Writing Glitch #353

I’m about to start editing a novel (J. R. Handley’s Operation Breakout), so I may not have time to post writing glitches for a few days. That’s why you’re getting more than one today.

Today’s first glitch:


Remember when someone commented on how common post- (or mid-) apocalyptic scenarios are in these examples? Well, the ‘bizarre phone app’ scenario may be the second most common (no surprise, since I think a majority of writing prompts found on Pinterest are aimed at writers of YA fiction), and I, for one, think that’s weird. (‘Course, you probably think I’m weird for not even owning a smart phone… but think about what you’re doing at this very moment before you decide I’m some sort of technophobe, ‘kay?)

Add a comma after app because it and everything before it forms an introductory phrase that needs to be set off from the rest of the sentence.

At least literally is used correctly (although in an informal way) to make sure the reader doesn’t think can’t put down your phone is only a figure of speech.

I deleted both uses of that because they’re unnecessary and interrupted the flow of the sentence. Leave them in, however, if you want; they’re not incorrect.

I didn’t add a comma after phone because you literally can’t put down your phone and metal is creeping up your arm are both things you find: they’re part of the “extra stuff” that can go along with the verb itself in the predicate of a sentence, and despite all those words, the sentence isn’t compound.

After downloading a new app, you find you literally can’t put down your phone and metal is creeping up your arm.

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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