Writing Glitch #242

Today’s glitch:


This is why we can’t have nice things. *sigh*

When hyphenated, twelve-step is an adjective, as in twelve-step program or whatnot, but it isn’t supposed to be an adjective in that title.

Because this is the title of an online article, and many journalists like to use numerals as much as possible in titles (and elsewhere) because they assume readers haz teh lazy and can’t be bothered to read twelve instead of 12, I’m gonna leave that part alone.

However, this is from a person claiming to be qualified to tell other writers how to edit. *shakes head* I suggest that knowing the basics of punctuation and grammar — knowing not to hyphenate 12 steps, for example — may be a good place to start.

Personally, I’d rather read an article titled “Twelve Steps to Self-Editing,”because I’d trust that writer more to know what the hell they’re talking about.


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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5 Responses to Writing Glitch #242

  1. M. Oniker says:

    Oh… Snap! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. M.L.S.Weech says:

    You’re awesome! I wish I could bring you to speak to my students.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I recently read an online article from a writing expert that was filled with spelling and grammar errors. However, there was a pattern in the errors that I recognized – the writer was an English Learner (EL). Perhaps that is the case with this writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It isn’t the case with this writer.

      In my observation, people who learn English as a second (or third, fourth, etc.) language are no more likely to make grammatical errors than are people whose ONLY language is English.

      Also, while it’s perfectly understandable that someone would make mistakes sometimes in a language that they didn’t grow up knowing, I don’t think anyone should present him/herself as an EXPERT in editing when they don’t have a good understanding of the grammar and punctuation of the language they’re writing in, whatever that language happens to be.


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