Writing Glitch #250

Today’s second glitch:


First, let’s tackle the punctuation and grammar; then let’s look at the scientific ignorance.

Notice that this example contains another sentence where as, although intended to show cause and effect (because), instead implies ongoing/simultaneous action (while)? If you really, really want to keep as in that sentence, write it this way: However, some parents choose not to have their children vaccinated, as it isn’t natural. Believe me, that comma matters.

Immortality is a scientifically engineered vaccine given to infants at birth. However, some parents choose not to have their children vaccinated, saying it isn’t natural. Your parents didn’t vaccinate you.

A vaccine is given to confer immunity against an illness. Perhaps the writer of this example meant that there was a vaccine against whatever causes aging (which is ultimately telomeres wearing out and allowing genetic “copying errors” to develop), but that isn’t what the paragraph says, and I suspect the incorrect version is what was intended, anyway. (For reasons unbeknownst to Mercenary Proofreader, many people who write science fiction choose to be ignorant of the relevant sciences. *shrug*)

Also, all vaccines are scientifically engineered. Did the writer mean genetically engineered, perhaps? Who knows?


Y’know what’s funny? The scenario in this example is a little bit like something lurking in the background setting for “that novel.” We’ve suspected for a while that a lengthened lifespan would be a side effect of the vaccine against the feral plague, and there will almost certainly be a few people here and there in the Commonwealth who refuse the vaccine but at least have the sense to avoid getting infected, so they — and their descendants — will age faster than the rest of the population.

Y’know what’s less funny? Today, WordPress’ spell check says vaccinated isn’t a real word. I don’t really expect it to recognize telomeres, but seriously… *shakes head*


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 #250

  1. M. Oniker says:

    There can be only one?
    :::starts humming the Queen song:::

    Liked by 1 person

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