Writing Glitch #48

Today’s glitch:


Using both a question mark and an exclamation point, while not as bad as a frakkin’ interrobang, is still ugly. If you want to give a question extra emphasis, you italicize that thing. Then the question mark is the only end punctuation you need. (Yes, I know interrobangs are normal in some languages. You’re here to improve your knowledge of written English, are you not?) The argument that writers should avoid all uses of italics because ‘italics stand out too much and make the reader aware that they’re reading’ is a sorry-ass excuse for double-stacking the end punctuation instead. That stands out a lot more than italics, believe me.

Hyphenate all of twelve-year-old, not just part of it.

“And why do we have to bring a twelve-year-old to a crime scene?”

The boy smiled faintly and replied, “Detective, I am here for your protection.”

If you want to avoid using italics for a full sentence, I recommend something like this instead: “And why do we have to bring a twelve-year-old to a crime scene?” he shouted.


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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