Intermediate Style Guide

Intermediate Article Types

Review: This is an article that gives a recommendation for a game following completion of the main story, or a majority of the content in the core gameplay loop. It’s best for reviews to be written and published 7-10 days after the release of the game: any later than that, and the article loses its impact, lost in a sea of other reviews people have already read.

For a review, go in depth, but don’t lose yourself in the details. Cover all the game has to offer, not just what you like to talk about. What makes this game fun or boring? What interested you? The best thing a review can do is leave a reader with confidence in their decision to buy or not buy a game.

With reviews, as with game previews and first impressions, credit the dev team. If you don’t know how to do that, go re-read the Beginner section.

Editorial: This kind of article is essentially an opinion piece, but it’s also a bit more than that. These are your views on something, but not just surface-level “I didn’t like it.” Editorials are an opportunity to present a unique, strong perspective that you have about a game. It is important that discussion about the game stays about the game. Discussing the political and religious circumstances in Skyrim is appropriate so long as the discussion doesn’t drift into real-world politics and religious circumstances. Do not attempt to covertly insert politics into an article. Articles that violate this rule will be removed and the account of the author will be deleted.

 

Varying Sentence Structure

Crafting sentences involves knowing when to mix things up and when to stay this same. This is a short sentence. It sounds alright. Do you feel the change? It’s starting to drag. Now it sounds bad. too many short ones.

At the same time, you should avoid run-on sentences and sentences that just overstay their welcome, even if it feels like a sentence should be really long, there’s no reason for it to go as long as this one.

There’s a happy balance to strike between using long sentences, medium-length ones, and short ones. Advanced punctuation marks, such as parentheses, semicolons, and emdashes (covered in the Expert Difficulty section) can also modulate how a section reads. It’s hard to strike a flow, but it’s important to try!

Finally, in almost all circumstances, you should not start a sentence with the words “But” or “And.” It reads like a fractured thought or an incomplete idea, so avoid it! Don’t introduce them at the start of a sentence, but do use them to vary the pacing.

 

Introductions and Conclusions

The introduction and conclusion are two of the most important paragraphs of any article. The introduction is used to convince the reader that the article will be worth their time. It’s for the people who will actually read. The conclusion is used to make the article stay with the reader, wrapping up everything they read (or skimmed) in a way that is satisfying.

For the introduction, think about what might make an interesting tweet for an article. Don’t go for clickbait nonsense — the reader already clicked. Breakdown why the topic interests you, what you plan to talk about, or why you think it’s valuable. You might do that with an anecdote, a simple introduction to the nature of the game, or something a bit more dry and straightforward. From reading an introduction paragraph, the reader gets an idea of where they’re headed and a taste for your writing style. When writing an introduction paragraph, do not create a header reading “Introduction.”

For the conclusion, you want a paragraph that wraps everything up without sounding clinical or procedural. Be assertive and concrete about what you talk about — nobody wants to read an article from an author who isn’t confident in their own work. By reading the conclusion, your reader should feel like they could confidently give your views on the matter to someone else. If after reading your article, your reader doesn’t quite know what they were supposed to get out of it, you need a stronger conclusion (and maybe you’ll have to beef up your article).

 

If you’re writing an article that closely relates to another we have on the site, consider a hyperlink either within text or in a sentence at the bottom of the page. This is particularly useful if you’re linking to a past entry in a series, a review of a previous game in the franchise, an article that makes a contrasting argument, etc. Avoid hyperlinks in your introduction — you don’t want distractions. Hyperlinks encourage and support other authors, but don’t use them carelessly.

 

Quoting Others

Quotes are tricky but helpful for building your credibility with the reader. The first rule of using quotations is to make sure your reader knows who you’re quoting. At some point before or very soon after the quote, you’re reader needs to see who said the quote and in what context (in an interview, on the E3 stage, etc.). Besides this, Most of the difficulty with quotes comes from punctuation, so follow this rule:

When splicing-in the phrase, punctuation stays. When a quote you talk about, punctuation’s out.

That rule is good, but it’s best with another, even simpler rule:

Commas and periods stay inside the quotes.

Here’s an example of “splicing-in the phrase,” which is when you’re integrating a quote into the rest of the sentence as if it belongs. It is italicized to avoid using additional quotes in a section about how to use quotes.

If you find yourself asking: “What’s the point of this article?” then rework the conclusion! That’s “the point of this article.”

Note that the first quoted section starts with a capital letter (because the quoted material was quoted in its entirety, not fragmented), but the second section doesn’t (because the quote is a fragment of the full section). Essentially,

Here’s an example of “when a quote you talk about,” which is when someone else’s quote finds itself subject to your commentary.

I couldn’t believe the “very difficult tutorial”: it was a single crouch jump. Did the author find Go Fish to be “very difficult”?

Note that the colon (:) and the question mark are positioned outside of the quotes: this is because they are not in the quoted sentence originally. In the prior example, the question mark stays inside the quotes, because they are in the quoted sentence originally.

When using quotes within quotes, you’ll use single quotation marks. Here’s an example below.

I understand why Moose said “I think ‘On A Rail’ was my favorite chapter,” but I just can’t get enough of ‘Surface Tension.’”

Note that chapter titles — as with those from the Half-Life reference above — are quoted, not italicized.

Finally, if you know how to use [sic], don’t use it. Some readers won’t know what it means and it sounds a bit too high-brow.

 

Quotes in Headings and Block Quotes

If you have any heading where you might use quotes, using single quotes instead. Single quotes are minimalistic and less imposing for headings.

If you want a quote to stand on it’s own, being more noticeable and completely free of editing, you should use block quotes for it. Word press has many options for block quotes, so it’s important to follow these steps exactly.

  1. Click on the “Toolbar Toggle” next to the Insert Read more tag.
  2. Click “Formats” on the left then hover over quotes.
  3. Click Quote box center.
  4. Then Align left.

 

Numbers

One or 1? Two or 2? It’s important to stay consistent with spelling out numbers versus using numerals. We recommend this general rule:

When referring to units of measurement (HP, ammo, price, active players, units sold), use numerals. When referring to any other number that is less than 101, spell it out.

In addition to this rule, there’s another handy one:

Large round numbers (two hundred, four million, seven thousand) are often better spelled-out.

Finally, if you aren’t sure what to do: the less intrusive, the better. If you think there’s a dramatic flair to saying “Final Fantasy will soon be on it’s five-hundred-seventy-thousandth entry…” then do so! But don’t spell Fallout 4 as Fallout Four; **that’s just incorrect.

Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject-verb agreement is making sure that your verbs connect grammatically with your subject. Consider the following sentence: “He run to the objective to capture it.” This sentence is incorrect. It could be made correct two different ways:

  • They run to the objective to capture it.”
  • “He runs to the objective to capture it.”

This is subject-verb agreement. It is common with whether or not you use “is” or “are” in a sentence. Take the following example: “This weapon specifically, along with the various upgrades you can find, (is/are) too expensive to bother with.” A little trickier, right? The correct option: use “is.”

To see if you have a subject-verb agreement problem, imagine what the sentence would look like without additional phrases. Our example sentence would be: “This weapon specifically (is/are) too expensive to bother with.” A lot easier. If you’re still not sure, envision the subject with a pronoun instead of a noun. Our example sentence then becomes: “It specifically (is/are) too expensive to bother with.” With this trick, it’s easy to re-read a sentence and find out if a change is needed.

Common Mistakes

There are many rules in English that are hard to learn. Here’s a list of things that are commonly done wrong.

Its = possessive (“Its strengths are…”)

It’s = It is (“It’s not a great game…”)

There = location (“He was over there…”)

Their = possessive (“Their accuracy is okay…”)

They’re = They are (“They’re good to have, but…”)

Your = possessive (“Your best asset in this…”)

You’re = You are (You’re a paladin, so…”)

“Since” indicates time after (“Ever since the release of the DLC…”)

“Sense” indicates perception (“I could sense an embarrassing release, but…”)

“A lot” is two words that indicate a large quantity. “Alot” is not a word. “Allot” is a verb meaning to allocate.