Writing Glitch #299

Today’s second glitch:


Here’s a thing you need to remember about commas and em-dashes: If you separate part of the sentence with a comma on one side, you need to use a comma on the other side, too. The same goes for em-dashes; don’t separate part of the sentence with an em-dash on one side and a comma on the other.

There is no reason for slaves to be capitalized; it’s a common noun, not a proper one.

Ending two phrases in a row with the same word (workers) sound a bit clunky (especially since the next sentences has worked in it). Menial can be a noun as well as an adjective, so let’s drop workers in the last part of that sentence and just say and other menials.

When used to mean what it actually means (and I’m very much against using it otherwise), literally serves to clarify that something isn’t just a figure of speech. There’s no reason here to think worked to death may not mean just that, so literally is an unnecessary (and potentially confusing) word. Delete it.

Her slaves were graded from the academically capable, who were used as teachers and clerical workers, to household slaves and other menial workers. The most violent and uncooperative would be literally worked to death down in the mines or as galley slaves on ships.




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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