Writing Glitch #286

Today’s glitch:


Yep, it’s one of those dialogue examples…

Smirking doesn’t make any sound whatsoever. It’s not a form of vocalization, so no one can smirk any words at all.

“You’re such a human!” he said, smirking.

“Did you just call me a human?” I growled.

You could also write the first line thus: “You’re such a human!” He smirked. That makes the speaking and the smirking sequential rather than simultaneous actions. It has a choppier flow than the previous version (which may or may not be desired), but it leaves the original wording intact.

Your’e? Really? *rolls eyes* Hedging your bet with apostrophe placement never works.

Also notice that he is not capitalized in the first corrected version. Be alert for auto-correct that wants to capitalize the first word after an exclamation point even when that punctuation ends only the dialogue, not the sentence as a whole.

(FYI: Some people wouldn’t take offense at being called a human; some people would take it as reassurance that their disguise was still working.)


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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8 Responses to Writing Glitch #286

  1. I notice that Auto Correct also wants me to capitalize the first word after a question mark. Ex. “You’re human?” He asked. But if I extrapolate what you’ve written, then if I want one sentence instead of two, I may write “You’re human?” he asked. Is that correct?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. J.R. Handley says:

    Human you say?


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure I like the switch from 3rd person to first person. But you certainly pulled out a good example for this one


    • What do you mean, switch from third person to first? Is it because the pronoun in the first line is “he,” whereas it’s “I” in the second line?

      In first-person narration, characters other than the POV character are referred to by third-person pronouns (she, he, they), because they’re not the person narrating the story (the “I” character).


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