OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Spelling tips – It’s your game they’re looking for

Obi Wan Kenobi

Nothing turns off new players to a game more than a poorly written post.  A misplaced apostrophe could very well send someone in search of a new role playing home away from your sim and to the next.  If it’s your game they’re looking for, don’t let bad grammar stand in the way!

Data could never get the hang of contractions

Mr. Data could never get the hang of contractions

I don’t claim the have the greatest grasp of the written word, but there are few things in role play that burn my eyes as much as an incorrect its/it’s, your/you’re, or there/their/they’re.  Indeed, it seems like I need a pair of sunglasses to read some posts out there!   I’m not saying that any of us is going to become the next William Faulkner, but we would all be better served if we actively worked to improve our writing.  Being content with our current abilities invites stagnation.  It’s bad for role play, and just plain doesn’t look good.  If you’re not sure which its, your, or there to use, here’s a quick cheat sheet:

Its and It’s

  • Its:  This word is the possessive form of it.  Think of it like her or his, but for a thing.  Her and his don’t have apostrophes, so why should its?  Suppose I wanted to tell you how good the writers of a particular game are:  Its players are very talented.
  • It’s:  This word is a contraction of it is.  If you can substitute it is, then use it’s instead of its.  Contractions usually have apostrophes, so make sure to include them… even if Mr. Data can’t quite get the hang of it.  Suppose I wanted to comment on the day’s weather:  It’s very hot outside today.

Your and You’re

  • Your:  This word is the possessive form of you.  Just like with herhis, and itsyour doesn’t need or want an apostrophe.  Your belongs to you, so don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.  Suppose I wanted to compliment you on a particularly well written post:  Your post is awesome!
  • You’re:  This word is a contraction of you are.  If you are can take its place, then make sure to use you’re.  Just because Data can’t do it, doesn’t mean you can’t.  Suppose I wanted to comment about your current actions:  You’re reading my blog post.

There, Their, and They’re

  • There:  This word refers to a specific place, be it physical or otherwise.  There can refer to place in the real world, a moment in time, an event or happening, a condition, or even an idea.  Yeah, there can get intense, but you can’t go wrong if you keep it in house.  Suppose I wanted to direct you where to go:  Please go over there.
  • Their:  This word is the possessive form of they.  Just like with herhisits, and your, don’t use an apostrophe for their.  I know, I know, you’ve got it now.  Suppose I want to comment on the size of another group’s role playing organization:  Their club has over 50 games!
  • They’re:  This word is a contraction for they are.  If they are can get the job done just as well, feel free to use they’re.  You may have this down, but unfortunately, Mr. Data’s still struggling.  Suppose I wanted to tell you what a few people are planning to do later this year:  They’re going to attend FallFest this September.

Enough Already

Quiz time!  Its / It’s your / you’re game there / their / they’re looking for.  Just kidding.  Your creativity’s already off the charts.  Now let’s make our grammar match that excellence.

Hopefully I didn’t make too many mistakes in this post.  If I did, I’m sure I’ll hear (here) about it below.  🙂