and I only think it is, then surely my disbelief would cause it to cease to exist? I rather like existing, so if the reward for enlightenment is non-existance, I think I'll pass.

17 Name: ... : 2010-08-25 11:06 ID:s43hN/SP

Ah, but in order to disbelieve one's own existence, one has to be doing the disbelieving (Descartes' 'cogito ergo sum', better known as 'I think, therefore I am', better translated as 'I am thinking, therefore I am'). The question is really how one defines:

a) Existence

b) Oneself

18 Name: Elkkun : 2010-09-02 09:38 ID:sQv8LkdH

OK I'm confused.
In the first post you said you don't put an apostrophe when it belongs to somebody
"2. "Its" indicates possession. As in: "The dog wagged its tail.""

Then in the next post you said...
""The dog's tail." The tail belonging to the dog. 'Dog' is a singular noun, we want to indicate possession, so we use an apostrophe-"s" combo. Voilà!"

o-o...I dunno whether it's me reading it wrong, or just being blonde.

19 Name: ... : 2010-09-02 11:23 ID:s43hN/SP

'It' works differently to every other noun when it comes to possession. English is a ridiculous language.

20 Name: BlackMage16 : 2010-09-02 18:17 ID:o8mQiEp7

Amen to that, and yet the English language still holds a special place in our humble hearts. ~sigh~
@Lupa, I may have a solution to your lack of 'funds'.
Internet piracy. It's how we roll these days. You want something, but don't want to pay for it. What do you do? Illegally download it. And so we show our appreciation for the philosophical life lessons.
@..., I suggest a career change. Apparently philosophy doesn't pay so well these days, unless you count the occasional suicide a job well done. Hmm.

21 Name: Lupa Dracolis : 2010-09-03 12:27 ID:5mVSJ31V

Alas, I would partake in this 'internet piracy', but that would cause me to become a pirate, in which case I would have to commit suicide, having betrayed my ninja brothers and sisters.

I apologise for the awful sentence, but I'm very tired.

22 Name: ... : 2010-09-03 18:11 ID:s43hN/SP

No, no, no; don't feel guilty about being a pirate, revel in it.


23 Name: ... : 2010-09-03 19:21 ID:s43hN/SP

24 Name: inkoftwilight : 2010-09-08 17:44 ID:PisI3vcr

Ugh, all the stuff you guys are talking about is making my head hurt...

25 Name: guest101 : 2010-09-20 19:13 ID:R6gYGbkP

I just thought I'd point out a pet peeve of mine. "Quite" and "quiet" are completely two different words people! Make sure you know the difference...

26 Name: guest101 : 2010-09-20 19:20 ID:R6gYGbkP

While I'm at it, here's another pet peeve. When writing a dialogue, (usually) the correct format is this:

"Let's go to the store," he said.

COMMA! Not a period. And the punctuation goes INSIDE the quotations.

And I know... that isn't the only way to correctly format quotes. I'm just mentioning this format specifically because I see writers put a period where a comma should go.

Example of the wrong format:

"Let's go to the store." he said.

No people. No.

27 Name: Jaelyn : 2010-09-24 18:19 ID:VZ6hucYK

English is such an unnecessarily complex language. Its my native language and I have a harder time with it then French.

28 Name: Marth : 2010-09-25 08:14 ID:cH1HvLE1

Are you trying to say that writing like you graduated high school is unnecessary because English is messed up? Not that I don't think English is messed up, but that's no excuse to write badly.

29 Name: Banzai : 2010-11-28 14:18 ID:DLmaYu9i

Just write in Plain English then, and don't use too many complex words as if you're writing a formal essay. For example: use 'big' or 'large' instead of 'gargantuan' (look it up). Simple.

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