There are many parts that come together to make a really great sim, but one of the most basic is quite simple; proper use of the language in which we write. For some writers, this is more difficult than others, especially if English is not the first language of the writer in question. English, as a whole, can be difficult to master, yet, weaving words together in the manner that we do, while managing not to completely mangle those words into something unrecognizable will enable you, as a writer, to transport your readers into another realm. And in that realm, your audience will be able to stay deep within the flow of what you’ve written, allowing your characters, even more than ever before, to come to life.
But as we’ve said, mastering the language is hard, but there is a positive side to that. While there are plenty of confusing exceptions to the so-called ‘rules’ of English, most of the errors that you’ll run into here are pretty common. We’ve seen them before, and we will see them again, but hopefully, with this tutorial in hand, you’ll be able to vanquish them from your writing forever!
Spell Check! – It’s said that almost forty percent of all errors within writing occur because spell check wasn’t used. If you don’t have one built into your word processor or browser, check out this gem, which can also help those who are writing in English as their second language.
They’re/Their/There – This is, perhaps, one of the most common grammatical errors that you’ll run into when writing. Unlike many homonyms, there are three options instead of two, which makes it more difficult to remember the rules regarding each one. Still, if you keep in mind the basic apostrophe rule and remember that they’re means they are, you should be able to keep the going there, and the going to their house separate.
Your/You’re – These two words are often confused, yet they mean totally different things. Remember when you are writing that an apostrophe (‘) in the middle of a word means that you are putting two separate words together. Think about that when you sit down to write. Do you need to talk about your writing, or do you just mean you are. If you mean you are, then make sure to use the apostrophe version you’re.
Through/Threw – Though they sound the same, these are two other words that have very different meanings. When you are considering using one of them, remember to think about if you are going to be going through something like a tunnel, or if you threw something like a ball.
See/Seen/Saw – Seen is one of the most misused verbs out there. It doesn’t sound too wrong in most cases, even when it is horribly so, which means that you’ll have to remember a simple rule in order to use it correctly. These are all different tenses of the same action, so when your character has seen something, remember not to use seen unless it has a helping word (has, had, have). Keep in mind that they can always see something, or talk about how they saw something afterwards.
Core/Corps – While not as common as some other errors, this one’s important because of the members of the Corps that many writers may run into at one point or another. Remember, core is the center of something, such as an apple, while corps means ‘body’, such as in Marine Corps.
Its/It’s – Here’s another word that gets mixed up often. In order to avoid mixing up its and it’s, stop to think what you are talking about. If you are describing a property of something else in the possessive sense, such as a ship losing its shields, don’t use the apostrophe version. It’s is a shorter version of it is, so only use that version if you mean to say it is.
Moot/Mute – You might, from time to time, consider writing that something was a mute point, but that would mean the point was silent. When something doesn’t matter if it is debated or not, it is actually a moot point. And while you can debate it anyways, as the word also means that something is open for consideration and discussion, you might not want to mute the television and miss something more exciting.
Affect/Effect – This is another common grammatical mistake that can be avoided if you just remember a simple little trick. Next time you’re asking yourself which one of these to use, think about what it means. Affect is pretty much always a verb, which is an action word. On the other hand, effect is almost always a noun. When you affect something, you will always see an effect.
Could of/Could have – A lot of time, when we’re writing, we sometimes write what we’ve heard instead of what is really being said. Because of dialects and speech irregularities, it’s sometimes easy to fall into the habit of thinking a saying, statement, or commonly used phrase is one thing when it isn’t. This is one of those phrases; don’t use ‘could of’, as it doesn’t make grammatical sense. No one could of completed something, but, they could have completed it.
(Written by Captain Kalianna Nicholotti)