Rift Writing Woes – A Short English Grammar Lesson

rift text box imageWhy can’t MMOs hire people who can write properly. Every professional writer should know how to use the words lie and lay, or at least the game’s lead editor, for goddess’ sake.

I almost took screenshots of text glitches at Nightmare Tide launch, but I figured there was no point.

The emote text error in the picture at left has apparently been in the game since launch. The emote is wrong (should be /liedown, not /laydown). Nearly four years have passed, and no member of the Rift team has managed to fix this.

Ironically, my crassness and tactless lack of compassion for failure is one the main reasons I have a lousy job. Managers want to hire and promote nice, charismatic people, not cranky kitties.

If American culture were a game, the most important stats are Charisma and Bullshit Artistry. I lack both of those stats. Even my redeeming feature–an abiding interest in helping people–is a desire to educate, organize, and spread the often-missing truth, and only sometimes from a sense of charity and compassion.

So please know that “were a game” is proper grammar here. It’s called a contrary-to-fact subjunctive, yet most people will incorrectly write “was“.

Tonight, I calculated that I need to complete like 50 weekly quests in Rift to earn enough currency to buy like one piece of T1 gear from the store, or I can pay like $15. So I figure I might get a gear piece sometime next summer.

I’ve lost every possible roll in the last three weeks, including two sparkle tank gears, almost nothing from chests, and a loss of the BiS staff from Nightmare Iron Tomb. The sparkle quest gave me no DPS, so I truly feel I’m even further behind than before in both PvP and my chosen PvE role.

Here “further” is correct grammar because the distance is not physical, and the difference between the words “roll” and “role” could also be noted.

I haven’t participated this much in endgame since vanilla LotRO. I hope I’m not running out of steam, but I need to get thrown a nice bone at some point to keep going. I’m currently grinding my one allowed random dungeon charge each night, and also running Iron Tomb for another chance at the staff if it doesn’t come up on the random.

In the above sentence, I’ve used a vague pronoun reference with the pronoun “it“. So that’s exciting.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be involved in the Rift endgame, especially with classes starting. This week I’m doing a final proofread on my second novel, so I’ll have the first two manuscripts of my trilogy ready to publish soon. The cover art is also two-thirds painted. I’m stuck on the lettering scheme.

Gosh, this is another half-cranky post, but I owe it all to Justin Olivetti and his at-swordpoint review of H1Z1 this morning. Angry Joe has lost his edge a bit lately, so Justin is my favorite MMO/game writer once again. Congrats to Justin for being slightly more awesome than Angry Joe, and also to Massively for boldly publishing real, honest journalism.

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About Silverangel

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6 responses to “Rift Writing Woes – A Short English Grammar Lesson

  • Frank

    The confusion so many people have with ‘lie’ and ‘lay’ frustrates me often.

    Your point about ‘farther’ confuses me, however. I can understand the distinction you are making, but it’s not one that I have seen stressed. I know I have often looked in the dictionary and been left with the impression that ‘farther’ is a variant of ‘further’, and I can’t remember the last time I used ‘farther’ in my writing.

    Coincidentally, two nights ago I watched Episode 2.7 of Battlestar Galactica in which Sharon makes the same point. (“Farther” describes actual distance. “Further” is more figurative.)

    • Frank

      By the way, that only really makes sense as dialogue if you assume that the characters are speaking more-or-less contemporary English, which almost certainly isn’t the case.

    • Silverangel

      Hi Frank! I seem to recall there is a difference between British and American usage on the further and farther debate, and a bit of research supports my vague recollection. According to studies, more Brits today use further almost exclusively, while Americans are apparently more likely to use farther for physical distance. The issue stems from a century-old difference of opinion. (source – http://random-idea-english.blogspot.com/2011/10/q-further-or-farther-british.html). So when I said the distinction is “correct” grammar, that was a bit of a stretch coming from regional bias. I apologize. 🙂 Are you a fan of Firefly? That show has nice, immersive non-contemporary sci-fi dialogue flavor.

  • mrfabius

    English speakers are making less and less of a distinction between lie and lay over time. A linguist would say that the two are equally correct.

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