Help:Style

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Obviously, all contributions to Heroes Wiki are welcome and appreciated, but to present the most professional content possible, editors should follow consistent style guidelines when editing articles.

Please Note: If you want to try out or practice wiki markup or other formatting, please use the Sandbox, not an actual article.

Style Basics

Sentences, fragments, and run-ons

Use full sentences at all times. A complete sentence must contain a verb and a subject. (Imperative sentences infer the subject "you".) Be careful that sentences with more than one predicate or subject contain proper conjunctions when necessary to avoid run-on sentences.

Conjunctions separate clauses in compound sentences. Coordinating conjunctions join independent clauses (clauses which would be complete sentences if separated). They include "for", "and", "not", "but", "or", "yet", and "so", and the semicolon. Subordinating conjunctions join a dependent clause to an independent clause; they include "because", "if", "when", "although", "while", and "even though".

Capitalization

Capitalization of sentences

  • Capitalize the first word of each sentence.
  • Capitalize proper nouns. Be careful to include titles when they are part of proper noun phrases (Doctor Suresh vs. a doctor). Proper nouns include:
    • Names of people...
      • ...unless they choose otherwise (Milo Ventimiglia, k. d. lang)
    • Names of locations and corresponding nationalities
      • Do not capitalize a definite article which precedes a location or nationality unless it is part of the formal name of the place. (the Phillipines, The Hague, the Haitian)
    • Names, but not mere descriptions, of specific items. (The Liberty Bell vs. Jessica's gun)
      • Capitalize a definite article which is part of the name of an object.
  • Capitalize the first-person pronoun "I" (but see here).
  • Capitalize nationalities, countries, cities, states.
  • Trademarks and brand names should be capitalized as they are used by the owner of the mark. (Dell, iPod)
  • Days of the week, months of the year, and the names of languages are always capitalized.
  • Capitalize adjectives which are derived from proper nouns. (Christian, Faustian, American)
  • Most names of abilities should not be capitalized.

Capitalization of titles

There are a number of different conventions for capitalizing titles of works. Technically, none is any more "correct" than any other. The most widely accepted is to capitalize the first and last word of the title, and all words in between that are not articles, conjunctions, or prepositions. However, titles of works should be capitalized as by their authors when the capitalization differs from the standard rules.

Plural nouns

Most nouns take an "s" to become plural (powers, diners)

  • Nouns which end in a sibilant ("s", "sh", "ch", "x") take "es" to become plural. (buses, wishes, marches, taxes)
  • Nouns which end in "y" change the "y" to an "i" and add "es" to become plural. (worries, candies, flurries)
  • Many nouns which are borrowed from other languages have non-standard plurals. (alumnus becomes alumni, for example)
  • Some common noun phrases for occupations place an adjective after, not before, the noun. Be careful to make the noun plural, not the adjective. (attorneys general, brothers-in-law)
  • Family names should be made plural when referring to more than one member of the family. Family names follow all the normal rules except that the name is never changed. (Peter and Nathan are the Petrellis, Niki and Micah are the Sanderses, George and Laura are the Bushes, Carmelo's family is the Anthonys, not the Anthonies.)

Punctuation

Punctuate your sentences properly. All sentences should have one and only one piece of terminal punctuation (a question mark, period, or exclamation point).

Apostrophes

Apostrophes are used to denote contractions and some possessives.

  • Contractions always have an apostrophe (isn't, doesn't, it's).
  • Possessives only do when they are the possessive form of a noun (Nathan's campaign). Possessive pronouns do not use apostrophes (His, hers, its)
    • The possessive of a single noun always adds an apostrophe and an "s", even if the single noun ends in "s" (D.L. Hawkins's car)
      • The only exception is a singular word which ends in a double sibilant (Moses, Isis, Texas). Such nouns take only an apostrophe to become possessives to avoid a triple sibilant. (Moses', Isis', Texas')
    • The possessive of a plural noun which ends in "s" adds only an apostrophe to the plural (The Hawkinses' Home, The Bennets' Home)
    • The possessive of a plural noun which does not end in "s" adds an apostrophe and an "s" (the men's hammers, the women's crowbars)
  • Apostrophes are never used to make a word plural. The Bennets' is possessive and plural; The Bennets is plural but not possessive.

Grammatically, an apostrophe is not the same as a single quotation mark, but typographically the same mark is used. In American English, single quotation marks are used for quotations within quotations. (I told Peter, "Nathan said, 'You're a goober.'")

Colons and Semicolons

Colons:

  • Introduce lists (The following are colors: red, green, and blue)
  • Introduce definitions or identifications (A new character appears: Uluru's girlfriend, HRG: Horn-Rimmed Glasses)
  • Separate titles from subtitles (Vampire: The Masquerade, Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Semicolons:

  • Act as a conjunction between closely-related sentences: (Peter has hair; it looks silly.)
  • Separate list items that contain commas (Nathan, who flies; Isaac, who paints the future; and Claire, who heals)
  • Act as a conjunction when a conjunctive adverb is used in place of a conjunction (Peter has hair; however, it looks silly.)

Hyphens and Dashes

Hyphens:

  • Separate parts of compound words (fleur-de-lis, Spider-Man, twenty-six)
    • When using multiple compound words which share a word, omit the shared word from the first instance but retain the hyphen (right- and left-handed)
  • Separate syllables of some words which would otherwise lead to confusing blocks of consonants (shell-like)

Dashes:

  • Denote interruptions ("I've always just known him as--Stop that you, no more shoes!")
  • Set aside parenthetical information (Sandra Bennet--Mr. Bennet's wife--yelled at Mr. Muggles.)

An em dash is produced by typing two hyphens (--). Typographically, standard American practice is not to add spaces either before or after the dash.

Quotation Marks

Quotation marks denote direct quotations. They should not be used with paraphrases. In American English, double quotation marks are used before and after the quoted material, while single marks are used before and after quotations within quotations.

There is no grammatical rule regarding the order of baseline punctuation (commas and periods) and quotation marks; in fact, in written text, baseline punctuation is traditionally placed beneath the quotation mark. However, typography requires that one appear before the other. The standard American practice has been to include periods and commas within the quotation marks without regard to whether they are part of the quoted text or not. However, this practice has been largely abandoned in favor of the British practice of only enclosing baseline punctuation when it appears in the quoted text, which is more precise. Additionally, the American practice can lead to confusion with computer file extensions and URLs. (The website is located at "primatechpaper.com." vs. The website is located at "primatechpaper.com".)

In either the British or American style, question marks and exclamation points always appear inside the quotes if they are part of the quote, and outside the quote if they are not. Semicolons and colons always appear outside the quotation marks.

Sometimes quotation marks can be used as scare quotes. In this usage, scare quotes denote a misnomer, or indicate that the word or words inside the quotation marks may not signify its literal or conventional meaning. For instance, when Sylar shape shifted into Nathan's body and assumed his identity, it's acceptable to call the character Nathan, but with the use of scare quotes. ("Nathan" arrives at the carnival.) However, scare quotes should be used sparingly within a single article. To avoid overuse, scare quotes should only need to be used once in a while.

Commas

Commas are used to:

  • Separate items in a list (red, green, and blue)
    • The "serial comma" which appears before the last item in the list is optional, but may be necessary for clarity. "Sylar killed two women, Charlie and Dale" is a very different sentence from "Sylar killed two women, Charlie, and Dale."
  • Set aside introductory phrases (Later, Once upon a time,)
  • Set aside non-essential parenthetical information:
    • All of the evolved humans, who have blue eyes implies that all evolved humans have blue eyes. This is non-essential parenthetical information.
    • All of the evolved humans who have blue eyes identifies a subset of evolved humans--only those with blue eyes. This information is essential to defining the class.
  • Separate dates from years (August 12, 1963)
  • Separate cities from regions, states, provinces, or countries (London, England; Dallas, Texas)
  • Separate independent clauses joined by a conjunction (Peter screamed, and Sylar laughed.)
  • Separate a dependent clause which appears before its independent clause (When Peter screamed, nobody heard it. vs. Nobody heard it when Peter screamed.)
  • Separate coordinate adjectives that modify the same noun
    • Multiple adjectives are coordinate if they are of equal importance. If the order of the adjectives does not matter to the sentence, they are coordinate.
    • "The big, red dog" implies a dog which is big and red. This would be appropriate if only one dog is being discussed. "The big red dog" specifies a red dog which is big. This would be appropriate if you needed to distinguish "the big red dog" from "the small red dog".
  • Separate a speaker from a quotation when a verb which denotes speaking is used (Peter said, "My hair is preposterous.")
    • If a verb which denotes speaking is not used, or if the quote is not the object of the verb, use a colon instead (Peter discussed his hair: "It's preposterous.")

Pronouns and Antecedents

Be mindful of pronouns and antecedents. An antecedent is the noun to which a pronoun refers. Generally, a pronoun refers to the last appropriate noun (i.e. the last noun of the appropriate number and gender for the pronoun used) which precedes it. Sentences like "Hiro and Ando walk through the casino, where he sees a roulette table" are ambiguous, and if the writer intended to mean that Hiro saw a roulette table, incorrect.

Formal Writing

Abbreviations and shortcuts generally do not belong in formal writing. For instance, instead of using the informal abbreviation TV, editors should use the full term, television. It would be informal (and frowned upon) to say, "Elle retrieved her pie from the fridge." Instead, the more formal and correct word usage should be employed: "Elle retrieved her pie from the refrigerator."

The exception to this would be common abbreviations for organizations. However, the proper name of the organization should be introduced prior to using the abbreviation. For instance, it would be improper and potentially confusing to say, "Danko works for the DHS." Instead, introduce the organization's full name first: "Danko works for the Department of Homeland Security. He and Noah joined the DHS around the same time."

Likewise, cardinal and ordinal numbers up to ten should always be spelled out. To say "Heroes was Adair Tishler's 4th television show. She filmed it when she was 9." would be informal. The more proper way to say this would be, "Heroes was Adair Tishler's fourth television show. She filmed it when she was nine." There is no standard for cardinal and ordinal numbers greater than ten. However, it is generally considered more proper to spell out at least cardinal and ordinal numbers that are multiples of ten up to one hundred (e.g., twenty, thirty, forty, twentieth, thirtieth, fortieth).

Good editing practices

  • Preview and spellcheck articles before saving.
  • Provide an edit summary.
  • Use consistent naming conventions when adding new articles.
  • Use consistent section headings. Check Help:Layout for the appropriate layout for each category.
    • Help:Layout also contains blank layouts for each category you can copy and paste into a new article.
  • Use consistent formatting:
    • Write a short lead section—that is, a section that appears ahead of any section headings—and bold the article title in that section.
    • Apply sidebars and navbars consistent with other articles in the same category. For a list of these elements, see Category: Templates
    • Link to all relevant articles the first time they appear in each section. This allows readers who have followed a section link from another article or who have used the table of contents to navigate the site more readily.

Categories

Assign appropriate categories and be sure to sort the article properly (exclude articles, last name first, etc.)

  • To assign a category, simply link to it anywhere in the article. For example, [[Category: People]] will assign the article to the "People" category.
  • To link to a category page, be sure to precede the word "Category" with a colon, like [[:Category: People]]. This prevents the category from being assigned to the article you are editing. This is especially important when redirecting to a category.
  • To change the category sort of an article, pipe the preferred sort method after the category assignment. For example, [[Category: People|Petrelli, Nathan]] will cause the article to appear under "P" rather than "N".
    • Sort people by last name.
    • Sort plot points and unnamed characters to exclude articles. ("Exterminator, The" instead of "The Exterminator")
    • Sort episodes by production number (101, 102) in [[Category: Episodes]] and by sequence within the season (01, 02, 03) in [[Category: Season (#) Episodes]].

The following table lists the top-level categories, plus some primary subcategories:

Category Description Article Perspective Subcategories
Heroes Articles about in-show information, such as episodes, characters, and plot points In-world Episodes, Characters, Events, Items, Places, World Locations, etc.
Graphic Novels Articles about the Graphic Novels, such as issues, characters, and plot points In-world Issues, Graphic Novel Characters, Graphic Novel Places, Graphic Novel Locations, etc.
Heroes Wiki Articles about this website, such as help, policy, and user pages Real-world Help, Heroes Wiki Contributor, Templates, Stubs, Articles without images, etc.
Production Articles about the behind-the-scenes production of the Heroes TV show, including cast and crew bios Real-world Season One Principal Cast, Season One Supporting Cast, Season One Guest Stars, Series Crew, Graphic Novel Crew, etc.
Heroes Evolutions Articles about the Heroes Evolutions online experience, including NBC.com features and the ARG In-world
Real-world (sources)
Abilities, Characters, Locations, Web Sites, Other
Files All images, animations, video clips, and audio clips uploaded and available In-world (descriptions)
Real-world (sources)
Images, Animations, Multimedia
Speculation Information not from canon sources, including theories, spoilers, and fan creations Real-world Fan Creations, Spoilers, Theories

Language

Tense

Whenever possible, write in the present tense. This provides consistency between articles and makes narratives more clear. Obviously, references to future and past events relative to the time you are writing about should use the future and past tenses respectively.

It's appropriate to use the past tense for deceased characters, depending on context. "Charles Devaux is Simone's late father" is appropriate, because "late father" refers to his present condition. Conversely, "Robert Fresco was an oncologist at UCLA" is appropriate because "an oncologist at UCLA" describes his past condition, not his present condition. ("Robert Fresco is crispy" would use the present tense, of course.)

Person

Use the third person at all times. Avoid the use of "I", "we", or "you". It is not clear to the reader to whom such pronouns refer.

Perspective

Narrative sections (such as episode summaries and character histories) should be written from an "in-world" perspective. That is, they should read as if the events and people of Heroes are real. This provides consistency and clarity. Avoid any mention of the viewer, scene changes, commercial breaks, actors, seasons, episodes, or the like within these sections; it will only cause confusion. References to episodes should be parenthetical or section titles only in these sections.

Be particularly careful with passive voice phrases like "it is revealed that", "it is shown that", and the like. The object of such sentences, although not explicitly included, is almost always the viewer: "it is revealed to the viewer that", "it is shown to the viewer that". These phrases therefore break perspective. It's best to rephrase the sentence in the active voice, describing which characters reveal or show the information in question. Instead of "it is revealed that Peter's silly emo hair is actually a wig", try "Peter reveals to Uluru's girlfriend that his silly emo hair is actually a wig".

References to anything about Heroes as a series, including its production, actors, broadcast schedule, or the like should be confined to Notes, Fan Theories, and other appropriate sections. This makes it more clear what information is "in-world" and which is not.

"Out-of-world" articles, including those for actors, crew, and production, should conversely maintain an "out-of-world" perspective. If you need to describe events within an episode in such an article, make it clear that you are describing a scene. For example, in Santiago Cabrera, it would be better to say "in the scene where Isaac paints the future, Santiago had to wear custom made scleral shells to "white out" his eyes" rather than "when Isaac paints the future, he wears custom made scleral shells to white out his eyes."

Tone

Heroes Wiki is generally written in a somewhat casual tone. Contractions and common slang such as "cop" or "thug" are fine. Avoid any uncommon jargon unless you provide a definition. Also avoid any overt profanity unless you are quoting a source. Be mindful that any idioms may make the work much harder for translators. Using the term "heroes" to describe the characters is generally avoided because it's a morally loaded term. The term "evolved humans" is preferred.

Speculation

Any information which is not confirmed in an episode of the show should be considered speculative and labeled as such, and confined to appropriate articles or sections of articles. Speculative information includes fan theories, spoilers, and information from non-canon sources or from conflicting canon sources. Fan theories should always be labeled as fan theories, and confined to theories articles. Spoilers, whether confirmed by a reputable source or not, should be confined to spoilers articles and labeled with the {{unairedspoiler}} template. Other speculative information should be confined to Notes sections and clearly labeled. Note the source of any information you include in an article with an external link whenever possible. It's not necessary to do so for common fan theories.

The degree to which the graphic novels can be considered a canonical source is not yet known. To date, no information from the novels runs contrary to that of an aired episode. In all likelihood, the novels are canonical. However, it's best to note the source of any information from the novels which has not been confirmed on-screen.

Be especially careful with regard to inferences. Some information has been so strongly inferred that it's practically confirmed. However, it's best to note that such information is inferred and not confirmed.

For more on speculation and sources, see Help:Sources.