Writing Glitch #306

Today’s glitch:


With the commas separating born and raised on Mars from the rest of the sentence, those words could be left out without changing the essential meaning of the sentence. Since it’s clear that where this man is from is important to what’s going on, however, you can’t leave out that part.

I got rid of the and before focuses because it was making the sentence a bit clunky. Then I added a comma after sky because the actions are in a sort of list: looks, focuses, and dreams.

Get rid of the em-dash after dreams and begin a new sentence. If you want a dramatic pause for some reason, use an ellipsis, not an em-dash. (Actually, I’ve just decided that I do want a pause after dreams, so that’s what I’ll do.)

A man born and raised on Mars looks up at the Martian sky, focuses on a pale blue dot, and dreams… He is far too poor to afford a trip to Earth.


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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4 Responses to Writing Glitch #306

  1. What about a semicolon where the ellipsis goes?

    Liked by 1 person

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