Writing glitch #19

Today’s glitch:


On top of the comma splice, there’s a bit of pronoun trouble here, plus wonky verb tenses. Let’s fix the punctuation and verbs first.

The captain often visited him. He told him that when he grew up, his job would be to kill people.

Still needs work. Which he is meant each time? I know it’s possible to make an educated guess, but the reader shouldn’t have to guess; it should be clear from the writing itself which character is being referred to. If I were in charge of editing this in a manuscript, I’d recommend a further change: The captain often visited him and told him that when he grew up, his job would be to kill people. See? No pronoun confusion, and the words are barely changed at all.


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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One Response to Writing glitch #19

  1. Sheron says:

    This is a good glitch to use. I often have confusing pronouns.


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