Writing Glitch #276

Today’s glitch:


There’s no way to fix this one without changing the beginning of the first sentence. (On the day you turn eighteen, every person is given those words? That’s not what the writer meant, but that’s what the sentence says.)

Use a comma to separate dialogue (or a note) from its tag. Yes, even if there’s another comma nearby. *rolls eyes*

I’m keeping the use of their and them as gender-neutral singular pronouns. If you don’t like doing that (even though it’s accepted now for anything but very formal writing, which fiction isn’t), say his or her (or swap the order if you like — it makes no difference) in place of their and her or him in place of them. (This will sound awkward when the pronouns occur close together, of course, but that’s your choice: On his or her eighteenth birthday, each person is given the first words his or her soulmate will speak to him or her. *shakes head*)

On their eighteenth birthday, each person is given the first words their soulmate will speak to them. When you receive yours, it says, “Welcome to Starbucks. Can I take your order?”

For true grammatical correctness, that last sentence should be, “May I take your order?” On the other hand, some idjits are offended by perfectly correct grammar, so perhaps the future barista is only using protective camouflage…


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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2 Responses to Writing Glitch #276

  1. J.R. Handley says:

    Great idea for a writing prompt!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, but at which Starbucks? The first one ever visited? The first one the person visits after turning eighteen? The one with the cute barista that the person has been lusting after? I agree with J. R. Handley; you could have a lot of fun with this.

    Liked by 1 person

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