Writing Glitch #590

(Warning: Snark and sarcasm ahead. Lots and lots of snark… Plus, y’know, useful info about grammar, punctuation, and spelling.)

Today’s first glitch:

Many people laughed when the photo with the original version first showed up on social media… I still find it funny.

But and butt do not mean the same thing. The correct word here is but, meaning only or merely. (Calling someone butt dust is rude; don’t be surprised if they react badly.)

You don’t need a comma after dust, because the sentence is not compound. You (single subject) are being told to remember (single verb) two things (compound object): you are dust, and you’ll return to dust. (Whatever. I prefer something like, “Remember that you are made of star stuff, and star stuff you will someday be again.” That’s so much more positive, even though both essentially mean, “You’re gonna die.”) Adding a comma after dust would make the sentence mean, more or less, If you remember that you are dust, then you will return to dust. So, y’know, just neglecting to keep that little “fact” in mind is all you need in order to avoid such a fate — not what the writer had in mind, I’m sure.

Also, notice I changed it to unto dust. Even with old-fashioned language, prepositions matter.

Remember that you are but dust and unto dust shall you return.

(Oh, no! Did that wicked Weaver hurt someone’s feeling by making fun of a spelling mistake committed by a church-going person…? *fake “appalled” expression* Who are they, that I should overlook their homophone glitches when I don’t overlook anyone else’s? ‘Sides, according to beliefs  frequently expressed by such people, I’m damned anyway for the sin of not committing the sin of lust, plus I read science fiction — according to a publication by a prominent “charity” organization, this leads to witchcraft — and I didn’t vote for Orange Thing. Pointing out an error on a badly written religious pamphlet is far down on the list of things I’m “going to hell” for.)



About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live 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 eight cats. 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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