Writing Glitch #142

Today’s glitch:


This one is mostly correct in terms of grammar and punctuation, but there’s a bit of confusion with pronouns (which pronoun belongs to which antecedent) and more than a bit of redundancy.

I’d recommend changing befriends to pretends to befriend in the first sentence. I’d also recommend changing the latter part of the sentence to plans to take him on a camping trip and abduct him. Neither of these changes is necessary, but they would make the sentence less clunky and eliminate the use of he/him referring to more than one person in a single sentence.

I’d recommend deleting he befriended from the second sentence; we already know which human is being referred to.

I’d recommend changing Unknown in the second sentence to Unbeknownst (even though it’s a “big word” of which Grammarly disapproves — unless you’re new here, you already know my opinion of Grammarly’s ridiculous ‘these words are too big for real people’ list). Another option would be to change the sentence so neither word is needed.

I would strongly recommend deleting the last sentence entirely, because the reader was already informed that neither character knows about the other’s plans. (If the author insists on keeping the last sentence, other’s needs an apostrophe.)

An alien, disguised as a human, pretends to befriend a human and plans to take him on a camping trip and abduct him.

Unbeknownst to the alien, the human is actually a government agent who plans to capture the alien on said camping trip.

(Why is it abduction when an alien does it to a human, but it’s capture when a human does it to an alien? Mercenary Proofreader does not approve of species-ist biases… Not that you care, but it needed to be said.)



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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3 Responses to Writing Glitch #142

  1. It STILL reads disjointed… but it could be just me?

    Liked by 1 person

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