Writing Glitch #185

Today’s glitch:


First of all, recompense isn’t right. You don’t recompense for a wrong; you recompense the person you wronged. (Never keep a pet thesaurus unless it has a dictionary for company. An unaccompanied thesaurus is a dangerous beast, but a dictionary will prevent it from giving you bad word-choice advice.) You can compensate for a wrong, though, and that’s the closest word that works here without changing the rest of the sentence.

Must serve and mandatory say the same thing; one of them needs to go. Either say must serve a month, or say serves a mandatory month. (I’d go with serves a mandatory month, myself, because must appears again in the same sentence.)

In order to is somewhat awkward/wordy; reduce it to just to.

The US in the year 2050: Every citizen (except the rich) serves a mandatory month in prison to compensate for crimes they must have committed but police failed to discover.


In the US in the year 2050, every citizen (except the rich) must serve a month in prison to compensate for crimes they must have committed but police failed to discover.


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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One Response to Writing Glitch #185

  1. That sounds like my grandma’s parenting style!! Beat your kids once a day, because if you don’t know what they did wrong, they do!!!!


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