Writing Glitch #176

Today’s glitch:


So close! The commas are in the correct places and everything. If only the writer had avoided the dreaded arbitrary capitalization… *scary music*

“Yes, sir, we were able to resurrect your wife, but there’s a… problem.”

Usually, I see writers fail to capitalize the first word of a new sentence following an ellipse. Here, the ellipse is within a sentence, and the word after it should not be capitalized.

Maybe the writer of the original wanted to place special emphasis on the word problem, in which case italics would be the correct choice, not capitalization. (Capitalizing only the first letter is worse than using all caps; readers will at least understand what you’re if you capitalize the whole word.)


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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6 Responses to Writing Glitch #176

  1. Do you make these examples on your own, or do you find them?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheron says:

    When to capitalize “sir” confused me. I read that where you can insert a proper name you should capitalize. Thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Sir” is confusing — is it a title, or isn’t it? What level of honorific? *consults CMS* Just as I suspected (and as I’ve been doing all along): According to The Chicago Manual of Style, “Sir” is for men who’ve been knighted and only goes before their name (“Yes, sir, Sir Bertolt”), whereas “sir” is a generic respectful form of address.


  3. prodisonhetgal says:

    Hi Thomas! I enjoy reading your posts very much. They are fun, educating, easy to understand and absorb. They help me a lot in my effort to understand, perfect and use English language for my writing. I honestly hope, you will continue to write these posts indefinitely.

    Liked by 1 person

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