Rules for Writing
By Kate, age 19, New Hampshire
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
i before e, except after c!
-ing words: If the word ends in a single consonant and the preceding vowel is stressed and spelled with only one letter, double the consonant before adding -ing.
Exs: occur - occurring, swim - swimming
If the preceding vowel is unstressed or spelled with two vowels, do not double the consonant.
Exs: enter - entering, visit - visiting
If the word ends in c, change the 'c' to 'ck.'
Exs: panic - panicking
There are exceptions with some verbs ending in l, m, and p.
Exs: travel - either traveling or travelling, program - either programming or programming
Deletion or addition of e: If the word ends in an unpronounced e, drop the e before adding -ing or -ed.
Exs: create - creating, type - typing
For monosyllabic verbs ending in -ye, -oe, or -nge, keep the final -e before -ing, but drop it before -ed.
Exs: dye - dyeing/dyed, singe - singeing/singed
If the word ends in -ie or -ee, drop the final -e before -ed.
Exs: die - died, agree - agreed
If the verb ends in -s, -z, -x, -sh, or -ch, add -e before the -s ending.
Exs: pass - passes, buzz - buzzes
Treatment of '-y': If the word ends in -y, change the -y to -ie and add s to make it plural.
Exs: carry - carries, try - tries
If the word ends in -ed, change the -y to -i and add -ed.
Exs: carry - carried, try - tried
Following a vowel or preceding -ing, the -y remains.
Exs: stay - stayed, toy - toying
If the word ends in -ie, change the -ie to -y before -ing.
Exs: die - dying, lie - lying
Variations of the final -s rule:
Nouns that end with s, z, x, sh, or ch, add -es.
Nouns that end in o, add -es.
Exceptions: studio/studios, piano/pianos, zoo/zoos
Nouns that end in a consonant and y - change the y to an i and add -es.
Nouns that end in f or fe - change the f to v and add -es.
My mom and I, or my mom and me?
Who vs. Whom: Use the 'he/him' method to decide which word is correct.
He = who
Him = whom
Whoever vs. Whomever: him + he = whoever
That vs. Which: 'Who' refers to people. 'That' and 'which' refer to groups or things.
Me vs. I: Which one makes sense? To figure this out, take out the other person's name and read the sentence as if it was just you. Does 'me' or 'I' make more sense?
Ex: My mom and me/I went to the mall. Me went to the mall? No. I went to the mall! So use "My mom and I".
Commas: Use commas to separate words and word groups with a series of three or more.
Use a comma to separate two adjectives when the word and can be inserted between them.
Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt sentence flow.
Ex: I am, as you have probably noticed, very excited about this.
Use a comma to separate two strong clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction: and, or, but, for, nor.
Ex: I have painted the entire house, but he is still working on sanding the doors.
Always spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.
Always spell out simple fractions and use hyphens with them.
Be consistent within a category. If you choose numerals because one number is greater than nine, use numerals for all numbers in this category. If you choose to spell out numbers because one of the numbers is a single digit, spell out all numbers in that category.
Poem Rules: forms, rhyme schemes, etc.
Ballad: A poem that tells a story similar to a folk tale or legend which often has a repeated refrain.
Couplet: A couplet has rhyming stanzas made up of two lines.
Dramatic monologue: A type of poem in the perspective of someone other than the writer.
Elegy: A sad and thoughtful poem about the death of an individual.
Epic: An extensive, serious poem that tells the story about a heroic figure.
Free verse: Poetry written in either rhyme or unrhymed lines that have no set fixed metrical pattern.
Haiku: A Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables.
Iambic pentameter: One short syllable followed by one long; five sets in a row. Example: dah-DAH, dah-DAH, dah-DAH, dah-DAH, dah-DAH,
Italian sonnet: A sonnet consisting of an octave with the rhyme pattern abbaabba followed by six lines with a rhyme pattern of cdecde or cdcdcd. 'a' words rhyme together, 'b' words rhyme together, etc.
Limerick: A short, sometimes vulgar, humorous poem consisting of five anapestic lines. Lines 1, 2, and 5 have seven to ten syllables, rhyme and have the same verbal rhythm. The 3rd and 4th lines have five to seven syllables, rhyme, and have the same rhythm.
Ode: A lengthy lyric poem typically of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanza structure.
Petrarchan: A 14-line sonnet consisting of an octave rhyming abbaabba followed by a sestet of cddcee or cdecde
Quatrain: A stanza or poem consisting of four lines. Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables.
Rhyme: A rhyming poem has the repetition of the same or similar sounds of two or more words, often at the end of the line.
Rondeau: A lyrical poem of French origin having 10 or 13 lines with two rhymes and with the opening phrase repeated twice as the refrain.
Sestina: A poem consisting of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in varied order as end words in the other stanzas and also recur in the envoy.
Shakespearean: A 14-line sonnet consisting of three quatrains of abab cdcd efef followed by a couplet, gg. Shakespearean sonnets generally use iambic pentameter.
Sonnet: A lyric poem that consists of 14 lines which usually have one or more conventional rhyme schemes.
Verse: A single metrical line of poetry.
Villanelle: A 19-line poem consisting of five tercets and a final quatrain of two rhymes. The first and third lines of the first tercet repeat alternately as a refrain closing the succeeding stanzas and joined as the final couplet of the quatrain.
Check Again: Things you thought you knew all about!
Ellipsis Marks (aka ...): Use ellipsis marks when omitting a word, phrase, line, paragraph, or more from a quoted passage.
Ellipsis marks are not to be used in stories or poems to suggest pause. This is a very common mistake with writers. Instead, try using a long hyphen mark, or stating that there is a pause.