FANDOM


  • Shambala108
    Shambala108 closed this thread because:
    Situation resolved
    01:10, October 31, 2015

    This is the way I've begun nameless characters, planets and species as of the present (not always), but could someone outline the differences in grammar between one beginning with "This bla bla bla was" and one beginning with "A bla bla bla was", and how the grammar's right or wrong for wiki writing? Examples in the relevant pages at the bottom.

      Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Actually, you're doing it the right way. A while back, Czechout and another user had a conversation discussing this (and unfortunately I don't remember where I saw it) and it is considered bad grammar to start an article with "this so-and-so" because readers don't know what "this" is referring to.

      I've been changing it whenever I come across it, but there are probably tons of examples that I haven't seen yet.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • That makes sense. I suppose you can't start a subject with "this" without some context.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Yeah, I read that conversation too. Might have actually been me, can't remember.

      Anyway, I personality try to write with the article "the":

      The steward was blah blah blah

      Because

      A steward was blah blah blah

      sounds like I'm talking about the job in general.

      The whole point of the lead is to ensure that the reader knows exactly what the article's about — and we don't want to confuse 'em like that.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Looking at the page for the occupation miner, I can see exactly what you mean by that, Smaller. Didn't even consider that.

      However, what if the adjective "unnamed" was in there, i.e.: "An unnamed Peladonian steward was..."? Would that be clear enough?

      Though speaking of examples beginning with "steward", the existing example of Steward (The End of the World) with "the steward" because he's actually referred to by several characters as "the steward".

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • No, it wasn't you. I found it at user talk:Boblipton, nearly at the bottom of the page for anyone interested.

      As for the use of "the" v. "a/an", I think "the" is only marginally better than "this". It still leaves the reader asking, "Which one? Did I miss something?"

      Compare these two sentences:

      A boy saw Rory leaving the TARDIS. Rory gave the boy an ice cream.

      or

      The boy saw Rory leaving the TARDIS. Rory gave the boy an ice cream.

      The first choice establishes a boy, then continues to refer to the specific boy.

      The second choice sounds like it's referring to something already established (or is coming from a first grade reader).

      "The" can be used in certain circumstances, the best example of which can be found in Czechout's examples on Boblipton's talk page.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • So that's where I read it! Anyway, I think at this point that

      "An unnamed miner yadda yadda yadda"

      is the best option as far as the lead.

      But, while we're on this topic, I've been meaning to bring up the matter of the {{{name}}} variable in the infoboxes of subjects with unknown names.

      They have no names. We can't write nothing in them, so do we write the name of the article (possibly with dab terms truncated) or do we just write "unknown" on all the pages?

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • I don't know if there's a policy, but I would prefer "miner" or "boy" to "unnamed miner" or "unnamed boy" (just for the infobox name variable).

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • For credited TV and audio characters, I just say what they're credited as, minus the dab term.

      For instance, for Miner (The Bride of Peladon) and Foreman (The Bride of Peladon), who aren't really called anything beyond maybe "dad" and "son", I put the {{{name}}} variable as "Miner" and "Foreman".

      This doesn't account for everything, of course.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • You can't use "unnamed" because they have a name in universe. They aren't actually unnamed. Their parents, whoever they are, did name them. We, the audience, just don't know what that name is. So it's actually a technical violation of T:NO RW to say "an unnamed miner".

      You just have to use a prepositional phrase to give some kind of context. "A miner on Peladon in <insert year here>", for example.

      Please never, ever use "unnamed" in an in-universe article.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Apologies for that. I'll at least fix the Bride ones immediately.

      That said, I still stand by the specific example of "the steward" in post 5 as a correct usage, as that's what he's called in-universe.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • And before you ask, yes, this does mean that all the titles of planets and species that begin with "unnamed" are wrong. However, these are relatively easy to fix by bot, so I keep putting it off. The proper — and faster-to-type — nomenclature is "Planet (story title)" — not "Unnamed planet (story title)".

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • What would the name of what's currently known as "unnamed planets" and so forth be in the {{{name}}} variable in infoboxes? Would that be Planet (story name), or just Planet?

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • That said, I still stand by the specific example of "the steward" in post 5 as a correct usage, as that's what he's called in-universe.

      Don't misread me. I'm not saying you should always use a instead of the. Certainly in the case of Steward (The End of the World), that's "the steward". He's the only one not only on Platform One, but also several others. In fact, I would argue that the s begs to be capitalised in that case. I think he's "the Steward", cause it's a title not just a job. Borderline case, obviously, so I'm not rushing in to change it, but if it were currently written as a proper noun, I wouldn't change that, either.

      But in the case of something not unique — like a miner — you clearly wouldn't use a definite article. SOTO is, in my view, grammatically wrong above when he says that he'll just use the … whenever. No, you don't do that. Most of the time when someone is identified by a job — waitress, miner, secretary — you're obliged to use a, unless it can be established there's only one of that type of worker in a particular situation. There might only be one secretary in a small firm, for instance, or one teacher in a frontier school. You don't use the definite article just because that's the only one of that type of worker that we meet in a story, because using the definite article implies something that's simply not true.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Tybort wrote: What would the name of what's currently known as "unnamed planets" and so forth be in the {{{name}}} variable in infoboxes? Would that be Planet (story name), or just Planet?

      Dab terms should never be in an infobox, so, yeah, just "Planet".

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Huh. I never actually considered that, in-universe, they're not unnamed. Good point.

      And I see your point with a/the, but I still think we should try to avoid sentences like

      A waitress was a 21st century human who worked at Happy Cook.

      I mean, that does kind of sound like I'm claiming that all waitresses came from the 21st century and worked at Happy Cook. Obviously, I don't mean that. But, if we're not to use "the" unnecessarily, how better could we phrase it? Does

      A waitress from the 21st century worked at Happy Cook.

      sound more like I'm referring to one individual waitress?

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • The construction

      A waitress was a <whatever>

      doesn't directly or indirectly indicate that all waitresses were <whatever>. There is no definition of a which means everything of the class of thing that follows. Instead, a means pretty much the opposite: one of the class of thing that follows. It is a way of individuating one from a group, not applying a common characteristic to a group. In your example, you're saying, "of all the waitresses that exist, this one has the characteristics which follow".

      There is nothing grammatically wrong about:

      A waitress was a 21st century human who worked at Happy Cook.

      However, it's pretty boring writing for a lead sentence. Remember, lead sentences should try to grab the reader's attention. Alternately the lead should economically give us the topic's key relevance to the DWU. That sentence does neither really. A better sentence might be:

      A Happy Cook waitress identified Josh and Gary for Gwen during Cooper's Eugene Jones enquiry.
        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • Well, your sentence does make it much more clear what the topic of the article is, and actually gives information. I guess I'll start writing my leads more like that from now on. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • In light of Czech's bot change to the "Unnamed" titles in post 12, does this mean we should get rid of the dab pages Unnamed alien and Planet (disambiguation)?

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • I think the "boring" leads come from the fact that all new character pages start with "Pagename was", and editors just fill in from there. I do occasionally change the "was" to something more interesting, but the fact that it's there allows me to be lazy without even thinking of it, especially when creating a lot of new articles at once.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
    • All Unnamed planets, species and aliens have had the "unnamed" removed from their article names. Closing thread.

        Establishing interface with the TARDIS
Give Kudos to this message
You've given this message Kudos!
See who gave Kudos to this message
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+