Writing Glitch #397

Today’s glitch:

Some writers overuse quotation marks, perhaps (among other, less identifiable reasons) thinking such marks should be used every time any common expression or turn of phrase comes up. The thing is, those quotation marks indicate so-called, which means the thing isn’t really what it’s being called. (Note: If you actually write so-called before the expression, do not use quotation marks around the expression itself.) Some people on the internet call these sarcasm quotes, scare quotes, etc.

Get rid of those quotation marks, and this sentence is good.

Humans return from Mars for the first time, but there is something not quite right about them.

(Yay! A compound sentence with a comma in the correct place!)


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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One Response to Writing Glitch #397

  1. cyclering says:

    Your content and approach inspires me. I value your attention to increasingly common errors. I join you in upholding the English Language. Hooray!

    Liked by 2 people

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