Grammar and spelling 101 - Aetolia Online Help

18.10 Grammar and spelling 101

Some commonly-confused words and their appropriate meanings:

Word         Meaning
it's         contraction of "it is"  'It's not easy being green.'
its          possessive pronoun. 'The mummy lost its mommy.'

their        possessive 3rd-person plural pronoun. 'Where is their
there        adverb. 'He's over there.'
             pronoun. 'There is a large dragon.'
             noun. 'He left from there.'
they're      contraction of "they are"  'They're all dead.'

you're       contraction of "you are"  'You're lucky to be alive.'
your         possessive 2nd-person pronoun. 'This is your disease.'

whose        pronoun, singular or plural. 'Tell me whose it was.'
             adjective. 'She knew the family whose house we bought.'
who's        contraction of "who is". 'Who's on first?'

to           A preposition: I walked to the city.
too          Can be replaced with 'also', in addition: The child
             went to the store too.
two          More than one, less than three.

hole         An opening or hollow space. 'There's a hole in the ground.'
whole        Used to refer to the entire thing, 'I spent the whole day
             hunting', or something that is not broken. 'Most of this
             city is in ruins, but this building is whole.'

Common comma uses and mistakes:

Commas in the wrong places can break a sentence into illogical segments
or confuse readers with unnecessary and unexpected pauses. Here are some
examples of incorrect comma usage:

The general design of these pants, is preferred by many people.
-The comma separates the first half of the sentence- the subject- from  
the verb, 'is.' Subjects and verbs do not need separation.              

A wool blend, and a soft cotton are both fabrics used in this design.
-This is a common misuse, using a comma before every conjuction. If the 
second part is not a complete sentence, and it is not linking at least 3
ideas (Oxford comma), the conjunction does not need a comma.                            

These boots will easily fall off, because they have no laces.
-If it was written the other way- Because they have no laces, these     
boots will easily fall off.- It should have a comma.                    

Correct use of the comma can clarify a sentence so the reader
understands exactly what is being said. Correct uses of the comma are
shown in these examples:

This dress is crafted in shades of red, blue, and gold.
-Linking three separate ideas/nouns together.

The street is wide at the entrance, but it is more narrow further on.
-In this case, 'The street is wide at the entrance' is a complete       
sentence, and so is 'it is more narrow further on." Two complete        
sentences need to be combined with a conjuction and comma.              

A jewel, glowing a brilliant shade of amethyst, sits on the back wall of
this shop.                                                              
-Qualifiers or adjectives for a subject, if they occur after the        
subject, should be separated by commas.                                 

Well, I think you need to go back and start over. 
-A comma after an introductory phrase. (First, As you know, Although,   

Subject-Verb Agreement:

The gem sparkles brilliantly in any given light.
The gems sparkle brilliantly in any given light.

-Verb conjugation must agree with the quantity of the noun. This is typically accomplished by the addition or exemption of an -s.

They both look good. 
  -Both- implied compound (plural) subject, look
That one looks good. 
  -One- simple (singular) subject, looks

A collective noun (a singular word used to define a group) identifies as a simple (singular) subject. 

ex. A pair of pants rests on the counter. -A pair
    The family plays in the park.

Multiple collective nouns identify as a plural subject.

ex. The pairs of pants rest on the counter.

As well, multiple simple nouns identify as a compound subject (two or more simple subjects that are joined by a conjunction such as: and, or, but) and are conjugated as plural.

ex. The dress and the gown rest on the counter. 
     -The dress and gown= Both/They rest on the counter. 
    Thus, the subject is compound (plural), the verb is singular. 


Lay vs. Lie chart:

                   | Present     | Past | Participle(form of Have)
To recline         | lie, lying  | lay  | has/have/had lain
To put or place    | lay, laying | laid | has/have/had laid
(verb-> object)
To tell a lie      | lie, lying  | lied | has/have/had lied

Example of Present:

I lie down in the afternoon for a nap.
I am lying down for a nap this afternoon.
I lay the book the on the table.
I am laying the book on the table.

Examples of Past:

I lay down yesterday for a nap.
I have lain down every day for a nap.
The book was laid on the table
I had laid the book on the table.

Present Progressive:

She lies on the bed.
She lays the blankets on the bed.


First of all, if you are uncertain about the use of hyphens, ask for

Most common trap is the compound words. Here is a very general rule
when it comes to those:

- If removing one of the words changes the meaning, you will want to
  use a hyphen to connect them. For example, 'a man-eating shark' is
  a shark that eats humans, while 'a man eating shark' is a man who
  is eating shark meat.

- If neither the compound noun nor the hyphenated noun can be found in
  the dictionary, treat them as separate words.

- Compound verbs that can not be found in a dictionary should be

Numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine should be hyphenated if they
are written with two words, but not when it goes above one hundred.

Some commonly-misspelled words:
accommodate         privilege           weird
cemetery            prerogative
changeable          ridiculous
definitely          seize
eligible            separate
embarrass           severely
existence           similar
irresistible        supersede
noticeable          truly
permissible         unnecessary


Colons (:) and semicolons (;):

A colon is used to explain or list elements of the subject referred to 
prior to the colon.
'Experience can be gained from a variety of sources: PK, bashing and 
completing quests, for example.'

A semicolon, on the other hand, is used to connect two separate, but 
related clauses.
'Bashing your way through Xaanhal isn't so hard; I once saw a level 90 
Cabalist do it.'