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Discworld concept files



punctuation - help on how to use puncuation


It's always worth bearing in mind when writing to the MUD that the only thing most people will see is your writing. MUD meets happen, but many people will never go to one you go to. So it's always worth bearing in mind how you write. There are few hard and fast rules, but there are a few guidelines you might want to consider.

First of all, CAPITAL LETTERS. A lot of the time, people will think you're shouting. So - used sparingly - they can be quite appropriate. But it's worth bearing in mind that, on Discworld, there is one character who TALKS LIKE THIS. When someone else is in the middle of a fight, low on hit points and trying to evade their opponent, a sudden burst of capital letters can distract them enough by making them think they've died, which is always a heart stopper. When you want to show surprise or emphasis, you might find putting *emphatic* things in asterisks might help, or ending the sentence with an exclamation mark will convey what you mean!

When using abbreviations, l33t speak or txt speak or similar, not everyone on the MUD has English as a first language. Have you ever tried following heavily abbreviated speech in a foreign language? It may be that the question you want the answer to might be best answered by the player who doesn't follow what you mean and doesn't have time to work it out. So if u lay of de txt spk u mite get betr nswrs. That's not to say that abbreviations should never be used. "help tla" is useful here, with many that lots of people are aware of or that they can consult easily.

Then, punctuation and spelling. As above, if what you're saying isn't very clear, sometimes you won't be able to get the help you want or need. For instance, if I say to you "You want me to kill him", am I asking you a question ("Do you want me to kill him for you?") or am I confirming what I think ("Yes, I think you want me to kill him.") ? Which one is right? One extra mark can save a lot of confusion! Similarly, if you use a fullstop after a sentences finishes it can stop them all running together and being very confusing. Commas can help break up a sentence so people know more closely how you were saying or thinking it, even if it's not perfect grammar. No-one's expecting you to be the next Charles Dickens or Terry Pratchett.

Apostrophes can be helpful. You use them when you're missing out a word, or running two of them together, like "it is" becomes "it's", "do not" becomes "don't". When used in something like "Pinkfish's idea" or "Wodan's button", people know you mean that the button belongs to Wodan, or the idea belongs to Pinkfish. You don't need them just because you're talking about more than one thing. So you don't need to talk about the boy who goe's to see the girl's at the bus stop when he gets one of the buses' to the shop's.

A few confusing words, like "they're" (they are), "there" and "their", along with "your" and "you're" (you are), will be harder to follow if you mix them up. The children? They're over there with their computer games. And you're going to give me your dinner money.

But anyway, if you just stop and think a little about what you're writing, it can make it much easier for everyone else to understand what you want and give you the help you need. We all make some mistakes with what we write, so don't worry too much, it's just something to bear in mind.

See also