Writing Glitch #277

Today’s first glitch:


Dialogue belongs in the same paragraph as its tag.

Use a comma to separate dialogue from its tag.

Whether or not to use a hyphen with an -ing word in a compound adjective may seem tricky. CMS-16 says, “With the exception of proper nouns and compounds formed by an adverb ending in -ly plus an adjective, it is never incorrect to hyphenate adjectival compounds before a noun. When such compounds follow the noun they modify, hyphenation is usually unnecessary[…]” (The Chicago Manual of Style, sixteenth edition, section 7.81) Thus, you’d say They were odd-looking misfits, but not The misfits were odd looking. (Leaving the hyphen out isn’t a big deal, though, so it’s better not to hyphenate in these instances if you’re unsure. “It’s never incorrect” isn’t the same as “Always do this.”)

A large group of odd-looking misfits attends your father’s funeral. One approaches you and says, “Your dad was one of us. Let me tell you about him.”

Some of you may want to ask why I didn’t capitalize dad. Well, let me tell you… Dad is only capitalized when used as a proper name: This is my dad; I call him Dad. (The same rule applies to mom, grandpa, etc., obviously.)



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 #277

  1. I’m okay with this one as well.


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