Project Punctuate

Interactive Grammar

Posting Access:
Anybody , Moderated
Welcome to Punctuators, a resource for fanfic writers. This community exists to help writers with grammar questions, and is open to all fandoms. We focus mainly on helping authors with sentence- and paragraph-level concerns, including punctuation, tenses, and all the other minutiae which must be considered in good writing. Please read the rules before posting.

Punctuators is an open and unmoderated community. Please be aware that Punctuators is slash-friendly; do not join if homosexuality offends you. There may also be explicit material behind cut-tags.

Some of the posts you'll see here:

These are simple questions about grammar. What is a gerund? How should I format dialogue? When do I hyphenate adjectives? If you have a question, ask; if you know the answer, share.

Quick-Fix Questions
These are actual sentences or paragraphs from works in progress, which the author thinks are incorrect. To post a QFQ, just copy and paste your sentence or paragraph and state your concern/question. Please do not post your entire story here; we are not a beta service. Authors may also post sentences in which they break rules for effect, to ask for opinions on efficacy.

Helpful Hints
These are explanations of common mistakes which the poster wants to clarify to the community and the fanfic-writing population at large. When writing a helpful hint, please keep in mind our goal at Punctuators is to help authors improve, not gripe about the state of the English language. Examples of both good and bad grammar are encouraged, but please do not quote from works of fanfiction; I'm sure you're clever enough to invent your own. References and links to helpful sites are also encouraged.

Discussions and Interest Posts
The first is self-evident, and the second is just as it sounds: if you find something interesting, paraphrase it or post a link. Anything grammar-related is acceptable, from British slang to Tom Swifties.

Anyone may reply to posts, whether you know the answer, have a comment, or want to add to the question. If you are answering a question, please be courteous and clear, and most of all explain why. It does an author little good to blindly follow orders without understanding the concept. Whenever possible include references and/or links to useful websites.


Please help keep the community organized by using the tags. There are two categories:

Type of Post
  • Discussion

  • Essays and Tips

  • Quick-Fix Question (help for a specific sentence)

  • Resources

Subject of Post
  • Punctuation

  • Structure

  • Style (topics that are more opinion than hard rule)

  • Confusables (who vs. whom, then vs. than, you and I vs. you and me, etc.)

Ideally each post should use a tag from each category, but I understand that might not be possible if you don't know what the problem is. Just make sure to tag with a type (discussion, essay, quick-fix, or resource) when you post, and if you want, go back and edit once you understand what the subject is.

Please leave a comment here if you see a need for another tag.

The Rules

1) Absolutely no pet-peevery allowed. We do not want to listen to people whine about how stupid other people are. If you have a grammar pet peeve, you may cleverly disguise it as a helpful hint.

2) No flames. The reasons should be self-evident. If you believe you have been flamed, do not flame back: let the moderator, nimori, know.

3) Try to keep on topic. Questions on related topics such as point-of-view etc. are acceptable, but keep in mind we're here to work on the basic building blocks of writing.

4) Quick-fix questions which contain explicit sex, violence, or other objectionable material must be warned for in the subject line and placed behind a cut tag. To do this, type <lj-cut> before the material in question. If you think we need to read more than a paragraph or two to understand a style problem, please provide a link rather than posting the whole story, but remember that short questions are more likely to be answered.

5) All posts longer than about four paragraphs should be cut-tagged as well; this is not a hard-and-fast rule, just use your best judgment.

Some useful links:

Merriam-Webster Dictionary/Thesaurus: http://www.m-w.com/

Roget's International Thesaurus: http://www.bartleby.com/110/

The Elements of Style (the most widely-accepted grammar guide): http://www.bartleby.com/141/index.html

Guide to Grammar and Writing (a great site for beginners!): http://ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/

ClicheSite.com: http://www.clichesite.com/index.asp

Bartlett's Quotations: http://www.bartleby.com/100/

Refdesk.com (facts galore): http://www.refdesk.com/

Word Origins: http://www.wordorigins.org/index.htm

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America: http://www.sfwa.org/writing/

DelRey (tips from published authors): http://www.randomhouse.com/delrey/workshop/tips/index.html

Writerisms and Other Sins: http://www.cherryh.com/www/advice.htm

The Turkey City Lexicon (this is a MUST READ for anyone writing speculative fiction): http://www.sfwa.org/writing/turkeycity.html

darththalia's Misused Words and Phrases: http://home.comcast.net/~thalia1221/misused_index.html

No rule should be followed off a cliff. ~ C.J. Cherryh