Writing Glitch #318

Today’s glitch:


When used as a compound adjective (two or more words functioning together as a single adjective), six-year-old should be hyphenated. Yes, all of it.

Add a comma after six-year-old, because that part of the sentence the first part of an if/then statement (even though the word then is left out, as it often is).

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

Now let’s address the faulty assumption aspect of this “glitch.” If you have two people with the same IQ (give or take a couple of points), and one says ‘If you can’t explain something to a little kid, you don’t know it yourself,’ and the other says the first one is wrong, whom do you believe? The first one, of course, because if he didn’t know literally everything about everything better than anyone else, why’d they call him Einstein?

*rolls eyes*

Sorry — the snark/sarcasm is strong today.

Not all six-year-olds are created equal, y’know? (Dammit, WordPress spell checker, those hyphens do belong, and it is possible to have more than one six-year-old mentioned in a sentence. I’m getting tired of your nonsense…) Some kids get it the first time when you explain something to them, because they’re (wait for it…) highly intelligent, and some are never going to understand because they have some sort of intellectual/cognitive disability — or maybe they’re perfectly normal and just aren’t paying attention because they don’t give a damn. (In this way, six-year-olds are much like a couple of Millennials I know.) Whatever the reason, it cannot be assumed that any lack of understanding must always be the fault of the person giving the explanation.


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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2 Responses to Writing Glitch #318

  1. Anonymous says:

    WP is being bonkers with letting me post comments. First, it thinks I’m logged in with my other blog’s avatar, when I’m not. Then, after I log out and back in, it showed that I posted a comment to this post. It was there! Now it isn’t. Unless… zomg, you censored me! And I didn’t even swear!
    Anyway, what I said (more cleverly) before: This quote proves that smart people can say dumb things, something that I’ve been demonstrating routinely for years. Not only did you give a good example, but there are other exceptions. It doesn’t matter the explainers’ IQs. There are any number of people who “know their stuff” but are just not good at explaining it, or possibly, anything. Not everyone is a good communicator. Not everyone is a good explainer or teacher. They may be quite brilliant in their niche, but, for whatever reason, language just isn’t their thing. I’ve known several of these folks. If you can explain quantum mechanics to a six-year old so that the kid understands, good on y’all. Einstein was being a troll, the loony old coot. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, so, he actually made me chuckle.

    And yeah, a know a couple of millennials with a shorter attention span than my pre-schooler.

    Liked by 1 person

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