Writing Glitch #122

Today’s glitch:


Humans probably shouldn’t be capitalized in the first sentence. If you prefer to capitalize the common name of your own species (the way we generally don’t capitalize the common, non-scientific names of any other species), be consistent about it, and capitalize it at all times.

Earth-bred needs to be hyphenated. On the other hand, maybe I ought to be grateful it was spelled correctly; I’ve seen bread used in place of bred far too many times, as in “My dog is a pure-bread poodle.” *shakes head* Kudos, too, for correct use of a colon in the first sentence and for correctly capitalizing Earth.

Earth is actually an animal sanctuary to preserve a critically endangered species: humans. Today the first reintroduction of Earth-bred humans back into the wild will take place.

That second sentence is a bit awkward, isn’t it? How about Today will be the first reintroduction of Earth-bred humans into the wild, or something like that?


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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4 Responses to Writing Glitch #122

  1. Quintessential Editor says:

    I love these writing glitches you provide. Your page is going to be a daily stop for me – time permitting.

    Regarding the second sentence, the first version seems like a news announcement and your version feels like someone telling me individually (or I’m just reading into it too much). How would you feel about tossing a comma in the first version to give a pause after “today”. That would make it feel even more “newsy” to me – if that is the goal. “Today, the first reintroduction of Earth-bred humans back into the wild will take place.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that the example would sound odd in a novel, but 1) I don’t write these examples myself (I find it too difficult to invent writing errors over and over, because deliberately writing badly is mentally exhausting), and 2) many of the examples were originally intended as writing prompts, which do tend more toward telling than showing.

      If I were to attempt teaching such topics as how to develop/maintain a particular narrative voice… As scientists say, that’s beyond the scope of this project. 🙂

      You don’t NEED a comma after a single word like “Today” at the beginning of a sentence, but you can use the comma if you want to. For example, you may have noticed that I do use a comma after “Sometimes” in the titles of many of my blog posts. (CMS says, “An introductory adverbial phrase is OFTEN [emphasis added] set off by a comma but need not be unless misreading is likely. Shorter adverbial phrases are less likely to merit a comma than longer ones.”)

      Liked by 1 person

    • And, by the way, thank you for taking the time to comment on the post. Feedback is always useful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quintessential Editor says:

        No worries at all. I appreciate you breaking it down. I asked with the intention of sponging up some of your brainpower – mission accomplished.

        Look forward to me asking more novice questions in the future. Someday (MANY moons from now) I will have editing chops as strong as yours. Until then, I’ll focus on my own writing and general editing.

        Liked by 1 person

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