Auto-“Correct” Strikes Again! Ten more glitches…

Today’s glitches are (just like last time) all from a single source (the same one as last time), and all on one theme (sort of the opposite of the errors from last time).

Why does this always happen when I’m in a hurry? She wondered.

“Who are you?” Someone said to her.

“But you’re supposed to be there at seven!” She pointed out.

Why does he make me so nervous? She wondered.

“An escort?” She asked.

What was that? She wondered.

Is it me they’re after or someone else? She wondered.

Just what is it with these people? She wondered.

“Hey!” She called out.

Did he understand me? She wondered.

I should point out first that this kind of error can happen just from allowing auto-“correct” too much control. The editing program sees a question mark or exclamation point, and it thinks, This is the end of the sentence, so the next word must be capitalized. Much of the time, that is true, but when the sentence is a question (or exclamation) in dialogue followed by a tag… Nope. Not the end just yet.

That is probably what happened during the “copyediting” process for the novel all these examples came from. At any rate, I’d rather believe it was laziness (letting some computer program do all or most of the work) instead of incompetence (not knowing that the tag is part of the same sentence with the dialogue it belong to).

As written in the original version, wondering, pointing out, or whatever is a separate action from the utterance of the dialogue, even though that doesn’t work, because each tag is capitalized as if it were a new sentence. Every one of these errors, though, can be fixed simply by not capitalizing the first word in the dialogue tag. (Those are all real dialogue tags, not associated actions, so they do belong as part of the same sentence with the words spoken/thought.)

Why does this always happen when I’m in a hurry? she wondered.

“Who are you?” someone said to her.

“But you’re supposed to be there at seven!”she pointed out.

Why doe she make me so nervous? she wondered.

“An escort?” she asked.

What was that? she wondered.

Is it me they’re after or someone else? she wondered.

Just what is it with these people? she wondered.

“Hey!” she called out.

Did he understand me? she wondered.

So… one piece of advice and one punctuation rule: Don’t rely on auto-correct, and don’t completely trust any editing program, because these things makes stupid mistakes at times. Don’t capitalize the first word of a dialogue tag unless it’s the first word of the entire sentence. She said, “Who are you?” is correct, but “Who are you?” She said is not. See the difference?

(More on the problems with “machines wielding red pens” here.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 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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1 Response to Auto-“Correct” Strikes Again! Ten more glitches…

  1. Auto-correct drives me insane with some of its corrections.

    Liked by 2 people

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