Writing Glitch #120

Today’s glitch:


Even if you really, really want to write the numerals instead of ten thousand (The Chicago Manual of Style says not to do that, but whatever floats your goat) the comma is in the wrong place. It should be 10,000.

In the second sentence, form should be from. Oddly enough, the double-zero is correct as numerals.

Ten thousand years in the future, Earth is one giant city, the lower levels long ago abandoned. One day, an elevator starts to ascend from level 00.

(It may be a little less awkward to change long ago abandoned to abandoned long ago, but the original version does put slight emphasis on the fact of the abandonment rather than on when it happened, so it may be better as it is, depending on what the author intends.)



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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5 Responses to Writing Glitch #120

  1. I’ve always followed the rule that you write numbers between one to ten as words (like I did), and you *never* start a sentence with a number no matter what its value is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure where that one comes from, but the first part (only write out numbers one through ten, and use numerals for everything else) sounds like the rule for journalism (magazines, newspapers, etc.) and not fiction. Journalism tends to aim for a lower reading level so it can be understood by a wider range of readers, which is why you’d use numerals most of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Here’s what the Chicago Manual of Style says about numbers: “In nontechnical contexts, Chicago advises spelling out whole numbers from zero through one hundred and certain multiples of those numbers.” It also states, “When a number begins a sentence, it is always spelled out.” (I am assuming this rule would not exist if it were incorrect to begin a sentence with a number.) Fiction counts as a nontechnical context (yes, even the crunchiest of hard sci-fi).

    Liked by 1 person

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