On the Way to Greatness

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This section is for players to post about things unrelated to the Standing Trials roleplay. You may talk about anything from world issues, to your personal life, to funny things you found on the internet. You are free to use this forum to express yourself as a player and not as your actual character. You can also post in other players journals so long as they give you permission to. Please remember not to post anything relating to pornography or anything with extensive use of profanity.

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"Hamilton could arguably lay claim to being the roundabout capital of New Zealand, with no less than 90 of the circular intersections within the city's 110sq km boundaries."

I wouldn't say we have anywhere near as many as the UK, but probably closer to US. They seem fairly common, I like them a lot better than intersections and waiting at lights.
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A N D I T' S A L L J U S T S M A L L S T U F F, B A B Y.
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"Sadly... this is not a very exciting post... but it's just for you all the same. Happy 400 <3"
EVERY post from you is exciting! :D
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A Guide to Commas and Speech Marks
From a British Linguist


So, as I said in Chat on Skype: I believe that there is perpetual instability within the standard and dislike watching pejorative remarks being made about language use sooooo. Do as you fecking well please, even if it’s messing up your/you’re. That being said... there is nothing wrong with wanting to be able to use grammar and syntax effectively. After all the primary purpose of language is to communicate so who wouldn't want to be able to communicate to their best ability?

So... I will start by saying that the comma is probably the most over-used and inappropriately used punctuation mark in English. For some, like me, poor comma usage will ruin whatever I'm reading... whether it be academic (this is really frustrating on articles about linguistics!), or fiction. [Even as I write this I am overly conscious of my comma usage! You'll have noticed already that I am a fan of the 'Oxford Comma'.] Anyway. A comma in the wrong place pulls me out of the headspace I enter when reading and makes me read over that sentence to analyse the fuck-uppery which has just occurred, as I ponder how someone could be so monumentally stupid as to think what they are writing makes any sense at all.

I promise you I try not to be pejorative about language use. I try. I really do. My boyfriend struggles with the difference between your/you're, to/too/two, and there/their/they're... and I've never really pulled him up on it because I understand the struggle for some people. But sometimes it really gets on my tits.

Especially when I'm removed from the aforementioned headspace.

So do me a solid and take this on board if you ever want a moderated thread from me? Kthnx.

Back to commas. There are a number of ways in which one uses them.

Mechanical

This is like.. all the things you know anyway. Sticking a comma in 5,000 or Thursday, Sept 16th, 2016. Clever, right? Also applies to locations, such as Edinburgh, Scotland and anything like that.

Lists

Another pretty straightforward one. You are unlikely to have an apple and an banana and a pear and an orange, right? No. We have apples, bananas, pears and oranges. Unless of course you want to have syndetic listing... because I don't know about you but my anxiety skyrocketed when I wrote that first list. That's a genuine phenomenon used in writing fiction - if you want to create a sense of urgency for your reader and make them feel as anxious as your character feels, use lots and lots of 'and'.

Now the Oxford comma is a tricky one. And it really comes down to personal choice, or perhaps the context.
Without an OC: I went to Disneyland with my mother, a doctor and a stamp collector.
With an OC: I went to Disneyland with my mother, a doctor, and a stamp collector.
In some context, it probably doesn't matter. But here... you might be wondering if I went to Disneyland with three people, or one person who can be described as the last two.

Relative Clauses and Sentence structure

These are the bits that most people mess up on. And, when they mess up, they do it in wonderfully frustrating ways. I am going to use the sentence just gone as a prime example of relative clauses. You see how you could say that sentence and it would make perfect grammatical sense if you were to remove the words inside the comma? That's how it is supposed to work. If you are using commas willy-nilly, because your sentence is too long and you need to break it up, so you are using many commas instead, hoping that that will give your reader a chance to breathe, and forget that they are still on the same sentence, even after a whole minute of reading it, and then they have to go back to the beginning and question what they just read, a bit like this one, then you are doing it wrong. Use a period instead, fool. Another example if you are still confused:
My car, which is currently being repaired, is green. See how that middle bit could be removed? It's not essential information, both semantically and syntactically. On multiple levels the sentence functions with and without it. Woop.

I could do into that vs which, as well as how to use commas at the beginning/end of sentences to denote nonessential information, but I won't. However you must also consider compound sentences. There are a couple of exceptions but the general rule is: use a comma before a coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses. Complex sentences are a bit more complicated. But all the terminology is common; a quick google should give you all the info you want if you are interested in finding out more.

Quotation Marks

This was what the whole thing was about. And then I got carried away.

In fiction (when writing out dialogue), commas generally come inside the quotation marks: "But I hate green beans," whispered Sandy. We're happy with that, right? In many other cases, this is also a thing. And in American English, I think it is always a thing. We Brits like to be a bit different though. An example of having commas outside of quotation marks is I hate all of this "blue sky thinking", what is it? I can't really think of a good way to explain it... other than saying something about how the whole phrase is a statement, so the period comes after. This: what is all of this "blue sky thinking?" I hate it. looks weird because the question mark just looks wrong (btw that's the same in US usage - question mark goes outside in such examples). By the same logic, we thing commas look silly inside things they have no business being inside of.


So. It's not much. And there is so much more to the nuances of English and grammar and all that malarkey. I've missed out so much of what the comma is great for, but I don't want to bore you all senseless... or come across as the complete loser I really am.

But here is a starter for you. Maybe you learnt something new today. Maybe the only thing you learnt is that I am a pretentious asshat. That's cool too. But I love language and I just couldn't help but be the cool kid who writes for an hour on commas because someone asked a simple question that any normal person would answer in about a minute. :)
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Now the Oxford comma is a tricky one. And it really comes down to personal choice, or perhaps the context.
Without an OC: I went to Disneyland with my mother, a doctor and a stamp collector.
With an OC: I went to Disneyland with my mother, a doctor, and a stamp collector.
In some context, it probably doesn't matter. But here... you might be wondering if I went to Disneyland with three people, or one person who can be described as the last two.
Cracked me up. I think you should to the which / that thing.
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'That' vs 'Which'


Kingdom asked, I deliver!

Ultimately, again, it doesn't really matter. The colloquial use of language nowadays functions well enough as a means of communication and anyone telling you that you are using the wrong words, even though he fully understands your meaning, is being pedantic and arguably pretentious. Yay.

However you asked, so I'll talk about it anyway!

That is for 'essential' information. Which is for nonessential. Remember I was talking about that earlier? What is essential/nonessential in a sentence has nothing to do with the actual grammar/syntax you are using. It is entirely down to the semantics and what you are telling someone. The sentences can be the same, except that small change:

1. Jane's cats that are ginger are with her mother right now.
Here, the use of 'that' implies that Jane has many cats, but only the ginger ones are with her mother. She has the rest of her cats with her. Or elsewhere, who knows?

2. Jane's cats, which are ginger, are with her mother right now.
We're back to that relative clause again! Here, the 'which' is more descriptive, it adds information, rather than being vital to understanding who is where. The average reader will infer from this that all of Jane's cats are ginger, and that they are all with her mother.

Make sense? It's easy if you think about it!! :)

I'm cool, honest. Don't judge me.
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Yay, Midnight!


Happy Anniversary to me and the person who will never see this as he's not on the site. But he's my reason for living and I wanted to share that with the group. :)
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Congratulations, Whisper, and happy anniversary! :D I'm so, so happy for you & I hope you enjoy your weekend celebrations with the beau!

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"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."
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Chain Facebook Statuses


I never even saw that, thank you, Ru! <3

Anyway. I REALLY need to get this out of my system before I explode. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have a lot of feelings, an have a rather unfortunate propensity to blow things out of proportion. So I'll do it here, rather than bottle it up until I blow out over Facebook.

<rant>
Facebook is a wonderful invention. One can do an infinite amount of academic studies on the nature of humans from just a few aspects of it. The bit that I find to be the most fascinating is the personas that one cane put across with the use of the online platform. People can lie… pretend to be someone they’re not at worst, and at best pretend to be interested in things they aren’t. They can spend a few minutes of each day cultivating the precise image of themselves that they want people to see.

In the grand scheme of things, it's all lovely. It's the perfect way to keep in touch with friends in different countries, and to check up on the lives of people you care about but for whatever reason cannot make time to see (we all have friends like that). Until you get bollocks like this:
Shitskittle on Facebook wrote:The boy you punched in the hall today. Committed suicide a few minutes ago. That girl you called a slut in class today. She’s a virgin. The boy you called lame. He has to work every night to support his family. That girl you pushed down the other day. She’s already being abused at home. That girl you called fat. She’s starving herself. The old man you made fun of cause of the ugly scars. He fought for our country. The boy you made fun of for crying. His mother is dying. You think you know them. Guess what? You don’t! SHARE if you are against bullying. I bet 99% of you won’t, but share this if you’re that 1% with a heart. ♥
This is probably a bad example: cyberbullying could actually be combated through statuses like this, in some way.

But I'll eat my own slipper if sharing a chain status will cure cancer.

[My new favourite one is the whole "most friends will scroll past this, let's see who bothers to read my status" bullshit.]

Do people genuinely get taken up with this crap? If you're so worried about which of your Facebook friends actually care, then do a cull of the 1,000+ friends you have on the damned page. You can't know all of them. Any number above 400 is just self-gratifying and obscene.


This, my friends, is called Slacktivism. It's a very, very lazy form of the well-documented phenomenon whose champions are known as "Keyboard Warriors". It’s people pretending for a few seconds that they care, when ten minutes after the status is shared it will be completely forgotten.

However much I agree with the anti-bullying sentiments offered in this Facebook chain status, I really cannot stand people who post them. Or those who post similar ones about sexuality or cancer or religion. Just because a person takes the thirty seconds out of their lives to copy and paste this generic waste of time, do they think that makes them a better person? Do thee think about this constantly or was it a fleeting few seconds of ‘yeah! Let’s make a statement today!’?


I do give a shit about people going through these truly devastating experiences and situations. But just because I won’t sink to the level of inane mediocrity that I feel the need to do this, it doesn’t mean that I’m the bad guy in all the above scenarios. Not sharing that pathetic status above does not indicate whether or not I have a heart. It doesn’t mean that I care less. If these people really cared then they would donate to a charity or volunteer. Or talk to the little lonely kid eating lunch alone. Something worthwhile. Posting shit on Facebook is not worthwhile.


With these fuckwits posting all over my Facebook feed, it's no wonder Trump won the election.
</rant>
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Most of you will scoll by this... (LOL). I've never used FB much, it's lucky if it seems me twice a month, but the new thing isn't doing where it sends you alerts to ask if you know so and so... basically suggesting friends every five minutes. No fabebook, I don't know who that nine year old girl dressed like a hooker is, and I don't want to know her. Please go away, if I wanted to find a friend I would look for them, stop suggesting shit. Lol. I'm really close to closing the account just because I can't be bothered with any of it. But if there was no one to flood FB with puppy photos, the Internet surely couldn't survive without me.
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Kingdom wrote:I'm really close to closing the account just because I can't be bothered with any of it. But if there was no one to flood FB with puppy photos, the Internet surely couldn't survive without me.
Haha! I've thought the same thing sooooo many times. Just get rid of it and be free of the political drama that happens. Chain Facebook statuses are the last of my worries, if I really put the whole clusterfuck that Facebook is into perspective. I wish I could get rid of it.. but I like squealing at cute pictures/videos of cats and dogs... and I have so many international friends (the joys of living in two countries) that getting rid of Facebook isn't an option for me right now. I suppose I have to survive on the constant culling of my friend list.
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