Writing Glitch #414

Today’s glitch:

An em dash is used to indicate (among other things) an abrupt change of direction or an interruption within a sentence. Neither is present in the first sentence of the example, so  the dashes should be replaced with commas.

The phrase sixteen years ago is nonrestrictive (you could get rid of it without losing the basic meaning of the sentence), so the rest of the sentence must make sense grammatically even without it. You wouldn’t write You are one of many prisoners who was sent…, would you? Change was to were.

I know what the writer was trying to say with interstellar planet, but that’s not the right term. Change interstellar planet to exoplanet.

You are one of many prisoners who, sixteen years ago, were sent from Earth on a generation ship to colonize an exoplanet. After years of living in squalor, you discover the generation ship was just a reality TV set and that you have been duped all these years.

(I think I tried to watch this television series once…)


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 #414

  1. M. Oniker says:

    Now that you mention it, I do seem to recall a TV show like this, but I can’t think of the title.

    Liked by 1 person

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