Writing Glitch #108

Today’s glitch:


Use a colon, not a semicolon, before a list. (A semicolon serves two purposes, and only two: to serve as a sort of “super-comma” for separating items in a list when the items themselves contain commas, and to connect two complete sentences that are very closely related.)

When they told me that I was different, I pictured a number of things: super powers, aliens, mutants. But I never imagined that it was my stereotypical normality that made me stick out amidst the crowd.

If this person does stick out compared to everyone else, by definition that means he/she is not ‘stereotypically normal’ in this setting. (Also, stereotypical normality is a damn awkward phrase, not to mention redundant). I know what the writer was trying to say, but this isn’t it. Perhaps ordinary humanity would make more sense.


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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