Writing Glitch #245

Today’s glitch:


There are soooooo many things wrong with how this one is written.

It’s supposed to be a snippet of conversation, yeah? Well, conversation means dialogue, and dialogue means you use quotation marks because someone is speaking.

Do not use em-dashes to start lines of dialogue this way.

The end of a sentence needs end punctuation.

Also, ’bout is short for about, so it needs an apostrophe in front to show that a letter has been left off.

Questions require question marks even when they’re rhetorical questions.

“I’ll kill you.”

“Heh. Well. How ’bout… no?”


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.
This entry was posted in Writing Glitches and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Writing Glitch #245

  1. M. Oniker says:

    But, but….. It’s all, about, teh feelz! Your’ stifling “all” of that Creativity with UR Rulz, dude!
    I have to say, even in Internet niches for role play (role-play?), where you might see /me format or :::something:::, I’ve never seen fake em dashes used to indicate dialogue. Wtf?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This glitch reminds me of watching “Broke Back Mountain” with subtitles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The em-dashes before each line of dialogue does make this one sort of look like subtitles from a movie or television. It’s not standard for that, though, and definitely not correct for anything else.


  3. Oooh. I have a question. In the above example, you put a space between the ellipses and the “no.” My publisher always said no spaces to indicate a pause, and spaces to indicate omitted words. I’ve started ignoring all the rules and just putting one space behind the ellipses (as you did) specifically to address the challenges with formatting in ebooks. What are your thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I put a space between the ellipsis and “no” because you’d leave a space even if the ellipsis weren’t there. (I’ve seen nothing about this one way or another in The Chicago Manual of Style, and it definitely says nothing about there being a difference between spacing for pauses versus omissions.)

    Liked by 1 person

Don't hold back -- tell me what you really think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s