“Bonus” Writing Glitch

By special request… a “bonus” glitch:

First of all, let’s look at those commas… or rather, the lack of commas where they’re needed.

Even without alas in the first sentence, you’d need a comma after upon us because the sentence is compound. However, alas is an interrupter, so you need to set it off from the rest of the sentence. You don’t need a comma immediately following a conjunction if the next word is an interrupter, but you can use one there if you want.

Spring is nearly upon us, and alas, taxes are due.

Now, to address the homophone glitch, I will first quote a brief poem by Robert Frost:

But outer Space,
At least this far,
For all the fuss
Of the populace
Stays more popular
Than populous

Populous means containing a lot of people. Populace means the people. And we wouldn’t have these mix-ups as often if the people would, y’know, pronounce words clearly instead of mushing all short vowels into the same sound.

Defender should not be capitalized in most writing, but since the goal was to create a pseudo-Medieval/Renaissance feel to the whole passage from which I’ve borrowed only a couple of sentences, capitalizing the occasional important common noun sort of makes sense, since they did that “in period.”

Spring is nearly upon us, and alas, taxes are due. As the populace grows, so does the need for a Defender.


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 “Bonus” Writing Glitch

  1. curioushart says:

    This glitch remind me of what George Orwell was referring to in his essay “Politics and the English Language.” I think it was the word “Alas” that did it.

    Liked by 1 person

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