Writing Glitch #415

Today’s glitch:

Don’t use quotes around a term just because sometimes people say it (or whatever the usual excuse is for using quotation marks around things that don’t need ’em). For this example, get rid of the quotation marks around devil’s eyes.

I added and after devil’s eyes because that was the least invasive way to fix that part of the sentence. 

The writer may not have intended it this way, but I do like how the wording of the first sentence implies black magic and witchcraft are different things.

You need a comma before is because everything after killer and before is is nonrestrictive. (You could just write This dangerous killer is said to look and smell like death, and although that sentence would be less informative, it would be complete.)

*sigh* Sometimes it’s too much effort to explain all the changes… Just look at the corrected version, okay?

This dangerous killer, sometimes known as devil’s eyes and once used in black magic and witchcraft, is said to look and smell like death. Smelling the toxic leaves causes symptoms of dizziness, stupor, insanity, dry mouth, dilated pupils, restlessness, hallucinations, and delirium leading to a coma and ultimately death.

Now it’s still a bit clunky and awkward, but at least it’s punctuated correctly. 🙂

(It should be noted that, unlike stellar radiation and other things of a non-chemical lethality, plant leaves can properly be described as toxic.)


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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