Writing glitch #303

Today’s glitch:


There is no logical reason to capitalize horizon here.

Pay attention to where commas have been added and where they’ve been deleted.

When one city comes close to another is a long introductory adverbial phrase; although a short one (three words or fewer) may not need a comma to set if off from the rest of the sentence, longer ones do.

I changed the second sentence so it isn’t misunderstood. The original version could be taken to mean that the short period of time is used to trade both culture and trade resources — trade is an adverb in this interpretation, defining what sort of resources they’re sharing. I don’t think that’s what the writer meant, though. (Were this for an actual editing job — such as the one I’ll start work on as soon as I post this — I’d ask the author which interpretation they mean.) Deleting the comma and adding and to makes it clear that share and trade are both verbs in that sentence; culture is shared, and resources and such are traded.

The cities of the world are moving constructs. When one city comes close to another, there is a short period of time to share culture and to trade resources and such. Your city hasn’t seen another city in ten years. However, one is on the horizon. As it grows closer, you realize all its inhabitants are dead.

(I think I read this story; it sounds like part of the SF novel The Strength of Stones by Greg Bear.)


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 #303

  1. Sounds logical. Thanks!


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