Writing Glitch #21

Today’s glitch:


Here’s a hint: it has to do with commas. (You’re surprised, right?)

The mood grew dark and somber around the city as fighter ships that were not of their world silently filled the skies overhead.

I honestly have no idea why anyone would include that comma after world. I see this sort of thing a lot, though, as if the writer thought, Well, I’ve just typed several words in a row without any punctuation marks, so I’d better add a comma or something now, just in case.


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.
This entry was posted in Writing Glitches and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Writing Glitch #21

  1. Would a comma after city be incorrect?

    Also, the placement of “their” makes me think the fighters are not of their own world, which would be really odd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A comma after “city” would indicate that “as” means “because/due to” rather than “while/when,” and I thought “while/when” was the more likely meaning. (I’ll try to dig up more examples to explain this better.)

      I think the fighter ships AREN’T from the world where the city is located. I know it isn’t clear, and we can’t ask the person who wrote this sample, so I’ve had to make my best guess about the intended meaning. (If I were editing/proofreading this in a manuscript… Well, for one thing, there’d be some context to let me know where the fighter ships were from, etc., and if it STILL wasn’t clear, I’d make suggestions on how to fix that.)


Don't hold back -- tell me what you really think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.