Writing Glitch #308

Today’s glitch:


I deleted in order because those words are “filler words,” unnecessary and clunky.

Replace the comma after begin with a period.

The death whistle is blown to help the deceased journey to the underworld.

The ceremony is about to begin. The whistle is missing.

This is another example of how present tense can go wrong. Is blown says this is happening right now (and also, this actually is passive voice), but obviously it can’t be happening right now because the whistle is missing.

Y’know how, in past-tense narration, there are some things more past than others (things that had happened, as compared to things that happened)? Well, even in present-tense narration, you have things that happened before the “right now” of the story, and those things require past-tense verbs.

(If you want all the jargon, all the time, get your own copy of The Chicago Manual of Style and read it. I’m just trying to explain the mechanics of writing in a way that makes sense to everyone.)



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 #308

  1. I had the Chicago Manual once. Kudos to you for getting through it.

    Liked by 1 person

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