Writing Glitch #343

Today’s glitch:


Add a comma after decade because the introductory phrase is longer than a word or two. (You can use a comma with a shorter introductory phrase, too, but you don’t need to.) Add another comma after there and one more after them.

I changed passively observing the people to passive observation of the people because it shifts the meaning just enough that the first part of the sentence now fits better with the subject.

For the past decade, an intangible parallel universe overlapping our own has been slowly wavering into visibility. After a few years of passive observation of the people there, it becomes obvious that now we are becoming visible to them, as well.

(Sorry I don’t have the grammar jargon right now to explain this stuff in greater detail. I just finished editing a rather long-ish short story, and my brain is full of acronyms and sci-fi jargon instead… WordPress’ spelling and grammar checker is being stupid again, by the way. It wants me to change now fits better to no fits better. Yeah, ’cause that’s sooooo much more grammatically correct. *rolls eyes*)


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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3 Responses to Writing Glitch #343

  1. Sheron says:

    What’s the rule for putting the comma before “as well?”


    • I’ve never been able to find a simple, clear-cut rule specifically for when to separate “as well” from the rest of a sentence and when not to (there is a generic “use a comma with a nonessential adverbial phrase” rule), but a good place to start is that you use a comma if you could replace “as well” with “too” (in its meaning of “also” or “in addition” rather than “excessive”). In the example, you could change the end of the sentence to this: it becomes obvious that now we are becoming visible to them, too.

      I wrote a brief post a while back showing how using a comma or not with “as well” can change the meaning of those words: https://northofandover.wordpress.com/2016/10/08/it-was-just-as-well/


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