Writing Glitch #213

Today’s second glitch:


Sometimes a writer leaves out necessary commas; sometimes a writer adds commas where they don’t belong. This example shows the latter.

I could tell by the way he was waving his staff and flailing his arms around that the old man was pretty cross about something.


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 #213

  1. M.L.S.Weech says:

    The most frustrating thing I face as a teacher of writing is the idea that one can’t simply just throw commas around. I tell my students that it looks like they thought their work was a dragon, and throwing dozens of commas at the work like ninja stars may slay the beast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I blame the common advice of “add a comma wherever you pause to breathe” for a lot of comma overuse. (Does no one ever take variations in lung capacity into account when thinking up this nonsense?)

      Ninja stars are generally ineffective against dragons, unless the intent is to make the dragon say, “Ooooh, shiny!’ and chase the things.

      Liked by 1 person

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