Conjunction-itis #writing #grammar

Now, I am not a grammarian by any stretch of the imagination, but, while deep in editing hell as I am, I have come across an interesting (irritating?) problem. Namely the invisible conjunction – a phenomenon, I should add, that can also include the definitive and indefinite articles.

I had suspected this  was a part of my dyslexia. That I know the missing word should be there – ergo it was. And that as a writer with that particular disability it is something I needed to accept and work to overcome.

Yet the weirdest thing of all is that, with my editor’s hat on, when I read other people’s work I will have spotted it straight away.

So what then?

I am not assuming these words are just going missing in my writing but that their absence is positively invisible.

Confusing? Welcome to my world. Because those words did exist in my head when I wrote (or don’t write) them down. Did I just assume their existence and never bothered with the physical act of typing them out?

A recent example: part sentence reads ‘…the sisters glared each other…’

We hear of people ‘medalling’ in sport so perhaps it could be viewed as correct, if experimental… But no, this was a classic case of conjunction-itis.

So, I ask, what did happen to the ‘at’?

I know it was there – or at least I was certain it should have been there. I had read that section many times and ‘at’ was always right where it should be. I’ve even read it aloud and inserted that recalcitrant ‘at’ without missing a beat.

Only when I played the section back via that awful droning Microsoft speech function did its absence suddenly leap out at me. Where has it been all this time?

Naturally ‘at’ is not alone in this disappearing act. It, the, a, an, and, but, or, for, so (to name but a few) are also guilty at various times.

It is, as the song goes, a mystery. Are there fellow suffers out there? Or am I alone in my personal affliction of conjunction-itis?

Or alternatively am I just a really cruddy typist?

6 comments

  1. I feel your pain Jan. As far as I’m concerned, when I’m typing I’m putting down all the words I’ve ‘said’ in my head. When I read it back, I clearly haven’t. It’s very frustrating and I don’t know what the answer is.

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  2. I think we all make this mistake. Sometimes I’ll spell something wrong or skip a word and not notice the mistake because my brain already knows what was supposed to be there. I think this problem is why all my writing teachers advised coming back to a draft a few days later when you’re not so familiar with what you meant to say and are more likely to see what you really did say.

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