Writing Glitch #632

Today’s first glitch:

How it ought to be written:

A little girl is terrified of the monster under her bed, but what she doesn’t know is that it protects her from the true monsters: her parents.

Why it ought to be written that way:

There’s no need to say the monster under her bed twice in the same sentence. Replace the second one with it.

The dash after true monsters is used incorrectly because there is no abrupt change or break in thought. Replace it with a colon. (According to The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, section 6.59, “A colon introduces an element or a series of elements illustrating or amplifying what has preceded the colon […] use a colon sparingly, however, and only to emphasize that the second clause illustrates or amplifies the first.”) If you don’t like the colon, just use a comma there, although this will give her parents less emphasis.


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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