Writing Glitch #3

Today’s glitch:


This one’s all about the commas.



Here’s the corrected version:

The moon cast an eerie glow, and snowflakes fluttered lazily around the trees. She sat on the forest floor, playing a haunting tune on her ebony flute.

The first sentence is compound: two short sentences joined by a conjunction (and). That means you need a comma before the conjunction. (No, there is not some sort of exception to commas in compound sentences, such as ‘only use a comma with but, not with and.’) The comma in the second sentence is for clarity. If the sentence had said, She sat on the forest floor next to a wolf, looking hungry, for example, you’d really want that comma so you’d know that she, not the wolf, was the one hoping for dinner.


About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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