Uncyclopedia:Beginner's Guide/Grammar and spelling

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Blue check.svg This page is considered a policy on Uncyclopedia.

It has wide acceptance among editors and is considered a standard that everyone should follow, unless they don't want to, in which case they are free to ignore it so long as they're not being a dick. Please make use of the standing on one knee position to propose to this policy.

As we explain in How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid, the way pages in the encyclopedia usually work is that they give the reader the first impression they are a real encyclopedia article and then entertain the reader with funny content. Bad grammar, bad spelling, and complete, babbling nonsense break that impression before the article even begins to amuse the reader. Good English, and a serious tone while writing absolutely unserious things, can take your article to new heights.

Using bad grammar in an article about a person who uses bad grammar himself could be funny. However, an article needs to have a real comedy strategy that is funnier than mere imitation and ridicule. Likewise, swearing is usually a misuse of English. We won't wash your mouth out with soap, but swearing in an article about a vulgar person needs more to be truly funny.

Beginner's Guide
Basic mechanics of a wiki
Good writing
Style
Good behavior
See also...

Getting help[edit]

We are all good at different things. Some people are better at spelling and grammar than others, and some people are so good at spelling and grammar (and so offended at yours) that they have joined Uncyclopedia's Proofreading Service. As well as visiting that page, you can add {{Proofread}} to ask for help on your page. People come and go, and if nobody replies to you, it may work to ask an Admin to hook you up with a suitable helper. (If you are not good at English or at humor, you can still help with chores such as maintaining lists or detecting and reporting vandals.)

Dialects[edit]

Spelling and grammar are different in the United States versus the British Commonwealth. The general rule is to follow the lead of earlier writers. If the dialect doesn't fit the article, it will distract the reader and get in the way of humor; write about a nation's politics or celebrities using the dialect of that nation. Otherwise, don't battle over color/colour and capitalize/capitalise.

A refresher[edit]

A grammar refresher, because they don't learn it to you in school no more.

Apostrophes[edit]

  1. Apostrophes are used to indicate possessive nouns and contractions
    • Good: I'm going to steal the pirate's sword.
  2. They are not used to indicate plurals
    • Bad, bad and bad: The ninja's stole my CD's and DVD's.
    1. Silly exception: single letters are made plural with -'s
      • Actually good: Johnny got mostly A's and B's on his report card. Way to go, Johnny!
    2. Actual fact: Two- and four-digit years are not single letters
      • Bad and bad: I've been on the web since the 1990's and computers since the '80's
    • Actually there is no law that prevents CDs, DVDs, As and Bs or the 1990s from looking good, baby. Though I would re-think A's and X's, so I guess that is OK'd by me--AHA, another one, slimy devils!!
  3. It's vs. its

    “Oh! If you want to possessive it's just I-T-S, but if it's supposed to be a contraction then it's I-T-apostrophe-S... scallawag”

    ~ Strong Bad on It's vs its

    If the word means "it is", use "it's". If the word means "something belonging to it", use "its". This one gives grammar police an inordinate amount of stress, and you have no reason to make them unhappy.
    Mnemonic: It's a wise dog that scratches its own fleas.

Capitalization[edit]

Capitalization refers to deciding between UPPERCASE and lowercase letters. You've already seen style guidance on capitalization: that, as in Wikipedia, page names and section headings don't capitalize words except as required by the rules of grammar. Okay, then, here are some of those rules of grammar:

Genres[edit]

Further information: wikipedia:MOS:GENRECAPS

Avoid unnecessary capitals:

Bad

  • The Goa Trance genre
  • Elvis popularized Rock and Roll

Good

  • The Goa trance genre
  • Elvis popularized rock and roll

Nobility[edit]

Failure to adopt these style guides will give you this look.

When naming a noble specifically, write "President Harrison", not "president Harrison". When using a title generically, you may write "Harrison was a great president". (That is, of course, if you are writing about William Henry Harrison. Benjamin Harrison may or may not have been a great president.)

Religion[edit]

The capitalization of deities reflects the difference between the definite article the and the indefinite article a. Because Judaism/Christianity/Islam maintains a single deity, this is spelled God. Christianity also maintains that Jesus is deity incarnate, hence Jesus is Lord or Christ. A regular deity of Paganism is cased as the god Thor (which is not understood as an insult in contemporary Pagan literature). For Wicca, God and Goddess are usually capitalized, because it's maintained that together they comprise all deity. Atheism generally expresses nonexistence as there is no God; however, most Atheists do not care, and it's not worth correcting if someone writes lowercase g.

Names are always capitalized.

Bad

  • The priest spoke to god. (should be definite)
  • In Germanic Paganism there is a Goddess called Freyja. (should be indefinite)

Good

  • The priest spoke to God.
  • In Germanic Paganism there is a goddess called Freyja.
  • Wicca maintains the existence of the God and Goddess, or Lord and Lady.
  • There is no God

Dates and numbers[edit]

Months, days, holidays... they have their subtle differences, but they all need to be capitalized. Seasons usually aren't capitalized. Only when they are personified (i.e., Summer has pummeled me with warmness) does the full essence of the word get to be unleashed.

Celestial bodies[edit]

We can help you. Just remember that names of planets and stars other than our own should be capitalized. They are, indeed, proper nouns and therefore should be treated with respect and love. This includes Pluto, even though it is apparently just a weenie chunk of rock and ice that is not worthy to be called a planet. On the other hand, sun, earth, and moon are only proper nouns if you are an astronomer or live on Jupiter.

Places[edit]

If places are proper nouns, capitalize them. If not, don't. If you're not quite sure, don't. And remember that north, south, east and west are not proper nouns. Spank them until they become proper.

Italics[edit]

English grammar uses italics for the following things:

  • Bacteria, when said in the fancy way (as in bacillis subtillis)
  • Books; if you didn't know that then you stink at English
  • Games, the good kind
  • Court cases, excluding court briefcases
  • Movies
  • Music albums
  • Passenger trains whose owners were pretentious and named them
  • Classical music works
  • Periodicalities
  • Plays
  • Boats
  • TV shows
  • "Art"

On the following, just use quote marks.

  • Articles, essays, etc.
  • Book chapters
  • Episodes of TV shows
  • Short literature

On the following, use nothing.

  • Scripture
  • Legal stuff