Writing Glitch #379

Today’s glitch:


Compound adjectives with -ing words are a bit tricky. The general rule is to hyphenate if the compound adjective comes before the word it modifies but not when it comes afterward: The goofy-looking cat is goofy looking.

Because ever-burning modifies fire (not heart), it should be hyphenated.

The ancient tunnels twisted through the mountain. At the heart was an ever-burning fire.


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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4 Responses to Writing Glitch #379

  1. Always smart tips…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I agree with T.E. – these tips are very helpful. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. M. Oniker says:

    These two sentences didn’t meld well for me. The first speaks of a tunnel through a mountain. Ok. The second, although I get that it refers to the center of the mountain, just sounded like someone with heartburn. A person with heartburn walking through the mountain tunnel? (Then again, I’m loopy from codeine right now, so that could be coloring things.)

    Liked by 1 person

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